29.10.2020, 16:37

Looking for Vietnam’s next big gaming hit

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Hello readers,

I was still a student when
Flappy Bird
became a worldwide phenomenon in 2014 and I remember playing the game with friends during recess breaks and getting extremely frustrated every time we collided with a pipe or hit the ground and had to start over.

For me,
Flappy Bird
is a nostalgic memory of my school days. But for Vietnamese game developers, the title is an inspiration, spurring them on in their pursuit to produce global hits.

Today we look at,

How Vietnam’s game developers could create the next
Flappy Bird
GGV Capital’s role in leading Grab down the payments path
Other newsy highlights such as the plans of
PUBG ’s creator to go public and Tencent’s latest investment into a parking startup


Get your game face on

Looking for Vietnam’s next big gaming hit

Flappy Bird
was developed by Vietnamese indie game developer Nguyen Ha Dong, and it took the world by storm in 2014. Since then, developers in Vietnam have been trying hard to replicate this past glory, but in a more sustainable way.

Fertile ground? Vietnam’s mobile-first market has gained an edge in the region. Four publishers from Vietnam (VNG, Amanotes, OneSoft, and BACHA Soft) were listed in App Annie’s latest ranking of the top mobile publishers from Southeast Asia. However, Vietnamese gamers tend to prefer hardcore, foreign titles often published by VNG or Sea, which means indie studios need to look for their audience outside of the country.
Going beyond the game : It’s not enough for a game to become a massive hit – companies need to find ways to monetize and sustain that growth. According to an industry expert, some Vietnamese mobile game studios lack clear marketing and publishing strategies, forgetting that if revenues can’t cover operations and marketing, it’s technically “game over.”
Getting the experts in : Gaming startups often struggle to get funding because the region already has two unicorns with roots in the industry: VNG and Sea. However, a solution to this could be seeking funding from major game companies or publishers that can provide not just money but also the expertise in operations that could keep a game in the air once it gets off the ground.

Read more:
The hunt is still on for Vietnam’s next Flappy Bird


Grab’s path to payments

GGV Capital was one of Grab’s earliest investors, leading its US$15 million series B round in 2014. The venture capital firm was also
the catalyst
behind the company’s foray into the payments arena and its subsequent evolution into one of the region’s largest super apps.

A payments revolution : Speaking at this year’s
Tech in Asia
Conference, Grab president Ming Maa shared that it was GGV Capital managing partner Jixun Foo – among its other investors – that led Grab to foray into payments. The exec urged the startup to capitalize on the rapid growth in the payments market, after seeing the transformations that had happened to the payment ecosystem in China.
Getting in early : In 2016 Grab launched GrabPay, which it has since expanded to a much broader set of financial services. Fintech plays a huge part in Grab’s ecosystem, as it ties into almost all of the features available on its app and is a critical part in Grab’s efforts to become Southeast Asia’s everyday super app
Growing bigger : According to Foo, Grab was one of the few early players riding the wave of digitalization and disruption in Southeast Asia, which was what led to GGV Capital’s investment in the company. In his view, Grab has to grow into new services and become a lifestyle gateway beyond ride-sharing in order for it to continue to enhance its service offering and gain value.


VCs, real talk. Listen up.

Wanna get a VC’s attention? You will need a strong team, a large addressable market, and a unique product idea. But wait, there’s more.

VCs are also interested in who has invested in your startup before. You see, there are
hidden alliances and friendships between Southeast Asia’s VCs , and your past backers (or lack thereof) could be a make or break for investment deals.

For instance, East Ventures often avoids co-investing with other “top” firms, but it is real buddies with Skystar Capital.

If you’re thinking, “Hey, didn’t you talk about this article before?” you’d be right. But Celine, our product lead, really,
loves this article. And she’s not the only one. Judging by the number of page views we received, around 10000 other readers love it too.

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who a VC firm is avoiding or who they’re buddying up with , join our
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1️⃣ Singtel’s (potential) big investment into digital banking
Singtel may pour
more than US$441 million
into its joint venture with Grab Holdings to set up a digital full bank in Singapore, according to estimates by DBS Group Research and Citigroup. You can check out all of Singapore’s digital bank contenders
– Who are they and what do they bring to the table?

PUBG ’s creator plans on going public

Krafton Inc., the company behind hit mobile game
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
has hired
Mirae Asset Daewoo for its initial public offering planned for 2021. It could be South Korea’s largest ever stock market debut. Tech giant Tencent is Krafton’s second-largest shareholder.

3️⃣ Some Joyy for Baidu
Chinese search giant Baidu is reportedly on the verge of
closing a deal
to acquire the Chinese operations of Joyy, a Chinese video-streaming social platform listed in the US. The deal, which sources say could be worth US$3 billion to US$4 billion, is part of Baidu’s plans to diversify its revenue streams and enter the livestreaming sector.

4️⃣ Tencent funds this parking startup
Tencent has made a
US$29.8 million strategic investment
into PP Parking, a smart parking platform operated by ChinaRoad. PP Parking, which was launched in 2013 operates a software-as-a-service platform that provides features such as smart car-parking management, real-time data sharing, and digital payments, among others.

5️⃣ Jack Ma’s YF Capital backs ecommerce platform
Chinese ecommerce platform ZKH, announced that it has
raised US$315 million
in a series E funding round led by YF Capital, a private equity firm co-founded by Jack Ma. ZKH is a business-to-business platform for Chinese companies to procure industrial products like hardware equipment and lubricants, as well as to get maintenance, repair, and operations services.

6️⃣ Fresh funding for FreshToHome
India-based ecommerce platform FreshToHome
has raised US$121 million
in a series C round led by the sovereign wealth fund Investment Corporation of Dubai. FreshToHome uses its AI-powered supply chain technology and its cold chain to enable sellers to directly source meat and fish from fisherfolk and farmers.

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