China’s tech giant Tencent pledges $70 billion investment in AI, cloud

Tencent logo seen displayed on a smartphone.

Omar Marques | SOPA images. LightRocket | Getty Images

Chinese tech giant Tencent will invest 500 billion yuan ($ 69.9 billion) over the next five years in areas ranging from cloud computing to artificial intelligence, boosted by calls from Beijing to push digital infrastructure.

The announcement comes after the company, known for operating popular messaging service WeChat, announced on Monday that it would issue up to $ 20 billion in new bonds to professional investors to raise capital. Already, $ 12 billion worth of bonds under this program are in circulation.

Tencent’s investment plans would strengthen competition with other Chinese tech giants, such as Alibaba in Baidu, in emerging technology fields.

It would also support China’s efforts for so-called “new infrastructure” – a term used by Beijing to encompass technology areas such as artificial intelligence, next generation mobile networks called 5G and infrastructure. transportation such as electric cars.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced on Friday that he plans to issue more debt to support “new infrastructure” projects.

Tencent said it will focus on building huge data centers containing more than a million servers each. It will also build new industrial parks and innovation centers.

The firm also said it would work with experts and scientific research labs and invest in important technological research.

Chinese tech giants have stepped up their focus on “new infrastructure” this year.

E-commerce giant created a new Cloud and AI business unit this year to focus on the two technology areas.

Meanwhile, Alibaba announced in April that it would invest 200 billion yuan over three years in its cloud computing division. Alibaba is the largest cloud player in China.

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