Tencent posted quarterly earnings that missed the lowest analyst’s estimate after a weakening economy hurt advertisement revenue.
Net income fell 13% to 20.38-billion yuan (US$2.9-billion) in the three months ended September. That compares to the 23.5-billion yuan average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Shares in Prosus, which holds largest shareholder Naspers’s Internet holdings, fell. Prosus was trading off 4.2% on lunchtime on Wednesday, while Naspers was own 2.8%.
China’s economic slowdown is dousing revenue growth across Tencent’s platforms, dampening appetite for advertising among large brands as well as subscriptions to its video and music streaming services. Beijing’s decision to cap playing time for under-aged users is also prompting Tencent to spend more on producing AAA-rated mobile titles that appeal to a global audience, such as Call of Duty Mobile.
“Video ads and subscribers remain under pressure,” Jerry Liu, a Hong Kong-based analyst at UBS, said in a report. “Investors are pricing in lower structural growth in gaming, pressure in advertising growth due to macro and competition, and more regulatory headwinds in online content.”
Tencent’s sprawling gaming empire had helped offset some of the weakness in advertising growth, a consequence of a slowing Chinese economy as well as competition from the likes of ByteDance. Tencent owns stakes in some of the biggest US game studios and publishers, including the outfits that created household names Fortnite, League of Legends and World of Warcraft. The Chinese company is now counting on converting popular PC content for smartphones to rekindle growth. The pipeline for such content stretches into 2022, the company says.
Revenue rose 21% to 97.2-billion yuan. Shares of Tencent were mostly unchanged in Hong Kong before earnings were announced. The stock has increased 4.3% this year, compared to a 36% rise for New York-listed Alibaba Group. — Reported by Lulu Yilun Chen, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP