Mobile games and Ronaldo make 39-year-old a billionaire


Ye, who moved to Singapore from China in the 1990s as a teenager and became a citizen shortly after his return from the US, has served as Sea’s chief operating officer since 2017. — Sea Ltd

Singapore’s newest billionaire is a former government employee who rode mobile sensation Free Fire into the ranks of the ultra-wealthy this week.

The battle royale or fight-to-the-death title distributed by Sea Ltd ranked among the five most downloaded games on the Apple and Google app stores for three straight quarters this year and has amassed US$1bil (RM4.17bil) in adjusted revenue since launching in 2017. That propelled a tripling in Sea’s market value and the fortune of co-founder Gang Ye, a Carnegie Mellon University alum who’s worked for Wilmar International Ltd and Singapore’s Economic Development Board.

The 39-year-old joins fellow co-founder Forrest Li, whose larger stake in the fast-growing games-to-shopping company earned him a ten-digit fortune earlier this year. Ye, who moved to Singapore from China in the 1990s as a teenager and became a citizen shortly after his return from the US, has served as Sea’s chief operating officer since 2017.

The executive holds an 8.4% stake in the company and is worth US$1bil (RM4.17bil), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. A company representative declined to comment on his net worth.

Shares in the company, which is part-owned by Chinese social media titan Tencent Holdings Ltd, reached an all-time high this month after Sea reported a tripling in revenue to US$610.1mil (RM2.54bil) in the third quarter.

While gaming is Sea’s biggest business, e-commerce platform Shopee is also growing fast. The segment’s revenue more than tripled in the quarter, helping narrow net losses to US$206mil (RM859.43mil). Sea’s dependence on the success of "just a few game titles” was listed as one of its business risks in a 2018 annual report.

Shopee, whose television and online ads feature Juventus soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, topped the mobile shopping category in South-East Asia by monthly active users and downloads in the third quarter, according to researcher Iprice Group. While an influx of e-commerce giants from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd to Amazon.com Inc onto Sea’s turf has sparked concerns over its growth, the company has a "firm lead in the region that’s tough to break”, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Matthew Kanterman wrote in November.

Ye and Li are the latest billionaires to emerge from the gaming scene. Tim Sweeney, founder of Fortnite maker Epic Games, has a US$7.2bil (RM30.03bil) fortune while Gabe Newell – whose Valve Corp operates the Steam platform – has a net worth of US$5.7bil (RM23.78bil), according to Bloomberg’s ranking. – Bloomberg

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In Tech News

Tesla's quarterly electric vehicle deliveries miss estimates
‘This is my biggest regret’: Home-based baker in SG recounts losing Instagram account to scammer
Exclusive-India's Reliance Jio to launch 4G enabled low-cost laptop at $184
Stellantis boss expects chip supply to remain 'complicated' until end 2023
Russia blocks SoundCloud citing spread of "false information" -Ifx
From sleep habits to pets, Amazon devices are learning more. Much more
Australian government slams Optus for cybersecurity breach
How 'Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope’ makes the right improvements
TikTok trend is sending kids home sick across US. What is the 'One Chip Challenge?’
US$10,000 for one Instagram post? How food influencers can make or break restaurants

Others Also Read