Notes From Tencent’s Annual Staff Meeting

Matthew Brennan Tencent

Tencent’s annual internal staff meeting was held in Shenzhen on Thursday, Dec 13th. Below are my translated notes of the key points covered in the speeches given by the C level executive team including CEO Pony Ma, President Martin Lau, COO Mark Ren and a rare presentation from the “Father of WeChat” Allen Zhang.

Tencent Annual Meeting 2018 Alan Zhang

SVP: Allen Zhang

Allen only does two speeches per year, once at the annual Tencent staff meeting in December and once at the WeChat Annual Conference in January. Notes from his session:

1. For users, they prefer to be treated honestly rather than being subject to the same old routines. Let everyone put down their mobile phones and go meet with friends. Although this is just a saying, many times this is exactly what the user really needs.

2. Let mini games become a platform for ordinary people to show their creativity. If this goal is not achieved, then I don’t care if all the mini games on the platform die.

3. I have always stressed that WeChat is a tool, not a platform. Only tools are the most friendly and meaningful to users. WeChat has been trying to do one thing, to treat every user as a friend.

4. Taking a look at the (app store) screenshots (for Bullet Messenger), it’s hardly worth me installing to try it out. We may fall behind in the future because we do not understand users, but we won’t fall behind because we do not understand competitors. Focus on users, not on competitors.

5. Most products are deceiving users. You make various filters. You say “Record a beautiful life”, but life is actually not beautiful. (“Record a beautiful life” is the slogan of Bytedance’s flagship short video app Douyin).

6. I believe that the essence of the Internet is to eliminate the asymmetry of information. When the information is fully circulated, the organizational forms of many industries will change. The most fundamental value WeChat gives to the entire industry is that those who create value can gain value in return.

7. Finally, I want to quote Jeff Bezos’s words – “It’s harder to be kind than clever” because AI is smarter and more versatile than you, but you may be kinder than AI.

Tencent Annual Meeting 2018 Pony Ma

CEO: Pony Ma

1. The biggest feeling from the past year is one of responsibility. With the opportunity presented by Tencent’s 20th anniversary, we have reconsidered Tencent’s mission and vision. There are three ways of understanding this: 

Firstly, we must move with the times and share the same destiny with the country. Second, our products and services must improve all aspects of the lives of ordinary people. Thirdly, we must live in harmony with developers and industry partners throughout the ecosystem.

When these three things have been achieved, and we can truly become the “most respected Internet company”, and we will be more confident in our development over the next 20 years.

2. The second phase of the Internet will be that of the industrial Internet. In the next 20 years, when the Internet (growth) dividend is no longer there, the industrial Internet is the extension of our strategy, vision, and mission. The industrial Internet does not exist in isolation. It is precisely because we hold extensive connections in the consumer internet that we can to better serve business (to B) and government (to G) customers. This ability is our magic weapon us our future competitive advantage.

3. This year, we have increased research and development of cutting-edge technology and basic science. These may seem to have no direct relationship with the internet, but they are quite large variables in the future for internet companies to win competition. They are especially important for enterprises, industries and even countries. Therefore, this year we teamed up with 20 top scientists to launch the “Scientific Discovery Award”, hoping to influence more companies to join us.

4. For management talent, positions are not lifelong. At the same time, in terms of promotion, we will take 20% of the quota and give priority to younger candidates, hoping that more young people will stand out in the future.

5. Tencent’s values and culture are precisely that which is most precious and should remain most constant. I think culture is the basis for daily decision making. I hope that in the future there will be no uncertainty regarding our cultural identity.

Tencent Annual Meeting 2018 Martin Lau

President: Martin Lau

1. When faced with future uncertainties we must maintain a few things in mind: first, be prepared to face and solve all problems; second, don’t lose confidence when faced with stress, because after the difficulties will lie a new round of upgrades; third, don’t give up this opportunity, and be well prepared in the winter to for things to bloom in the spring.

2. When the mobile internet appeared, users and services became seamlessly connected, this huge amount of data generated in the process can be analyzed by AI to provide cloud services for enterprises. By reaching users through mini programs, the capabilities of various industries are also improved. It is. This is in line with our long-standing mission and is a natural extension of the company’s connection strategy.

3. Regarding our push for upgrading technology, it will create more openness internally and promotes open source and collaboration. Through the newly established technical committee, the company’s technical culture will be further promoted and upgraded. At the same time enhancing our desire to explore cutting-edge technology.

4. As long as Tencent people are together, no matter what difficulties they may encounter in the future, they may carry things out better 20 years in the future. “We Dream, We Strive. Through Good Times and Bad Times. We are Tencent!”

Tencent Annual Meeting 2018 Mark Ren

COO: Mark Ren

1. In the face of the popularity of smartphones, we launched the most stringent youth anti-addiction system in history. This is a long-term initiative that is very beneficial to the entire industry and a responsibility we must assume as an industry leader. We take action to show the whole of society that Tencent is a responsible company.

2. In terms of game content regulation, in addition to doing games that conform to social values, this year, we really value games that have made category innovation and unique game design.

3. In the past, many of our businesses have arisen from difficulties. Later, we have always had the spirit of not being afraid of difficulties and not being afraid of challenges. Today PCG (Platform & Content Group) is merging together, and we have stronger ability to overcome difficulties more than ever before.

4. For PCG, strategy and organizational structure are important, but the most important are teams and people. When thousands of PCG staff are united, in the future, our team must be a team that has entrepreneurial passion, is not afraid of difficulties, is brave and can play hard.

SVP Dowson Tong did not join the speaker line up. This year he was in the states for Tencent Music Entertainment’s New York Stock Exchange IPO listing.