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Stanley Ho’s youngest son is set to own China’s first US-listed esports company

Mario Ho’s competitive video gaming company, NIP Group, has filed for an IPO on the Nasdaq stock exchange
  • Forecasts show the global esports industry could be worth US$102.4 billion in 2027

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A company co-founded by gambling tycoon Stanley Ho’s youngest son, Mario Ho, filed for China’s first esports initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange last week, the South China Morning Post reports.

If successful, NIP Group – of which 29-year-old Ho currently owns a 14.2 per cent stake – would become the first US-listed Chinese company in the esports industry. The Cayman Islands-based holding company reportedly plans to issue a maximum of 26.9 million public shares.

NIP primarily operates through two wholly-owned subsidiaries: Ninjas in Pyjamas Gaming in Sweden and the Wuhan-based Xingjing Weiwu Culture & Sports, itself the owner of several esports teams and also involved in esports talent management and event production.

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US-based consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has reportedly described NIP as “a leading esports organisation” with an expansive global footprint across Asia, Europe and South America. Frost & Sullivan also estimated that the market size of the global esports industry was expected to reach US$102.4 billion in 2027, up from US$57.9 billion in 2022.

Despite annual revenue of US$83.7 million last year, NIP’s net losses more than doubled to US$13.3 million last year. The company has put its lack of profits to date down to the “substantial investments we made to grow our business.”

Ho and his co-chief executive, Hicham Chahine, issued a statement to potential investors last week that vowed to grow “esports into a generational audience worldwide.”

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“Esports have the power to change the world, and we at NIP Group have a responsibility to continue to develop the industry in a sustainable way,” they wrote.

NIP’s planned IPO has coincided with moves by some provincial governments on the Chinese mainland to ramp up support for esports, as part of broader efforts to develop and transform the country’s digital economy.

Ho is the youngest son of the billionaire businessman Stanley Ho, who founded SJM Holdings and held a monopoly on gaming in Macao for 40 years. The elder Ho fathered 17 children, including Melco CEO and chairman Lawrence Ho and MGM China’s chairperson and executive director Pansy Ho.

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