Tencent aims to be China’s Facebook, Twitter and Google

encent Holdings Ltd is the third largest internet firms in the world, headquartered in China and planning to diversify its services so that it can become Facebook, Twitter and Google all in one.

The future is promising for Tencent, despite de world economic crisis. The company has been estimated at 50 billion dollars on the stock market, four times than the price it was valued at two years ago. It started as an online gaming producer, but over time its aim followed a more diversified path: e-commerce, social networking and search engine. The new services put Tencent in the position of a gambler, risking to be swallowed up by strong competitors like Baidu Inc, SINA Corp and Alibaba.com.

Analysts like Hover Xiao, from the technology research firm IDC, believe that the company should not waste its forces on so many sectors, for it will not be able to sustain its economical power gained so far. “Tencent needs to look for other gold mines to counter slowing online gaming growth. Otherwise, they won’t be able to maintain the strong growth they’ve had over the past few years” Xiao said.

So far, Tencent, who’s mascots are two cute penguins wrapped around in scarves, has been relying on the online game business, which brings the company 60 percents of the revenues. In 2010 it summed up the equivalent of 3 billion dollars. This June, the company opened the Q+ platform, an open system meant to attract foreign software developers. At this point, Tencent’s strongest rivals are Facebook and Apple.

Tencent has other developing plans as well. It is now seeking to enter with a boom on the Chinese e-commerce market. It also plans on launching into the search engine sector, aiming at the number two spot in the following years. At this point, the company ranks third in the wireless search engine sector, after Baidu and Easou.com.

Half of the company’s staff works now in research and development – near 6,000 employees – and 10 percent of the revenue goes to the research sector.