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Sea Limited
  • Garena
  • Sea Group
Traded asNYSESE (ADS)
Founded2009; 11 years ago (2009)
Key people
Forrest Li (CEO)

Garena is a digital services company that engages in gaming, eSports, eCommerce and digital finance, primarily focusing on the South East Asian area. It was founded in Singapore in 2009, by current Chairman and Group CEO, Forrest Li.[1] The parent company of Garena is Sea Limited, which was also formerly called Garena[citation needed].

Sea products are mainly divided into Garena (a gaming platform), Shopee (a mobile eCommerce service) and AirPay (a digital payments product). Garena's first self-developed title, Free Fire is a mobile battle royale game. Free Fire was the fourth most-downloaded game worldwide in 2018 on the iOS and Google Play Store combined.

Garena distributes game titles on Garena+ in various countries across Southeast Asia and Taiwan. They include the multiplayer online battle arena games League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth, the online soccer game FIFA Online 3, and mobile racing game Speed Drifters.

In 2017, it developed Garena Free Fire which has over 450 million registered users.[2]


Garena (a portmanteau of the phrase "global arena") was founded in Singapore in 2009. Its first product, launched in 2010 was Garena+, an online game and social platform for people to discover, download and play online games.

In November 2011, Garena announced that it had publishing rights[3] for the anticipated team-based shooter game, Firefall, in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. Firefall claims to be the first team-shooter game and was awarded Anticipated MMO of 2012 in TenTonHammer's Readers Choice contest.

In December 2011, Garena announced their collaboration[4] with online games developer, Changyou, to publish and operate the popular 3D martial arts game, Duke of Mount Deer, in Taiwan. The game is the first MMORPG game available through Garena+. The game combines a classic Chinese story with the latest 3D rendering technology and cinematic quality graphics. Duke of Mount Deer[5] was created by several top online-gaming experts from China and South Korea and has gained much popularity in China.

Also in December 2011, Garena CEO Forrest Li released[6] the "Dominion" game mode for Garena's League of Legends players in Singapore and Malaysia.

In 2014, the World Startup Report valued Garena as a US$1 billion internet company[7] and ranked it as the largest internet company in Singapore.[8]

In March 2015, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP), one of the largest pension funds in the world, invested in Garena, valuing the company at over USD 2.5 billion.[9]

In August 2015, Garena announced that BlackShot Online would be shut down at midnight on 1 September, having been unable to renew the distribution license. As a result, all game distribution rights were returned to Vertigo Games, which set up PlayOne Asia to handle the game distribution. Later, Garena published another FPS called Alliance of Valiant Arms.

In May 2017, the holding company of Garena group was renamed to Sea Limited.[1][10] However, Garena was retained as a brand name.

Sea Limited, filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in October 2017. The company aimed to raise US$1 billion. Before the IPO, Tencent is the major shareholder of Sea Limited, for 39.7% shares. It was followed by Blue Dolphins Venture, established by Garena's founder Forrest Li, for 15%. Li personally owned 20% shares, and Chief Technology Officer, Gang Ye, 10%.[11]


Garena+ is an online game and social platform. It has an interface similar to instant messaging platforms. Garena+ features allows gamers to develop buddy lists, chat with friends online and check on game progress and achievements. Gamers can create their own unique identity by customizing their avatar or changing their names. Gamers are also able to form groups or clans, and chat with multiple gamers simultaneously through public or private channels through Garena+. Garena+ users use a virtual currency, Shells.

Other products including BeeTalk, TalkTalk,[12] Shopee.[13]

Events and tournaments[edit]

In May 2012, Garena launched the Garena Premier League (GPL), a six-month-long online professional gaming league with more than 100 matches to be played. The first season of GPL is a League of Legends competition which comprises six professional teams. The teams are: the Bangkok Titans, KL Hunters, Manila Eagles, Saigon Jokers, Taipei Assassins and Singapore Sentinels, which represent top players from respective countries. GPL matches are captured and broadcast online along with commentaries, which are available for viewers to watch on the GPL official website.[14]

In January 2013, Garena announced the second season of the Garena Premier League would start on 4 Jan 2013. Garena Premier League 2013 includes two new teams from Taiwan and Vietnam, bringing the total number of teams to eight. The teams are: AHQ, Saigon Fantastic Five (SF5), Bangkok Titans, KL Hunters, Manila Eagles, Saigon Jokers, Taipei Assassins and Singapore Sentinels.[15]

In November 2014 the Garena e-Sports Stadium, a dedicated venue for esports, opened in Neihu District, Taipei.[16] The studios was built partially to accommodate the beginning of the League of Legends Masters Series, the top-level Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau LoL league that was spun-off of the GPL.

In January 2015, Garena launched Iron Solari League, a women's League of Legends tournament in the Philippines.[17] It is a monthly event organized in the second half of each month. It aims to encourage participation by under-represented groups and is open to all those who self-identify as female.

Besides competitive tournaments, Garena also organizes events to cater to users to meet and connect offline. This includes the annual Garena Carnival held in Singapore and Malaysia.[18]


On February 3, 2015, Garena eSports announced limitations on the number of gay and transgender people participating in a women-only League of Legends tournament, due to concerns that LGBT participants may have an "unfair advantage". This led to gamers questioning the decision, while League of Legends developer Riot Games responded that "LGBT players are welcome at official LoL tourneys". On February 4, 2015, Garena apologized and subsequently removed the restrictions.[19]

List of published games[edit]

Garena provides a platform for game titles such as Defense of the Ancients and Age of Empires, and also publishes premium game titles, including multiplayer online battle arena games League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and Black Shot for players in the region.

