US gaming firm Razer opens first store in Hong Kong and sets its sights firmly on mobile industry

And forming partnership with Three Group – the mobile telecoms arm of CK Hutchison – its says mobile going to ‘play huge part of our business’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 June, 2017, 6:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 June, 2017, 12:53pm

Razer, the popular US gaming peripherals brand which opened its first concept store in Hong Kong on Saturday, is now hoping to take on the mobile gaming industry after successfully disrupting the PC gaming scene with devices such as its powerful gaming laptops and mice, its chief executive has told South China Morning Post.

Razer, which is in partnership with Three Group – the mobile telecommunications arm of Li Ka-shing’s CK Hutchison on the development of the Hong Kong outlet – has its sights on taking on the mobile gaming landscape, too, which chief executive Tan Min-liang said “is going to be a huge part of our business”.

“There is so much potential for Razer – we’re still growing exponentially through the PC market ... we’ve shipped over US$1 billion in hardware over the last three years, and we haven’t even gotten started on the mobile gaming market yet,” said Tan, who splits his time between San Francisco, where the company is based, Singapore and Taiwan, where Razer has its design centres.

The company on Saturday opened the doors to its sixth RazerStore worldwide, on Cannon Street in Hong Kong’s bustling Causeway Bay shopping district. Razer’s other shops are in Shanghai, Taipei, Bangkok, Manila and San Francisco in California.

An alliance was formed last month where Razer and Three will work together to offer specific tariff plans, services and devices to electronic games players around the world.

Tan also said Razer and Three will work together on “future mobile devices”, although he declined to elaborate on further details.

While Razer’s current product offerings are largely PC-focused, with its array of mice, keyboards and sleek gaming laptops, the company has yet to offer any peripheral devices for mobile gaming, although Tan believes is an industry that is ripe for disruption.

“When [Razer] first looked at gaming laptops, there were no products or services that really worked well for gamers. Similarly, right now I don’t see any mobile device or software platform that really fulfils the needs of the [mobile] gamer ... there is a huge opportunity to disrupt the mobile market,” Tan said.

Razer is yet to reveal its plans in the mobile space, but it has made several acquisitions in the past couple of years to suggest it is moving towards eventually developing its own mobile devices or gaming platform for the growing number of users who play games on their smartphones or mobile devices.

In July 2015, it acquired Android gaming company Ouya for its Android TV games and online retail platform to bolster the game offerings for its Forge TV console product.

And in January this year, it bought Nextbit, the startup headed by several ex-Google employees who worked on Android and who produced the Robin smartphone, which amassed over US$1.3 million in pledges on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter.

“We’ve put together some of the best talent in mobile design,” Tan said.

“With Nextbit, we now have the top tech leads of Android from Google with us, and the [former] lead designer for HTC who has helped design HTC phones for [years].

“We’re bringing together the best possible talent at Razer to work on next generation devices,” he added.

Razer already has a large following in mainland China and Hong Kong with its gaming peripherals consistently coming top in the category on e-commerce platforms such as Tmall and JD.com, Tan said.

A third of Razer’s business comes from Asia, a large part of which comes from the mainland, he added, declining to provide specific numbers.