The Success Story of Ma Huateng: The Man who co-founded Tencent


Ma Huateng was born on October 29 1971. He is popularly called Pony Ma, as well. He is a wealthy China-based business tycoon and business controller. Ma is the originator, chief executive officer, and chairman of Tencent, which ranks among the worthiest enterprises in Asia. Tencent is also one of the biggest tech and Internet corporations and one of the world’s largest venture capital, gaming, and amusement multinationals.

Tencent Holdings designs China’s most predominant instant mobile messaging service, WeChat. The company and its ancillary business enterprises offer leisure, media, payment platforms, Internet-linked services, mobile phones, online promotional services, and value-added services in China and worldwide.

In 2007, 2014, and 2018, Ma Huateng got nominated by Time magazine as one of the most powerful individuals in the world. At the same time, in 2015, he got recognition by Forbes as one of the most influential individuals in the world.

In 2017, he got rated by Fortune magazine as one of the top men of affairs of the year. In 2018, the CEOWORLD magazine nominated him as one of the “Most Influential Persons in the World.” Huateng was a delegate to the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Congress and a designate in the Twelfth National People’s Congress.

Ma Huateng is one of the topmost stalwarts of the “Fortune world” and is famed for his low-key persona compared to Jack Ma, his Chinese counterpart, entrepreneur, and originator of Alibaba’s gregarious individuality.

Comparison often occurs between Huateng and US-based venture capitalist Warren Buffett for their comparable investment outlooks. He is frequently depicted as a “belligerent buyer.”

As of March 2022, their net worth of Ma is US$ 44 billion, as stated by Bloomberg Billionaires Directory.

In November 2017, the net worth of Ma momentarily exceeded that of Sergey Brin and Larry Page (separately), earning him the position of the 9th wealthiest person in the world. He was also the 1st Chinese national to get into the top 10 wealthiest list released by Forbes, albeit the net worth of Brin and Page have each overshadowed that of Huateng afterward.

When and where was Huateng born?

Huateng was born on October 29, 1971, in Chaoyang, Shantou, in Guangdong province, China. He is currently 50 years old. 

What is the alma mater of Ma Huateng?

The alma mater of Huateng is Shenzhen University, where he did his BS (Bachelor of Science) degree. 

Which political party does Ma Huateng support?

Ma Huateng is a proponent of the Chinese Communist Party. 

What is the profession of Ma Huateng?

Ma Huateng is the originator, CEO, and Chairman of Tencent Holdings Ltd. He is also a business leader. 

Formative years and academics 

The birthplace of Ma is Chaoyang, Shantou, Guangdong province. Once Ma’s father, Ma Chenshu, landed employment as a harbor supervisor in Shenzhen, the youthful Ma attended with him. Huateng earned a BS degree in applied engineering and computer in 1993 from Shenzhen University.

Establishment of Tencent and beginning of professional life 

Huateng received his 1st employment from China Motion Telecom Development, a vendor of telecom goods and services. He was in control of designing software for beepers. He made $176 each month at that time.

Besides, Ma was a part of Shenzhen Runxun Communications Company Ltd.’s research and development division for web calling facilities.


In 1998, together with four other school fellows, Huateng advanced to co-establish Tencent Holdings Ltd. The firm’s first merchandise arrived once Ma took part in a demo for ICQ, the oldest web-based instant messaging service in the world, set up in 1996 by an Israel-based firm.


Motivated by the concept, Huateng and his group introduced an analogous software in February 1999 with a China-based interface and a somewhat dissimilar name – OICQ (also known as Open ICQ). The merchandise rapidly turned trendy and collected over one million registered subscribers by the close of 1999, helping it become one of the biggest such facilities in the country.

Chatting about the establishment of Tencent Holdings, Ma informed China Daily in a 2009 talk show that if he had viewed more, it was by resting on the shoulders of behemoths, rewording a citation ascribed to Isaac Newton, and citing the resemblances between OICQ and ICQ.

They recognized their merchandise had a prospect; however, at that period simply couldn’t have enough money for it, Huateng recalled.

To resolve the predicament, Huateng requested credits and even thought about putting up the firm for sale.


As OICQ, Tencent’s esteemed facility, was available without cost, the firm anticipated angel investors to fund its escalating overhead expenses. In 2000, Huateng resorted to IDC, a US-based investiture agency, and Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW), a Hong Kong-based telecommunication services provider that acquired 40% of the stocks of Tencent for US$ 2.2 million.

Once the demand for pagers witnessed a slump, Huateng bettered the instant messaging interface by enabling QQ subscribers to transmit messages to cellular phone sets. Subsequently, 80% of the firm’s returns were generated from agreements ratified with telecom service providers who accorded to distribute messaging costs.

AOL negotiation and business growth 

In 1998, once America Online (AOL) took over ICQ, the firm lodged a settlement versus Tencent Holdings with the help of the National Arbitration Forum in the US, asserting that and, the two domain names of OICQ were in infringement of the brand name of ICQ.

Tencent ended up losing the lawsuit, and as a result, it had to surrender the domain names. In December 2000, Huateng modified the software’s name to QQ, with “Q” and “QQ” utilized to represent the expression “cute.”


When the AOL lawsuit concluded, Ma resolved to grow the commercial portfolio of Tencent Holdings. In 2003, Tencent launched its indigenous portal site and ventured into the Internet gaming marketplace.


Tencent turned into the biggest China-based instant messaging facility (owning 74% of the market) by 2004, inspiring Ma to register the firm on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Once the firm collected $200 million from its Initial Public Offering in June, Huateng rapidly became one of the wealthiest individuals in the telecommunication sector in China.

Tencent Holdings introduced an Internet-based gaming interface in 2004 and began marketing virtual merchandise for aiding the games launched on that interface (gaming power, weapons), over and above ringtones and facial gestures.


At Huateng’s authoritative request in 2005, Tencent introduced, the C2C (customer-to-customer) interface, a constant rival of Alibaba, the e-commerce behemoth.


Imitating Microsoft, Huateng formed two contending groups of technologists in 2010 and gave them the responsibility of producing a novel item. Following two months, one group delivered an application for group chat and text messaging, WeChat, which was released in January 2011.

WeChat, as of 2015 (also known as Weixin in the Chinese language), is the biggest instant messaging interface in the world, as 48% of Internet subscribers utilize it in Asia-Pacific.

Other miscellaneous facilities offered by Tencent Holdings incorporate e-business, websites, and multi-participant online gaming. Internet-based games like Legend of Xuanyuan and Legend of Yulong enhanced income by over 50%, equal to US$ 5.1 billion, with a gross margin of US$ 1.5 billion.


In December 2015, Huateng declared that Tencent Holdings would develop an “internet hospital” established in Wuzhen, intended to render long-distance analyses and drug supply.


In 2016, Huateng transmitted US$ 2.3 billion value of his private Tencent stocks to the Ma Huateng Global Foundation, his benevolent institution. Nonetheless, Forbes has not curtailed the net worth of Ma since the stocks are still registered in his name.

Private life

Huateng utilizes the moniker Pony, which originated from the English version of Ma, his surname, which denotes “horse.” Ma Huateng rarely makes media appearances and is famed for his reserved way of living.

Ma Huateng’s riches get generated from the 9.7% interest in Tencent Holdings. There are statements that Ma is the proprietor of assets in Hong Kong and works of art valued at US$ 150 million. Huateng possesses a redesigned lavish mansion of 19,600 sq feet (1,820 meter square) in Hong Kong.

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