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Singapore gaming firm Garena valued at US$1 billion

Up to 100,000 gamers visit Garena Online each night to chat and battle it out

Published on Jul 27, 2014 8:30 AM

Every night, as many as 100,000 gamers go to Garena Online to play multi-player games, chat and share tips and tricks.

They are mainly from South- east Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and come together to do battle on their PC screens, playing games like League of Nations and Defence of the Ancients.

It is free to be a Garena member, but to win their virtual battles, many make in-game purchases of bullets, weapons, shields and other accessories.

The five-year-old company with 1,000 employees in the region has its own virtual currency called Shells. Gamers buy credits of between US$5 (S$6.20) and US$60 to pay for their online purchases.

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Background story


Any entrepreneur who wants to build a US$100 billion (S$124 billion) Internet company can only succeed in the US or China.

The World Startup Report concluded this from data on 150 Internet companies in 50 countries. It studied the financial performance of the top three Internet companies in each country.

The United States boasts three giant Internet companies: Google is the world's largest Internet company, valued at US$410 billion, followed by e-commerce giant Amazon at about US$187 billion and social network firm Facebook at US$183 billion.

In China, Alibaba - due to be listed soon - tops the list with a US$200 billion valuation.

Communications company Tencent is next, valued at US$154 billion, followed by search giant Baidu at US$67 billion.

On average, the report said it takes about seven to 10 years to build a US$1 billion company.

The report listed 29 countries, including Singapore, which joined the Billion Dollar Internet club with at least one Internet start-up valued at US$1 billion.

In each country, the top three Internet companies are featured.

Singapore gaming platform Garena took the country's No.1 spot, followed by video streaming site Viki - which was acquired by Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten for US$200 million - and high-end fashion e-commerce site Reebonz, still privately held, valued at US$200 million.

Collated by American entrepreneur Bowei Gai, the free report ( aims to provide useful information to guide aspiring entrepreneurs in different countries. It was published in partnership with Startup Genome, which has been collecting information from more than 100,000 start-ups in the world over the last two years.

In each country Mr Gai talked to entrepreneurs, investors and others to get an idea of the start-up landscape in each country. Contributors in the start-up community also provided information for the report.

Six interesting things from the report:

  • The most valuable industry is communications with the average value of start-ups ringing in at about US$20 billion.
  • The most popular industry is e-commerce with 38 companies.
  • The most mature is the search industry which started just before 2000.
  • The largest Internet start-up is Google.
  • The largest Internet company outside the US is China's Alibaba.
  • Public listed start-ups from the top 10 countries had the highest valuations, showing that going public creates the highest value for the company.

Grace Chng