Razer puts on hold opening of walk-in branches in SE Asia


THE COVID-19 pandemic has caused Razer Inc, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, to put on hold location searches for the opening of its walk-in branches in Southeast Asia.

Lee Li Meng, chief executive officer of the company’s financial technology (fintech) arm, Razer Fintech, said among the strategic locations it sought are in Thailand and the Philippines.

He said the same goes with its plans for Malaysia, despite already holding discussions with some partners on opening a walk-in store in the country.

Razer’s first Southeast Asia branch was opened in Manila, the Philippines, but closed in 2018 as it wanted a much larger space.

At present, four outlets, namely in San Francisco, Las Vegas, London and Hong Kong, are operating and are seeing recovery in traffic after been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic which led to restrictions and lockdowns.

“The business is still doing well, (but) is very domestically driven,” Lee said, adding that the Razer store used to welcome fans from countries where it did not have physical stores.

“Maybe in the future, as things become more relaxed, we will look at more locations,” he told Bernama.

Lee said Razer sees a tremendous growth potential in this region, even though it may not be as big as its market in the United States (US), China and Europe, where it ranked first in those countries’ gaming hardware space like keyboard, mouse and headset.

“For our laptop business, in terms of the premium gaming segment, we are No. 1 in the US. We only shipped out our laptops outside the US in 2018, so this is another business we are (looking at) pushing.

“There is a lot of things (we have to do) behind the scenes before we can sell laptops. We need to make sure we have service centres and all other things lined up. So, this is something we want to grow in the future in this part of the world,” he added.

The company has also introduced Razer Kishi, the next-generation cloud gaming-ready, universal controller for mobile devices, to support the fastest-growing segment: mobile gaming.

In addition, Razer Gold, which is a virtual credit for gamers, saw a 125 per cent worldwide jump in transaction volume for the first half (H1) of 2020, compared to the same period last year.

Razer Fintech saw total transaction value, operated by Razer Merchants Services (RMS) and Razer Pay, surge 115 per cent in H1 2020 versus H1 2019.

Lee said the firm is pushing for wider acceptance and bringing more partners on board to its mobile e-wallet, Razer Pay and RMS, a multi-currency merchant payment platform.

Razer is also working with US asset manager Franklin Templeton to create digital wealth management innovation for youth and millennials.

Asked when the first product will be introduced, Lee said Razer is currently engaging with regulators including Bank Negara Malaysia and is ready to launch its innovation once approvals are granted.