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Founded 2009
Founder Forrest Li
Headquarters Singapore
Key people
Forrest Li (CEO)
Products Garena+, TalkTalk, BeeTalk, Shopee

Garena is a consumer Internet platform provider based in Asia, with 17 million monthly active users on the PC and 11 million on mobile.[1] It was founded in Singapore in 2009 by Forrest Li and his friends. With the launch of its first product in 2010, Garena+, an online game and social platform for people to discover, download and play online games, Garena has become a leading platform provider for online entertainment and communication tools across Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Garena has partnerships with game developers including Riot Games and Electronic Arts.

Garena exclusively distributes game titles on Garena+ in various countries across Southeast Asia and Taiwan, such as the multiplayer online battle arena games League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth, the online soccer game FIFA Online 3 and the first-person shooter games, Point Blank and Alliance of Valiant Arms.

Since its launch, Garena has experienced unprecedented growth in the region. In 2014, it was valued at $1 billion, and in March 2015, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan invested in the company, driving its value up to $2.5 billion.[2]


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 Tai was founded in Singapore in 2009, when Forrest Li and his friends aspired to transform their passion for entrepreneurship into a great company. Forrest named the company "Garena," a portmanteau of the phrase "global arena", to convey his vision of connecting the world.

In Nwan. 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 released[6] the "Dominion" game mode for Garena’s League of Legends players in Singapore and Malaysia.

In November 2012, Garena was announced as a winner in the 2012 Red Herring Top 100 Asia Award and eventually the Red Herring Top 100 Global Award.[7] In the same month, Garena was also ranked number 15 in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ Asia Pacific 2012.[8]

In 2014, the World Startup Report valued Garena as an US$1 billion internet company [9] and ranked it as the largest internet company in Singapore.[10]

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.[11]

In August 2015, Garena announced that BlackShot Online will be shut down on midnight 1 September, being unable to renew the distribution license, as a result, all game distribution rights were returned to Vertigo Games, in which set up PlayOne Asia to handle the game distribution.


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 are also able to form groups or clans, and chat with multiple gamers simultaneously through public or private channels through Garena+.

BeeTalk is a mobile social networking platform created by Garena. Launched in 2013, it is the first indigenous mobile social network in Southeast Asia that enables users to forge new relationships and join communities based on location and interests[citation needed]. Within 1 year of its launch, BeeTalk has garnered up to 10 million users across Asia, with Taiwan as its strongest growing market, accumulating 2 million users in six weeks.[12]

TalkTalk is a real-time interactive voice and video communication platform that features live game streaming, voice chats and DJ shows.[13]

Language support[edit]

Garena currently supports English, Chinese (Simplified), Korean, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Melayu, Traditional Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese and Thai.

Virtual currency[edit]

Like other online game service providers, Garena+ users use a virtual currency, Shells. Gamers can create their own unique identity by customizing their avatar or changing their names.

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 Service ended 31 August
Lost Saga Casual IO Entertainment 2015 Thailand, Taiwan
Point Blank MMOFPS Zepetto 2012 Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia
League of Legends MOBA Riot Games 2010 Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia
Heroes of Newerth MOBA Frostburn Studios 2010 Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, CIS
Duke of Mount Deer MMORPG 2011 Taiwan
Mstar MMODance Nurien 2009 Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore
FIFA Online 3 Sports/Soccer Electronic Arts 2013 Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam (your failure in developing FIFA online 3), Korea and Indonesia
Path of Exile ARPG Grinding Gear Games 2013 Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, CIS, Thailand
Elsword MMORPG KOG Studios 2013 Philippines Service ended 2nd of December 2015
Firefall Team Shooter/ FPS Red 5 2014 Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and the Philippines
Alliance of Valiant Arms Team Shooter/ FPS Red Duck Inc. 2015 Singapore, Malaysia
Vindictus MMORPG devCAT 2015 Thailand

Events and tournaments[edit]

Garena has been a strong advocate for the development of e-sports and regularly organizes local and regional tournaments to provide platforms for gamers to compete and realize their dream of playing professionally.

