'I've just gotten started': Razer’s Tan Min-Liang on future plans, setting up shop in Singapore

'I've just gotten started': Razer’s Tan Min-Liang on future plans, setting up shop in Singapore

The CEO of the recently listed gaming peripherals company shared that Southeast Asia is one of his key focus areas for “the next couple of years”.

Razer CEO Tan Min-Liang at the phone launch event on Thursday (Nov 23).

SINGAPORE: “I’ve just gotten started,” declared Razer CEO Tan Min-Liang.

The co-founder of the gaming peripherals company, who was in town to launch the Razer Phone in partnership with telco Singtel, told Channel NewsAsia in a one-on-one interview on Thursday (Nov 23) that he is not ready to cash out and enjoy the success of his company’s oversubscribed public listing.

“I still feel healthy, still feel young ... still feel energetic,” Mr Tan said, even as his raspy voice - a gruelling travel schedule evidently taking its toll - rings clear amid the noisy background of the ongoing SITEX consumer electronics exhibition.

“I feel more energised than ever to do cool stuff.”

The company recently listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and priced its shares at HK$3.88 each, raising HK$4.12 billion (US$528 million) as a result.

Among the “cool stuff” is finding ways to expand the company’s international footprint.

“We’ve literally not looked at Southeast Asia until the past 12 months,” the CEO revealed, given that the US and Europe markets have “been growing” for the company.

Despite that, it has clinched key regional partnerships, such as that with Tencent and the launch of the popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), Arena of Valor, and Mr Tan said Razer is “definitely exploring partnerships in China”.

RAZER STORE IN SINGAPORE ‘WORK IN PROGRESS’ 

Going forward, he said Southeast Asia will be one of his key focus areas “for the next couple of years”.

Asked if that means opening a physical store in Singapore, to address the “pent up demand” in this part of the world, Mr Tan said he wants to “pick the best locations and stuff like that”.

“I’ve scouted a couple of good locations but ... all in the right time because I like to control the whole design and engineering and the experience,” he explained. “Until I get the perfect location and the perfect people, it’s still work in progress.”

He also pointed out that “a lot” of the mall operators here have been in touch to get Razer to set up shop in Singapore.

“Primarily because they realise Razer draws a lot of traffic ... but all in good time,” Mr Tan reiterated.

The first person to get his hands on the Razer phone and CEO Tan Min-Liang's autograph was in line before 8am at the event.

He also touched on the company’s proposal to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to transform the country into a cashless society.

According to an executive summary posted on Razer's website in September, the proposal is two-pronged: To provide ongoing feedback, development and advisory support for a common e-payment framework (CEF) or something similar that is managed by the MAS, and to support for an e-payment solution - whether it is an existing solution or its mooted RazerPay system.

Asked for an update, Mr Tan said: “Not right now. We’ve submitted (the proposal), and are in the midst of rolling out zGold payments, but I think you’ll hear from us pretty soon.”

The company’s zGold-MOLPoints virtual currency is sold at more than one million online and retail stores in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.

MORE RAZER PHONES IN THE WORKS?

As for how Razer intends to make use of the funds it raised from the public listing, Mr Tan shared that, as mentioned in the prospectus, it will continue to look at expanding into new categories, and make acquisitions along the way.

He declined to reveal which categories it is looking to expand into, but said the principle is to extend into “anything that gamers and millennials are into”.

This principle will also guide the development roadmap of future Razer phones, and the features they will come with, although the CEO demurred on sharing if it will follow the roughly one-device-a-year smartphone launches favoured by more established market players like Apple and Samsung.

He was also unable to share how many Razer Phones have been shipped since its launch on Nov 1, but said the company’s main focus is for supply to catch up with demand as soon as possible.

Ending off, Mr Tan stressed that he is “going to work harder than ever” going forward, and it helps that the work is “great fun”.

After all, “life is short”, he said.  

Source: CNA/kc

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