Tech firm Garena gets renamed as Sea

Entrepreneur Forrest Li founded Sea in 2009. It started out in online gaming but now also generates revenue from digital content, e-payments and e-commerce.
Entrepreneur Forrest Li founded Sea in 2009. It started out in online gaming but now also generates revenue from digital content, e-payments and e-commerce.

Rebranding comes after it gets $772m in new round of funding

Singapore-based tech company Garena has been rebranded as Sea after securing US$550 million (S$772 million) in a new round of funding.

The company had previously been privately valued at US$3.75 billion, making it South-east Asia's largest unicorn - a start-up valued above US$1 billion.

The bulk of the funds raised will be invested in its e-commerce platform, Shopee, with a focus on key markets such as Indonesia.

Investors in its latest funding round include GDP Venture, led by Mr Martin Hartono, the son of Indonesia's richest man, and JG Summit Holdings, founded by Philippine billionaire John Gokongwei.

Other investors include Cathay Financial Holding Co, Hillhouse Capital, Farallon Capital Management and President International Development Corp, an investment arm of Taiwanese food conglomerate Uni-President Enterprises Corp. Earlier investors include SeaTown Holdings, a subsidiary of Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings, as well as Malaysian state investor Khazanah Nasional.

Sea is also planning an initial public offering in the United States that could fetch about US$1 billion, according to reports.

Sea, founded by Chinese-born entrepreneur Forrest Li in 2009, started out in online gaming but now also generates revenue from digital content, e-payments and e-commerce. Its Shopee platform has more than doubled in size in the past nine months, the firm said.

"Our new name draws inspiration from the acronym for our region, symbolising our strong 'home court advantage'," said Mr Li, who is chairman and group chief executive. "In addition, the sea connects every one of our markets, symbolising our corporate motto of 'connecting the dots'.

"Finally, Sea is a humble, authentic word that evokes the pioneering spirit of exploration - a wonderful symbol of our corporate values."

Sea also announced the appointment of three senior advisers, including former Singapore foreign minister George Yeo.

Mr Yeo joined Sea as a senior non-business adviser last year.

The other two are former Indonesian minister of trade Mari Pangestu and Mr Pandu Sjahrir, founder of Indonesian mining company Toba Bara Sejahtra, who joined Sea as chairman of its Indonesia operations this year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2017, with the headline 'Tech firm Garena gets renamed as Sea'. Print Edition | Subscribe