Cover (Image: Min-Liang Tan/LinkedIn)

Setting commercial gains aside, the CEO and co-founder of Razer converts existing manufacturing lines to produce surgical masks amid the global shortage

When CEO and co-founder Tan Min-Liang announced on Twitter in March that Razer would be making and donating one million surgical masks to combat the spread of coronavirus, the internet went wild with speculation on what a mask by the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers would look like.

Would the company’s trademark triple-headed snake—one of the most recognised logos in the global gaming and e-sports communities—appear on the surgical masks?

Almost immediately, Razer’s existing factory lines in China were reconfigured to manufacture the masks instead of mice and keyboards, with designers and engineers working to accommodate the shift in production.

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“While there has been incredible demand for our products during this time with many staying home to avoid the crowds (and to play games), the team at Razer understands that all of us have a part to play in fighting the virus—no matter which industry we come from,” Tan tweeted. In April, he announced that Razer—dual-headquartered in California, US, and Singapore—would set up the first fully-automated mask production and packing line in Singapore within 30 days.

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Tan called on Singaporeans and local companies to buy the first US$50,000 worth of masks off the line and four hours later, made another Facebook post saying that three companies—Frasers Property, JustCo and PBA Group—had committed to purchasing US$50,000 worth of masks each. The Singapore-made face masks will be manufactured and certified according to local and international standards, and supplied to the domestic market and the region. 

According to a press release, Razer had been "inundated" by requests due to an extreme shortage of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly in Southeast Asia. Initial shipments of masks, from its own production lines plus those procured from other sources, started going out to health authorities around the world the first week of April, beginning with Singapore.

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This story was originally published in Tatler Singapore.

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