Tan Min-Liang is a Singaporean entrepreneur who is best well known for being the CEO, co-founder and Creative Director of Razer Inc, the leading gaming lifestyle brand for gamers worldwide. He is responsible for the design and development of all the Razer products. Being the envy of gamers and budding entrepreneurs, Tan and Razer have garnered 11 million followers on social media platform, Facebook. Also, this former lawyer is the youngest self-made billionaire in Singapore.
Razer was the brainchild of Min-Liang with origins back in San Diego, California, in 2005. Since then, it has grown into a globally recognized brand for modern state-of-the-art hardware and software of gaming services. In recent years, Razer has decided to create more opportunities for local entrepreneurs in Singapore. To carry out these aims, Razer established its Southeast Asian headquarters in Singapore.
In an interview with EP!C Podcast on Startup Stories, Min-Liang shared about his leadership philosophy, humble stories and the future of Razer. He explained that he had to leave Singapore to found Razer in its early years to develop his dream more seriously. This was done as the gaming industry was not ready to develop in Asia. Venturing overseas, Min-Liang told the interviewer that people might be at the wrong place even with a terrific idea. He also gave words of encouragement to young aspiring entrepreneurs not to give up and carry on the persevering.
As Razer grows its influence in Singapore, Min-Liang wants more development in local entrepreneurship. One of his hopes is to look for more off-beat entrepreneurs with ideas that may not seem welcoming at the start and to nurture their success. Razer’s zVentures is trying to invest into the entrepreneurship scene and ecosystem too.
Beginning with a gaming mouse that is highly responsive, Razer brought new dimension to the gaming industry with gaming equipment that can give gamers faster processing power, better quality audio and lusher graphics. These qualities are coveted as they not only provide more immersive gaming experiences, but also provide players winning edges as they try to ascend the level in their choice of virtual universe. Razer became a hit sensation among gamers over the years. Some fans adored the Razer’s triple-headed snake logo so much that they have it tattooed on their bodies.
Contribution to the battle against COVID-19
After having flown back from the United States to Singapore at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Min-Liang started to do his part in the fight against the risks. Razer chipped in by getting some production lines situated in China to manufacture masks. These masks were donated to many countries, including Singapore. Razer actually announced in April 2020 that it would set up a fully automated mask manufacturing and packing line in Singapore to make masks for the Southeast Asia region, that includes Singapore itself. To make it more attractive, the Razer Pay wallet app was used in the mask redemption process for identity verification. Singapore residents aged 16 and above were able to redeem the masks.
As no manufacturing facilities were present in Singapore previously, the process management was challenging. He and Razer had to start a production line from scratch to ensure sufficient mask supply for the domestic market. Though it took only 24 days, Min-Liang justified that production of critical items in a very short period of time would be appreciated well, especially at a time when the COVID-19 environment of new urgency was replete with uncertain supply chains. With this big fundamental shift, he quipped that medtech capabilities have been learnt by his team and Razer might position itself for further expansion into new areas if there is a necessity.
Razer venture into banking
Often depicted as a gaming hardware manufacturing firm, Razer is leaving room for a growing diversity of its gaming ecosystem. Min-Liang actually prefers it to be described as a youth lifestyle company.
Razer Gold is Razer’s virtual currency that is used for digital content in many countries around the world. Another of Razer’s banking ventures is Razer Fintech which is an offline-to-online digital payment network that has processed over US$2 billion in payments in the year 2019. Both entities are involved in the US$50 million COVID-19 Support Fund which is Razer’s other initiative to support its business partners in the pandemic.
Min-Liang realized many of Razer’s partners are in need of cash flow so this digital currency platform and system would help to facilitate the cash flow to them much faster than the banks do. So far, the response was very well received though they were less considered aspects of Razer’s business.
A digital bank would be built. Razer applied for a digital full bank license in Singapore to better address the disillusion needs of the youths and millennials.