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.[14]

In one of the most well-known competitive game events worldwide, World Cyber Games (WCG), League of Legends has been added as one of the official game titles.[citation needed] Garena has participated at the WCG Asian legs held in Singapore. In 2011, the top Heroes of Newerth teams from Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines were sponsored by Garena to represent their countries and compete in the WCG Asian qualifiers in Singapore.

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.[15]

In October 2012 GPL's the Taipei Assassins (TPA) won the League of Legends Season Two World Championships held at Galen Center in Los Angeles. The Assassins, with a roster of Stanley, Lilballz, Toyz, Bebe, MiSTakE, colalin, NeXAbc and their manager Erica beat their contenders, Azubu Frost from South Korea, three games to one in a best-of-five to secure the US$1,000,000 cash prize and the handcrafted Summoner's Cup.[16] The competition was watched live by nearly 20,000 people at the center while more than a million people watched via the livestream and TV.[17] The competition had 12 teams from around the world competing for a total prize money of US$2 million.[18]

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.[19]

In November 2014 the Garena e-Sports Stadium, a dedicated venue for esports, opened in Neihu District, Taipei.[20] 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.[21] 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.


Two American-made games have their South East Asian versions hosted by Garena, namely League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth. Garena has made agreements with the publishers of these two games (Riot Games for LoL and S2 Games for HoN) to restrict Southeast Asian gamers' access to the North American and European game servers via Internet Protocol (IP) blocking (a common practice among game publishers). This initially led to public outrage even among the North American gamers.[22] In 2010, Southeast Asian gamers complained of finding it hard to play the game as the SEA player base of these two games are too small.[citation needed] Conversely, it was recently announced that League of Legends had surpassed 1 million players in Taiwan alone.[23]

On February 3, 2015, Garena restricted how many LGBT people can be on a team in the women-only tournament, The Iron Solari. The reason was due to "unfair advantage" and the penalty for violating the rule was a one-year ban. On February 4, 2015, Garena apologized and lifted the limits on LGBT participation in the women-only tournament, the Iron Solari in the Philippines, so opening the tournament to all self-identifying females.[24]


  1. ^ Lee, Terence. "Garena raises money from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, reaches $200M in revenue". Retrieved 23 April 2015.  External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Yahoo! News". Garena snags exclusive Firefall distribution rights for US$23 million. 
  4. ^ "". Duke of Mount Deer. 
  5. ^ "PC Home". Duke of Mount Deer. 
  6. ^ "GameAxis". Dominion Officially Launched on Garena. 
  7. ^ Contributor, Chad. "Garena Stadium Debuts in Singapore". Reimaru Files. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Garena Ranked Number 15 Fastest Growing Technology Company on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ Asia Pacific 2012". SME Magazine. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Putra, Ade (May 12, 2015). "Garena Carnival 2015 Will Be at Suntec on 13–14 June [Updated]". GameAxis. Retrieved November 13, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Watch the Opening of Garena Premier League 2012 Season". League Craft. 
  16. ^ Parkin, Simon. "A League of Their Own". Eurogamer. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Augustine, Josh. "Five lessons from the best League of Legends team in the world". PC Gamer. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  18. ^ Chung, Jake. "Taiwanese online game team bags US$1m prize". Taipei Times. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Garena Premier League". Garena. 
  20. ^ "【活動】台灣史上第一座『Garena 電子競技館』隆重登場!". Garena. 2014-10-29. Retrieved 2015-11-13. 
  21. ^ Mitchell, Ferguson (February 3, 2015). "All-female League of Legends tournament in the Philippines to limit LGBT participation". The Daily Dot. Retrieved November 13, 2015. 
  22. ^ "LoL website "megathread"". LoL website "megathread" in response to the blocking of Southeast Asian IP addresses. 
  23. ^ "Taipei lights up to celebrate". Taipei lights up to celebrate 1 million LoL players. 
  24. ^

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