CK Hutchison’s Three Group partners with Razer to focus on gamers, e-sports
Three Group, the mobile telecommunications division of Li Ka-shing’s CK Hutchison, and US gaming systems company Razer, have formed a global alliance to tap the estimated two billion people playing electronic games by offering them specific tariff plans, services and devices.
Through the strategic partnership with Razer, Three Group aspires to become the network of choice for this growing international community, Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong chief executive Cliff Woo Chiu-man said at the launch of the alliance on Monday.
San Francisco-based Razer estimates that 2.3 million of its registered users already reside within the international footprint of Three, which has mobile network operations in Austria, Britain, Denmark, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Macau, Sri Lanka, Sweden and Vietnam.
This marks Razer’s first collaboration with a telecommunications network operator. Founded in 2005, Razer supplies high-performance gaming peripherals and laptop computers, and also operates gaming software platforms with more than 35 million users.
“We’re going to be working with Three on tariff plans and mobile devices specifically for gamers,” Razer co-founder and chief executive Tan Min-liang said in Hong Kong on Monday.
“Three will also be the official distributor of our virtual currency, zGold. Gamers everywhere can purchase digital items from Razer with zGold.”
Tan said the partnership will open a new RazerStore next month in Causeway Bay, where gamers can play e-sports, the multiple-player video game tournaments in which many professional gamers now compete.
Hutchison Telecom’s Woo said 3 Hong Kong and 3Home Broadband will also launch a series of mobile and residential broadband tariff plans bundled with Razer’s gaming devices.
Customers of 3 Hong Kong will be able to buy zGold through the operator’s carrier billing service.
Tan pointed out that the collaboration with Three will also look to increase sponsorship and promotion for e-sports.
The global e-sports market is forecast to grow 41 per cent to US$696 million this year, up from US$493 million last year, according to games industry research service Newzoo. It said global e-sports revenue comprises media rights, advertising, sponsorships, merchandise and tickets, and publisher fees.
Apart from building up sponsorships and interest in e-sports events, the Three-Razer partnership “will bring more start-ups in Hong Kong focused on the gaming industry”, Tan said.
He said their initiatives will help support efforts by the Hong Kong government to further develop e-sports in the city.
In February this year, Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po described e-sports “as a new sector with economic development potential, which can help boost the local gaming industry, and information and technology development such as the application of virtual reality technology”.
Tan said Li Ka-Shing’s Horizons Ventures recently invested in Razer, which aims to pursue other initiatives with conglomerate CK Hutchison.