China’s Tencent Holdings, one of the world’s largest Internet companies, celebrated its 18th anniversary by giving its employees more than $220 million worth of company shares.
The company, which was founded on November 11, 1998, broke the news on its official WeChat account on Friday stating that it is set to give 300 company shares to each of its 31,557 employees.
Tencent, currently the most valuable company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, would have given each employee a total of $7,735 in stocks, with each share currently valued at $25.78. The shares will be distributed to employees in three packages in the next three years beginning next week, Reuters reported.
Apart from the generous stock distribution, Pony Ma, the company’s founder and chairman, also set aside 30 million Yuan ($4.4 million) worth of gift money which it gave away as virtual “red envelopes” on WeChat on Friday. The giveaway, sent to its current and former employees and contractors, ranged from 188 yuan ($27.55) to 1,888 yuan ($276.71) per envelope.
In a WeChat post, the company said the gift money was in appreciation to all those who contributed to its success while marking its “coming-of-age.” Tencent’s massive giveaway incidentally coincided with Singles’ Day, an online shopping extravaganza led by its rival Alibaba.
“(Alibaba founder) Jack Ma’s employees are busy sweating over-time, Pony Ma’s employees are busy counting cash,” said a popular saying which circulated internally on Friday among Tencent employees.
As of May 2016, Tencent is valued at $197.4 billion, according to Forbes.