Singapore e-commerce and digital payments company Sea Ltd. will spend $1 billion to start an eponymous venture capital fund to invest in technology startups across the region, company founder Forrest Li announced on an earnings call.

"Sea Capital will focus on identifying, partnering with and investing in technology companies that share our vision of bettering the lives of consumers and small businesses through technology," Li said.

The fund will be led by chief investment officer David Ma, whose Hong Kong-based asset management firm Composite Capital was recently acquired by Sea.

"We believe the addition of the Composite team and the establishment of Sea Capital will further enhance our investment and capital allocation capabilities in support of Sea's long term growth strategies," the company noted in its fourth quarter report released this week.

Ma founded Composite in 2016 after spending seven years with Beijing-headquartered asset manager Hillhouse and the firm reached nearly $2 billion in assets under management last year.

He will now focus on dispensing $1 billion to promising tech ventures over the next few years as Sea, like Japan's Softbank Group and Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent Holdings, searches for new areas of growth and potential business opportunities.

Two of Sea's core businesses - digital entertainment platform Garena and e-commerce site Shopee - brought in $4.4 billion in revenue last year with gross profit totaling $1.3 billion, according to the company's quarterly report.

A third venture, payment service SeaMoney, has yet to reach profitability.