Alibaba and the elephant in the room

Alibaba peopleAlibaba, Alibaba: it’s a word that’s increasingly on people’s lips. Certainly, it’s a pleasing name: playful to pronounce and universally recognisable, evoking something at once known and foreign.

But, beyond talking about the Chinese e-commerce giant’s IPO (which claimed the title of largest global IPO ever) and how successful the start-up from southern China has been, we hear far less said about why. Continue reading

Flipkart and Tencent – The jewels in Naspers’ crown

Flipkart and Tencent became household names several years ago in two of the world’s fastest growing economies, India and China. But more recently, their staggering growth rates and innovation in the mobile sphere have forced the rest of the world to sit up and pay attention. Some say that their strength in the market is a direct offshoot of their robust parentage – which, similarly, has only become widespread knowledge since the two firms’ growth began gaining a global audience. The South Africa-based media and tech juggernaut, Naspers, is a major shareholder in Flipkart – India’s Amazon – and Tencent, which owns China’s gamified Whatsapp-Facebook hybrid, WeChat. Naspers, which is one of the largest companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, recently began garnering plenty of attention of its own when the value of its stocks reached a record high earlier this month, taking its market capitalisation to R709.7 billion ($60.4 billion).  Continue reading

How WeChat is creatively turning online users into online consumers

WeChat screenTencent’s announcement last month that its popular mobile social network, WeChat, has reached a milestone of 500 million monthly active users didn’t only grab people’s attention because of the four-year-old app’s impressive growth figures. Within both emerging and developed markets, WeChat has become a symbol of a mobile social network’s ability to monetise by providing a space where users and brands can connect.  Continue reading

Naspers’ winning lottery ticket, Tencent

Tencent HQThe Cape Town headquartered multinational media company, Naspers, has spent the last decade and a half establishing operations in fast-growing regions such as China, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. But it was perhaps only last month (when the value of the group’s shares reached a record high following the announcement of Tencent Holdings’ financial results) that the extent of its success in emerging markets – and China in particular – hit home.

When Naspers acquired a 46.5 percent interest in the mostly loss-making, Chinese-owned Tencent Holdings in 2001, it seemed like a gamble, to say the least. Fast-forward to the present, and Tencent is reporting fourth quarter profits of $973 million.  Continue reading

Tencent, Naspers’ biggest holding, is valued at approximately half of South Africa’s annual GDP

Media 24 Tencent imageNaspers, the multinational media giant with operations in internet services, pay-TV and print media, has been making headlines since the value of its shares shot up earlier this month. Headquartered in Cape Town and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), it has grown to become one of South Africa’s largest companies, with a market capitalization of R709.7 billion ($60.4 billion). Founded in 1915, the group is best known locally as one of the country’s oldest media companies, and for running Africa’s biggest pay-TV business, Multichoice. But it is Naspers’ interests in China’s biggest internet firm, Tencent Holdings, which transformed the company into a must-have in fund managers’ portfolios. Continue reading

Audio walking tours enter the digital age in Cape Town

VoiceMap, a recently-launched mobile application for iPhones and Android devices, is using cutting-edge GPS technology and the age-old art of storytelling to change the way people experience cities. “VoiceMap is a publishing platform for location-aware audio tours – or, with less jargon and more poetry, a way of seeing the world through another person’s eyes,” explains CEO and co-founder, Iain Manley.

After downloading the app and selecting a route, VoiceMap users can put their phone in their pocket and follow a storyteller’s voice through a particular neighbourhood, while anecdotes, commentary and opinions play automatically at specific GPS locations.

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WeBank: China’s first online-only bank

Chinese Yuan

“It’s one small step for WeBank, one giant step for financial reform” said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after the launch of the country’s first online-only bank, a joint venture headed by Tencent Holdings Limited, best-known outside China for its popular instant messaging and social networking app, WeChat. WeBank is the first private bank to pilot online operations after becoming one of six institutions that were granted licences to do so last year.

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