Today, May 17, China’s Tencent Holdings(TCEHY) reported a 58% increase in first quarter profit on a 55% increase in revenue.
The company’s WeChat app is now the world’s third-largest personal messaging app after Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger. Global monthly active users of WeChat rose to 938 million in the first quarter from 762 million a year ago.
The company’ strategy has been to turn WeChat into an all purpose app store that offers online payment, taxi-booking, and wealth management tools plus access to the company huge online game portfolio and music service. Tencent has also increasingly focused on providing services to every shop owner in China within two years.
China’s online gaming market, which Tencent dominates, is the world’s largest by revenue and is projected to account for 25% of global game sales in 2017, according to market research company New Zoo. First-quarter revenue for Tencent’s online games business, which includes popular titles “Honour of Kings” and “Dragon Nest Mobile”, increased by 34% to a record 22.8 billion yuan in the quarter.
On Tuesday, TenCent announced that it had entered a licensing agreement with Universal Music that would allow Tencent to stream the company’s music into China. (Universal Music is the last of the big western music labels to reach a deal with Tencent.) Tencent has an effective monopoly on streaming mainstream western music in China. More than 570 million people stream music each month in China, according to Quest Mobile. Tencent owns China’s top three streaming platforms with a total of 15 million subscribers. Which puts it behind only Spotify and Apple Music in paying subscribers.
Tencent Holdings is a member of my long-term 50 Stocks Portfolio. The New York-traded ADRs (American Depositary Receipts) are up 28% since I added them to this portfolio on February 14, 2017.