The winning horse of the Chinese internet market and one among the Chinese billionaires, though not started anything unique and innovative but executed them in China like ever before. Ma Huateng nicknamed Pony Ma established a local internet empire Tencent Holdings Ltd., (HKG:0700) offering instant messaging services, gaming, eCommerce, and a lot more. In less than two decades, Pony Ma turned Tencent worth $509.7 billion Company. Today Tencent owns many popular services, including WeChat and QQ. Interestingly, WeChat and QQ are one of the most popular mobile messaging apps, worldwide, based on the number of monthly active users.
The personal life of this successful founder, though, remained a mystery owing to his reclusive nature, on his 50th birth anniversary, here are a few less-known yet interesting facts about the legend.
Name: Ma Huateng (Pony Ma)
Date of Birth: October 29, 1971
Net Worth: $23.4 billion
- Ma Huateng was born in 1971 in Chaoyang, Shantou, a city on Guangdong’s eastern coast. He earned a Bachelor of Science in computer and applied engineering from Shenzhen University in 1993. His first job was as a software developer for pagers at China Motion Telecom Development, a Shenzhen-based supplier of telecommunications services and products. His monthly salary was $176. He also worked at Runxun Communications, in the research and development department for Internet calling services.
- Contrary to the fact that Silicon Valley has been the birthplace of all technical innovations, Ma Huateng established the tech empire in China. As a child, he always dreamt of being an astronomer but ended up empowering a bright future for China. To date, however, he remains enthusiastic about creating something new out of technical innovations.
- Pony Ma is popularly known as “Brother Pony” among his colleagues and employees. He received the title in return for the endeavour of his initiative towards employee welfare. Apart from the regular hikes provided to the employees, he worked with the local government to stabilize house prices. This step of Pony Ma signifies his concern for his employees.
- It definitely was not a cakewalk for Ma Huateng when he along with his five friends established Tencent; similar to other startups they also have to go through traditional startup challenges. Though the instant messenger OICQ (Open ICQ), the first venture of Tencent, gained one million registered users within a year of its launch the company lost intellectual property rights battle against AOL (American Online) on the grounds similar name who bought another instant messenger ICQ in 1998. Finally, Tencent yielding to the decision and renamed Messenger QQ, but continued to excel in the path to providing internet services.
- As Tencent was not able to capitalize on the expanded user base, Pony Ma raised some capital investments to set up new arms of the company. The Pacific Century CyberWorks invested $2.2 million valuing 40% of the Tencent stake in 2000, indeed it has been a great start for Tencent. In 2004, Tencent listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Before listing in Hong Kong, Pony Ma considered about listing the company on the US stock exchange as it earned higher earnings, but Pony Ma played safe owing to Tencent’s consultants’ suggestions as a familiar market is the better place and, indeed, it reaped huge profits relatively to the counterparts listed on Nasdaq.
- The ventures of Ma Huateng had invited criticisms to be the replica of the other well-known west originated services; for instance, QQ is termed as Facebook of China, Amazon of China, and Uber of China everything under one roof. However, Ma Huateng claims localizing the popular service is a challenge.
- Pony Ma invested the majority of the seed capital required to establish Tencent. He, however, reduced his stake from 9.86 percent to 9.65 percent in April 2015 to eliminate the monopoly on the company. Unfortunately, the move didn’t go well with the market and Tencent’s valuation plunged by $11 billion following his move.
- Tencent has also bought a 12% stake in Snapchat-parent Snap, according to a November 2017 filing, becoming one of the biggest tech firms in the world.
- With a net worth of 59.3 billion, Ma Huateng is now the 2nd Richest Person in China, 20th Richest Person in the World, according to Forbes.
- Forbes also credited him as 27th Most Powerful Person in the World.
The visionary Pony Ma added many accolades and awards to applaud his success in modifying the cultural scenario of China.
The above words of Pony Ma signify his accomplishment in the developing nation with a huge population. Tencent includes QQ instant messenger, QQ.com, QQ Games, QZone, and many more making QQ.com one of the world’s 10 largest websites. Pony Ma spends a lot of time on research and consuming technology through the available means to constantly upgrade and cater the users with enhanced services with a local flair.
The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or renewed leaders who moved the industry with his exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, Sir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.
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