Chinese internet giant Tencent is looking to invest heavily in new technologies like blockchain as it looks to move past the effects of the coronavirus epidemic.
The creator of popular messaging service WeChat, Tencent is investing 500 billion yuan ($70 billion) into "new infrastructure" based on emerging technologies over the next five years, as reported by Reuters.
In an interview with state media Tuesday, Dowson Tong, Tencent's senior executive vice president, confirmed the company had also earmarked investment for sectors such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
It isn't clear how much of the $70 billion investment Tencent will ultimately set aside for blockchain, nor has it elaborated on what specifically it will be investing in.
As per Reuters, the firm has acknowledged its cloud offerings have been hit by the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown. As the nation starts its return to normality, “Expediting the ‘new infrastructure’ strategy will help further cement virus containment success,” Tong said in a report by Guangming Daily.
The news comes a month after China's Blockchain Services Network (BSN) was rolled out for commercial use. Blockchain is a critical part of the country's tech strategy, and the government hopes BSN will form the backbone infrastructure for services that leverage the technology all around the country.
China's steadfast support for DLT is paying dividends, believes Haipo Yang, founder and CEO of Chinese crypto exchange CoinEx. Speaking to CoinDesk recently, he explained this unambiguous approach has helped create a "good environment for blockchain technology," improving China's credentials as an innovation hub and leading to the emergence of a vibrant blockchain investment scene.
Tencent has gradually increased its exposure to blockchain. At the end of last year, it launched a DLT-powered invoice system and received the green light from the Hong Kong regulator to start work on a blockchain-based virtual bank. It's also become a member of a new national committee to help set industry standards for blockchain technology, along with several of its competitors.
With blockchain being a state-sanctioned technology in China, and with the infrastructure for a whole host of new services – the BSN – having already launched, it should come as no surprise Tencent has opted to set aside potentially billions of dollars for investment in the emerging technology.
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