When Pony Ma, the 35-year-old co-founder of China’s hottest Internet company, sends a message to friends and colleagues, the image that pops up on their screens shows a spiky-haired youth wearing flashy jeans and dark sunglasses.
That is not how Mr. Ma actually looks or acts, but it is an image that fits well with the youthful, faintly rebellious nature of a company led by somebody who may be China’s closest approximation to Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the young founders of Google. In the two years since Mr. Ma’s company, Tencent, went public in Hong Kong, it has grown into a powerhouse that has crushed everyone else in the field.
No other Internet company in the world ” not even Google ” has achieved the kind of dominance in its home market that Tencent commands in China, where its all-in-one packaging of entertainment offerings and a mobile instant-messaging service, “QQ,” has reached more than 100 million users, or nearly 80 percent of the market. [Full Text]