The CEO and co-founder of Razer: Min-Liang Tan
Min-Liang Tan is the CEO and co-founder of Razer, one of the most popular gaming hardware companies in Asia. The company has seen huge success around the world with its products like laptops, mice, keyboards and headsets.
Tan studied at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore where he graduated with a degree in computer science. He was heavily involved in student politics and led demonstrations against tuition hikes during his time there. Tan was also the president of the student council, which he described as “the best experience” of his life.
Tan started Razer with Robert Krakoff, who was an early investor in Pixar and also helped Apple design its first mouse. Tan invested $80,000 into the company himself after failing to secure funding from investors for other projects he was involved with. Razer launched its first ever product, the Razer Boomslang, in May 1999 after more than a year of research and development. The company started shipping it in 2001 for $80.
Razer initially had issues competing against larger companies like Logitech in terms of branding in 2005 so Tan invested $1 million in branding firm DesignStudio to improve Razer’s branding. By March 2006, Razer had gone from shipping 50,000 mice a year to 500,000 and in 2007 the company was doing 2 million dollars of business a month with more than 100 staff on payroll.
In 2008 Tan became CEO after his long time friend Robert Krakoff stepped down from the role to become the company’s chief scientist. Tan stepped down as CEO in 2013 and became the company’s executive chairman as Min-Liang “Koh” Wu took over as the new CEO. In 2014 Razer opened a small office in Santa Monica, California, which is now home to its entertainment division including THX.
In 2015 Razer announced a $50 million investment fund called Razer Growth Fund and aimed at startups in the virtual reality and gaming spaces. In 2016, Tan announced that Razer is opening a new factory in Suzhou, China to further reduce production cost of its products. The factory will be using advanced robotic manufacturing techniques to help produce products including the company’s laptop computers.