BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Tencent Holdings Ltd for the first time hit a market cap of more than $200 billion on Monday, making it more valuable than U.S. tech firms like Amazon.com Inc, IBM Corp and Oracle Corp.
The country's biggest social networking and online entertainment firm rose 5.38 percent to close at HK$170.50 ($22) in trading in Hong Kong, giving it a market valuation of $206 billion. This is higher than Oracle's $190 billion, Amazon's $178 billion and IBM's $161 billion.
Tencent's shares have rocketed 52 percent from the beginning of this year, bringing its valuation close to those of U.S. peer Facebook Inc's $230 billion and Chinese arch rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's $210 billion.
The surge in the Shenzhen-based company's share price comes as Hong Kong stocks hit fresh seven-year highs on Monday. China recently allowed mutual funds to buy stocks on the Hang Seng Index under the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect scheme, fuelling the jump in already-rising Tencent shares.
More money is expected to pour in as investors hunt for bargains.
New York-listed Alibaba, the world's largest e-commerce firm, has seen its shares slide 19 percent year-to-date. This slump owes itself to investor excitement wearing off after the firm's record-setting $25 billion IPO last September, and a lacklustre set of third-quarter earnings results.
Facebook is up five percent since the beginning of 2015.
($1 = 7.7500 Hong Kong dollars)
(Reporting by Paul Carsten, Beijing Newsroom and Gerry Shih; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)