AIS, Singtel shell out for gaming

Hui Weng Cheong, AIS president, left, Somchai Lertsuthivong, AIS chief executive, centre, and Mr Johnston celebrate their gaming investment.

Singtel, together with its Thai associate Wireless Device Supply Co (WDS), a subsidiary of Advanced Info Service (AIS), and South Korea’s SK Telecom, have announced a Series A investment in a regional gaming joint venture as the firms seek to enter the region’s rapidly growing e-sports industry.

The joint venture will partner with leading international game developers, and leverage the partners’ Korean and Southeast Asian gaming and entertainment content as well as Singtel’s digital and telco assets.

“The gamer market in Thailand is showing remarkable growth. There are over 27 million active gamers across all platforms, with revenue in 2019 exceeding 23 billion baht, and expected to increase to 27 billion in 2020. AIS has been a pioneer in the Thai e-sports space, hosting several successful tournaments,” said Alistair Johnston, managing director for new business at AIS.

“We are excited to be joining forces with Singtel and SK Telecom in developing this new venture. We aim to provide a great experience to all gamers in Thailand and across the region.”

The joint venture is not expected to have a material impact on Singtel Group’s financials.

“Gaming is growing in popularity as digital entertainment for our customers in the region. There are some 200 million gamers in our markets, and the numbers continue to grow,” said Arthur Lang, chief executive of Singtel’s International Group.

“In the past two years, we’ve worked with various partners in the gaming ecosystem on regional e-sports efforts, such as PVP Esports, to connect with Gen Z and millennial audiences.

“This has received strong support from the community and spurred us to deepen our engagement beyond e-sports into gaming content distribution.”