Chinese technology giant Tencent has purchased a five per cent stake in Elon Musk’s electric car venture Tesla, shelling out $1.78bn (£1.4bn).

Famous for its WeChat mobile app, Tencent is one of Asia's largest firms, and has backed a number of vehicle companies in the past.

It also invests in a number of different sectors, including gaming, entertainment, cloud computing and online financing.

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According to Tesla, the stake is passive and the investors will not have a say in how the company is run.

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Despite this, the deal makes Tencent the California-based firm’s fifth-largest shareholder.

Founder Elon Musk remains the largest shareholder, with a stake of about 21% as of the end of 2016.

Shares in Tesla rose 2.3% in early trading following the announcement.

The firm gained widespread attention in 2008, following its production of the first electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster.

Its Model S, which was released in 2012, was ranked in December last year as the world's all-time second best-selling electric car, after the Nissan Leaf.