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Tencent receives $44m investment from Indonesia's Lippo

Conglomerate seeks to strengthen its 'digital muscle'

The logo of Indonesian e-commerce company Mataharimall.com, seen at its headquarters in Jakarta.   © Reuters

JAKARTA -- Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group, best known for its property and hospital businesses, is moving deeper into digital business with a 628 billion rupiah ($43.9 million) investment in Chinese internet group Tencent Holdings.

The investment comprises new Tencent shares and equity-linked notes, and is being made by a Hong Kong investment subsidiary of the company, Lippo said in a statement published in the Jakarta Globe, a publication owned by the group.

It said the investment highlights the group's "continued digital transformation and investment into the fourth industrial revolution," but gave no further details.

The announcement follows an April disclosure by Lippo's Hong-Kong-listed unit of an acquisition made by its subsidiary, Continental Equity, of 0.003% of Tencent's shares for HK$148.5 million ($18.9 million).

Lippo's businesses encompass real estate, shopping malls, hospitals, telecommunications and financial services. With declining performance at its property units and e-commerce threatening its malls and department stores in recent years, however, the group has embarked on a digital makeover.

Lippo has launched its own e-commerce site, mataharimall.com. It has been developing its own electronic payment platform, Ovo. It is a strategic partner of Southeast Asia's leading ride-hailing service, Grab, which integrates Ovo in its payment system. The family-owned group also runs a venture capital fund that invests in startups across the region.

Mochtar Riady, the group's founder and patriarch, said at a Nikkei event in Tokyo last month that he was pursuing blockchain technology to accelerate Lippo's digital transformation, including for possible use in Lippo's e-commerce business. One person close to the group said it is looking to invest in blockchain startups.

John Riady, the third-generation executive who oversees Lippo's digital operations, told the Nikkei Asian Review last year the company would invest $100 million every year to build its "digital muscle."

Tencent is best known for its smartphone chat app WeChat, and is the biggest rival of Alibaba Group, China's largest e-commerce company.

 

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