Tencent has ramped up promotion of its suite of digital advertising tools to reach mainland Chinese consumers, as it eyes a larger slice of Australian and New Zealand marketing budgets.

Unlike Chinese e-commerce companies Alibaba and JD.com, Shenzhen-based Tencent has not opened an office in Australia but has been holding events since 2017 to encourage local businesses to spend their ad dollars on the platform.

The Chinese conglomerate recently hosted a fresh round of outreach activities, as part of a wider push to diversify Tencent’s revenue base, which is largely derived from gaming. The company does not disclose how much of its advertising revenue comes from outside of China.

Ian Chan, Head of Business Development, Tencent International Business Group told Which-50 that the combination of Australia’s popularity as a travel destination and WeChat’s ubiquity has created an opportunity for businesses.

“We can see the potential for the advertising business in New Zealand and Australia. We hope we can to have more exposure to let the merchants know how they can use the WeChat ecosystem to improve their business,” he added.

For brands outside China, WeChat advertising falls into three categories: inbound (brand-building campaigns targeting consumers inside China), outbound (tactical promotions aimed at travellers when they arrive in Australia), and local (activities targeting the WeChat users who are based in the country).

Department store Myer partnered with L’Oréal to use WeChat data to better understand the spending preferences of Chinese consumers based in Australia and target them. Tourism Australia and Tourism New Zealand use the platform to drive the growth of Chinese Free Independent Travellers (FIT) – those travelling independently without a tour group.

The renewed focus on attracting additional ad dollars outside of China comes as ByteDance, owner of video-sharing app TikTok, took a larger chunk of the digital advertising market than Tencent and Baidu during the first half of 2019.

ByteDance has overtaken Baidu to become the second-largest digital ad player in China, taking 23% of all digital media spend in the first half of the year, equivalent to 50 billion yuan (US$7 billion), according to a report by consultancy R3.

Baidu accounted for 17% of digital media spend for the first half of 2019, followed by Tencent, with 14%; Alibaba took 33% of digital media spend for the first half of the year.

Sourced from Which-50, CNBC, B&T; additional content by WARC staff