SINGAPORE, March 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Singapore-based consumer entertainment platform Thor Group and online commerce operator Focus Technology (002315.SZ), plan to jointly roll out a cross-border e-commerce platform targeting the European market in the second quarter of 2021.
Headquartered in Singapore, Thor Group specializes in online leisure games and financial services, and has established offices in several Southeast and South Asian countries, with a several-hundred-strong professional workforce spread across the two regions. The company will now start its cross-border e-commerce business directly servicing consumers through the partnership with Focus Technology, a firm rich in experience with B2B international trade.
Thor: From gaming to e-commerce
Thor Group is not the first company to expand from gaming to e-commerce across multiple markets. Sea Group's e-commerce platform Shopee is a case in point. As of the third quarter of 2020, Shopee's app downloads had exceeded 195 million. Shopee and Lazada are the two major e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia.
Thor Group vice president Frank Lee said, "Our research and analysis show that the core capabilities accumulated in the gaming sector, such as technology applications, have proven to be particularly effective in e-commerce.
"The core reason why we chose the European market is that the continent is the world's largest market in terms of the volume of cross-border e-commerce, along with a better infrastructure and a relatively favorable market environment. At the same time, Europe provides better access to financial institutions," said Johnson Young, CEO of the JV formed by Thor Group and Focus Technology. "We made the decision after taking everything into account, with the underlying logic that, of all possible markets, the European market would be the easiest one for us to enter. In addition, the market is fragmented. There are small e-businesses in different countries and regions, while no single entity dominates the market. In such a competitive environment, we can enter the market faster by leveraging our understanding of local users and coverage of existing user groups."
The expansion from gaming to e-commerce has both obvious advantages and disadvantages in terms of corporate operations. Zhang Shule, an internet and game industry commentator, said: "The expansion of game developers into the e-commerce sector depends on how they do it. Thor Group has the e-commerce "gene" as the company started with e-sports and game devices. The company can market its products by hosting or becoming the title sponsor of e-sports events or sell on its own e-commerce platform, neither of which needs the knowhow that would be required if it were truly an "interdisciplinary" effort. The advantage is that Thor can precisely target users, while the disadvantage is that there is little room for vertical expansion. It is also difficult to promote the cross-border sales of other products with a similar user base by relying on the attributes of e-sports and game users."
Focus: Moving from servicing businesses to directly servicing the consumer
The leading assets in Focus Technology's e-commerce portfolio include B2B international trade platform Made-in-China.com as well as B2B cross-border trading platforms Crov.com, inQbrands Inc. and Doba.com.
Public data show that, as of the end of 2019, the value of China's cross-border e-commerce B2C transactions had reached 170 billion yuan, accounting for less than 1% of China's $US4 trillion in foreign trade. During 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic vastly accelerated the pace at which consumers worldwide embraced online shopping. As China took the lead in the recovery of supply chains, cross-border e-commerce platforms had to shoulder more of the responsibilities in terms of stabilizing foreign trade, leading to more investments in the sector. In addition to established internet giants, most notably, Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com, emerging leaders such as ByteDance also undertook a foray into the market.
Commenting on the partnership between Thor Group and Focus Technology, Mr. Zhang said, "Timing is not a problem, yet success ultimately depends on whether the two companies have enough strength jointly to support such a cross-border e-commerce platform. After all, previous cross-border e-commerce platforms of various sizes have not yet truly achieved success, not to mention the need to build a fully vertical platform."
Johnson Young said, "Our core advantage is that, compared with most other platforms, we are expert in both the ability to grow traffic and the supply chain, the two elements that are critical in markets worldwide where success is dependent on the site's or platform's ability to drive traffic."
SOURCE Thor Group