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Media & Entertainment

Gaming demand pushes Razer's revenue up 25%

With 100m users, Singapore company hopes to set up digital banking business

Razer offers products and services ranging from high-performance gaming laptops and software to digital payments.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Singapore-based gaming hardware company Razer said on Wednesday its revenue for the first half of 2020 grew 25% from a year ago to $447 million, as demand surged during the months that the COVID-19 pandemic kept people at home.

Hong Kong-listed Razer, which has developed a loyal following among gaming and esports fans, offers products and services ranging from high-performance gaming laptops and software to digital payments.

"The global 'stay-at-home' situation has boosted user engagement with gaming and esports to record levels," said Min-Liang Tan, co-founder and CEO of Razer, in a statement. Yet, revenue growth was slightly slower than the 30% rise recorded in the first half of 2019. 

During the six months through June, the hardware business accounted for about 86% of total revenue and software most of the rest. Revenue for its hardware products rose 26% on the year to $382 million, and the total user accounts for its software increased to about 100 million globally as of June, from about 80 million in December.

But the company continued to report a net loss, of $17 million, compared with a $48 million loss a year ago.

The pandemic has provided the company with growth opportunities, as more people stay home and esports gained momentum due to the cancellation of physical events.

Against this backdrop, Razer's revenue will continue to expand due to "hardware new product introductions in the second half of 2020" and growing services revenues, that would contribute to improving profitability, according to the company.

Chief Strategy Officer Lee Li Meng on Wednesday told reporters that Razer will explore the possibility of offering digital banking business globally, targeting youths underserved by traditional financial institutions. 

That would be an extension of its existing payment services. In 2018, the company established a financial technology arm in response to in-game payment needs. 

A consortium led by Razer was one of 21 candidates that applied for five new digital banking licenses from the Singapore central bank. If Razer gets the license, it could offer savings, loans and payment services. 

Commenting on the progress of the application, Lee would only say the company "continues to engage with the [Monetary Authority of Singapore]." The authority is expected to decide which applicants will get the five licenses by the end of the year.  

"What we are doing right now is that we are exploring different jurisdictions for digital banking licenses," said Lee, adding that Malaysia was one market that Razer was interested in setting up a digital banking business.

Razer announced its earnings after trading hours. Razer shares ended at 1.7 Hong Kong dollars on Wednesday, a rise of 23% higher from the beginning of this year. Its market capitalization stands at some HK$15 billion ($1.9 billion).

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