JJ Lin forms all-Singaporean e-sports team

Mandopop megastar JJ Lin says he started gaming at a young age and the pastime has evolved into one of his passions. PHOTO: TEAM SMG

SINGAPORE - Mandopop megastar JJ Lin is popular for his hit ballads, but that is not his only passion. The Singapore singer and avid gamer is also one of the owners of an e-sports organisation.

Last Friday, he deepened his e-sports foray and made a splash in the local gaming scene by launching an all-Singaporean e-sports team.

The team, set up to compete in the first-person shooter (FPS) game Valorant, is part of Team Still Moving Under Gunfire (SMG), an e-sports organisation formed in 2017 by Lin and e-sports player turned coach Kenchi Yap.

"Team SMG has teams in Shanghai, Malaysia and finally, Singapore," says Lin, who is a member of the Singapore E-sports Association.

In February, he acquired Malaysian Mobile Legends team Makan Cendol to add to his squad in Shanghai, which competes in the game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, a popular online multiplayer battle royale shooter game said to have sold more than 70 million copies.

On his first all-Singaporean e-sports team, Lin says: "This is a milestone in my e-sports journey, one that is very close to my heart."

He says he started gaming at a young age and the pastime has evolved into one of his passions.

Mr Lin says: "Born and raised in this little red dot that is Singapore, it's been my dream to not only build my businesses and brands here, but also farther beyond.

"As a Singaporean, I naturally want to nurture a home-grown team and inch them towards the global platform. I aspire to instil positive values in them while striving to achieve success in an ever-growing e-sports industry."

The all-Singaporean roster comprises Sha Mohtar, Danyal Heng, Alex Cheang, Xavier Lee, Yeoh Chun Ting and Syafiq Anuar - all veterans who have played professionally in the FPS game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and come out tops in several regional competitions. They will be managed by coach Kenneth Ho.

Launched last month, Valorant is one of the most popular new games on the scene, with nearly three million gamers playing it daily during its two-month beta testing period prior to launch.

Mr Sha, captain of Team SMG Valorant, says: "We were excited when Team SMG approached us after we won the first two Valorant community tournaments in Singapore. With Team SMG, we feel confident representing an organisation that will support us and allow us to succeed."

The team will make its competitive debut this month at the Rise of Legion: Valorant tournament against other teams from South-east Asia. The virtual event starts next Monday and ends July 31.

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