Visitors use their smartphones underneath the logo of Tencent at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing May 6, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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Powered by Chinese smartphone users splurging billions on mobile games and online shopping, China's technology giants Tencent and Alibaba are racing up the elite league of the world's most valuable companies. Hong Kong-listed Tencent, famous for its games and WeChat messaging service, became the first Asian firm to break into the $500 billion league last week – briefly overtaking Facebook as the world's fifth-biggest company in terms of market value.While the top five – Apple, Google's parent company Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook – thrive across the world, the two Chinese firms have made their fortunes by cornering China's own vast market of 750 million internet users.Tencent and Alibaba do have a major advantage over American rivals because China severely restricts access to its internet, with Facebook and Google kept outside the "Great Firewall". Today, there are more than 1 billion smartphones running in China, according to iResearch.Both Tencent and Alibaba earn most of their revenue from mobile.
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