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Corporate comedown: Chinese companies, led by the state to pursue overseas acquisitions, are beginning to feel financial pain from past spending exuberance. (Illustration by Eric Chow)
The Big Story

Asia300: Chinese companies face surging write-offs

After a global investment spree, impairments weigh on tech and energy companies

KENJI KAWASE, Nikkei Asian Review chief business news correspondent | China

HONG KONG/TOKYO -- For Tencent Holdings, 2018 was a record year for investment. The Chinese internet company splashed out 40.9 billion yuan ($6.1 billion) to buy stakes in companies across a wide range of industries -- from e-commerce to online gaming, media to investment banking.

"Investment is Tencent's core strategy," President Martin Lau Chi-ping told investors in Beijing in February. Lau, the right-hand man of Pony Ma Huateng, co-founding chairman and CEO, said the tech conglomerate has invested in over 700 companies since 2008 -- a whopping 122 of which are now valued over $1 billion, either as listed companies or unlisted unicorns.

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