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The Future of the Web3 Industry: Asia Pacific’s Potential, According to Global Companies

On September 28-29, Singapore became a host for TOKEN2049, one of the leading global crypto events where founders and executives of leading Web3 companies share their views on the market. On the sidelines of the event, e27 speaks to three global Web3 companies to understand their views on the Asia Pacific as the next big market for them – and how they intend to win this.

Seeing the Asia Pacific from outside

The first company that we spoke to was WEMIX, a South Korean-origin company that started out as a game developer before expanding to the Web3 space. Its offerings now include DAO and DeFi services. “We started the blockchain business in 2018,” WEMIX CEO Shane Kim explains to e27 on the first day of TOKEN2049. “As a gaming company with more than 20 years of history, we have very big IPs and game titles. We need a game platform to onboard our games, so we launched our platform in 2020.” Although founded in South Korea, the company has set up an entity in Singapore, which it views as a “significant area” for its blockchain business WEMIX. “We think Singapore is the best place to extend our blockchain business because Singapore has friendly regulations. It is also not far from South Korea, so there is little time difference. It is the best place to expand our blockchain business,” Kim says.

We also spoke to Anton Katz, CEO and Co-Founder of digital asset technology provider TALOS, who explained to us the difference in their user profiles from the early days of the company and today. When the company first began, most of its clients were crypto-native organisations that were investing their own capital. But today, they have a wider variety of clients, which include traditional financial institutions and service providers who are looking to enter the Web3 space by adding digital assets into their regular offerings Katz also noticed a difference between the US and the Asia Pacific clients. “In the US and Europe, there is a 50-50 balance between crypto-native organisations and service providers. But what we have seen in Asia is more lopsided towards the service providers,” he said. “There is a strong, long-term thinking in Asia in terms of providing services to underlying clients, and those can be retail or institutional customers.” “We definitely did not expect this level of interest,” Katz stresses.

Another global Web3 company looking into the Asia Pacific market is Amber Group, a global digital asset company that has recently secured unicorn status. Having grown from 60 people to almost 1,000 in the recent year, the company also sees a shift in the profile of its customer base. “Our client base is actually quite diverse. Four or five years ago, it was mostly the crypto-native participants because back then, there are not that many outsiders trading crypto. So you can think of crypto miners who have the need to get liquidity or manage their Bitcoin exposure. Then there are many and token projects,” explained Annabelle Huang, Managing Partner at Amber Group. “Right now, we have also expanded into a lot of the traditional financial institutions, a lot of hedge funds, that are scaling up to add crypto to part of their portfolio. We also have traditional family offices and ultra-high net worth individuals who are willing viewing Bitcoin as an alternative investment,” she continued.

Having started her career in the US, Huang also noted the difference in how Asia Pacific customers are behaving. “I saw a very different crowd. In the US, it is a lot more developer-focused, more R&D perhaps. In terms of user activity, I think it’s definitely a lot more vibrant here in the Asia Pacific,” she said. “People are generally open-minded about new products and willing to try. It is a perfect ground for a lot of innovation that comes to this space to become real, tested use cases eventually.” This placed the Asia Pacific as a top priority market for Amber Group. “We are continuing to build upon the offerings here. All the way from the base layer, from security to all the product offerings that we can offer to clients. For example, on the institutional high-net-worth side, maybe their need is more around trading or wealth management. But I think we are not ruling out retail opportunities down the line,” she elaborates. “Looking at the trends we have seen so far, in GameFi and others … I think we’re building out the infrastructure so that we are ready to onboard many more users. By infrastructure here, we mean technical infrastructure and regulation infrastructure.”

Seizing the APAC market

When it comes to the strategies these companies are using to seize opportunities and win market share in the Asia Pacific, there is a great variety between TALOS, WEMIX, and Amber Group. But one thing in common for these companies is the importance of word-of-mouth in a nascent industry such as Web3. “For many years, it happens organically,” explains Kim. He adds that as a gaming company, WEMIX only began implementing marketing outreach with its more recent titles by hosting offline events in Japan, where most of its attendees come from abroad. “We always focus on the essence of the game business: Fun. Basically, a game has to be fun,” Kim stresses. “Money is [even] a second objective, I think. Many P2E games focus too much on making money, which is not sustainable. Users will always want a fun experience with a game.”

Amber Group also benefited from the concept of word-of-mouth. “We have established ourselves as the most trustworthy, secure, and service-oriented platform. I think that is what our clients liked. Internationally, this space is still quite small,” Huang explains. “So, for new players looking to come into space, I think they will get around to recommendations, and our name is always on top of the list,” she concludes.

With the Asia Pacific playing an important role in their expansion plan, it is no surprise that both TALOS and WEMIX have set up entities in Singapore to spearhead their operations in the region. “By having these interactions in APAC and abroad, we have a better understanding of how service provider organisations are adopting these technologies. We are better at providing a more coherent set of services,” Katz explains. He gives an example of how crypto trading platforms tend to focus more on improving trading efficiency, connectivity, and stability while other organisations may put a stronger emphasis on relationships with clients. In the case of WEMADE, the company is also looking forward to investing in more blockchain projects and companies in the region. “We focus on the quality of the game and the fun [aspect of it], but we expand our business to new trends of the blockchain industry. We always go out looking for new trends,” says Kim.

Huang explains more details of Amber Group’s plan to grow further in the Asia Pacific market. It starts with expanding its team to include the best talents in the region. It also puts emphasis on surviving the crypto funding winter. “The most important thing is to weather through this cycle, making sure that we can continue to build in this so-called crypto winter. To remain competitive and still offer the best-in-class services … to make sure that we can onboard the next wave of users coming our way in the next Bull Run,” she closes.

— This article was first published on October 5, 2022. The post Global Web3 companies on why Asia Pacific is the future of the industry appeared first on e27.


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