Chinese tech giant Tencent expands footprint in Playa Vista
Chinese tech giant Tencent is significantly expanding its footprint in Los Angeles, opening an office in Playa Vista that could house 300 employees.
The Shenzhen, China-based developer of games such as “Honor of Kings” previously divided its U.S. division’s L.A. employees across three offices in Santa Monica, Claremont and Century City.
The more than 53,000-square-foot Playa Vista office, which opens this week, consolidates the staff into one space. Employees will move into the new building following COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Los Angeles is a powerhouse for creativity and innovation, and we are proud to deepen our roots in the community with our long-standing partners in the video game and entertainment industries,” said Brent Irvin, Tencent’s general counsel and president of Tencent America, in a statement. “We see tremendous opportunities to continue to grow our development capabilities and product offerings and to create high-value jobs in Los Angeles.”
Tencent America, the company’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based U.S. division, said it plans to double the size of its 150-person L.A. workforce. Over the next three years, the company says it will hire employees for the new Playa Vista office who work in video game design and development, programming and data engineering.
“The neighborhood sits at the intersection of the technology, gaming and entertainment industries and is home to many big tech companies as well as start-ups,” Tencent said in a statement. “There is a diverse and attractive talent pool to draw on.”
The Playa Vista facility is located on West Jefferson Boulevard near Facebook’s office. The space includes a fitness center, cafe, production facilities and game rooms. There are also themed spaces that highlight L.A. landmarks such as the Hollywood sign.
Google has moved a step closer to transforming the historic Spruce Goose hangar in Playa Vista into a state-of-the-art office and production facility, the latest sign of how tech giants are expanding their presence in Hollywood’s backyard.
Playa Vista has been a popular area for tech companies and is considered part of Silicon Beach — Southern California’s own version of the Silicon Valley. Google in 2018 opened a more than 450,000-square-foot complex at the Spruce Goose hangar; and in 2016 Facebook moved into a larger Playa Vista office.
“What makes the location attractive is its proximity to the rest of Silicon Beach, its location near coastal communities, the campus-like configuration of most of the office space, as well as the retail amenities at Playa Vista,” said Ryan Patap, director of market analytics at CoStar, which provides commercial real estate information.
Tencent’s expansion in Playa Vista comes as other Chinese companies such as Dalian Wanda Group have retreated from Hollywood and U.S. entertainment holdings.
Tencent and other Chinese companies have faced growing scrutiny from the U.S. government. The Trump administration raised security concerns about Tencent’s messaging app WeChat and ByteDance’s video-sharing app TikTok, accusing them of allowing the sharing of U.S. user information with the Chinese government. Both companies have denied doing so.
For swaths of the U.S. with concentrated Chinese populations, WeChat is a way of life. President Trump’s executive order banning the app could upend that.
Last year, WeChat users sued the Trump administration over an executive order that threatened to ban the app in the U.S. A judge issued a preliminary injunction in September suspending a ban on the app.
Tencent also is under scrutiny by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) regarding its ownership stakes in U.S.-based gaming companies due to security concerns, Reuters reported.
Tencent has investments in other local entertainment companies. In 2018, Tencent took a minority stake in L.A.-based production company Skydance Media for more than $100 million. In 2021, a Tencent-led consortium increased its ownership in Santa Monica-based Universal Music Group to 20%. The company owns L.A.-based Riot Games and has a 40% stake in Cary, N.C.-based Epic Games, the maker of “Fortnite.” Tencent is also a strategic shareholder in digital animation studio Original Force, which has an office in Culver City.
Tencent has 86,000 employees worldwide, including about 400 in the U.S.
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