Pony Ma, co-founder and CEO of Chinese tech giant Tencent, has delivered an angry address to employees. He criticized almost every division of the company, warning that some of the businesses might be closed in the face of the crisis.
Ma held a general meeting with Tencent employees last week. Summing up the results of 2022, he called on staff to act together amid the crisis, Bloomberg reported citing those present at the lecture.
Here are the key takeaways from the speech:
- The businessman accused employees of “chilling on the weekeneds” while the company is struggling to survive;
- Ma chided the gaming division for spending too much money to acquire users for hastily released games instead of focusing on product quality;
- The Tencent CEO added that the company is mired in corruption, but didn’t elaborate on the matter;
- Ma focused much of his criticism on Tencent’s social network and content division, which is losing competition to TikTok owner ByteDance. He even said the company’s news service could be closed entirely.
According to Bloomberg, Ma is usually “mild-mannered”, but he seems to have lost his patience and decided to change the strategy for communicating with employees.
Once China’s most valuable company by a comfortable margin, Tencent lost the top spot this year after having wiped out over $650 billion in market cap since January 2021. To offset the losses, the company started cutting jobs and shutting down inefficient divisions. The latest round of layoffs was announced in November.
Earlier this year, Tencent also saw its revenue fall for the first time since going public. The tech giant is now struggling due to global macroeconomic factors and growing regulatory pressure in China. The country’s government continues to crack down on the domestic games industry, halting the game licensing process, cutting playtime in online titles for minors to only three hours per week, and proposing a series of even stricter measures.