Hong Kong banks beware: Tencent has its eyes on your juniors

If you thought that Tencent had exhausted its appetite for hiring investment bankers into strategy roles, think again. There are plenty of these jobs on the tech giant’s careers website, including some based in Hong Kong. Moreover, Tencent is now interested in hiring juniors – not just the big-name bankers it has already established a reputation for poaching – as it ramps up its aggressive acquisition drive.

As we reported in July, Tencent has plenty of bankers within its upper ranks, mainly working in strategy, business development and in-house M&A roles in both China and Hong Kong. Many of them covered the tech sector at global banks in Hong Kong. Shirley Xue, for example, joined Tencent in late 2017 as an assistant general manager in M&A finance, following an 11-year stint at Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong, latterly as a director in China TMT.

Tencent’s latest vacancy for a Hong Kong-based TMT specialist is, however, decidedly more junior – it requires just one to three years’ experience in a “top” investment banking, consulting, or private equity/venture capital firm. For junior bankers, Tencent is emerging as an alternative to moving to the buy-side or a fintech startup.

What will you actually be doing in a junior strategy job at Tencent? Roles typically involve conducting industry and product research in a specific sector (such as TMT), according to the firm’s careers site. Expect to build quantitative and qualitative valuation models for the companies that Tencent is targeting. And you’re likely to find yourself facilitating deal evaluation, diligence and execution, and performing post-acquisition tasks on restructurings, liquidations and listings. In other words, the work isn’t dissimilar to what you might be doing as a 20-something banker at Goldman Sachs or Credit Suisse.

It’s no surprise that Tencent needs more junior bankers to do its investment strategy grunt work. The Shenzhen-based company – whose president, Martin Lau Chi-ping, is a former Goldman Sachs banker – is one of the world’s largest investment corporations. Tencent has invested in about 700 companies globally over the past 10 years, with 122 of them later becoming unicorns – private companies with a valuation of US$1bn or more.

Earlier this year Lau dismissed media criticism that Tencent’s practice of growing by taking stakes in hundreds of companies was causing it to become less innovative as a tech firm. Last year was a record-breaking one for Tencent, with 16 of its portfolio companies going public, he said, adding that Tencent would not shrink its investment volumes because making investments allows the company to focus on core businesses such as WeChat, leaving its partners to run other services.


Simon Mortlock – Read more on efinancialcareers.com


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