August 13, 2014 18:31 By Agence France-Presse HONG KON
Chinese Internet giant Tencent saw its net profit surge 59 per cent in the second quarter, the company said Wednesday, as its popular messaging app WeChat exceeded 430 million active users and revenues from online gaming soared.
Tencent's net profit for the three months to June 30 stood at 5.84 billion yuan ($948.99 million), up from 3.68 billion yuan from the same period a year ago. Revenue went up by 37 per cent, at 19.75 billion yuan, resulting from growth across the board, the company said.
Based in the southern export hub of Shenzhen, Tencent operates online and social networking services including instant messaging service QQ and Tencent Microblog as well as mobile messaging service WeChat.
Its revenues from online gaming made up 56 per cent of the company's total revenue for the quarter, rising 46 per cent year-on-year to 11.08 billion yuan.
WeChat, also known as "weixin", or micro-message in Chinese, has taken the country by storm in just three years.
The app -- whose 438 million users exceed the entire population of the United States -- saw a 57 per cent increase on active users this quarter compared to a year ago.
"We were ranked the No. 1 publisher in China's iOS App Store by free downloads and revenue for each of the first seven months of 2014," the company said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
WeChat is more versatile than US rival WhatsApp, allowing its users to find each other by shaking their smartphones -- a common dating technique -- and even book and pay for taxis, as well as send text, photos, videos and voice messages.
Other global players include Japan's Line, with more than 300 million registered users, and South Korea's Kakao Talk with over 100 million, which together dominate other Asian markets.