Zhang Zhidong co-founded Tencent Holdings, a publicly traded Chinese company that offers services for online payments, mobile games, and instant messaging.
In 2020, the Shenzhen-based business generated 482 billion yuan ($73.6 billion) in revenue. Weixin and WeChat, two of their mobile apps, have approximately 1.3 billion users combined. 2014 saw Zhang leave the business.
Zhang Zhidong Bio/Wiki
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In 1972, Zhang was born in Dongguan, in the Guangdong province of southern China. The self-proclaimed computer geek attended Shenzhen University when he was 18 to study computer science, where he met Ma Huateng, the current chairman of Tencent.
Zhang participated in a graduate program at the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou after receiving his bachelor’s degree.
Zhang returned to Shenzhen and started working for Liming Network Group, a software company that creates electronic transaction systems for the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets. Tencent, or “Tengxun” in Mandarin, which means “galloping communication,” was formed in November 1998 by him and Ma.
AOL’s ICQ-like instant messaging software was its first offering, which debuted online in 1999. The service was originally known as “OICQ” by Zhang and Ma, but they later changed the name to “QQ” to set it apart from an America Online service that offered a comparable product.
Because the free messaging services attracted more users and cost more to run, Ma tried to sell the business for $16 million. He was unable to find a buyer. In 2000, IDG Venture Investment Fund and PCCW, one of the biggest telecom companies in Hong Kong, invested $4.4 million in Tencent, each having a 20% stake.
Tencent is now China’s largest Internet community, including services like chat, group messaging, news portals, entertainment, and e-commerce, thanks to Zhang and Ma, known as the “Father of QQ.” In Hong Kong, the Shenzhen-based firm began selling shares to the general public in 2004.
PCCW was replaced when the company joined the benchmark Hang Seng Index in 2009. 2014, Zhang stepped down from his roles as Tencent’s executive director and chief technology officer.
Zhang Zhidong Net Worth
A 3.4 percent ownership position in Tencent Holdings, the online business he co-founded in 1998 with billionaire Ma Huateng, accounts for most of Zhang’s wealth. According to a company presentation, Wechat, also known as Weixin, had about 1.3 billion users as of September 30, 2021.
According to a company filing dated November 20, 2013, Zhang owns the shares through Best Update International, a British Virgin Islands-based business. Because he left his position as executive director in March 2014 and his interest is below the disclosure level, his ownership of Tencent is no longer disclosed.
His stake is assumed to have remained unchanged after the latest disclosure for purposes of valuation. A calculation of calculated dividends, market performance, and taxes is used to determine the value of his cash holdings. Tencent representative Canny Lo declined to comment on Zhang’s ownership of the business.
Zhang Zhidong has a $ $24.1 billion net worth. Zhang was listed as the 154th richest person in the world by Forbes that year. In 2017, Forbes listed him as the 11th richest Chinese, placing him.
As of 2016, he was listed as the 11th richest person in China. In 2016, Zhang came in at number 26 on the list of the wealthiest IT entrepreneurs. For 16 years, Zhang served as the chief technology officer and co-founder of Tencent Holdings Ltd. He retired in September 2014, and since then, he has lived a very secluded life.
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Zhang Zhidong Personal Life
Zhang Zhidong lives with his wife and 2 children in Shenzhen, China, in their residence. Zhang Zhidong is employed by Liming Network Group, a Shenzhen-based software company.
This business creates electronic transaction systems for the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.
Tencent Holdings Ltd., usually known as Tencent, is a Shenzhen-based multinational holding company that specializes in technology and entertainment. Based on revenue, it is one of the top multimedia corporations in the world. Tencent Games, a part of Tencent Interactive Entertainment Group (IEG) that focuses on publishing games, is the largest firm in the world in the video game industry based on investments.
Its subsidiaries, which were established in 1998, promote a range of Internet-related services and goods, including entertainment, artificial intelligence, and other technologies. Tencent Seafront Towers, also known as Tencent Binhai Mansion, is home to the company’s twin-skyscraper headquarters and is located in Shenzhen’s Nanshan District.
The leading provider of video games worldwide and one of the most valued businesses is Tencent. It is among the biggest venture capital, investment, and social media companies. Social networks, music, web portals, e-commerce, mobile games, internet services, payment methods, smartphones, and multiplayer online games are just a few of the things it offers. It is responsible for running QQ.com, Tencent QQ, and WeChat.
It also owns Tencent Music. The business became the first Asian technology company to exceed a market worth of US$500 billion in 2018. Since then, it has grown to become the most valuable publicly traded company in China and one of the top technological corporations in the world based on market value.
The business was listed among the 50 most innovative companies in the world by the Boston Consulting Group and Fast Company in 2015, 2018 and 2020. Tencent, which owns stakes in more than 600 businesses, started concentrating on Asian tech start-ups in 2017.
According to TechCrunch, Tencent’s investment strategy involves allowing the firms in its portfolio run independently. Tencent’s share price crashed in January 2021, when its valuation was close to US$1 trillion.
Products And Services Offered
Tencent QQ, which debuted in February 1999, is the company’s first and most well-known product. In its native market, QQ is one of the most widely used instant messaging services. Tencent QQ was the largest online community at the moment with 647.6 million active Tencent QQ IM user accounts as of December 31, 2010.
