In 2020, Tencent Holdings went on an acquisition spree, securing more deals than any other studio. According to the research data analyzed and published by Safe Betting Sites, Tencent had invested in 31 gaming companies, four times higher than in 2017 and up by 300% than 2019.
Tencent took part in over 170 funding rounds in 2020, valued at a cumulative 249.5 million yuan ($38 million). As a result, 2020 was the Chinese tech giant’s most active year ever.
Bytedance’s revenue more than doubled to $37bn in 2020
Tencent’s highest valued investment in gaming during the year was the $1.5 billion acquisition of Leyou Technology. It invested in the $150 million Series G funding round in Roblox and $100 million Series B round in VSPN. Additionally, it invested $810 million in the Huya-Douyu merger.
Twenty-three of the 31 deals that took place involved gaming companies in China while the rest were overseas. In the past, Tencent took a conservative approach, investing only in established companies. However, in 2020, it changed its strategy, favoring earlier stages and smaller companies.
According to Niko, the strategy change was attributed to the increasing competition in the Chinese gaming space. Though it still maintains a healthy lead, the pressure is mounting from rivals ByteDance and Alibaba.
Based on a report by The Information, ByteDance more than doubled its revenue in 2020 to about $37 billion. On Douyin, the Chinese iteration of TikTok, 50% of its revenue came from gaming-related advertising. At the end of the year, ByteDance had 29 gaming companies and a dozen studios.
On the other hand, for Alibaba, its gaming subsidiary Lingxi Interactive had a good year. In December 2020, one of its games, Romance of the Three Kingdoms was the fourth highest grossing iOS game in China. Lingxi is estimated to have generated over $1 billion in revenue in 2020.