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WeChat's owner Tencent expands India play with cloud entry

WeChat's owner Tencent expands India play with cloud entry
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Tencent Holdings, which owns China's top social media app WeChat, is all set to bring its cloud service to India, The Economic Times reported. Called Tencent Cloud, the business will mark an expansion of Tencent’s India play, which has been restricted to investments in startups and plans for building its gaming business in the country.

Tencent had previously moved into the messenger app space with WeChat in India, but the platform failed to attract attention in the country. Hence, its latest Indian move into cloud will be keenly tracked as the firm is entering in a market already crowded by Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Chinese arch-rival Alibaba. Tencent is already moving with caution in the space, offering services for only video and live-streaming, said people in the report. 

“Almost every video and live-streaming startup in India today spends a good chunk of its monthly budget on server costs and mostly they are with Amazon Web Services. Tencent is positioning itself as a much cheaper alternative, with a specific focus,” said a person in the report aware of Tencent’s plans, on the condition of anonymity.

Even Tencent’s Chinese arch-rival Alibaba is finding it difficult to forge partnerships in the space, despite putting cheaper longer-term contracts on offer, because most startups are already on Amazon Web Services, Google or Microsoft.

Recently, Tencent launched a cloud data centre in Mumbai, two months after Alibaba set up one if its own in the city, said the report.

Tencent is also focusing on expanding its cloud business in Southeast Asia, mainly Thailand and Malaysia.

Besides all this, Tencent has been actively investing in Indian startups. It has put money in Hike Messenger, Flipkart, Ola and others.

In May 2018, a vernacular news app called NewsDog raised $50 million (Rs 340 crore) in a Series C round led by Tencent Holdings.

In February 2018, Tencent invested $115 million (Rs 748 crore) in music-streaming service Gaana, owned by Times Internet.

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