Ma share sale sparks Tencent peak jitters

Business | Kevin Xu 21 Jan 2020

Tencent (0700) chairman Pony Ma Huateng has offloaded his shares over four consecutive days last week for the first time in two years, selling a total of five million shares worth about HK$2 billion, data from the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong showed.

Ma's interest in Tencent has dropped from 8.58 percent to 8.53 percent. A spokesperson from Tencent said it is part of Ma's personal financial planning, local media reported.

The last time Ma sold his stake in the Chinese internet giant was in October 2017, when he also sold his shares for four days for HK$2.1 billion at between HK$348.09 and HK$351.13, citing charity purposes. Tencent shares dipped by 0.75 percent to HK$396 and analysts expect the company's shares to fall as low as HK$360, as fears grow that the stock's price has peaked.

Tencent's shares have surged around 53 percent from a low of HK$260 in October 2018, as of yesterday.

Ma's sale came as he stepped down as chairman and general manager of Tenpay Micro Loan, which is primarily involved in the online micro-credit business, according to enterprise information database Tianyancha. Feng Mingjie has succeeded the chairman, and Tang Ling has taken over as general manager of the Shenzhen-based company.

In September last year, Ma also ceased to be legal representative and executive director in its subsidiary Tencent Credit, mainland media reported, citing a mainland online database.

The report said Tencent Credit's new legal representative and chairman is Liu Haifeng, the vice chief executive of fintech business in Tencent.

Earlier this month, Tencent (0700) president Martin Lau Chi-ping sold 500,000 shares in the company for HK$192 million, at an average HK$384.18 per share, according to shareholding disclosures.

Lau's stake in Tencent has gone down to 52.19 million shares. The last time Lau sold his stake in the Chinese internet giant was in March 2018, when he sold one million shares for HK$430 million for an average of HK$434.36 per share.

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