Tencent Holdings, which is up 131 percent in market value from its March last year low, has given some of its employees 100 shares each as a reward for their efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Shenzhen-based online gaming group and owner of WeChat announced the “Together Award” offer for eligible employees, according to a spokesman. They are non-forfeitable and have a blocking period of 12 months. The 100 shares are valued at HK $ 73,650 (S $ 12,600) based on the closing price on Monday.

The company’s value rose to HK $ 7.35 trillion on January 25, as its stock closed at an all-time high of HK $ 766.50 each, from a low of HK $ 3.2 trillion on March 18 last year. Tencent was the most valuable company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at its all-time high.

For the three months ended September 30th last year, it posted net income of 38.5 billion yuan ($ 8 billion). That was above a consensus average of 30.8 billion yuan among analysts covered by Refinitiv.

The company will publish its fourth quarter earnings on March 24th. Analysts expect December sales to be 131.8 billion yuan, up 24.6 percent year over year, according to Refinitiv. Net income likely rose 29 percent to 32.85 billion yuan.

The shares are a one-time special payment to eligible employees, according to the company spokesman, who refused to explain the criteria or the total number of employees qualified for the payment. The aim was to recognize employees who helped build the company during the Covid-19 pandemic last year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The news went viral on local social media on Monday, and some employees confirmed to the Post that they had received the shares.

Tencent was founded in 1998 and listed in Hong Kong in June 2004. The company raised HKD 1.55 billion and sold a quarter of its shares to the public at HKD 3.70 each.

With a current value of HK $ 7.15 trillion, co-founder Pony Ma Huateng is the second richest person in China with a personal net worth of $ 72.3 billion (S $ 3 billion), behind the $ 88.8 billion, the Zhong Shanshan, the founder of water bottling, has amassed group Nongfu Spring, according to Bloomberg data.