Sea : Garena x AirPay x shopee The success by millennials

     Sea is a group created in 2009. Currently, it is composed of three different activities: Shoppe is an e-­‐commerce platform, Garena is a platform provider for online PC, mobile and game digital content and AirPay. It is platform for financial services. Sea’s values have been carried by Forrest Li. He is the founder of the group. He hopes to improve the daily life thanks to technology. Sea’s core values are at the center of the company: “we serve, we adapt, we run, we commit, we stay humble “.

     AirPay is located at the 24th floor of the AIA Capital Center. The receptionist asks us to wait in a beautiful space with an amazing view on Bangkok flooded by the monsoon. Satima and Lalita joined us quickly, they are respectively Head of Business Development and Business Development Associate.

     The group is growing very fast and it always tries to recruit the best talents. For that, many advantages make AirPay attractive. First, their premises are welcoming. They are a combination of design and technology. Near the trophies that testify the success of the group, a picture draws our attention: “Work hard and be a nice person”. The message is clear. In addition to workplaces that encourage creativity, Sea offers a massage service realized by a blind person. There are walls where employees can express their thoughts. As many companies do, several activities are proposed: massage, flea market in the workplaces, online game competitions, etc…


     At the moment, we didn’t find many managerial innovations but a number called out to us : 26. This is the average age of the company. We start to understand what enables Sea to become a group that employs 5 000 people whereas it was a small company nine years ago. Their ability to manage millennials made the difference. Nowadays, management is often linked with Generation Y or Generation Z. As Jérôme Le Carrou (SocialC) explained to us that “work has become a product” for these young people that have an alternative way of management. We discovered, by visiting Garena and AirPay, that the success of these companies happened because they manage to empower young employees. For that, they offer to the “consumer” (their employees) what they ask for: more autonomy, more flexibility, the possibility to implement their ideas and take responsibilities.

“When it comes to managing millennials, there is no concept. Millennials don’t want to be managed; they want to be inspired and feel that the work they’re doing is authentic to their interests and passions. The feeling that you’ve found something that you’re uniquely qualified to do is a great source of satisfaction in life.” 

Quote from Mr Nash President of Garena

     Sea was created thanks to this state of mind. Indeed, AirPay and Shopee were built thanks to listening and initiatives taken by employees. Each year, two or three new projects are started by co-­‐workers. It shows that the company tries out new ideas and improves new services. This intrapreneurship culture can lead to complete some activities of the group or it can be linked with another market. On a regular basis there are always on going initiatives from team to improve products and services.

     While we visit the company, we walk through spaces consecrated to professional gamers who improve their skills. We also see co-­‐workers speaking in a joyous and relaxed atmosphere. Some of them are wearing slippers or jackets with characters they use in their games. It is interesting to see that these employees work together wearing the same clothes as a sport team!

     During our visit, we cross spaces dedicated to Garena, then to AirPay, then we come back to Garena’s spaces and to AirPay. We have the feeling that two different companies share the same premises. They operate in different hours. It seems that these two companies progress with different tempos and different cultures. Thus, why the daughter company gets some distance with the original culture of Garena? According to spokespersons, this is explained by their relations with their partners and their clients. A company working in the financial sector may have differentiation in terms of characteristics, points of view and knowledge. Nevertheless, they remain mixed. Nowadays, if this diversity is possible, it would be interesting to see how it evolves. Will this cohabitation remain intact? Shopee has already moved to a different place due to the expansion of its business and employee number.

     Sea became a very attractive group in Thailand and more specifically in Asia thanks to its capacity to evolve. The group encourages private initiatives and does not hesitate to share responsibilities with young teams.


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