30 October 2020

Diving into the world of online entertainment and e-sports for Business China’s 6th FC Global Business Series

Following the success of the FutureChina Global Forum (Special Virtual Edition), Business China returned with the 6th edition of the FC Global Business Series organised on 28 October 2020. The webinar themed “Game Changing Future for 5G-Empowered Entertainment, Sports and Content” featured esteemed experts in the online entertainment and e-sports field, namely Mr Tan Min-Liang, Cofounder and CEO of Razer, Mr Teh Hua Feng, Group President of ONE Championship, Mr Jeffery Lyndon Ko, Co-Founder and President of iDreamSky and Mr Kuek Yu-Chuang, Vice President for International Business of iQIYI. The moderator for the session was Mr Nicholas Khoo, Co-Founder of Yup.GG. CEO of Business China Ms Tin Pei Ling gave the welcome remarks to kickstart the session.

The session received an overwhelming response with a total of 122,028 attendees tuning in via various online platforms to join in the webinar. The session was broadcasted via Facebook Live to garner more reach and views. This is due to the strong support of various organisations such as National University of Singapore Executive MBA (Chinese), Singapore Cybersports & Online Gaming Association, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Singapore Games Association, Singapore Institute of Directors and China Entrepreneurs Forum. Bank of China, OCBC and Temasek were the special partners for the event.

During the panel discussion, the panelists discussed actively on the growing markets of China and ASEAN for the online entertainment, gaming and e-sports field. They agreed that the pandemic had led to the acceleration of those areas where they had observed a higher consumption for online content and gaming activities. Each speaker engaged the audience with personal anecdotes and their knowledge expertise. Mr Kuek shared on how technology had helped to transcend geographical barriers whereby viewers are able to choose “buffet-style” from a wide range of videos streamed online. Giving the example of Little Nyonya remake produced by iQiyi, the cast consisted of both Singapore and Chinese artistes which indicated the interaction between ASEAN and China. He saw a lot of growth potential in Southeast Asia where revenue per user had been increasing and noted the behavioural changes to subscription model in the region.  

Mr Tan talked about the partnerships Razer had forged in China, such as the on-demand cinema with iQiyi through THX Ltd. E-sports had also been growing in Southeast Asia whereby it had been included in the Southeast Asian Games last year. Razer also held the largest Southeast Asia e-sports tournament this year called the Razer Invitational - SEA. He pointed out that the flexibility of digital entertainment being able to consume anywhere and everywhere is important. This is where monetisation of content can be done with content creation and on content platform. Hence, he was optimistic on the opportunities in the digital space.

Mr Ko recounted how iDreamSky’s offline business growth in China had boosted for this year comparatively to the same period last year. However, he also noted that the pandemic had resulted in people being more cautious of where they were going in the real world. For offline entertainment businesses, he emphasised the importance of providing value and unique experience to the customers to entice them back to the real world.

Currently in China for work, Mr Teh elaborated further on his first-hand account in the country as well as drawing comparisons with ASEAN. Despite posing challenges in some areas, COVID-19 had also created new opportunities at the same time. One Championship had been partnering with Chinese companies such as Xiaomi for sponsorships and brand licensing, whereby their partnerships also span outside China. Businesses in China are venturing overseas, and this is where the value lies for overseas companies to collaborate with them. He foresaw that the consumption of online content will still continue in the future and highlighted the importance in reaching out to the consumers in the different markets to understand their preferences.

Moving on to the next theme on topic of opportunities for online entertainment, gaming and e-sports industry in a VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) world, one key word that was brought up by the panelists was innovation. Despite the rapid increase in online users during COVID-19, operating costs had also risen for businesses as well as more players joining this market. Businesses have to constantly innovate themselves by trying out new technology to further enhance their services. Examples raised includes the use of 5G for cloud gaming as well as VR/AR to provide immersive experience for sports viewers watching from the comfort of their homes.

During the Q&A segment, a wide range of issues was raised by the audience with regards to the gender diversity in e-sports, the role of digital currency in the virtual content world as well as the growth prospects of the gaming, e-sports and content industry in the Southeast Asia region. Drawing from their background and experiences, the panelists shared their views on those questions. While they have a positive outlook of the industry moving ahead, they also emphasised the importance for organisations to constantly innovate themselves in order not to be disrupted.

Before the end of the session, a poll survey was conducted where the audience were asked on their views with regard to the trends, opportunities and challenges in the entertainment, sports and content arena. 47% of the respondents found themselves spending more time on watching short videos, while 42% opined that the roll of 5G will bring about more integrated and innovative services involving games, music, sports and TV. Increased cybersecurity and cloud-based streaming cost was the major challenge that the audience felt the industry was facing.

The next FC Global Business Series “2020 US Presidential Election Special:  The Future of US-China Relations and its Impact on ASEAN” will be held on 6 November 2020 at 9am (SGT). Please stay tuned for more updates.