Tencent is staking its claim as the main gateway into China for Western brands. The Chinese tech giant recently opened up its advertising tools to marketers in the US — building a bridge between the world’s largest and second-largest advertising markets, and unlocking new opportunities to reach Chinese audiences across its marquee messaging apps, WeChat and QQ.

To make its case to global brands and marketers, Tencent attended Advertising Week New York, the ad-industry summit held every fall, for the first time this year, and hosted a handful of presentations on how business in China is being transformed by content and technology. BI Intelligence sat down with Steven Chang, Corporate Vice President at Tencent Online Media Group (OMG) to talk about Tencent’s philosophy for attracting brands to its platforms.

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According to Steven, Tencent’s overarching strategy can be summed up in two words:

  • Connector — of people and businesses in China. A self-described platform with “social as its DNA,” Tencent owns China’s top messaging and social networks: WeChat (or Weixin, as it’s known locally) and QQ. Each of these apps, but especially WeChat, functions as a nexus of internet activity in China, connecting people with one another and with online and offline services. Tencent also owns China’s second-biggest online payments platform Tenpay and is the biggest shareholder in the country’s second-largest online retailer JD.com. 
  • Content — an ecosystem to draw and retain users. Tencent’s other competitive advantage is the breadth of content and intellectual property (IP) featured across its apps. Its Games, News, Video, and Music products are hugely popular. Tencent is the largest online gaming company in the world by revenue, and is also heavily invested in digital video, film and TV, literature, comic books and animation, music, news, and other formats. The company has market-leading positions (among the top three) across each of these content categories in terms of penetration in China.

bii user growth on tencent social networks wechat qq qzoneBI Intelligence

Tencent arguably [...]