Tech entrepreneur Min-Liang Tan says he’s aiming for a sixfold increase of Razer’s physical stores over the next few years, and a public listing in the U.S. may also be on the horizon.
Gaming lifestyle and devices company Razer plans to ramp up its network of retail stores in the coming years, particularly in the U.S., where it already has 11 outlets in cities like New York, San Francisco, Miami, Seattle and San Diego.
“We want to get to a 100 soon, we’re focused on rolling that out,” Razer’s chairman and CEO Min-Liang Tan said on the sidelines of the Forbes Global CEO Conference 2023 in Singapore earlier this month. He expects the expansion to take place over the coming years, and added that the initial phase would focus on North America first.
“We’re making sure we’re getting the U.S. stores to the right experience… Once we’ve narrowed that down, we will continue to invest and grow in the stores,” he said, adding that Europe and China will also be important markets for the roll-out. Globally, Razer currently has 16 physical stores, including outlets in markets outside of the U.S. in places like Taipei, Singapore and Hong Kong.
For Tan, an avid gamer himself, an ideal Razer store is one that is both experiential and social. “In my early days, I remember I would go to LAN shops to hang out with my friends. I [didn’t] necessarily have the money…to buy stuff all the time. But I would have friends whom I’d hang out with at these LAN shops and I’d have crazy ideas with them,” he shared. “Razer stores are built for that, so that gamers can come and play games and hang out.”
“I’m seeing a paradigm shift, where the gamer has become really synonymous with youth, and Razer has become a key way to reach the youth.”
Razer delisted from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in May last year in a deal that valued it at $3.2 billion. But Tan said that he doesn’t rule out taking the company public again, adding that a listing in the U.S. could be a possibility, but he declined to disclose any further details.
Tan, who has a current net worth of $1.3 billion, owns roughly 39% of Razer, while founding investor Lim Kaling and Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners, one of Europe’s largest private equity firms, hold 29% and 32%, respectively.
Tan cofounded the U.S.- and Singapore-headquartered company back in 2005 with the late Robert Krakoff, former president emeritus. Reflecting on the development of the industry over the years, Tan said, “When I first founded the company, gaming was a little bit more of a niche market. Today, gaming has become an established industry and is a multi-billion-dollar industry.”
Before it was taken private, Razer reported a net profit of $46 million in 2021, an eightfold increase from the previous year, on revenue of $1.6 billion. While the U.S. market had contributed the most to its topline, the company said it also had a sizable presence in China and Asia-Pacific, and it was aiming to deepen its foothold in Southeast Asia as well as tap new markets such as Latin America and the Middle East.
Tan also shared that Razer has been expanding its offerings to appeal to a broader audience through tie-ups with other high-end lifestyle brands. The tech giant has partnered with the likes of Italian watch brand Panerai, Italian luxury carmaker Lamborghini and upscale baggage label TUMI to design a new range of products.
Last Friday, Razer unveiled its newest products at its third RazerCon, an annual digital gaming event. In partnership with fashion house Dolce & Gabbana, it launched two Razer gaming chairs (of which only the Dolce & Gabbana – Razer Enki Pro is currently on sale) as well as a gamer headset styled with monograms of the two brands.
Tan highlighted the fact that there’s a whole slew of other non-gaming brands that are now looking at how to gain access to the gamer demographic.
“I’m seeing a paradigm shift, where the gamer has become really synonymous with youth, and Razer has become a key way to reach the youth,” Tan said. “We’ve become this crossroads of sorts where people come to us [to access] this market.”
The benefit that Razer stands to gain includes broadening the company’s reach to a much wider audience, Tan acknowledged. “Ultimately, it translates to the topline, the bottom line. It’s good business because I believe that you can only get better when you work together. And this has really panned out well for us.”