Tencent, a huge Chinese web corporation has bought a minority stake in Epic Games.

Epic spoke of its plans to continue to operate independently and "further expand its game franchises across multiple platforms". What the deal’s terms involved exactly we don’t know.

Tencent opened up back in 1998, and is one of the biggest web portals in China. It’s responsible for a pretty heft number of popular services and sites including QQ Instant Messenger, QQ.com, QQ Games, Qzone, 3g.QQ.com, SoSo, PaiPai and Tenpay. As of 30th September 2011 there were an incredible 711.7 million active user accounts for QQ IM.

Epic’s top man Mike Capps made the following statement: Tencent's investment will empower Epic to help us do even more of what we do best, which is making great games and game technology.

"Their expertise in the global online gaming market is second-to-none, and the opportunity to work with them to bring richer experiences to players all over the world is irresistible.

"Epic is excited to be full steam ahead on all of its current plans for this generation of games and the next, with the support of a fantastic partner that believes in our strategy and shares our dream."

David Wallerstein, an exec over at Tencent also commented on the deal, adding "We have a lot that we can learn from each other, and we look forward to supporting the Epic team as they embark on their next phase of gaming innovation across both emerging and familiar platforms."