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A woman uses her smartphone near a booth for the Chinese Internet company Tencent at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing. Photo: Mark Schiefelbein / AP

Chinese Internet giant Tencent became the first Asian company ever to be valued above $500 billion on Monday, after its shares rose 4.1% in trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, per Axios' Dan Primack.

What we're watching: Tencent and other Chinese tech companies have notably made efforts to penetrate the Western media market, while China has continued to clamp down on letting American companies access its market.

  • Tencent bought a 12% stake in Snapchat earlier this month. The Journal reports that it's invested in 41 tech startups in the U.S. since 2011.
  • Toutiao, a Chinese personalized news app, has agreed to acquire Chinese lip-sync app Musical.ly, which has skyrocketed in popularity amongst European and American kids. No financial terms were disclosed, but word is the price-tag was between $800 million and $1 billion, via a mixture of cash and stock, per Primack.

Rivals: Facebook and Amazon both crossed the $500 billion threshold this past summer, with the former opening trading Monday with a market cap of $520 billion. In terms of tech, they all still trail market cap leaders Apple ($872 billion), Alphabet ($712 billion) and Microsoft ($636 billion).

Speaking of China ... If you haven't signed up for our new newsletter, Axios China, written by Bill Bishop of Sinocism, you can check it out and sign up here.

Go deeper

National Guard chief says it took 3 hours for Pentagon to grant Jan. 6 request

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, will testify Wednesday that it took three hours and 19 minutes for Pentagon leadership to approve a request for National Guard assistance during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, according to his prepared remarks.

Why it matters: The timeline over when National Guard requests were made and granted has been a key point of contention in congressional hearings examining the security failures surrounding the Capitol riots.

21 mins ago - World

International Criminal Court opens Israel-Palestine war crimes probe

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu has strongly objected to the investigation. Photo: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Wednesday announced her intention to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian territories since 2014.

Why it matters: The investigation is expected to consider possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas during the 2014 war in Gaza, as well as the construction of West Bank settlements by Israel. It could sharply increase tensions between Israel, which fiercely opposes the probe, and Palestinian leaders, who requested it.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
59 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Exxon says it's well-positioned amid investor pressure

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

ExxonMobil said Wednesday that its oil-and-gas development plans will create good returns even at modest oil prices as the company looks to win back investor confidence after several rocky years.

Driving the news: The company, just ahead of an investor presentation this morning, said its investments are designed to generate returns of over 30% and touted its spending reductions.