MOL Global had its initial public offering (NASDAQ: MOLG) on October 9th, and raised $169 million. MOL is the largest e-payment provider in SE Asia, covering 13 countries and 920,000 physical sales spots in 4 continents. It is the largest e-payment service provider in SEA’s games industry, and a vast number of SEA gamers use MOL Point Cards to purchase online game content. The online game portal is MOL Wallet. The IPO was unsuccessful in that it dropped 35% in the first day of trading, which was the worst first-day of trading in 10 years. However, the company is quite significant in the SEA games space.
Sony plans to launch the PS4 in mainland China in December, with some statements indicating the first year sales estimate to be 200,000 units. This will bring competition to Xbox One, though both brands are operated by the same parent company in China. The key to success for either product will be the availability of high quality games at the “right price.” So far, the Xbox One is having trouble with game titles, for example Forza Motorsport 5 sells for RMB 239 (US $40) but can also be found on Android TV boxes or smartphones for free, so gamers are opting for the free versions.
Growth in China is in the Tier 3 and 4 cities – and Alibaba knows it. Alibaba launched an RMB 10 billion rural expansion plan to extend services to county and villages throughout China. They aim to establish 1,000 county-level operating centers and 100,000 village-level service stations. Taobao has seen rural consumers grow from 7.11% of total users in Q2 2012 to 9.11% in Q1 2014.
SEA is hot: MOL had an IPO on NASDAQ, Bandai Namco Games opened an office in Kuala Lumpur, and Gamevil (mobile publisher) opened an office in Singapore. Watch for Niko’s 5th annual report on this growing region comprised of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, to be published in November.