The big Asia wave. Ah. A buzzword that’s been floating around the tech community which is typically associated to astronomical growth, abundance of opportunities and access to an affordable skill pool.
But how does Asia actually compare against the current giant tech ecosystems in the Valley, London or even Berlin? The single largest population in the region only builds up to 250m in Indonesia (vs 318m in America) and the ‘Delaware’ in the Southeast Asia, Singapore only holds 5.3 million people as of 2015 (yes that’s smaller than London).
However, looking at numbers for Southeast Asia alone, the number of billion dollar unicorns almost quadrupled from 2 to 7 in 2 years. How is this happening? With our highly engaged AngelHack touch-points throughout the region, we came to realize that it’s the story of ‘unity is strength’ all over again.
Instead of seeing markets as segmented local targets, incoming investors & companies have to evaluate the region as one single organism.
This doesn’t just sum up numbers to make it more attractive but more importantly, it’s the synergistic roles & relationships that each of the countries play in the game:
- Vietnam and the Philippines producing the world’s most sought after developers
- Japan’s fervent craze about AI & Machine learning
- China as the world’s factory & increasingly tech hub for the region
- Thailand with creativity as its core
- Singapore & Hong Kong as hubs for regional expansion with their robust financial infrastructure & stability
Fitting pieces of the puzzle together, along with the arbitration of currency still existing between the West and the East, it’s no wonder the money is flowing in at such a rate. The all famous 500startups has doubled their Southeast Asian fund, 500 Durians, from US$10 million to US$22 million. But that being said, it’s not all rosy for doing businesses in the region. Copying and pasting successful models is a surefire way to failure as the markets due to distinct cultural differences, functions with large variance.
Global players looking to enter to market have to be prepared to implement a proper set of hyper localized strategies that cater to specific needs. It can be a nightmare, not only for startups but for the giants as well.
Coming to this, it’s the perfect timing to introduce AngelHack’s approach on how we overcame this challenge despite our lean team. Running hackathons in over 15 cities across densely located borders is no joke and we were only able to garner a huge avid fan-following in the region because of our team of dedicated local ambassadors.
These ambassadors help fuel the hacker movement across the region with their passion by building communities in their cities and running high quality AngelHack hackathons for their following. So without further ado, it’s my pleasure & pride to announce this year’s APAC regional ambassadors!