There’s only one stock in Asia that’s really mattered this year — Tencent Holdings, in which South Africa’s Naspers has a 33.2% stake.
A 76% surge in its Hong Kong shares has lifted the company’s value by US$175bn (R2.3 trillion), or more than Unilever’s market cap, in what is easily the biggest creation of wealth by an Asian-listed company.
The tech titan is the largest contributor to gains among MSCI’s Asian and Chinese benchmarks. And its latest earnings show momentum is getting stronger.
Tencent benefits from a walled-off universe, thanks to state restrictions limiting companies like Facebook. That means Pony Ma’s empire has a lock on how the Chinese go about their day, from paying for food, chatting to friends, playing games or watching videos. All of which translates into huge profits, even if the company is little known outside of China: net income surged 70% to a record 18.2bn yuan ($2.7bn) last quarter.
Sure, Tencent took a hit last week due to a probe into its news services, but to most investors that was a chance to buy the dip.
There’s only one Asian company that’s eclipsed Tencent in wealth creation this year, though it’s not listed in the continent — Alibaba Group. The e-commerce firm, which decided in 2014 to sell shares in the US rather than Hong Kong, has added $191bn in value. — (c) 2017 Bloomberg LP