Asia’s richest man sees advertising, social media driving growth amid addiction debate

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Tencent Holdings, the world’s largest video game company, is betting that its new initiatives in advertising and social media would spur growth amid renewed debate in China over gaming addiction among the youth.

“Social and performance-based advertising will be a big growth driver for us in the future,” said Tencent chairman and chief executive Pony Ma Huateng – Asia’s richest man, according to Forbes – in an interview with state media China Daily that was broadcast online.

“We are also actively exploring new forms of social networks”, including various ways to integrate short video into these platforms, said Ma on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary sessions and meetings of the top political advisory body in Beijing on Thursday.

Hong Kong-listed Tencent already operates WeChat, China’s largest social network, which hit a milestone of 1 billion monthly active users during the Lunar New Year holiday last month. Marketed as Weixin on the mainland, WeChat has evolved into the country’s largest social network, as well as a popular online platform for payments and money transfers.

Honour of Kings, a multiplayer fantasy smartphone game by Tencent, is China’s most popular game with more than 200 million players.

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