Chinese e-commerce titans embark on a spending spree

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Competition is spurring big internet companies to reinvest their plush profits


CHINESE TECH GIANTS, like those elsewhere, have thrived as covid-19 forced consumers to get their necessities and leisure online. This month Tencent, China’s most valuable tech firm, reported another stellar set of earnings. Operating profit grew by 20% year on year in the first quarter, to $6.5bn. Rather than sit on this money (or fork it out to shareholders), it has pledged to ramp up investments in its business. It isn’t alone. As they vie for users, China’s tech titans are spending more on research and development. Even after those expenses and administrative costs, they are awash with re-investable cashflow. A slug goes on marketing. But expect more to flow into new services.

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This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “Chinese tech’s online binge”

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