BEFORE consumer Internet firm Sea became one of South-east Asia's most well-known tech names, the company was a scrappy startup working out of a small shophouse office on Maxwell Road in Singapore. Founded by Forrest Li in 2009, Sea went public on the New York Stock Exchange in October 2017 and has since grown into a US$54.2 billion company.
Mr Li, who is chief executive and chairman of the group, helmed Sea as it evolved from a games publisher called Garena into a regional heavyweight with businesses in gaming, e-commerce and digital finance. Sea's e-commerce platform, Shopee, is now one of the fastest-growing regional players and operates across South-east Asia and Taiwan.
"Our company's mission is to better the lives of consumers and small businesses through technology - and I believe that this mission is more important now than ever given the disruptions we are all facing as a result of the coronavirus crisis," Mr Li said in May as the group released its first-quarter results.
"The coronavirus crisis is driving a step change in the growth of the digital economy globally, materially accelerating a shift to online lifestyles that is broad, deep, and, in our view, irreversible."
Besides his role at Sea, Mr Li is also a member of the board of directors of the Singapore Economic Development Board. He serves as an independent non-executive director of Shangri-La Asia Limited, a leading global hospitality group listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Mr Li graduated from Stanford University with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and holds a bachelor's degree in engineering from Shanghai Jiaotong University.
As the regional startup ecosystem heats up and the pandemic brings the digital economy to the fore, Mr Li will be sharing about his entrepreneurial journey and what is in store for Sea during the virtual interactive forum on July 30.
Called Cutting Edge and organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times, the series showcases thought leaders from various fields and features audience participation.
The forum is sponsored by GuocoLand and moderated by Straits Times associate editor Vikram Khanna. Mr Li will be the final personality to be featured in the series.
"The Cutting Edge series was conceived at a time when businesses have been facing increasing rates of disruption and increasing frequency of 'black swan' events," said Cheng Hsing Yao, group managing director of GuocoLand.
"It was called Cutting Edge because we wanted to learn from successful individuals how they stay at the forefront of trends when conceiving their products and services, and how they plan their businesses."
Past speakers include Howard Yu, an expert on innovation and corporate disruption, venture capitalist Jenny Lee and One Championship founder and chairman Chatri Sityodtong.
The webinar will last from 10am to 11.30am on July 30. To register, visit cuttingedge.sphevents.com.sg