Soaring costs saw Tencent Holdings report a net income of US$13 billion for last year, after a slow fourth quarter, which concerned analysts given the subsequent impact of the coronavirus crisis since January.
Costs rose 20 per cent last year as the social-media and digital company spent money buying new content and securing new users to its WeChat and other platforms to protect itself from fast-growing rival ByteDance, parent of TikTok.
Group revenue topped US$53.3 billion for the year but its cost of sales reached $29.7 billion.
Tencent said its online gaming revenue grew by 25 per cent, the fastest rate since the first quarter of 2018 and sales of smartphone games soared 37 per cent.
The company said more gamers signed up to its services in January as the coronavirus cris forced people to stay home, with schools, universities and workplaces closed for an extended period.
Net fourth-quarter income was $3.1 billion.