Mar 15, 2021

Tencent buys Rakuten stake; regulator fears fuel share fall

Tencent
Rakuten
Ecommerce
Fintech
William Smith
2 min
As Tencent faced a $62bn loss, it announced it had taken a 3.6% stake in Japanese internet giant Rakuten alongside Walmart and Japan Post
As Tencent faced a $62bn loss, it announced it had taken a 3.6% stake in Japanese internet giant Rakuten alongside Walmart and Japan Post...

Tencent’s share price has fallen amid regulatory pressure from the Chinese government.

In scenes similar to last year’s halt of Chinese fintech giant Ant Group’s IPO, there is increasing belief that Tencent will, like Ant, be forced to spin off its financial elements including banking, insurance and payment services into a holding company.

The fears manifested as a wipeout of Tencent’s share price, falling 4% on Monday on top of 4.4% last Friday, resulting in a total $62bn fall.

China’s tech giants

The move is the latest frontier in the Chinese government’s efforts to break up China’s giant technology companies, which are active in many different areas - from social media to ecommerce to fintech. 

Alibaba and Tencent are among the most prominent and powerful examples, with the latter, through its subsidiaries and associates, active in a wealth of industries with a focus on technology. Led by one of China’s most prominent business magnates in the form of “Pony” Ma Huateng, the company’s offerings range from instant messaging services to video game publishing and web portals.

Rare Chinese investment in Japan

It may be premature to bet against the company bouncing back, however. Elsewhere, it announced it had taken a 3.6% stake in Japanese internet giant Rakuten, alongside Walmart at 0.9% and Japan Post at 8.3%, raising $2.2bn.

Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten Chairman and CEO said: “The new potential for partnering with Tencent opens up a broad portfolio of opportunities, from digital entertainment, including online games, to e-commerce.”

The deal was further framed as bolstering the Japanese company against competition from western leaders such as Google and Amazon.

Martin Lau, Executive Director and President, Tencent Holdings, said: “Rakuten has built a vibrant ecosystem through its membership and loyalty program, extending its unrivalled strength from e-commerce to FinTech and digital content. Tencent shares Rakuten’s aspiration of creating value through innovation and empowerment for users and partners.”

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Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR

Microsoft
NASCAR
3 min
Racing fans can expect the ultimate virtual experience as a result of the partnership with Microsoft and NASCAR

Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).

These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack. 

“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”

“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”

“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR

  • Empower employees productivity and collaboration
  • Improve fan engagement and experience
  • Improve environment security and IT productivity
  • Improve racing operations

 

Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.

“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”

“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives. 

“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.

Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”

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