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Tencent opened office in Singapore since May, contrary to denials

tencent ma huateng

Chinese Internet giant Tencent have been operating a spin-off WeChat office in Singapore since May, a check with government business information site Bizfile revealed.

The website also contained a document showing that another company, “Tencent International Service”, has been registered since 1 August this year.

The files show that Tencent founder Ma Huateng, or Pony Ma, is the director of this Singapore entity. Tencent co-founder Zhang Zhidong, Tencent non-executive director Charles St Leger Searle, and Singaporean Rosy Koh are the other directors.

As for “WeChat International”, Australian Pu Hai Tao, Chinese National Yun Kam Fai, and Singaporean Wong Wai Hin have been listed as its directors. It describes the company as providing “mobile applications and services”.

Both companies are registered under the same address, which belongs to PB Corporate Services, a company formation service provider.

It is unclear at this point how active the entity is, since Tencent does not appear to be recruiting in Singapore.

Interest around this entity was sparked by a Reuters report, which cited an unnamed source from China Daily claiming that Tencent is planning a WeChat spin-off which would eventually be listed in the Singapore Stock Exchange.

The source added that Tencent abandoned the idea of listing WeChat in Hong Kong as an “initial public offering of a spinoff on the same stock exchange with the holding company will raise more issues for Tencent”, while a separate listing of WeChat in Singapore is “an apparently easier choice”.

Tencent has so far denied the claims, saying that “this market news is not true and we have no idea where this market rumor originates from”. The denial was given before proof of their Singapore registration surfaced online.

The company is certainly eyeing the region in its expansion plans.

With over 400 million users worldwide but only 70 million outside of China, expanding to the rest of the world has become one of WeChat’s priorities.

It has begun a marketing push, launching its first television advertisement in Singapore featuring popular Taiwanese artists Alan Luo Zhi-Xiang and Rainie Yang.

Beyond the mobile messaging war, gaming is another big part of its international footprint. Last year, it acquired a 49 percent stake for USD 27M  in Level Up, a Singapore game design company.

Level Up had made a net profit of US$3.7M for financial year 2010, almost tripling from the previous year. Some of the studio’s game titles include Perfect World and Combat Arms.

Tencent business registration in Singapore

WeChat Singapore registration


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