- Tram Ho
Mr. Ma Huateng, known in English as Pony Ma, was born in 1971 in Shantou, Guangdong, China. In 1989, he studied at the Department of Computer Science Research at Shenzhen University.
After graduating in 1993, he worked as a software programmer. At that time, in China, only 1 in 100 people knew computers and the Internet, but Mr. Ma made $176 a month from his first job in Shenzhen. He set foot quite early on the technology craze in China in the mid-90s.
Five years after graduating, he and some friends founded Tencent. At the time of its establishment, Pony Ma’s work faced many difficulties. Because the company has little capital, it only focuses on developing messaging services on the email platform.
Tencent’s first product was an instant messaging service called OICQ and changed its name to QQ in 2000. To capture a larger market share, Tencent started offering the service as a free download. Within 1 year the service had more than 5 million users.
After that, Tencent started earning money through ads and charging monthly fees for premium users. By 2001, they had raised more than $32 million in investment capital. In 2004, Tencent became China’s largest messaging service.
In 2011, Tencent launched the messaging app WeChat. The app became a global phenomenon with over 100 million users within 12 months. In 2017, Tencent’s stock value increased by 130% when WeChat hit 1 billion users.
In China, Facebook or the messaging service WhatsApp is completely banned. Therefore, WeChat is often compared to Facebook because of its popularity. However, according to CNBC, WeChat’s “super app” form has gone much further than Facebook’s, which has more than 1 billion users. The app offers features like messaging, calling, gaming, sending money, making purchases, paying bills, hailing a ride, and even online dating.
Not only stopping at WeChat, Tencent has also succeeded in other areas such as providing cloud, artificial intelligence joint venture and entertainment. Fortnite is a popular game developed by Epic Games, a subsidiary of Tencent Games. After more than 6 months of launch, this game earned 126 million USD with only in-game purchases.
Besides, Tencent also invests in big game companies such as Activision Blizzard, World of Craft and Candy Crush. Ma Huateng is also on the list of shareholders of Spotify, Snapchat and Tesla.
According to The South China Morning Post, billionaire Ma Huateng is usually shy when he has to stand in public. On news sites, he is known to have “little biography”. The rare information about himself is only that he idolizes the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs and is one of the world famous philanthropists. In 2016, Mr. Ma transferred $2 billion worth of shares in Tencent to a charity in China.
According to Forbes data, Mr. Ma Huateng’s fortune is currently 37.2 billion USD. He is the 3rd richest person in China and ranked 34th in the world. In terms of technology, Mr. Ma is the richest person in China and ranked 10th in the world.
References: CNBC, Forbes, South China Morning Post…
Source : Genk