Tencent Holdings Ltd, China's biggest gaming and social media firm by revenue, trumped forecasts to post its best-ever quarterly results, driven by higher income from smartphone games, payments and online advertising.
Looking ahead, Tencent said it plans to increase investment in payment services, cloud services and artificial intelligence, an area in which it is making inroads despite being a latecomer.
"We will be persistent but patient with our AI investment, because we believe it is a long-term initiative and we do not necessarily require our research to generate revenue directly in the short term," said Tencent President Martin Lau.
All of Tencent's existing businesses would benefit from its AI research, he added, in particular its performance advertisement business, information-based services and fintech.
The most valuable firm listed in Asia - which is riding a wave of success stemming from the popularity of its social-network based mobile game Honour of Kings - beat analyst forecasts to post a profit of 18.23 billion yuan ($2.72 billion) in the second quarter, up 70 percent from a year ago, the biggest such rise in seven years.
Tencent's revenue, which has been scaling new highs every quarter since 2007, surged 59 percent to 56.6 billion yuan....