This South African Made $66 Billion On China’s Web

This South African investor Koos Bekker in 2001 put $32 million in an unknown and obscure Chinese internet company Tencent. Today his investment of $32 million is worth $66 Billion. Today once again Koos Bekker is once again searching for a new tech investment.

Call it venture capital or whatever, he was lucky last time. Can he do it again? You never know. His venture capital fund Naspers is solely based on this one single investment of Tencent. Tencent is known for developing the free messaging app WeChat.

“What we’ve done over the years is take huge risks,” Bekker said over a cup of Rooibos tea in Naspers headquarters, 19 floors above Cape Town’s harbor. The task now, he said, is “to find the countries where the gaps still exist because in many countries the good opportunities have been taken.”

When Naspers bought half of Tencent in 2001 (since diluted to 34 percent), the Chinese company was a fledgling player in a country with minimal Internet use. Today more than a billion people use Tencent’s messaging services, such as WeChat. On May 13 the firm reported record profits from its vast range of online businesses.

Finding a new startup that will emulate the success story of Tencent seems an hard act to follow. What Naspers can do is look for other sectors apart from the tech sector for growth opportunities.