Razer hopes to grow digital banking business overseas as it awaits outcome of S'pore digital bank licence

Razer Fintech chief executive Lee Li Meng said it will continue to look abroad for other opportunities as Singapore's banking sector is highly competitive.
Razer Fintech chief executive Lee Li Meng said it will continue to look abroad for other opportunities as Singapore's banking sector is highly competitive.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Gaming company Razer is hoping to introduce a digital banking business overseas, even as it awaits the outcome of its application for a digital full bank licence in Singapore.

The firm is exploring countries in South-east Asia and other emerging markets, such as India and Latin America, to grow its fintech business, said Razer Fintech chief executive Lee Li Meng.

It already has an e-payment system, Razer Pay, which is available in Singapore and Malaysia.

Mr Lee, who is also Razer's chief strategy officer, said in a media briefing on Wednesday (Aug 26) that the firm is well poised to grow a digital banking business as it is familiar with the strict regional regulations surrounding the digital payments business.

He noted that some regulators are also leaning towards more "bank-like regulations".

"So we are already prepared from that perspective to put the right processes in place so that if we get the digital banking licence, we should be able to pivot very quickly from just being a digital payments business to running a digital banking platform."

Headquartered in Singapore and Irvine, California, Razer has business interests in gaming hardware, software and services, as well as virtual gaming credits and fintech.

The company's update on Wednesday came as it announced its earnings for the first half of the year.

The Hong Kong-listed company posted a net loss of US$17.7 million ($24.2 million) in the first half of the year, a 62.9 per cent improvement from a net loss of US$47.7 million in the same period last year.

Revenue was up 25.3 per cent, from US$357.2 million to a record US$447.5 million, buoyed by higher earnings from its hardware, software and services businesses.

Elaborating on Razer's fintech plans, Mr Lee said that even if the firm gets the digital full-bank licence in Singapore, it will continue to look abroad for other opportunities as the country's banking sector is highly competitive.

 
 
 
 

"We have demonstrated to MAS (the Monetary Authority of Singapore) that we will invest and commit to growing the pie here but to also represent Singapore and grow a next-generation bank out of the country," he said.

Referring to traditional banks, he added: "They have taken decades to grow a business just in South-east Asia, but with a digital bank, being more nimble, we want to build a global business and leverage on the Razer Inc side of things as they grow alongside (the fintech business)."

Razer's endeavour into the banking sector is through a consortium that includes Sheng Siong Holdings, technology company LinkSure Global, automotive marketplace Carro, insurance services firm FWD and Insignia Ventures Partners. Razer will own 60 per cent of the consortium.

In June last year, MAS announced it would issue up to two digital full bank (DFB) licences and three digital wholesale bank (DWB) licences, a move aimed at opening up the banking industry to new competition.

It attracted strong interest from a diverse group of applicants including e-commerce firms, technology and telecommunications companies, fintechs (such as crowdfunding platforms and payment services providers) and financial institutions.

In June this year, the authority said that 14 of the 21 digital bank applications had met the eligibility criteria required and will progress to the next stage of assessment.

MAS said results will be announced later this year.