Razer CEO defends RM10m investment into MY e-sports scene after 'abusive messages'

Razer co-founder and chief executive officer Tan Min-Liang (pictured) has defended his latest plan to invest RM10 million into Malaysia's e-sports scene next year. Singaporean netizens had allegedly criticised Razer for not contributing to Singapore's e-sports scene and Tan wrote in a Facebook post that he received "a slew of abusive messages".

In the Facebook post, Tan stated that his investment in Malaysian e-sports is "a good thing" for the community.

Singaporeans should be glad that the entire region will be able to grow in the e-sports industry.

According to Tan, Razer is "probably one of the biggest supporters" of e-sports in Singapore, having sponsored Hyperplay, the SEA Majors and the PVP eSports Championship alongside Singtel. He added that the company has also been supporting Singaporean e-sports athletes such as Ho Kun Xian and is constantly looking to support more gamers. Tan also pointed out that Razer has "hundreds of employees" in Singapore, some of who were hired specifically for e-sports. "I suspect we might actually be the biggest employers of e-sports professionals in Singapore," Tan added.

"We will continue to invest in e-sports in Singapore AND the rest of the world...So instead of being abusive - we should be celebrating the fact that we will be seeing the growth of esports in the region and we, at Razer, are committed to spearheading it," he said.

Tan's decision came after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced during his Budget 2019 speech that the government is allocating RM10 million to the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation for e-sports. This is because the government recognises e-sports as an activity and industry which is growing increasingly popular among the younger generation, especially software engineers and gaming developers.

Tan called this "an incredibly progressive budget" for Malaysia and is eager to work with the Malaysian government to bring e-sports to the next level. Razer also recently made known of its plan to launch its smartphones to other markets next year, with Malaysia being a key market alongside Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia.

Meanwhile, CEO of MDEC, Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said in a commentary about Budget 2019 that e-sports is an important growth sector and its rise in the country and Asia is due to "positive policies" such as the endorsement of e-sports as an official sports in several countries including Malaysia, South Korea and China, as well as by the Asian Games.

"There’s more to e-sports than playing games. It is a large industry that can potentially provide high-quality jobs for the youth including software developers and engineers, graphic designers and illustrators; and even e-sports marketing and advertisers. The budget announcement gives legitimacy and empowerment to the youth to pursue their passion for e-sports and games," she said.