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WeChat and ecommerce push Tencent past $3.15 billion in profit

WeChat social media

China’s Tencent has published its Q4 and full-year 2013 earnings report, full of financial details and user numbers for its many web services. We’ve already written about WeChat reaching 355 million monthly active users, so let’s browse through the rest.

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Here’s the finance side first:

  • US$9.91 billion in revenue for the whole of 2013, up 38% on the 2012 figure.
  • Q4 revenue of US$2.78 billion, up 40% over Q4 2012. 2013’s entire operating profit was US$3.15-billion, up 24% year-on-year. Q4’s profit was US$779 million, which is up 28% year-on-year. However, it’s down one percent from Q3 2013.
  • Online games revenue reached RMB 8.475 billion (US$1.38 billion). That covers everything from Tencent’s MMO titles to casual browser-based games integrated into QQ to its latest and much-heralded social games for WeChat.
  • Social networks revenues grew to RMB 3.457 billion (US$562.7 million), up eight percent from Q3. Ecommerce transactions revenues grew very strongly, reaching RMB 3.324 billion (US$541.1 million).
  • Tencent notes that makes up 19.6 of total revenues. But Tencent tempers that by saying it was a seasonal boost – likely due to China’s ‘Cyber Monday’ equivalent that happens every November 11.

Tencent’s recent ecommerce overhaul — which included taking a 15% stake in the Amazon-esque JD — happened only this month, so it’s not reflected in these numbers.

Social media numbers

  • Now onto the social side:
  • WeChat has 355-million monthly active users, up from 272-million in Q3. See a chart of its growth in 2013 here.
  • 808 million monthly active users on QQ, its sprawling social network and IM service. But that’s down one percent. It’s not the first dip for QQ.
  • Peak simultaneous online QQ users reached 180 million, up two percent from the end of 2012.
  • Monthly active Qzone user accounts (Qzone is a Facebook-like extension to QQ) hit 625-million. That’s up four percent from Q4 2012.
  • Peak simultaneous online QQ Game Platform user accounts reached 8.5 million, down four percent year-on-year.

It seems clear that Tencent’s decades-old services – like QQ and QQ gaming – are heading for a slide. QQ only saw growth in terms of its mobile usage, as opposed to PC-based. QQ usage on smart devices grew 74% in the past year, and now stands at 426 million active mobile QQ users.

All the growth is in WeChat and ecommerce, which is likely why Tencent is so keen to integrate those two elements so closely so that WeChat becomes, for its Chinese users, a sort of ewallet app and mobile commerce ecosystem. However, that game-plan is in big trouble as China reportedly preps tough new regulations on online payments and in-store mobile transactions.

More details can be found in Tencent’s Q4 document (PDF).


This article by Steven Millward originally appeared on Tech in Asia, a Burn Media publishing partner.

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