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Singtel, AIS, SK Telecom make Series A investment in regional gaming joint venture

TELCOS Singtel, AIS from Thailand and SK Telecom from South Korea have teamed up to make a Series A investment of an undisclosed amount in a regional gaming joint venture that they hope will engage 800 million gamers in the region.

The investment marks the next step in the partnership between Singtel and SK Telecom, following a memorandum of understanding signed in February 2019 to develop the region’s gaming and e-sports eco-system, a joint statement said.

The latest joint venture will partner leading international game developers, and leverage the partners’ Korean and South-east Asian gaming and entertainment content, the statement said.

Singtel is expected to bring its regional knowledge, digital and telco assets to the partnership, while SK Telecom’s expertise lies in Korean entertainment and gaming, and AIS’s is in e-sports and digital content.

Arthur Lang, chief executive of Singtel’s International Group, said the group has 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. We’ve built a team of technology and gaming veterans to lead the charge as we take our next big step,” Mr Lang said.

Singtel organised its inaugural PVP Esports Championship in 2019, attracting over 3,600 teams competing in both Dota 2 and Arena of Valor for a US$300,000 prize pool, the telco said in a statement earlier. It added that the championship final was played before a sold-out live audience and streamed to over 13 million viewers online through Singtel’s content partners.

Charles Huh, vice-president and head of private placement group at SK Telecom, said the company hopes to create a new level of gaming experience by providing popular Korean gaming content throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Alistair David Johnson, managing director of new business at AIS, said the games market in Thailand is showing remarkable growth with over 27 million active gamers across all platforms. He said revenue in 2019 exceeded 23 billion baht (S$1 billion) and is expected to increase to 27 billion baht this year.

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