Albert Liu, head of Taiwan-based online game publisher Gamania Digital Entertainment, said Monday that the firm had decided to fully acquire NOWnews as early as the second half of this year. According to traffic statistics from Alexa, NOWnews, launched in 2011, is the fourth most popular website in Taiwan after Google, Pixnet and Youtube. Gamania Group currently holds 33 percent of NOWnews shares.
Liu said this year would be a critical turning point for the firm, stressing he was determined to assess the result of all their investments and reallocate resources. “Once transition efforts are complete, the company structure would be ready to withstand industry changes for another decade,” Liu said. “We hope this year we can start to reap rewards from our previous investments.”
Asked which of Gamania’s units it would consider for an initial public offering (IPO) filing, Liu said its digital wallet division was most likely to go public at present, followed by its e-commerce unit. He said its media business division, however, still needed some more “planning and reorganization.”
Betting Big on Online Video Content
“Besides our goal to completely acquire NOWnews — a direction we have already decided on taking — we are still looking at a few investment opportunities to integrate new audiovisual technology into our business,” Liu said. “We want to build a prototype for media of the next generation. (The acquisition) may be completed by the second half of this year or the next year.”
Gamania Group said it would be investing significantly more in online audio and video, with the goal of successfully branching out from its core gaming business into sectors such as online retail, media, mobile payment and crowd-funding.
The company has been restructuring the group for the past two years and will focus more on its four key units — gaming, mobile payment, e-commerce and media — and one innovation division, as it transitions into a cross-industry online service platform, he said.
Liu announced that Gamania was set to launch five to six games this year, including games with augmented reality features. Two will be based on well-known licensed brands, he said.
Hungry for Talent
During a press conference on Monday, Gamania staff gave reporters a tour of the group’s new headquarters in Taipei’s Neihu District, pointing to a 24-hour gym with 18 fitness classes on offer, a daycare center and a cafe that only accepts payment through digital wallets.
Already with a 908-strong staff worldwide — of which 740 are based in Taiwan — the firm is looking to recruit up to 300 new staff this year, Human Resources Director Linus Chang said.
“One of the reasons we decided to move our office to Neihu is because we want to attract more talent,” Chang said. “Most Taiwanese employees with the group work in this building, so we put in a lot of effort into upgrading the space to make it more comfortable, open and creativity-sparking.”
Chang highlighted a paid leave policy launched in 2015, which offers unlimited days of paid leave to employees. Staff are not required to receive leave approval from superiors, only needing to register a notice through an electronic system. “Employees are expected to be able to take ownership of their work and manage their work hours on their own terms.”