One dark room and two months later – a billion dollar app is born

“Tencent’s culture is like a shark womb”

Andy Mok

In 2010 Allan Zhang took his 10 member team to a little dark room in Guangzhou, one-and-a half-hour’s drive from Tencent’s head office.

Two months later he came out with a product that propelled Tencent into the biggest publicly traded company in China.

The product was WeChat.

Tencent is an incredible business story – it almost bought out WhatsApp! Tencent hit $600B market cap amidst the pandemic in June.

What makes Tencent so successful?

The answer is its culture called ‘Saima’ – it’s like a horse race, the concept of putting several teams to attack the same opportunity.


WeChat is a direct result of this internal cannibalism. This culture is best put by Andy Mok, MD at Red Pagoda Resources:

“Tencent’s culture is like a shark womb” referring to how some unborn sharks cannibalise siblings in the womb to ensure their own survival.

The silos within Tencent while foster competition, but they also inhibit data sharing and co-operation. Tencent now has an internal platform to share fundamental technologies within the company.

If you thought that was all about Tencent’s business…well well…have you heard of the movie “Top Gun: Maverick”? How about “Terminator: Dark Fate”?

Tencent, it so happens is also a movie production house! More in the upcoming posts.

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