Tencent Holdings Ltd posted record quarterly profit on Wednesday, smashing market expectations, as the social media and gaming giant booked a rise in the value of its investments while fintech and cloud revenues helped make up for declines in games.
Even so, revenue grew at its slowest-ever rate, as heightened regulatory scrutiny hobbled its gaming operations. That allowed earnings from its nascent financial technology (fintech) and business services to eclipse smartphone games for the first time.
In the three months ended March, Tencent saw 17% growth in net profit to 27 billion yuan (3 billion pounds), beating the 19.4 billion yuan average of 13 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.
Boosting profit was a 46% rise in “net other gains”, such as from investments, to 11.1 billion yuan. Revenue, however, came in just shy of analyst estimates at 85.5 billion yuan, with growth at an all-time low of 16%.
Tencent has been hit by a suspension in the approval of new games by China’s internet regulator for most of last year, which led to the company posting its sharpest-ever profit drop in the three months through December, and the slowest annual profit growth in 13 years.
Approvals restarted in December, with Tencent receiving permission to launch major title Perfect World Mobile in the January-March quarter.
Tencent, which is seeking to find new revenues by shifting to industrial services, in September reorganised its business and created a Cloud and Smart Industries Group (CSIG).
“FinTech and Business Services”, a category disclosed for the first time and which includes payment and cloud services, generated 21.8 billion yuan in the March quarter, up 44 percent.