Tech conglomerate Tencent, which boasts China’s biggest social network and gaming firm, has become the first Asian firm to enter the club of companies worth more than US$500bn.

And yesterday (November 21), it surpassed Facebook in market value.

It’s all thanks to its WeChat ecosystem, the payment system that can be used to transfer money between WeChat users (peer-to-peer) and make payments online and with participating retailers.

WeChat messaging service is now valued at $523 billion, above Facebook’s $522 billion.

The valuation pushes Facebook out of the Global Top 5 companies for most valuable stocks, which now features Apple, Google’s parent Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and now Tencent.

Source: Bloomberg

Tencent, founded in 1998, is one of the world’s largest social networks for music. In fact, through its three music-streaming apps – QQ Music, Kugou, and Kuwo – it offers over 17 million songs to 700 million monthly active users in China (as of Sept 2017). Tencent’s three streaming platforms give it a 75% share of the local music streaming market.

Tencent counts new growth opportunities outside China as its latest coup

Tencent senior vice president Seng Yee Lau has said the company is close to making Malaysia the first foreign country to roll out its WeChat ecosystem.

The business has over 980 million monthly active users in China, but with its “breakthrough” new e-payment licence in Malaysia for local transactions, WeChat could easily go global.

Seng Yee Lau said Tencent plans to launch WeChat in Malaysia early next year:

“Malaysia is actually quite large in the sense that we have 20 million WeChat users, huge potential, and the market is quite warm towards internet products from China,” Lau said.

Company president Martin Lau said Tencent will invest further in digital content, namely online video, with a focus on overseas a acquisitions.