The last quarter of 2015 has been extremely kind to Chinese social network and online entertainment conglomerate Tencent Holdings Ltd., with the firm's revenue rising 45 percent during the September-to-December period, the fastest rate it has surged during the last three years.
Though most of the firm's revenue still comes from its primary businesses such as gaming and online advertising, the company's impressive Q4 figures are also partly affected by the relative success of its mobile payments system, which users are able to utilize through the Tencent's popular messaging app, WeChat.
For quite some time now, WeChat has become one of Tencent's most successful platforms, with the app having about 697 million active users by the end of September. Just three months before that, the number of users was 650 million.
What made WeChat very attractive to users is the vast array of service it offers. Apart from being an app that offers text messaging, voice and video calling, WeChat's services also include a social network timeline, special branded accounts, a shopping option and web-based games, among others.
While WeChat's many services are quite impressive on their own, another feature of the app has raked in a significant amount of revenue for Tencent. Over the past year, WeChat's mobile payments platform, WeChatPay, has become more prolific, with about $46 billion in transactions being recorded during the first month of 2016.
With the pace that WeChatPay is currently moving, analysts believe that the parent company Tencent would see at least $556 billion worth of transactions made through WeChat's mobile payments platform in 2016. Such figures make it that much closer to the total amount of online payments that are transacted through its main rival, Alibaba's Alipay, which has dominated China's mobile payments platform for years before WeChatPay emerged. WeChatPay has already far surpassed the amount transacted through PayPal Holdings Inc., which totaled about $282 billion in 2015.
Indeed, with the firm's impressive Q4 figures and WeChatPay's equally admirable growth, one could almost rest assured that the biggest social network and online entertainment firm, Tencent Holdings, will be an even more formidable force to be reckoned with.