Reddit, the self-billed “front page of the internet”, may be following the footsteps of messaging app Snap in getting China’s social media and gaming giant Tencent Holdings as an investor.
The San Francisco-based discussion website is seeking to raise as much as US$300 million in a new funding round and has landed Tencent as a lead investor, according to TechCrunch. Depending on how successful it is in raising money from other investors, Reddit could be valued at US$3 billion, according to the report.
Tencent is best known in China as the operator of WeChat, the app platform that has 1 billion users, and for mobile game blockbusters like Honour of Kings. But it has also attracted attention in recent years for its role as a venture capital investor, with more than 600 companies in its portfolio.
This strategy has provided Tencent with a steady profit stream at a time when its core businesses of social media and video games face intense competition and increased government scrutiny.
Representatives for Reddit and Tencent did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent outside regular business hours.
As the tech rout spread throughout the world last year, Tencent accelerated its investment pace by putting money into more than 163 deals globally compared to 143 in 2017, according to Chinese research firm IT Juzi, whose data is widely cited by both local and overseas media.
While they ranged from live-streaming platforms and online education to e-commerce players and property service providers, Tencent had a priority – a quarter of the deals were in culture and entertainment, the consumer-facing business which can make full use of the 1 billion users on its dominant messaging app WeChat.
Tencent took a 12 per cent stake in disappearing-messaging app Snap in November 2017, and has also invested in electric car maker Tesla and ride services company Lyft. Tencent also took part in the latest funding round in Indonesian ride-hailing firm Go-jek.
Another priority was enterprise services, a reflection of Tencent’s latest strategy to shift focus to the industrial internet. Last year, the company's investments also expanded geographically, from Southeast Asia and China, to the US, UK, New Zealand, Germany, Brazil and Nigeria.
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