Tencent is giving its staff $220M in shares to celebrate its 18th birthday

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November 11 — the date of the 11/11 shopping bonanza — is generally a day when Alibaba creates the headlines. While the e-commerce giant broke records again this year, selling a colossal $17.79 billion of goods inside 24 hours, its rival Tencent grabbed a share of the attention after it agreed to give its 31,500 staff company shares.

Friday marked Tencent’s 18th anniversary, and the company announced [link in Chinese] that every employee will receive 300 shares — currently valued around HK$200 ($26) a piece; $7,735 in total — to celebrate the landmark. The total allocation is estimated at HK$1.7 billion, around $220 million.

Tencent overtook Alibaba to become Asia’s most valuable tech company in August. It is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, where it currently has a market cap of HK$1.89 trillion, or around $240 billion.

The firm is best known for WeChat, its blockbuster messaging app in China, but it also has a sizable gaming business, operates media properties, payment services, e-commerce sites and much, much more.

Article updated to correct Tencent market cap

Featured Image: Pieter van der Hijden en Bidia Mahabir/Flickr UNDER A CC BY 2.0 LICENSE