China’s Tencent to invest $70B in tech infrastructure

Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings said Tuesday it’s planning to invest about $70 billion in information technology infrastructure over the next five years.

The plan calls for investments in areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and cybersecurity. It follows a call by China’s government last month for a “tech-driven structural upgrade” of the country’s economy via investment in new infrastructure, the South China Morning Post reported.

Other areas to benefit from the investment include big data centers, blockchain, “internet of things” operating systems, quantum computing and 5G networks, Tencent Senior Executive Vice President Dowson Tong told Chinese media.

Tencent is the maker of the massively popular WeChat messaging application, as well as several popular online games in the country. The company wants to expand into various business services as consumer internet growth slows and companies shift IT operations from on-premises data centers to the cloud.

Tencent told media that although cloud businesses have suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it expects to see “accelerated cloud services” and greater adoption of enterprise software services from the public sector and offline industries.

“Expediting the ‘new infrastructure’ strategy will help further cement virus containment success,” Tong told the Guangming Daily.

Tencent’s promised investment is remarkable not only because of its size, but also because it’s the first major post-pandemic commitment made by a major technology firm, Constellation Research Inc. analyst Holger Mueller told SiliconANGLE.

“Capital infrastructure investment is critical for all cloud players, and Tencent is one of them,” Mueller said. “$70 billion is no small amount, and it is the first announcement of this type from China. Now, all eyes will be on what exactly Tencent is planning to do, though a regional expansion is likely at the top of its list.”

Tencent Cloud commanded an 18% share of China’s cloud computing market in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to data from research firm Canalys. The company’s shares rose 2.5% following today’s announcement.

Photo: Tobias/Flickr

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