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Tencent to Buy 15% of Online Property Agency for $180m

March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Tencent Holdings Ltd., China’s largest Internet company by market value, agreed to buy a 15 percent stake in E-House China Holdings Ltd.’s Leju Holdings Ltd., as it adds services through its messaging application.

Tencent will pay $180 million for a stake in the online property agency, according to a statement yesterday. The company, which owns the WeChat application, will add Leju’s real estate data to the messaging app, Tencent President Martin Lau said in the announcement.

Tencent this month agreed to buy a 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce site JD.com Inc. and transfer some of its own assets as it seeks to build a stronger e-commerce competitor to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Last month, it bought a 20 percent stake in Dianping.com, the operator of a Yelp-like website in China, to strengthen location-based services.

Tencent said yesterday it will maintain its 15 percent stake at the time of Leju’s proposed initial public offering.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Browning in Hong Kong at jbrowning9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net Joshua Fellman, Ben Livesey

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