Singtel, AIS and SK Telecom create esports joint-venture

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 24: Gamers play "Fortnite" before the debut of Allied Esports' "PlayTime With KittyPlays" esports variety show at HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas at Luxor Hotel and Casino on March 24, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

Telecommunications companies Singtel, AIS and SK Telecom have formed a joint venture to create an esports platform targeting 800 million Asian gamers.

Singtel is from Singapore, AIS from Thailand and SK Telecom from South Korea.

The joint venture aims to create a global social network of gamers and operate businesses related to esports and media content, according to a report yesterday by Yonhap News Agency. Combining SK Telecom’s expertise in operating esports teams, and Singtel’s and AIS’s experience in hosting esports events, the companies will explore business opportunities such as live broadcasting of esports events in virtual reality, a new games content platform, and partnerships with game developers.

The new venture will launch later this year. The three companies will have equal shares in it. The amount of investment was not disclosed.

Arthur Lang, chief executive of Singtel’s International Group, said: “By combining our strengths with SK Telecom and AIS, both pioneers in entertainment, esports and gaming, we can contribute significantly to the gaming scene – from offering local community engagement solutions to content and payment channels, which are often regarded by game developers as challenges to enter Asian markets.”

According to Yonhap, the joint venture was signed remotely by the company chief executives last Thursday, following a video conference linking Seoul, Singapore and Bangkok, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Charles Huh, SK Telecom’s vice-president and head of private placement group, said: “SK Telecom will help create a new level of gaming experience by providing popular Korean gaming content throughout the Asia-Pacific region.”

AIS managing director of new business Alistair David Johnston said the Thailand esports space had great potential, with AIS hosting several successful tournaments in the country recently: “The games 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 baht in 2020.”