Tencent beats estimates as WeChat, mobile games drive growth

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"Mobile game growth was very strong, as the first quarter is usually a good season when users spend more time on their devices during the holidays", said Benjamin Wu, a Shanghai-based analyst with Pacific Epoch.

Shares in the second most valuable Asian public company has come under heavy pressure leading up to the earnings report, as investors feared the potential for lower margins along with higher costs.

However, those feats were dispelled by the technology giant.

Revenue rose 48% to 73.5bn yuan, compared with analyst estimates for 70.8bn yuan. That represented a 61 percent year-on-year rise. Operating margin increased to 42% from last year's first quarter of 39%.

Revenue breakdown: VAS business, 46.9B yuan (+34%); Online game, 28.8B yuan; Smartphone game, 21.7B yuan (+68%); Social networks, 18.1B (+47%); Online ad business, 10.7B (+55%); Social and others ad, 7.4B (+69%); Other businesses, 15.96B (+111%).

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In the video content sector, Tencent poured a total of $1.1 billion into two rivals in a 24-hour period, investing US$632 million and US$461.6 million respectively in Chinese game-streaming platforms Douyu and Huya in March. The company announced that had seen growth in the double digits related to the number of daily active users for that game.

Revenue from PC games was flat compared to past year, but analysts believe the comparison was tough with the 2017 first quarter, and overall its games business was strong.

The broader online game business was driven by two major hit games.

The gaming business boosted Tencent's revenues in the quarter. The first PlayersUnknown's Battleground (PUBG), which is a huge multiplayer game online. Last month, Tencent partnered with USA developer Epic Games to launch Fortnite in China. "Fortnite" was developed by Epic Games, a company that Tencent has a large stake in. Now unavailable in China, it will be launched in the country within the next few months. That was buoyed by a one-time gain of nearly 7.6 billion yuan as the value of investments in arenas from video streaming to news content rose.

Tencent's other retail partners include Carrefour, Walmart, Yonghui Superstores, Vipshop Holdings, Bubugao and JD.com, who are looking to leverage the internet giant's capabilities in mobile payments, customer acquisition and cloud services.

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