Tencent To Bolster Smart Retail, International Investments

After investing in over 800 firms, Chinese tech company Tencent Holdings said it would bolster its international investments and in industries like “smart retail.” According to a speech Tencent President Martin Lau made at a conference, those companies include 70 listed firms, and more than 160 have a value exceeding $1 billion, Reuters reported.

“Previously our traditional investment sectors were mostly focused on video games content and frontiers of science and technology,” Lau told a meeting of over 500 firms backed by Tencent per the report. “However, with the development of Tencent’s WeChat mini-app ecosystem and payment platform, we will pay more attention to smart retail and payment platforms in future.”

Tencent is known to have stakes in companies like online shopping site Pinduoduo and food delivery firm Meituan Dianping as well as video game companies like Supercell and Riot Games. The firm rarely offers an overview or makes details of its investment activities known. It is said to be the second-largest firm in Asia by market value and worth $490 billion.

The news comes as French payments firm Lydia closed a $45 million (40 million euro) series B round led by Tencent, with participation from existing investors New Alpha, CNP Assurances, and XAnge. The mobile payment app firm has attracted more than 3 million users in France, with 25 percent in the range from 18 to 30 years old. The startup adds about 5,000 new users daily.

Lydia Co-Founder and CEO Cyril Chiche said, according to reports, “At first, we wanted to raise less, but we ended up raising more.” The firm recently debuted a marketplace offering other financial offerings. Lydia users, in one case, can instantly borrow up to 1,000 euros ($1,115) and purchase phone insurance. Users are also offered free credit for comparing internet providers, opening a bank account, and more.

Chiche said per the report, “We have an ambitious goal, which is turning Lydia into a mobile financial service app.