One of Thailand’s main online game operators Ini3 Digital announced today that SoftBank Ventures Korea, a venture capital arm of SoftBank Group, has invested an undisclosed amount that accounts for 23 percent of the company’s equity. A SoftBank partner will join the company’s board.
Daniel Kang, COO and partner of SoftBank commented on why the company chose to invest in the Thailand-based game company:
Ini3 has a long history in the game industry. Their philosophy focuses on customer satisfaction. They also have great vision. With these three combined with what SoftBank has, we can do so much more for the gaming industry.
Ini3 started up about a decade ago. Now it operates 24 games in Thailand with over 17 million registered users.
From IPO to SoftBank
For the past few years, Ini3 actually planned to file for an IPO. It has been preparing and re-organizing the company to do so. However, while grooming itself to be listed, the company found other opportunities.
Pattera Apithanakoon, CEO of Ini3, commented on this matter:
While preparing to be listed, we’ve met with other investors. With SoftBank it’s not about the money, it’s about the connection and opportunities we’d get.
Thus Ini3 pulled itself out of the filing process and took the deal with SoftBank.
Expand and enter the mobile gaming business
According to Pattera, here’s how she plans to spend the money:
Two years from now, we will focus on two sectors: one is what we are already good at – game operator. The other sector that we want to focus on is mobile gaming. We want to take this opportunity to tackle the mobile industry, using SoftBank support to grow regionally.
Ini3 plans to launch a mobile platform in the next three months and will bring a few more games to Thailand in the coming years.
More Southeast Asia for SoftBank
Ini3 marks the second company that SoftBank has invested in in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia’s Tokopedia.
It seems we can expect more good news in the region, according to Kang:
Geographically, Thailand is a good place to develop a better online game industry. It doesn’t only have good population with good internet penetration, but Thailand is also close to Vietnam, where it aims as the next market. Since 2012, we’ve our eyes set in Southeast Asia.
(Editing by Paul Bischoff)