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WeChat owner becomes first in Asia worth over $500B

Tencent is the first in the region to be valued at half-a-trillion dollars, joining the likes of Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.

Tencent To Limit Daily Playtime Of Online Game

The makers of this popular Chinese game just made it to the global tech elite club.

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Remember the Chinese company that offered a helping hand to Snap? Well it just became the first in Asia to be worth more than half-a-trillion dollars.

Tencent, the owner of WhatsApp-esque WeChat in China, crossed the $500 billion mark when markets closed in Hong Kong yesterday, Bloomberg reports. It now joins global tech elites including Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft.

The news comes less than a week after Tencent posted stellar profits of 18 billion yuan (about $2.7 billion) and 69 percent increase in overall profit year-on-year, amid rising speculation that it'll be valued over half a trillion ahead of next year.

Tencent is one of China's three top tech companies, alongside e-commerce company Alibaba and search giant Baidu, who are collectively known as BAT. The company may have become the first to achieve the milestone, but Alibaba isn't trailing far behind; it's now valued at almost $482 billion.

Tencent's exceptional growth is in part boosted by its game business, which includes popular titles League of Legends and Honour of Kings. Honour of Kings held the top spot on Apple's App Store in China for nearly a year, and caused so much concern about kids playing the game too much that Tencent had to limit playtime for those under 12. A fanatic Chinese couple went so far as to name their child after the game. Last month, the company said it would bring a version to the US called Arena of Valor.

On top of that, Tencent's WeChat continues to do well, closing in on the 1 billion user base of its foreign counterpart, WhatsApp.

CNET has reached out to Tencent for a comment.

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