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Why Tencent Could Become an Advertising Powerhouse Like Facebook

  • Ad chief S.Y. Lau says predictive ads have great potential
  • It will remain cautious when serving ads to WeChat users
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Bloomberg’s Lulu Chen explains how Tencent aims to change its culture to boost ad revenue.(Source: Bloomberg)
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Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s rise into a $500 billion company was fueled by a culture of internal competition, where teams raced against each other to make ideas work. To become an advertising powerhouse like Facebook Inc., the internal barriers are starting to come down.

The seven main business units of China’s largest company are working to synchronize data and study a billion plus users to deliver precision and predictive ads, according to Lau Seng Yee, the executive tasked with leading the charge. That’s counter-intuitive for a company where ideas are generated from the bottom up, and divisions spanning games and video streaming to finance are encouraged to jockey against each other.