Garena-published games:

Title Genre Developer Year of launch Countries Remarks
Black Shot MMOFPS Vertigo Games 2009 Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines Closed 31 August 2015
Mstar MMODance Nurien


2009 Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore Closed 26 August 2019
League of Legends MOBA Riot Games 2010 Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau, Thailand, Vietnam Closed (Indonesia only)
GKART Racing Game Tencent 2010 Singapore Closed 31 March 2012
Heroes of Newerth MOBA Frostburn Studios 2010 Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, CIS
Duke of Mount Deer MMORPG 2011 Taiwan Closed 24 March 2014
Point Blank MMOFPS Zepetto 2012 Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia Closed 28 June 2017
Path of Exile ARPG Grinding Gear Games 2013 Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, CIS, Thailand Closed 14 November 2016[citation needed]
Elsword MMORPG KOG Studios 2013 Philippines Closed 2 December 2015
Firefall Team Shooter/ FPS Red 5 2014 Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines
Lost Saga Casual IO Entertainment 2015 Thailand, Taiwan Closed 3 December 2017
Thunder Strike Vertical Scroller sunmosh 2015 Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam Closed 6 October 2017
Alliance of Valiant Arms Team Shooter/ FPS Red Duck Inc.


2015 Singapore, Malaysia Closed 3 July 2018
Vindictus MMORPG devCAT 2015 Thailand Closed 31 August 2018
Arena of Valor (AOV) MOBA Tencent TIMI - L1 Studio 2016 Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines
Headshot FPS Lightspeed Studios 2016 Thailand Closed
Free Fire-Battlegrounds™ Battle Royale 111dots Studio (Vietnam)

Omens Studios


2017 Global, Netherlands
Blade & Soul MMORPG Team Bloodlust 2017 Thailand, Vietnam
Garena Free Fire Battle royale 111dots Studio 2017 India, Brazil, Mexico, Southeast Asia[20]
FIFA Online 4 Sports/Soccer Electronic Arts 2018 Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam
Ring of Elysium Battle Royale Tencent

Aurora Studio

2018 Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau,

Thailand, Indonesia

FIFA Online 3 Sports/Soccer Electronic Arts 2018 Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam Closed
Contra: Return Run and gun Tencent


2018 Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia
TalesRunner Sports Rhaon 2018 Indonesia Closed
Onmyoji Visual Novel/ Action Netease Games 2018 Thailand Closed 3 April 2019
DD tank Artillery

2018 Thailand
Rising Force Online MMORPGs CCR International Thailand
SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy Fighting SNK 2018 Japan, China, Korea, Thailand
Speed Drifters Racing Tencent

Omens Studios


2019 Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines,


Call of Duty: Mobile FPS Tencent


2019 Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines
PUBG Lite Battle Royale PUBG Corporation 2019 Thailand,

Indonesia, Philippines

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Chia Yan Min (9 May 2017). "Tech firm Garena gets renamed as Sea". The Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Popular battle royale game Free Fire now delivers premium experience to Indian gamers".
  3. ^ "Yahoo! News". Garena snags exclusive Firefall distribution rights for US$23 million. Archived from the original on 2011-12-03. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
  4. ^ "". Duke of Mount Deer. Archived from the original on 2012-01-08. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  5. ^ "PC Home". Duke of Mount Deer.
  6. ^ "GameAxis". Dominion Officially Launched on Garena. Archived from the original on 2012-01-04.
  7. ^ "Singapore's Tech Company Garena Valued At USD1 Billion". Archived from the original on 8 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Start me up". Archived from the original on 2017-06-30. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
  9. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2018-06-27. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  10. ^ Lee, Yoolim (8 May 2017). "Garena Rebrands as Sea After Raising $550 Million in New Funding". Bloomberg. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  11. ^ Russell, Jon (23 September 2017). "Southeast Asia games firm Sea, formerly Garena, files for $1 billion US IPO". Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Garena". Archived from the original on 2015-02-12. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
  13. ^ "Shopee: Buy and sell on mobile". Archived from the original on 2016-07-11. Retrieved 2016-07-04.
  14. ^ "Watch the Opening of Garena Premier League 2012 Season". League Craft. Archived from the original on 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
  15. ^ "Garena Premier League". Garena. Archived from the original on 2012-12-22.
  16. ^ "【活動】台灣史上第一座『Garena 電子競技館』隆重登場!". Garena. 2014-10-29. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  17. ^ Mitchell, Ferguson (February 3, 2015). "All-female League of Legends tournament in the Philippines to limit LGBT participation". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  18. ^ Putra, Ade (May 12, 2015). "Garena Carnival 2015 Will Be at Suntec on 13–14 June [Updated]". GameAxis. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  19. ^ Stuart, Keith (2015-02-04). "Pro-gaming tournament attempts to limit gay and transgender players". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2016-04-16. Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  20. ^ "Q4 and Full Year 2018: Store Intelligence Data Digest" (PDF). Sensor Tower. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2019.

External links[edit]