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Tencent to set up Singapore office for international business as political concerns mount

The company has been planning to shift some of its business operations, such as international game publishing, out of China as tensions rise between Washington and Beijing.

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Tencent is poised to build a new office in Singapore as its Asia hub and has started a hiring spree in the country, as the entertainment giant and its Chinese tech peers face intensifying tension between Beijing and Washington, Bloomberg reported on September 15.

Shenzhen-based Tencent, the operator of WeChat and publisher of PUBG Mobile—the top-grossing mobile game worldwide in August 2020has been considering Singapore as a potential regional hub in addition to current offices in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. However, recent setbacks brought by geopolitical pressure have accelerated the plan, according to Bloomberg, citing sources. The company has been planning to shift some of its business operations, such as international game publishing, out of China. Tencent’s career site has listed around 70 openings in Singapore, including engineers, data scientists, cloud computing experts, and public communication managers.

China digest

Tencent has yet to respond to KrASIA for comment.

Tencent’s global expansion has been derailed in key overseas markets as President Trump signed an executive order last month imposing limits on WeChat, the messaging app with more than 1.2 billion monthly active users that is the main communication tool for the overseas Chinese community. The order will prohibit unspecified “transactions” with WeChat, starting from September 20. President Trump signed a similar order for TikTok.

Earlier this week, US Senator Marco Rubio urged President Trump to add QQ—another Tencent flagship social app—to the executive order.

“The links between the Chinese government and Communist Party to this high-risk software could not be more pronounced as Tencent’s chief executive, Pony Ma, is a member of China’s national legislature, the National People’s Congress,” Rubio wrote.

Additionally, the Indian government blocked Tencent’s hit games PUBG Mobile and Arena of Valor in the country, citing national security concerns in the third round of bans by India on apps that have links with companies based in China.