June 21, 2024

Advancing Digital Growth

Pioneering Technological Innovation

How tech entrepreneur Yat Siu rides wave of creation to help reshape the digital space

3 min read

Asked the question of how he would spend HK$8 million (about US$1 million), tech entrepreneur Yat Siu says he would invest in alternative assets such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – digital assets that exist on the internet, such as videos, artworks or photos, that have been authenticated using blockchain technology.

“I think of them as stores of digital culture; things that are used to describe fashion and art. Some of them are worth millions of dollars,” Yat says. “[An NFT] speaks to who I am and speaks to the kind of culture that I want to promote; it speaks to my identity.”

Yat is the executive chairman and co-founder of Animoca Brands, a unicorn-status company he established in Hong Kong in 2014 as an app for mobile game developers.

Today the company is at the forefront of creating digital property rights for gamers using blockchain technology, giving individuals full possession of their assets, equity and, significantly, ownership of their data.

“Life actually is a game in itself, it’s just not very well designed for most of us,” he says. “But in the metaverse you can create new types of experiences that actually mimic life itself, with perhaps better or fairer rules for all.”

Yat Siu, whose company, Animoca Brands, creates digital property rights for gamers, believes life is like a game in itself, but not well designed for most people.

Yat grew up in Austria, and trained as a classical musician before landing a job with Atari, a German company leading the video game market in the 1970s and ’80s. “My journey really started in the 1980s,” he says.

“The first wave of the internet was a major people movement. I made friends online and I created a business online. It was interesting to extend to the world from the screen. And that appealed to people like myself and others that helped create this movement.”

Yat moved to Hong Kong in 1995, establishing several tech start-ups that would lead to Animoca Brands.

His entrepreneurial spirit has earned him numerous accolades, including a place on the Hong Kong government’s task force for Web3 development, the hypothetical next-generation version of the internet that is decentralised and distributed through the use of blockchain and similar technologies.

Yat Siu says wealth to him means being well, and feels that the work he is doing has a net good for the world, which is also a kind of wealth.

Yat says that 20 or 30 years ago it was possible to be an early adopter in the market and grow simply because it was less developed. “But often today you find yourself in the innovation stage because in technology, we are not necessarily riding the wave, we are creating that wave,” he says.

“The only way to do that is to invest in founders who have a similar vision and who are trying to spearhead and shape that space,” he says, adding that human ingenuity is the one thing that cannot be timed. “If you find the right people then it is worthwhile the long-term investment you make, irrespective of whether it takes five years or a lifetime.”

To him, wealth means being well. “It’s also being well in the mind and I guess, spiritually in a sense,” he says. “I feel that the work we are doing is a net good for the world. And that to me, is a kind of wealth.”

Watch the video to learn more about Yat’s thoughts on new technologies, creating an impact and his own well-being.

Standard Chartered Bank launched its SC Wealth Select advisory initiative as part of its transformation into an advice-led organisation to assist its clients on their wealth journeys, guided by the adage: “From here, possibilities are everywhere”. Find out more here.

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