Investigating the Asian startup scene

The Asia-Pacific region is responsible for a range of high-tech startups. How will these companies support entrepreneurs in the future?


The world has been getting smaller for years, and the concept of globalisation bringing people for previously disparate cultures together is now a reality rather than just a theory.

This is especially true for the world’s startup scenes. While there are a number of consistent trends across the globe, such as a focus on technology and a need for these businesses to exist in communities, there are still unique aspects to the way these hubs form in different parts of the world.

Startup hubs are popping up around the world, and Asia in particular is home to many that will remain a force on the global tech landscape. IT candidates and entrepreneurs should focus on the potential this growing market offers, especially as the number of trade deals between Australia and its Asian neighbours continues to grow.

Hong Kong forges unique reputation

Management software provider Compass investigated how Hong Kong is evolving into one of the most important startup hubs in the Asia-Pacific region, and what this means for tech talent in the area.

According to the organisation’s report, Hong Kong possesses a number of key traits that are likely to contribute to its success in the coming years. For startup hubs to really enforce their value to the wealth of tech talent spread across the world, exhibiting these unique identifiers is a must.

Compass noted that these identifying traits include its proximity next to a major hardware manufacturing area and the success of the region’s financial sector. However, the organisation also noted that Hong Kong cannot afford to rest on its past successes, especially in a world where rapid evolution means the past can quickly become irrelevant.

One area where Hong Kong could improve compared to some of its rival locations is diversity. In comparison to other startup hubs such as Silicon Valley, New York and Singapore, Hong Kong has a much lower rate of female founders. According to Compass, just six per cent of startup founders in the region are women.

Despite these concerns, Compass is predicting a bright future for the region, finding that Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem is growing at the fifth-fastest rate of all the regions the firm monitors.

Ho Chi Minh City offers a bustling economy

For entrepreneurs looking for a unique location to launch their next business idea, few cities will rival Ho Chi Minh City, an area selected by Virgin as one that’s offering a rapidly growing economy.

On top of this, the city offers a notable departure from other more established startup hubs. Entrepreneurs and IT candidates looking to differentiate their businesses from other alternatives will likely be supported by the Vietnamese lifestyle.

Virgin’s investigation of the city revealed that no startup hub offers culture quite like Ho Chi Minh City, with the organisation’s report detailing how the low overheads and generally affordable cost of living mean the barriers to entry are notably lower than other hubs in the Asia-Pacific region.

Virgin interviewed Jon Myers, a designer who is familiar with the way Ho Chi Minh City supports new and existing startups. According to the interview, Jon noted that the city best suits startups that are easily scalable, as the local economy supports businesses looking to expand.

Mr Myers told Virgin that it’s extremely easy to network in the city, as he said there’s a sizable number of ex-pats from the Western world. Traits such as this make it easy for people new to the area to get comfortable before expanding their horizons further as they grow their influence within the scene.

Singapore accelerates growth

Singapore is likely to continue as an important feature of the Asian startup ecosystem, with an infographic entitled the Singascape detailing the various ways entrepreneurs can find success in the country.

The infographic’s author Zach Tan noted that the rise in the number of startup accelerators has had a massive effect on the prospects for startup founders in the region, and is one of the most important trends in Singapore’s ongoing success.

Accelerators are a vital component in any startup ecosystem, and provide members of these communities with valuable resources that they may struggle to attain otherwise. According to Mr Tan, the presence of these organisations ensures startups are supported in their early stages, a time that can be incredibly risky for any business.

Mr Tan also detailed how businesses throughout Singapore are supported throughout the next stages of their development. There are a number of venture capital investment organisations that have their eye on startups in the Singapore market, representing interests from both foreign and domestic companies.

Ultimately, the Asia-Pacific region is likely to remain a valuable point for interest for both budding entrepreneurs looking to start their own business and candidates looking to mix it up with some of the best and brightest.