October 1, 2020

Gaming Hardware Maker Razer Eyes Banking Licenses

Razer Inc., the gaming hardware manufacturer, is eyeing expansion into banking in the U.S. and Europe.

The move comes nine months after the California-based company applied for a license to open a bank in Singapore, CNBC reports.

“Singapore is not the only jurisdiction we’re looking at,” Razer’s co-founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan told the network.

Founded in 2005, Razer has 16 offices worldwide and is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

In January, Razer created a collaborative to form Razer Youth Bank with Singapore startups, Asian billionaires and  venture capital firm Insignia Ventures Partners. Razer FinTech will own a 60 percent majority stake in Razer Youth Bank, which will be headquartered in Singapore.  

“Digital banking technologies rolled out in Singapore and data collected will also support the southeast Asian growth of Alibaba’s eCommerce site Lazada,” Vey-Sern Ling, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, said at the time.

Southeast Asia’s digital lending market is expected to reach more than $110 billion by 2025, or four times the size it is now, according to a report by Bain & Co., Google and Temasek Holdings.

Razer is not the only company considering such a move. CNBC reports Ant Group, ride-hailing firm Grab and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., one of the world’s largest telecoms, also applied for virtual banking licenses in Singapore.

Razer said it is one of the most recognized gaming and esports brands in the world. Its hardware includes gaming peripherals and Blade gaming laptops. It boasts more than 80 million users.

But Razer has been keenly interested in expanding into financial services with its own virtual credits for gamers and a digital payments division.

Tan, citing data from the World Bank, told the network 1.7 billion people in emerging markets lack bank accounts and credit cards.

“We’ve got a vision of a global youth banking network, designed for the youth right from the get-go,” said Tan. “Pretty much like we did with the gaming industry, we’re looking to do it with the youth perspective in mind.”

While Razer’s banking ambitions are still in the early stages, it signals that the company is in it to stay.

“I don’t think at any point in time with banking regulators it’s ever been easy,” Tan told CNBC. “But we want to do this properly. Today we are regulated in many global jurisdictions with e-payment and e-money licenses. It’s something we’re very comfortable with, and we’re taking a long-term approach.”

In March, Razer reported its revenues grew 15 percent last year to an all-time-high of $821 million. Services business saw a 55 percent in revenues to $77  million, contributing nearly 20 percent of the company’s gross profits.

 

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