The Malaysian government will put $2.4 million in the country's esports scene in 2019, a surprising move that prompted at least two prominent games industry figures to match that investment.
The RM10 million (Malaysian Ringgit) investment is part of the government's annual budget for next year, which national minister of Youth & Sports Syed Saddiq detailed on Twitter. The government will work with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) on the esports initiative, the details of which will be revealed at a later date.
Malaysia's economy is growing quickly, and it has emerged as the arguably the leading country for game development in Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, the RM10 million investment ($2.4 million) will go much further in Malaysia than the same amount would in North America or the majority of European countries.
This fact was recognised by Min Liang Tan, the CEO of Razer, which is headquartered in Singapore, at the foot of the Malaysian peninsular. Speaking in response to Syed Saddiq on Twitter, he praised the Malaysian government for an "incredibly progressive budget" that's focusing on "youth and millenials."
"In light of that, I will also be investing [RM10 million] for esports in Malaysia in 2019," he said. "Let's bring esports to the next level together."
This pledge of investment led to another (also on Twitter) from Clement Hui, the founder of the Malaysian esports team M8 Gaming. Hui also operates The Pantheon, the country's first dedicated esports arena, and he committed to invest RM10 million in opening three more Pantheon arenas, starting in 2019.
"We aim to make 2019 the rise of Malaysia esports scene by providing the best platform for esports enthusiasts to soar upward with the greatest experience," he said.