A hundred million or more QQ accounts have occasionally been connected at once. Although the IM service itself is free, as of 2006, there was a charge for mobile messaging. Additionally, Tencent developed QQ International, an English-language QQ that enables communication with accounts on the Chinese mainland.
QQi is accessible on Windows and macOS. Tencent introduced Qzone, a social networking and blogging platform linked with QQ, in 2005. With 645 million users in 2014, Qzone was one of the biggest social networking services in China.
Through its Tencent Games section of Tencent Interactive Entertainment, Tencent publishes video games and has a significant stake in both domestic and, as of the 2010s, international game developers. TiMi Studio Group, Lightspeed Studios, Aurora Studio Group, Morefun Studio, and Next Studio are its five internal studio groups.
Together with TCL, Tencent debuted iTQQ in April 2009 as a “smart interactive television service.” Tencent Pictures, a production and distribution firm that makes and releases movies based on books, comic books, animated series, and video games, was established by Tencent in 2015.
The production unit Tencent Penguin Pictures, which focuses on web dramas and small investments in feature films, was established the same year by Tencent. It is a part of Tencent’s Online Media Business Unit and closely collaborates with Tencent Video.
With several major music producers, including Sony, Warner Music Group, and YG Entertainment, Tencent struck exclusive in-China distribution agreements in 2014. In 2017, it signed a contract with Universal Music Group to stream its music in China. It has signed a cooperation with Alibaba Group on the distribution of music streaming rights.
The agreement intends to safeguard licensed streaming services that deliver the music industry copyrighted content, promote the creation of more original music, and expand China’s rapidly expanding streaming market. In exchange for providing reciprocal rights to its collection of Chinese and Japanese music, Alibaba will receive the ability to stream music from foreign labels that currently have exclusive relationships with Tencent.
Zhang Zhidong Controversies
Allegations Of Copying
Many of Tencent’s products and services resemble both their own and those of its rivals. Huateng “Pony” Ma, the company’s founder and chairman, is credited with saying, “[To] copy is not evil.” Pony Ma is a well-known king of copying, according to Wang Zhidong, a former CEO and president of SINA.com.
“The problem with Tencent is the lack of originality; all of their goods are clones,” said Jack Ma of the Alibaba Group. One of the earliest standalone instant messaging programs, called ICQ, was made available in 1996 by an Israeli business by the name of Mirabilis. Three years later, Tencent unveiled OICQ, an imitation of ICQ that stands for Open ICQ.
Tencent released a new version of OICQ in December 2000 and dubbed it QQ after losing a lawsuit against AOL, who acquired ICQ in 1998, for allegedly breaching ICQ’s intellectual property rights. QQ reached 50 million users in its second year, 856 million users, and at most 45.3 million synchronous users in 2008 using its free-to-use and paying models.
Tencent modified its strategy and actively invested in the acquisition of other firms rather than the replication of them in an effort to partially restore the reputation that it had lost due to accusations of plagiarism. In more than 800 businesses worldwide by the year 2020, Tencent had made investments.
In renowned gaming businesses including Riot Games, Epic Games, Activision Blizzard, SuperCell, and Bluehole between 2012 and 2019, Tencent invested anything from small minority holdings to 100% stakes.
While Tencent may benefit from aggressive acquisitions due to reasons like reduced competition and monopolization, the acquired company may not expand and innovate as a result. Since Tencent has tens of thousands of sons, according to Pinduoduo founder Colin Huang, “Tencent won’t die when Pinduoduo dies.”
Tencent was taken off the software whitelists in 2015 when AV-Comparatives, AV-TEST, and Virus Bulletin voted to do so collectively. It was discovered that the Tencent products provided for testing contained optimizations that gave the impression that the software was less vulnerable when benchmarked but really offered more room for delivering attacks.
Furthermore, if used, software settings were harmful to end users’ security. Later, Qihoo was also charged with cheating, and Tencent was charged with aggressively manipulating the anti-malware testing.
WeChat, a platform owned by Tencent, has come under fire for allegedly censoring and restricting TikTok videos. In a lawsuit filed in April 2018, TikTok demanded RMB 1 million in restitution and an apology from Tencent, accusing it of disseminating false and damaging material on its WeChat platform.
Tencent sued Toutiao and TikTok in a Beijing court in June 2018 on the grounds that they had persistently slandered the company and harmed its reputation. Tencent was demanding a minimum of RMB 1 in damages as well as an open apology from the defendants.
Toutiao responded by filing a complaint the next day against Tencent for what it claimed to be unfair competition and seeking RMB 90 million in financial losses. Even though Tencent owns a 40% investment in Epic Games, the firm that created the well-known video game Fortnite, Tim Sweeney, the CEO, and founder of Epic Games, vowed that his organization would never follow suit and penalize people for expressing their ideas.
He emphasized that Epic is an American company and that “that will never happen on my watch as the founder, CEO, and controlling shareholder.” This implied that Epic would not compromise its commitment to free speech in order to gain favour with Chinese authorities in order to increase its revenue there.
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