By Donny Kwok
HONG KONG, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Tencent Holdings Ltd
has racked up some impressive gains this week - becoming the
first Chinese firm to be worth more than $500 billion and
surpassing Facebook to be the world's fifth-most valuable
Earnings for China's biggest social network and gaming firm
have surged on the popularity of its smartphone games led by
titles such as Honour of Kings - a fantasy role-playing game,
which has as many active players as the population of Germany.
Also driving earnings has been its messaging-to-payment
superapp WeChat which has amassed 980 million monthly active
users, with 38 billion messages sent daily, while its Youtube
equivalent, Tencent Video, has become the video streaming
service with the largest paying subscriber base in China.
That success has helped Tencent's stock more than double
this year, making it Asia's most valuable company worth $522
billion on Tuesday and easily outpacing a 36 percent rise in the
benchmark Hang Seng Index.
That beat Facebook's market value on Monday of $519 billion.
Only Apple Inc with a market capitalisation of about
$873 billion followed by Alphabet Inc, Microsoft Corp
and Amazon are worth more.
Led by Chinese billionaire Pony Ma, Tencent this month
reported a better-than-expected 69 percent rise in third-quarter
"Tencent's high growth, as demonstrated by its quarterly
results, has supported the rally in its shares," said Steven
Leung, a sales director at UOB Kay Hian.
"Since the company has been able to deliver with its
earnings, the stock is still worth holding onto despite its
current high level."
In addition to robust earnings, Tencent has also burnished
its lustre after some units and affiliates have made some
eye-catching market debuts.
An executive recently also told Reuters the company is close
to making Malaysia the first foreign country to roll out its
WeChat ecosystem, pitting it against Alibaba as they
scramble for new growth opportunities outside China.
Among the 39 analysts who cover Tencent, the average rating
on its shares is a "buy", with their average target price at
HK$433.60. The stock closed at HK$430 on Tuesday.
After Tencent, rival Alibaba Group ranks second among Asian
firms with a market value of $481.5 billion, while South Korea's
Samsung Electronics is No. 3 at $364 billion.
($1 = 7.8127 Hong Kong dollars)
(Additional reporting by Patturaja Murugaboopathy and Vidya
Ranganathan; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Edwina Gibbs)
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