At the risk of hurting its own brand, video game giant Tencent steps up in the global fight against COVID-19

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      Tencent, the China-based multi-national which has become the largest video game company in the world, has earmarked $US100 million for the fight against COVID-19.

      In doing so, it's joined fellow tech giants Netflix and Facebook in the battle to help stop the pandemic. That's admirable for no other reason than companies like Tencent and Netflix are among the operations that have benefitted most from the world looking for diversions while being quarantined at home.

      Tencent has established its US$100 million Global Anti-Pandemic Fund as a means to source and donate medical supplies, personal protective gear, and related products for healthcare workers and hospitals around the world. 

      In a press release on the company's site, Tencent president Martin Lau said: “COVID-19 is drastically impacting people around the world. We are facing this challenge together and Tencent is committed to supporting the international emergency response. Based on the experience in China and feedback collected from hospitals around the world, we recognize there is an urgent need for PPEs and other medical supplies, particularly at the onset of the pandemic, when traditional supply channels cannot meet the sudden surge in need. By donating these supplies, we hope to help protect front-line medical professionals and workers who are fighting tirelessly and selflessly for all of us. This is a critical moment that calls for global collaboration." 

      Back in February, Tencent set up a $US211 million fund to help fight COVID-19 as it began spreading across China. 

      Founded in 1998, Tencent started out as a company built around early instant messaging and online games. Over the past two decades it's broadened out into evertthing from banking to smartphones to renewable energy, but without ever abandoning its roots. Games and related services that the company either owns or has developed include Call of Duty Online, League of Legends, PUBG, and Fortnite

      Recognizing that eSports was crashing into the mainstream, Tencent helped found a governing body for the industry late last year. In announcing its formation, the organization announced the following: "Esports is the most exciting and fastest growing competitive sports around the world today. It is expected to exceed US$1 billion for the first time in 2019, growing to US$1.1 billion with an estimated global audience of 453.8 million people."

      The Global Esports Federation, which is based in Singapore, has a mandate that includes ensuring that its athletes are treated faily and supported, as well as being committed to staging eSports competitions and conventions across the world.