In the liner notes for his new album, Steve Martin recounts a conversation with his agent in which, “as a warning, he said, ‘Remember, Steve, you’re selling something no one wants.’ He meant CDs, but I also heard it as ‘music from a 70-year-old comedian.’” Well, sure, if they want to put it that way. Beyond little things like the death of physical media, ageism, and aversion to actors crossing over to other disciplines, there’s also the nearly global disinterest...
The soft-spoken president of China’s largest Internet company, Martin Lau is most at home in the boardroom. A Hong Kong native with degrees from America’s Michigan, Northwestern and Stanford universities, followed by earlier career moves to McKinsey and Goldman Sachs, he joined in 2005 as chief strategy and investment officer. Those are roles he has only grown as the company has expanded (it was worth $1.3 billion in 2005, and some $220 billion today) to create China’s most admired corporation. It developed China’s dominant messaging platforms, and has created its leading online music service, as well as becoming the world’s largest games company by revenue.
Lau may be press shy, but he has aggressively pursued the acquisitions that have enriched the ecosystem in which its WeChat platform is the center. In the past three years, these have included stakes in JD.com (e-commerce,) Didi (taxis,) and Meituan Dianping (online services including cinema ticketing). Until recently, Lau ranked among the top 100 players of “Clash Royale,” before engineering the $8.3 billion acquisition of “Clash” developer, Supercell. He is understood to win over potential targets through clear-sighted strategy and promises of continued investment.
As Tencent steps up its interests in the movie business, expect Hollywood deals – but not at any price. Lau does not want Tencent to be seen as a dumb ATM.