I ask about the management style of the somewhat mysterious CEO, Pony Ma, and there is an awkward pause. This is all still fairly common in China, a country where public relations is often equivalent to stonewalling.Then the guide brightly tells me: “It’s very equal here. But China’s Internet industry doesn’t need feel-good stories in order to be noticed: It is becoming increasingly competitive with the rest of the world–and Tencent, which was recently valued at more than 9 billion on the Hong Kong stock exchange, is about to become its breakout star.“Will Tencent join the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Twitter?” says Aditya Rathnam, cofounder of Kamcord, a San Francisco startup that Tencent invested in. The rest of the world just doesn’t know it.”But to truly make it in the West, Tencent will have to overcome a hurdle no other global tech giant faces: It has to act, at least in public, as two essentially separate companies.China’s most powerful Internet company is headquartered in a bland, glassy tower in southern Shenzhen.Unlike Silicon Valley’s funky campuses, there is nothing to reveal that this might be a hub of creativity. In the middle of its nondescript, corporate lobby, an information desk stands next to the only sign of personality: a pair of giant plush penguins, the Tencent mascot times two.
Over 45,000 registered users and over 75,000 monthly readers. Over 600,000 PUA articles available & growing daily. ” “FR : Pure gold venue leads to first bar makeout of my small gentle existence” “No more porn!On my way out of the building, I point out a book on a table in the lobby that profiles some of the company’s young creative people, and suggest these would be interesting types for me to interview.My PR host snaps, as if I have been looking through some top-secret documents: “That is only for internal consumption!”Tencent founder Pony Ma is the richest man in China, worth some billion, but he may be the least known multibillionaire in the tech world.The one attribute seemingly sanctioned for public consumption–and therefore, the one heard over and over–is that he is a “computer geek.” His personal life is a mystery.