Tencent, currently the largest internet company in China, has bought a 5% stake in Tesla Inc. China's most valuable internet company continues to diversify it's portfolio by picking up a 5% share in Tesla for $1.8 billion. The exchange has boosted Tesla's share value and the original 5% stake has risen to over 2.2 billion since the announcement.
Tencent is the creator of WeChat, China's largest social messaging/media app with over 800 million monthly users. TechSpot readers may also know Tencent as the majority shareholder of Riot Games and Supercell Oy.
Just as Apple has found huge market success in East Asia, Elon Musk expects China to be one of Tesla's biggest new markets. Since last year, Tesla's car sales tripled in China resulting in 15% of the company's total sales. A quick look at some of Tencent's recent acquisitions raises speculation about the Chinese juggernaut squarely targeting the autonomous vehicle sector:
- NIO, previously NextEV, and one of Tesla's competitors in the high-performance EV space
- Didi Chuxing, the de facto ride-sharing service in China
- Future Mobility, a startup dedicated to producing an autonomous electric vehicle by 2020
- Various AI and machine learning investments
While Tencent Holdings Ltd. is no stranger in pushing information technology, their string of investments outlines a definite goal to push environmentally friendly autonomous vehicles, joining the likes of Google, Uber, and others.