Ignore China and Southeast Asia at Your Peril

When Vitaly Golomb went to USV, he was already an experienced entrepreneur, running a print shop that he eventually built into a software-based service. He now speaks about entrepreneurial activities around the world while promoting his book, Accelerated Startup: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Startup Dreams Come True From Idea to Product to Company. Lately, he wrote about what he sees happening in Asia…

I just came back from a roadshow through Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Hanoi where I spoke at four conferences and met with dozens of regional VCs, corporate investors, and startups. It was a great reminder about the pace and scale of innovation in Asia.

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While Silicon Valley coasts and the various European ecosystems are showing incremental growth; China (population 1.38 billion) and Southeast Asia (642 million) are investing tens of billions into startups scaling at an unparalleled pace. To the few really paying attention, this is not news. To those who have barely heard of Alibaba ($445B market cap), Tencent ($420B), Baidu ($86B), or ($56B) you are in for one hell of a surprise.

The point is that their domestic market is big enough to not care about the US and Western Europe. The big Chinese players are also investing aggressively into Southeast Asian startups poised to take over the massive local markets there, driven by young populations with a rapidly-rising quality of life and rocketing disposable income. If China is the US, Southeast Asia is its Canada and Israel.

The balance of technology power is shifting fast and you should think about how this will affect your startup, enterprise, or academic institution. So I highly encourage you to seriously start thinking East.

P.S. As deafening as the cryptocurrency discussion is right now everywhere, you should know that most of the innovation is happening in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. China just made crypto illegal to control capital outflows but it is likely a temporary situation. Singapore has embraced it wholeheartedly.

Get your ass on a plane, if you know what’s good for you!

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