2021 TIME100 Most Influential Companies
A smartphone running the Chinese messaging app WeChat in Shanghai on Feb. 26, 2019.
Giulia Marchi—The New York Times/Redux
April 26, 2021 12:42 PM EDT

The conglomerate is Asia’s most valuable company—worth some $750 billion—and best known for China’s ubiquitous messaging app, WeChat. Usage soared during the pandemic as more of WeChat’s billion-plus users embraced its digital-payment tools; 2020 transactions totaled close to $250 billion, double those of 2019. In partnership with the Chinese government, Tencent also launched a “vaccine passport” program, enabling WeChat users to share their vaccination status via a QR code. And while WeChat is still grappling with controversy—the U.S. and others have raised concerns about its data privacy—Tencent continues to expand, investing in startups worldwide.

Write to Charlie Campbell at charlie.campbell@time.com.