Tencent speeds up overseas investment with British Monzo becoming the latest beneficiary

Recently, Chinese tech giant Tencent has taken a stake in a leading online bank Monzo in the UK, as part of a $100 million top-up to its latest funding round, showing once again the efforts to which Tencent is rapidly rising on the international stage. Monzo is one of the earliest app-based retail banks that compete with traditional banks in the country.

This move follows a series of overseas fintech investments that Tencent completed over the past year, including German digital bank N26, Singapore-based Tyme, and other financial management platforms.

This increased attention on the overseas market is interpreted to be a response to Beijing’s tighter anti-monopoly regulations, with Tencent seeking to gain an international foothold as well as diversify its revenue in global firms where Beijing’s new laws have minimal effect.

As a matter of fact, Tencent has been building its global investment empire over the past decade. In the first six months of 2021 alone, this tech behemoth made 34 foreign investments across several cutting-edge industries, with these not solely financial-based ventures but a mix of markets as they look to monopolise in several key areas.

Take the UK as an example, since the pandemic outbreak of Covid-19 Tencent has invested and acquired at least ten companies in gaming, artificial intelligence, fintech, medicine. Amongst those cases, the $1.27 billion takeovers of the British video games developer Sumo Group attracted worldwide attention and is Tencent’s largest investment in the UK by far.

These acquisitions show the significant ambition of Tencent within each sector, looking to become market leaders within all the categories and therefore build the company into a more lucrative and safer financial future.

Martin Lau, Tencent’s president, sees investing as a core strategy for the company, which brings it to a larger business ecosystem. As the Chinese authority kicks off a tech crackdown, with toughened regulatory scrutiny, Tencent is likely to take more actions and bring more capital injections to the overseas market in which Chinese regulations will have minimal to no impact. How Tencent continues to grow over the next 10 years will be of real interest, can the Chinese powerhouse become so on a global scale?

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