Tencent Holdings Ltd. (TCEHY) hit another major milestone Tuesday when it became the first Asia listed tech company to reach a market valuation of $500 billion, besting rival Alibaba Holding Ltd (BABA) and topping Facebook Inc. (FB) in the emerging battle for global social media dominance. 

Tencent shares closed 2.38% higher in Hong Kong trading at HK$430 each, extending their year-to-date gain past 125% and giving the company a market capitalisation of just over HK$4.08 billion ($522 billion), edging past Facebook's close of $519 billion and Alibaba's $484.5 billion.

The Shenzen, China-based group trails only Apple Inc. (AAPL) , Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) , Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon Inc. (AMZN) in the global table of the world's most-valuable companies. 

The stock has risen more than 11% since China's internet gaming giant -- and significant Snap Inc. (SNAP) shareholder -- posted much stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings on Thursday Nov. 16 and pledged to stoke investment into its lucrative online content machine.

Tencent posted net income for its fiscal third quarter rose 69% to 18 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) on sale over more than 65 billion yuan over the three month period. Revenue from its gaming division, the company's largest division, rose 84% to 18.2 billion yuan -- the fastest pace since 2010 -- largely off the strength of its fantasy role-playing hit "Honour of Kings", which it expects to release in the United States next year.

"Our video platform gained audience and revenue market share, we believe it has become China's top online video platform in terms of mobile daily active users and subscriptions," said Tencent CEO Ma Huateng. "We believe this success reflects our increasing investment in self-commissioned video content, our improved selection of licensed video content, and our scheduling and audience management initiatives."

Tencent owns a stake in Snapchat.
Tencent owns a stake in Snapchat.

Tencent, which owns the popular WeChat messaging service in China as well as the mandarin-language YouTube rival, 'Tencent Video', has nearly one billion active users and processes around 38 billion messages across it various platforms each day.

The Shenzen-based group is also starting to expand its overseas interests and last week said it had built a 12% interest in Snap just hours after it revealed weaker-than-expected third quarter earnings and vowed to re-design its flagship messaging app.

Tencent, which owns China's biggest social media app WeChat, told Snap that it purchased around 145.78 million non-voting Snap shares on the open market, taking its overall stake to the 10% threshold that requires formal notification.

"We have long been inspired by the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of Tencent and we are grateful to continue our longstanding and productive relationship that began over four years ago," Snap said. "For its part, Martin Lau, Tencent's president, informed us that Tencent is excited to deepen its shareholding with us and that it looks forward to sharing ideas and experiences."

Snap shares were poised to shed more than $3 billion in value at the start of trading Wednesday after CEO Evan Spiegel said the group may need to completely re-think its messaging app design after a disastrous third quarter earnings report that has investors questioning its much-hyped decision to go public earlier this year.

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One of Tencent's most popular games is on its way to the U.S: 

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