As startups in Asia continue to mature, limited exit opportunities in Asia are pushing the most valued startups to look to the US market. VNG, a gaming startup from Vietnam valued $1.7B, and Garena, Singapore’s version of Tencent, which signed Goldman earlier to lead its billion dollar IPO are only among the first we may expect to see.
In contrast, US companies are scrambling to get in Asian markets to support their high valuations and expected growth rates (think WeWork raising on China expansion, Airbnb in March). Spotify recently announced expansion plans for Thailand and Vietnam (with a combined population of 160M).
At SGA, we are keenly aware of significantly faster adoption of tech in Asia compared to that in the US. Alipay recently announced that it is rolling out face recognition tech for its retail/commerce partners’ payment systems (in other words, you won’t need to even swipe to pay at a store) in addition to Alipay integration to buy insurance, pay at the hospital and more. Singapore is further leading other global energy giants in exploring application of blockchain for energy efficiency. What do you think will come out of the different rate of technology adoption between US and Asia?
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