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China tech

Tencent chases Alibaba's cloud supremacy with $70bn buildup

Chinese tech group eyes advances in AI, blockchain and quantum computing

Tencent Holdings' $70 billion investment in new technologies follows a similar spending plan by rival Alibaba Group Holding.   © Reuters

GUANGZHOU -- Tencent Holdings will invest 500 billion yuan ($70 billion) over the next five years to roll out advances in cloud computing and other technologies, the Chinese internet services group said Tuesday.

Key areas of the spending plan include artificial intelligence, blockchain, the "internet of things" and quantum computing. Tencent's investment covers capital expenditures as well as research and development.

The plan, posted on Tencent's messaging platform WeChat, appears to be a response to Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding's three-year, 200 billion yuan investment in cloud services announced in April.

Alibaba holds the largest share in China's cloud computing market while Tencent trails in second place. To keep service fees low, cloud providers need to procure massive volumes of servers. Tencent apparently looks to boost cost competitiveness to counter its biggest tech rival.

Tencent's latest move fits with Chinese state policy as well. Premier Li Keqiang called for investment in a "new infrastructure" when delivering the government work report Friday at the opening of the National People's Congress, China's parliament.

The new infrastructure will include fifth-generation wireless base stations, high-speed rail, data centers and the internet of things.

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