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Tencent's Q4 profit doubles

Big jumps in mobile games and smaller PC growth boost Chinese giant as financial year closes

Chinese gaming superpower Tencent has reported a 105 per cent year-on-year increase in profit for its last quarter.

Total profits for the period reached $3.31bn. Operating profit jumped 85 per cent to $3.94bn, while revenues grew 51 per cent to £10.16bn.

Online games specifically grew 32 per cent, driven mainly by smartphone titles such as Honour of Kings and King of Chaos. Hopes are also high for the 2018 Chinese success of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. The company's PC games such as League of Legends also grew by 13 per cent, although it is seeing an increased migration to mobile.

Social network revenue was up 45 per cent and Value Added Services increased by 37 per cent. Also on the up was online advertising, which soared 49 per cent, while media advertising climbed 22 per cent thanks to streaming service Tencent Video.

Its messaging services Weixin and WeChat now boast just under one billion monthly active users.

For the full financial year, profits were up 75 per cent at $11.09bn while operating profit grew 61 per cent and revenues 56 per cent to $13.82bn and $36.39bn respectively.

The company warned of an upcoming short-term hit on earnings thanks to increased investment in a range of areas.

"During 2017 and continuing in 2018, Tencent made important strategic moves that reinforced our leadership. Our streaming video service became the China market leader with the most mobile daily active users and monthly subscriptions," Tencent chairman and CEO Ma Huateng said.

"Our Weixin Mini Program platform rapidly expanded its developer base and user adoption. Our QQ Speed Mobile racing game and PUBG: Exciting Battleground shooter game achieved absolute leadership in, and grew the audiences of, their respective genres. Looking forward, we are substantially increasing our investment in areas including video, payment, cloud, AI technologies and smart retail, which will impact our near term earnings but which we believe can generate long term value and growth opportunities."

Tencent also stressed its commitment to developing AI applicable for its existing products, namely advertising and financial services, although there will also be medical applications for the technology. It cites a new AI Medical Innovation System which is now deployed in Chinese hospitals and has a 90 per cent success rate of diagnosing esophageal cancer.

Tencent is the talk of the games industry today, having swooped in to help Ubisoft fend off a hostile takeover by Vivendi. It has since agreed to help the Assassin's Creed publisher bring its titles to China.

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