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Magic Box Asia launched with ambitious domestic, regional goals

Magic Box Asia, the first Thai mobile-game publisher, was officially launched yesterday with the aim of grabbing 5 to 10 per cent of the country's mobile-app economy by the end of next year.

The Thai mobile-app market is expected to grow by between 20 and 30 per cent per year, with a projected size of more than Bt2 billion this year.

Chief executive officer Pornthep Sethiwan said Magic Box Asia's goal was to eventually become a regional mobile publisher, which it planned to achieve over three phases: by first focusing on the Thai market; then moving into Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore by early next year; and finally expanding to Southeast Asia as a whole by the end of next year.

"We aim to capture around 5 to 10 per cent of the mobile-game market in Southeast Asia within the next three years," he said.

The market for digital content on the mobile platform is huge and fast-growing, and importantly, gaming forms the majority with 80 per cent of the market size. The total mobile-game market in Southeast Asia is expected to be around five to six times the Thai market's size, said the CEO.

When it moves to the regional-penetration phase, the company will work with local interests in each country, who will be strategic partners for such matters as payment and marketing, he added.

The main revenue source in this kind of business comes from items purchased by game players. Initially, with the first game title, the average spending per user per month is at least Bt200, rising to as much as Bt1,000 for some items.

Magic Box Asia aims to have 1 million users by the end of this year, with around 10 per cent of them purchasing games.

"Normally, the conversion rate - the ratio of game items purchased compared to the total number of game downloads - is between 2 and 5 per cent. But for us, for some games we expect to have a conversion rate of 10 per cent," said Pornthep.

The key to success as a mobile-game publisher is to have game titles, local partners and a reliable payment system, he explained.

The company's chief technology officer, Permsiri Tiyavutiroj, said that under the business plan, four game titles would be launched this year: "Fantasista Doll", which will be ready for download on June 1, "Summon the Bit Collection", and "Bata Battle" - ready for download in the final quarter; and "Dragon Poker" will be for download early next year.

Magic Box Asia is also setting up a data centre in Singapore to provide mobile games throughout the region, he said.

The company has been founded by a group of tech guys, including LaunchPad's Pornthep Sethiwan and Permsiri Tiyavutiroj.

It is also invested in by Rakuten Tarad.com's managing director, Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, and by Ookbee CEO Natavudh Pungcha-roenpong.

Pawoot said that as an investor, e-commerce and gaming represented the most attractive types of business for investment, which was why he had put his own money into Magic Box Asia.

"As a corporate, Rakuten Tarad.com can be a strategic partner in terms of co-marketing, as well," he added.

Natavudh, who has also invested in the company on a personal basis, said there could be co-promotion between Magic Box Asia's and Ookbee's customer bases.


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