Yesterday, we covered the 23 individuals in Singapore who had been listed on Forbes’ latest 30 Under 30 List.
Not everyone is Singaporean, so we decided to revisit how one did make it onto Forbes, but on their Richest List.
Forbes’ Richest typically consists of businessmen in real estate and banking, but Razer CEO and tech entrepreneur Tan Min-Liang made his debut at #41, the other being Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin at #3. Backed by giants Temasek Holdings and Intel Capital, Razer was founded in 2005 and specialises in gaming products with its headquarters in United States.
The list was compiled “using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges and other sources“. It also includes family fortunes, and even those shared among their extended families.
The list revealed Tan and his assets being worth a whopping $600million. According to Tan, his success was less due to strategy, but more an undying passion for gaming from which he came, and is now creating products for.
Min-Liang Tan: A Gamer Helping Other Gamers
A National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law alumni, Tan refers to himself as a “Chief Gamer”, and is loved by both Razer fans and the corporate world.
Beating out big names like Tesla’s Elon Musk and Alibaba’s Jack Ma, he was ranked 3rd in a list of the world’s top leaders in technology by Juniper Research.
To fans (and even non-fans), his frequent Facebook posts are not only personable, but also offer interesting insights, like with comments on the epidemic that was Pokemon GO.
Razer has been said to have shipped “over tens of millions” of their products, and Tan relates their success to how the gaming industry is “counter-cyclical”.
“When things go bad, gaming is one of the most cost-effective ways to be entertained. […] You can have boundless amounts of entertainment without spending a single dime, except of course, bandwidth, but that’s largely a given today, especially in Singapore. […] Games have done phenomenally well, even in bad times.”
Razer is also a prominent player in eSports, not only because they produce gaming gear, but also because of their elite Team Razer group, which has recruited over 300 professional eSports athletes from 34 countries to date.
The purpose of the Team is “not just about sponsorships and slapping a logo on a jersey, [but] to provide a productive, professional and passionate environment for those eSports teams and players, so they can compete at the highest possible level.”
This passion for the community stems from Tan’s own love for games.
In an interview with The Peak, it was revealed that his love for games started when he was around 5 years old with Lode Runner. This followed into his teens as a fan of Counterstrike and World Of Warcraft. Even during his short stint working at a lawyer’s firm, he would play games after office hours.
In an interview with CCTV America, he stated that Razer is “probably known as the Nike of eSports” due to their well-known sponsorships of gamers. He stood by his confidence that the eSports industry will only get bigger, citing how “more people watched the final of the League of Legends World Championship Series Video Game than the NBA finals in 2015″.
He isn’t wrong, and the global eSports market is expected to grow to $1.1billion by 2019, with most of the money coming from merchandise, event tickets, sponsorships, online advertising, and media rights.
For the entire report on the eSports industry, you can check out Newzoo’s report here.
Commitment, Passion And No Regrets
If there’s anything to learn from Tan, it is his commitment to stay true to the brand.
In an interview with High Net Worth, he mentions that even though he had received advice that “dumbing down” their products could make Razer “fifty or a hundred times larger”, he refused to do so.
Instead, Tan wishes to bridge the gap between mainstream consumers (and non-gamers) and Razer. “We give you options […] so that even if you are a non-gamer, you can experience the very best Razer has to offer.”
In terms of how the team create products, they have a deceptively straight-forward strategy – make whatever they want as long as they’re excited about it.
“For example, we made a laptop because I’ve always wanted a laptop of my own. Gaming laptops were too thick and heavy and I thought they weren’t good enough. So we acquired the best talent in the world to build a laptop, spent tens of millions of dollars, and years of research and development.”
“As a result, we invented the world’s first true gaming laptop—super thin, super powerful. We are just gamers at heart, but with a lot more resources to make the things we want for ourselves.”
By sticking to their core passion, gaming, they have used their financial and technological advantages to create products which gamers like themselves will love – and hell, it works like a charm.
A graduate from NUS’ law school, his deviance from the stable career path of being a lawyer into a journey of tech entrepreneurship had started as a gamble, but he emerged even more successful.
“The things that I wasted most of my time on in my youth have probably become the most constructive for me today. I don’t believe that anything is a waste of time.”
Perhaps it is with this attitude that Tan has risen the ranks not only in terms of net worth, but in reputation as well.
Feature Image Credit: Min-Liang Tan’s Facebook