Privately-held gaming equipment firm Weike Gaming Technology (S) Pte Ltd is one of a select group of companies to be licensed to supply the Singapore casino market. The firm has also been successful in winning customers beyond its home turf, around the Asia-Pacific region. GGRAsia asked Daven Tay (pictured), Weike’s executive director, how the firm had been navigating the past few years of pandemic-related disruption to the tourism and leisure sectors, including casinos.
GGRAsia: Land-based casino gaming in Asia has been strongly affected by the emergence of Covid-19 in 2020. What was the impact of the pandemic on Weike’s business performance over the past three years?
Daven Tay: Our business was certainly impacted by the emergence of Covid-19, with revenue dropping by around 60 percent in 2020 and more drastically, at over 80 percent, in 2021. Fortunately, with the rollout of the vaccines and subsequent loosening of the safe-distancing measures, we are pleased to report that our first-half results of 2022 recovered to around 80 percent of the pre-Covid level.
A number of Asian casino markets is now showing strong signs of recovery, including Singapore. Could you give us examples of what that has meant – if anything – for Weike’s performance and business opportunities?
Yes, we have seen strong recovery in those Asian markets that opened up sooner than the others. For Weike, our local offices were always available to work closely with their local customers even before the market reopened and before international travel resumed, and this ensured our support level was there; and our new products continue to roll out regularly. So, when markets fully reopened and more gaming operators started to refresh their slot floors – which many hadn’t done for a while – this gave us a very good business opportunity. In fact, we have very good sales numbers in Singapore and Malaysia from our recent slot products especially our standalone progressive “Blessing” series of games. I would say that the current bottleneck we face is the supply chain crunch, which affected our production and delivery schedule from time to time.
As for new business opportunities, due to the current tight labour market, we have seen keen [industry] interest in the automated electronic table products, as it is hard to recruit enough experienced casino workers. In fact, during the recent G2E Asia 2022 show in Singapore, we received numerous requests and enquires for our METG Max table product.
How are the Weike products performing in Asia, namely in the Philippines, Singapore, Macau, Cambodia, and South Korea?
We have seen strong performance with our recent slot products in both the Singapore and Malaysia markets. For Vietnam, this has always been the market for our electronic table product METG, and our sales there have always been good. For Cambodia, it has further loosened its border restrictions not too long ago, and we will be launching our popular Blessing series of games there some time this month. For the Philippines and Macau, we will be launching our new “AccelMax” series of products there due to the preference there for link products, and we are currently working on the regulatory approvals especially the Macau Electronic Gaming Machine Technical Standards version 2.0. Last but not least, we are in discussions with a local partner in South Korea to bring our AccelMax products there too.
What are Weike’s plans for Asia in the remainder of 2022, and for 2023? What are the main business segments the firm is betting on?
For the remainder of 2022 and 2023, our key focus will still be our new AccelMax series of products as well as our new generation METG Max electronic table. At Weike, we are always looking at offering diverse gaming products to our customers. This includes working closely with our strategic partner, Dynam Japan Holdings, to continue the development of the pachinko-style slot games. Internally, we are also working on a new game platform, through which we hope to introduce something completely new in the Asian market. We will share more information when the time comes.
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Total income for 2022 reported by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp