Gaming company Razer hopes to introduce a digital banking business overseas even as it awaits the outcome of its application for a digital full-bank licence here.
The firm is assessing prospects across South-east Asia and other emerging markets such as India and Latin America as it seeks to expand its fintech business, said Razer Fintech chief executive Lee Li Meng.
Its e-payment system Razer Pay is already available in Singapore and Malaysia.
Mr Lee, who is also Razer's chief strategy officer, told a briefing yesterday that the firm is well poised to develop 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", adding: "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."
Razer, which is based in Singapore and Irvine, California, has interests in gaming hardware, software and services, as well as virtual gaming credits and fintech.
Its update yesterday came as it announced first-half earnings.
The Hong Kong-listed company posted a net loss of US$17.7 million ($24.2 million) in the six months to June 30, a 62.9 per cent improvement from a net loss of US$47.7 million in the same period last year.
Revenue was a record US$447.5 million - up 25.3 per cent - thanks to higher turnover from its hardware, software and services businesses.
Mr Lee said that even if the firm gets a digital full-bank licence here, it will continue to look abroad for opportunities as the local 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 added.
Mr Lee noted that traditional banks "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 the Razer Inc side of things as they grow alongside (the fintech business)".
GROWING THE PIE
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.
MR LEE LI MENG , Razer Fintech chief executive.
Razer's venture into the banking sector is through a consortium that includes Sheng Siong Holdings, tech firm LinkSure Global, automotive marketplace Carro, insurer FWD and Insignia Ventures Partners. Razer Fintech will own 60 per cent of the consortium.
The MAS announced in June last year that it would issue up to two digital full-bank licences and three digital wholesale bank licences, a move aimed at opening up the banking industry to new competition.
It noted in June this year that 14 of the 21 digital bank applications had met the eligibility criteria and will go to the next stage of assessment.
The results will be announced later this year.