Tencent CEO and Chairman Pony Ma Huateng attends Tencent’s 2018 Annual Results Announcement on March 21, 2019 in Hong Kong.
China News Service | Visual China Group | Getty Images
The stock later pared some losses and was down around 3% at 14:14 a.m. HK/SIN. That equated to around $12.4 billion of value being wiped out.
Revenue rose 21% year-on-year to 88.82 billion yuan ($12.92 billion, according to the exchange rate published in the earnings statement). That missed market estimates. However, profit attributable to shareholders beat analyst forecasts, rising 35% year-on-year to 24.14 billion yuan.
The company’s gaming division returned to growth, posting revenue of 27.3 billion yuan, up 8% year-on-year. Mobile games in particular were up 26%.
That was welcomed given that the Chinese government froze video game approvals last year, hurting Tencent’s business badly and wiping billions off the company’s market capitalization. Games need to be approved by the Chinese regulators before they can be released and monetized.
Gaming is Tencent’s biggest division, accounting for around 30% of revenue in the second quarter.
Another bright spot was the company’s financial technology and business services division, which includes revenues from WeChat Pay, Tencent’s wealth management product and cloud computing. That business was up 37% year-on-year to 22.9 billion yuan.
But management struck a note of caution for a number of areas. One was the advertising business, which saw a slowdown. Headwinds in that area are likely to continue, according to James Mitchell, chief strategy officer at Tencent.
“Our assumption is that the macro environment will remain difficult for the rest of the year and that the situation of the heavy supply of advertising inventory will continue for the rest of the year and potentially into next year,” he said on the company’s earnings call on Wednesday.
Tencent also reined in spending in the second quarter. Capital expenditure was down 38% compared to the year-ago period. Cash flow used for investing also dropped sharply in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2018.
Mitchell said that was because the first half of 2018 had an “unusually rapid pace” of investment, but he did say the company was being more “measured” in how it deploys capital.