(Bloomberg) – ZujuGP, a digital football community run by the son of Singaporean secret investor Peter Lim and run by global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, is bringing in employees from a gaming tech startup to bolster the infrastructure behind its application.
It acquired the team behind Tokigames, which provides the technology for sports brands to engage with fans online, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The 14 new employees will be part of a new digital arm of ZujuGP, which will be led by Tokigames co-founder Mervyn Lau and will build new features as the company prepares to launch its app in the fourth quarter.
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Zuju is a play on the noun cucu, which means to kick. Its origin is cuju, an ancient Chinese game considered to be the first recorded form of football.
The new arm, zujuDigital, will be in charge of the technology that enables fan interaction and commerce in the app. It plans to allow users to watch live matches, participate in quizzes, purchase merchandise, and chat with football hosts and players. It also aims to make it easier for club owners, agents and scouts to discover and develop talented players.
The Lims see Asia as the next frontier in football, with the most prominent teams such as Ronaldo’s Manchester United FC being in Europe. Asia is home to around 60% of the world’s population and its growing fan base represents a huge market for European games and products.
The consumer app will initially launch in the most populated markets in Asia. “Countries like India, China, Indonesia and Thailand offer the best opportunities,” said Lau, the new director of zujuDigital.
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