Naspers remains 'firm believer' in Tencent's prospects, says CEO Bob van Dijk

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Shares in Naspers and its subsidiary, Prosus continue to take strain from regulatory issues faced by Tencent in China.
Shares in Naspers and its subsidiary, Prosus continue to take strain from regulatory issues faced by Tencent in China.
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  • Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk says the company firmly believes in the future of its investment in Tencent.
  • Tencent's share price has seen large sell-offs amid a crackdown on Chinese tech firms.
  • Tencent has lost almost R7 trillion in value since its peak in 2021, while the share prices of Naspers and Prosus have halved over the past year.


Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk says the company and its subsidiary Prosus remain "firmer believers" in Tencent’s prospects amid continued uncertainty about the Chinese government’s crackdown on technology firms. Prosus holds a 29% stake in Tencent, which is its biggest investment.

"We are very firm believers in the future value creation of Tencent for us and our shareholders and stakeholders in South Africa," Van Dijk said on Wednesday.

Tencent has lost almost R7 trillion in value since its peak in 2021, while the share prices of Naspers and Prosus have halved over the past year, as the Chinese government launched punitive action against large digital giants.

Government issued massive fines on e-commerce giants such as Alibaba and Meituan for anticompetitive behaviour, and has also halted the listing of Alibaba subsidiary Ant Group.

Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that Tencent faced a record fine after its WeChat Pay reportedly broke anti-money laundering rules.

Tencent, the world's largest video game vendor, has also been hit by new government rules that curb gaming, specifically limiting the time that young people can spend on the activity. The Chinese government has also refused to licence new games for more than a year.

Bloomberg reports that the Chinese government is considering requiring that Tencent spin off its mobile payment service WeChat Pay into a new financial holding company, which would require a new licence.

"The Tencent team is working diligently with the Chinese authorities on an ongoing basis to navigate those new requirements," Van Dijk said on Wednesday, without going into details.

Last week, Chinese tech shares saw a historic surge after the government indicated a softening in its approach, by saying China will keep the stock market stable and support overseas share listings.

The CEO of Prosus and Naspers, Bob van Dijk.

Van Dijk described the recent events in the stock markets as "a turbulent time in the world of consumer internet".

"We experienced significant volatility in our share price, which is at least to a good part because of increased Chinese regulatory intervention," said Van Dijk.

Despite the current challenges, Van Dijk stated that the company still firmly believes in the future of Tencent. Naspers initially bought a 46.5% stake in Tencent in 2001, which has diluted over the years.

In 2021, Prosus sold 2% of its issued share capital in Tencent, in a $14.6 billion transaction.

On Wednesday, Naspers shares dropped more than 9% after Tencent reported its slowest growth on record, with online advertising sales declining and domestic gaming revenue growing only 1%.

By Thursday, its share price recouped almost a percent, climbing to R1 700.

Fin24 is owned by Media24, which is in the Naspers stable.

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