China’s Tencent celebrates anniversary with HK$1.7bn gift to employees

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 10:19pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 10:19pm

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings is giving its employees more than HK$1.7 billion worth of shares to celebrate the company’s birthday, according to a WeChat post on Tencent’s official WeChat account.

The company’s 31,557 employees will each get 300 shares for the company’s anniversary. It was founded 18 years ago on November 11, 1998.

Shenzhen-listed Tencent, which is Asia’s most valuable listed company at HK$1.89 trillion in market capitalisation, closed at HK$200 apiece on Friday. This means that each Tencent employee received HK$60,000 worth of shares.

The shares will be given to employees in three equal batches over three years, according to Reuters, which cited an internal e-mail sent to employees.

In its WeChat post, Tencent also said that it had prepared 30 million yuan worth of virtual WeChat red packets to give away to its employees both past and present as a form of gratitude for their contribution to the company. Each red packet contains between 188 to 1,888 yuan.

The red packet and shares giveaway coincides with competitor Alibaba’s Singles’ Day e-commerce event, known as the world’s largest online shopping extravaganza.

Tencent’s generous giveaway prompted a joke that circulated among Chinese internet users: “While Alibaba is busy earning money from you, Tencent is busy giving out red packets to its employees.”

Alibaba smashed its 91.2 billion yuan Singles’ Day sales record from last year at 5.40pm Friday, with over six hours to spare. As of 9.30pm, the company had raked in over 107 billion yuan in sales from its online shopping festival.

The Hangzhou-based company is expected to reach more than US$18.5 billion in sales by midnight, about 29 per cent more than what it made last year. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.