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China tech

Chinese consumers send Tencent disturbing message on apps

Tech giant faces challenge to online businesses outside gaming

BEIJING -- Tencent Holdings, China's second-most valuable company, may have surprised investors last week by the scale of its return to quarterly profit growth after its first decline in 13 years last August. But underneath the cheer, there are signs of disquiet.

Chinese are no longer spending the majority of their online time on Tencent apps, a development that could eventually undercut their allure as an ad platform. According to figures from Chinese app data provider QuestMobile, the share of time Chinese are spending with Tencent services has fallen to 47.7% from 54.3% a year ago.

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