Jul 21, 2021

Timeline: Tencent

business growth
Catherine Gray
2 min
As Chinese tech company, Tencent, agrees to buy UK video games firm Sumo for more than £900m, we take a look at the company’s history and growth

1998 – Founding

Tencent was founded in November 1998 in Shenzhen, China, by Pony Ma, Zhang Zhidong, Xu Chenye, Chen Yidan and Zeng Liqing.

2000s – Growth

Although the company remained unprofitable for the first three years, the conception of their QQ mobile product, its cellular value-added service and licensing of its penguin character meant they started to see profit generation.

By 2008 Tencent had rapidly increased its offerings by licensing games and by 2009 they became the largest online game platform in China.

2010-2014 – Going from strength to strength

The company launched a social media app in 2011, Weixin (now branded as WeChat). By 2012 the combined user accounts of Weixin and WeChat exceeded 100 million.

December 2013 marked Tencent as the world’s largest online game developer and publisher by revenue. In the same year, the company officially launched Tencent cloud services.

In the following year, it co-founded WeBank, China’s first online-only bank, and invested in a strategic partnership in the Jingdong group.

2015-2021 – Increased investment

Tencent co-founded insurance platform, WeSure in 2016 following the establishment of Tencent Pictures and Penguin Pictures back in 2015.

Also in 2016, the company invested in a strategic partnership with Supercell.

With all its success, Tencent entered the world’s top 10 most valuable companies in mid-2017. In the same year, they constructed an open and innovative artificial intelligence platform for medical imaging technology in China.

At the start of 2018, the combined monthly active user accounts of Weixin and WeChat exceeded 1 billion, firming its position as the most popular chat app in the country.

By June 2020 Tencent had acquired the video-on-demand service iflix in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Buying UK video games firm, Sumo, in July 2021 expanded the company’s presence in the global video games market. The company already owns Riot Games (developers of the League of Legends franchise), as well as having stakes in other games developers including Epic Games (maker of the Fortnite series) and Supercell (maker of mobile game Clash of Clans).


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Jul 27, 2021

Vodafone: 5G could add £6.3bn to UK manufacturing by 2030

edge computing
2 min
manufacturing 5G Vodafone
A new report from Vodafone suggests that 5G could add as much as £6.3bn to UK manufacturing by 2030

A new report from Vodafone suggests that 5G could add as much as £6.3bn to UK manufacturing by 2030.

The report – Powering Up Manufacturing, Levelling Up Britain – employed economic analysis from WPI Economics to scope 5G’s impact on the manufacturing sector nationally.

Boost for 5G adoption

Vodafone’s paper calls on government to set ambitious targets for 5G adoption in manufacturing over the coming decade, including support for industry to invest in private 5G networks and 5G testing and innovation centres with a view to harnessing the benefits of IoT and edge computing in manufacturing.

Key areas of the report

  • Wirelessly connected factories with bespoke 5G mobile private networks (MPNs) can support the sharing of large quantities of data from thousands of devices simultaneously in real time, enabling better and faster decision making, facilitating machine learning and allowing processes to be adapted to maximise productivity.
  • 5G allows for predictive maintenance. This means monitoring hundreds of variables, forecasting when and where repairs will be needed and avoiding expensive unplanned downtime.
  • 5G-supported Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology can be used to visualise and plan designs in detail prior to the construction of physical prototypes. This will help workers to maintain and repair failed machinery and enable workers to be trained with less direct use of expensive physical machinery. 5G-supported AR and VR technology can also connect workers on a factory floor with engineers and designers located elsewhere, enabling them to access technical expertise without costly and time-consuming site visits.
manufacturing 5G Vodafone

Beginning the 5G journey

Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone said: “We are only beginning the 5G journey, but through our work with Ford, we know it offers huge potential for the manufacturing sector and beyond.

“To realise this potential, we need to all get behind it, from Government and Ofcom creating the right policy and regulatory environment, through to businesses embracing the power of innovation, and, of course, us as network operators creating this network of the future.”

Minister for Digital Infrastructure Matt Warman said: “5G can change the way Britain builds and we’ve sparked a wave of innovation in UK manufacturing through our £200m 5G trials scheme.

“We’ve seen driverless vehicles at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, VR at BAM Nutall building sites in Scotland and Vodafone boosting laser-welding robots in Essex.

“The benefits of 5G for improving productivity, efficiency and safety in our manufacturing sector and beyond are clear, and Vodafone’s report is a ringing endorsement of how this revolutionary technology can help us build back better from the pandemic.”

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