Shares in mainland internet giant Tencent shares rallied to a record yesterday, sparked by the launch of its first financial services product on its mobile messaging app WeChat to compete against Alibaba Group.
Sentiment was also buoyed by the acquisition of a 9.9 per cent stake in China South City's logistics and trade centre network.
Shenzhen-based Tencent teamed up with Huaxia Bank to roll out the financial product called Licaitong through WeChat, which has 272 million monthly active users. Rivals Alibaba and Baidu launched similar products last year. Electronics retailer Suning Commerce Group also introduced a financial product this week.
Tencent said the interest rates offered on Licaitong would be at 16 times higher than the mainland benchmark one-year bank deposit rate.
Tencent's shares rose 0.79 per cent to a record HK$512.50 yesterday, beating the Hang Seng Index's 0.37 per cent gain. Tencent has climbed 3.6 per cent this year, while the benchmark has lost 1.4 per cent. China South City shares also rose to a record high, to HK$3.49, yesterday.
Tencent will be competing against Alibaba's Yu E Bao financial product, whose investment pool was worth 250 billion yuan (HK$320 billion) on Wednesday, according to fund manager Tianhong Asset Management.
Tencent paid HK$1.5 billion for a 9.9 per cent stake in China South City, a move aimed at strengthening its foothold in the e-commerce industry.
Tencent's record share price has made chairman Pony Ma Huangteng, the richest man on the mainland, with a net value of US$13 billion, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows.
Beverage tycoon Zong Qinghou had been eclipsed in August by Dalian Wanda Group mogul Wang Jianlin as the mainland's wealthiest person. Robin Li, founder of search engine Baidu, overtook Wang last month.