Tencent promises its technology will ‘do good’

Tencent, a single of Asia’s most worthwhile firms with a existing marketplace cap of about $460 billion, has introduced a new motto just after co-founder and CEO Pony Ma stated this week he wanted ‘tech for very good’ to be component of the corporation’s vision and mission in the future.

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The corporation has not but officialized the new corporate philosophy and it’s unclear how the “don’;t be evil”-like slogan will manifest in Tencent’s enterprise approach. Nor do we know if it will replace the old mission, which is nonetheless emblazoned on its site:

Tencent’s mission is to “improve the quality of life through internet value-added services”. Guided by its “user oriented” enterprise philosophy, Tencent achieves its mission through the delivery of integrated world wide web options to more than 1 billion netizens.

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Episodes of current events can in all probability present some hints to what the new slogan may well entail. The old mission, which focuses on the person user rather than the wider society, has led Tencent to supremacy in video games and social media the company is the operator behind the billion-user messager WeChat and a number of leading-grossing video games. But these segments of companies are beneath expanding stress as China’s altering regulatory atmosphere and market rivals develop challenges for the 21-year-old behemoth.

A months-extended gaming freeze final year place a squeeze on Tencent’s gaming revenues, wiping billions of dollars from its marketplace cap. Increasing brief-video app Douyin, which is TikTok’s neighborhood version, threatens Tencent’s dominance in the social and content material realms.

To remain competitive, the corporation underwent a sweeping re-organization final October to spot a lot more concentrate on enterprise companies, such as cloud computing and other digital infrastructure for industries ranging from finance, healthcare, education to government solutions.

The new concentrate to upgrade entrenched industries not only opens up a lot more income streams these sectors also present the testing ground for Tencent to place its ‘tech for very good’ mission into practice.

As Ma pledged at the government-run market conference Digital China Summit on Monday, Tencent believes “technology can bring benefits to the human race; humans should make good use of technology and refrain from its evil use; and technology should strive to solve the problems it brings to society.”

Ma pointed to 3 crucial regions exactly where technologies can create good modifications: classic industries, exactly where Tencent could present large information capabilities to beef up efficiency in production government units, exactly where Tencent could leverage its apps to digitize a slew of civil solutions such as applying for visas and renewing drivers’ licenses and society, which is a broad and arguably vague definition but has observed efforts like tracing missing young children making use of Tencent’s face recognition options.

“Seeking at parallels across the globe, Google proposed ‘do no evil’ as its code of conduct ahead of its initial public providing 20 years ago. I feel this type of elevated mission is proof of the quantity of influence a corporation has accumulated,” Zhong Xin, a former Qualcomm engineer who founded the artificial intelligence-powered health-related imaging startup 12 Sigma, stated to TechCrunch.

“Technology is a double-edged sword. A company needs a guiding principle to determine its proper use, so I believe the purported mission to do good with technology is inevitable,” added Xin.

From the government’s standpoint, a corporate motto that focuses on carrying out very good is clearly music to the ears. Tencent’s new code of conduct comes as China’s tech darlings face mounting public and government criticisms for their adverse influence on society, a movement mirroring Silicon Valley’s tech backlash. The charges variety from video games’ function in causing bad eyesight amongst young children, which place Tencent in the crosshairs to clickbait content material running rampant on Bytedance’s well known news app, Toutiao.

“‘;Doing good’; should be an inherent value to all technology companies, including venture investors,” Wang Jing, companion at venture capital firm Sky9 Capital, recommended to TechCrunch. “When companies have to single out ‘;doing good’; on a special occasion, it may be that something has already gone wrong.”

Quite a few tech heavyweights in query have responded to backlashes by imposing stricter policies more than their items. Tencent, for instance, launched an underage-protection mode for all its gaming titles that would let parents to monitor young children’s play time. Toutiao, also, has hired thousands of auditors to root out content material deemed inappropriate by the authority.

This is not the initially time Tencent has weighed in on its personal ethics. The phrase ‘tech for very good’ was initially unveiled by Tencent co-founder and former CTO Tony Zhang in early 2018, but it has in all probability garnered a lot more consideration amongst the executives just after an essay titled “Tencent has no dream” sparked heated debate in the Chinese tech circle. Penned by a veteran journalist, the short article argued that Tencent was fixated on in search of investment-worthy items rather than inventing its personal.

“People argued that Tencent has no dream. By bringing up the slogan ‘;tech for good’;, Tencent seems to be proclaiming to the public that it does have a dream,” Derek Shen, who is chairman at shared housing startup Danke and formerly headed LinkedIn China, told TechCrunch. “And its dream is big, which is to do good things to people’;s lives.”