In 2018 there was an unprecedented influx of venture capital and private equity funds in tech start-ups in South-east Asia. Although since 2019 some of this euphoria in tech investment started to ebb, South-east Asia continues to remain a promising start-up hub. This is in part because of the potential growth in the region's collective market size but also because its governments are eager to support tech innovation.
The opportunities are certainly exciting across an almost limitless range of sectors – from those looking to tap into the region's expanding middle-class consumer base (such as e-commerce and entertainment) to others looking to bring about a digital transformation in traditional sectors (healthcare, property, logistics and education).
Meanwhile, covid-19 has quite dramatically speeded up shifts in mass behaviour towards digital platforms, solutions and services. New patterns of demand and preferences are crystallising quickly, many in favour of digital markets. Many of these behaviours will stick after the pandemic subsides. Businesses which ride high on these digital trends, and harness data-driven technologies to create better experiences for their customers in a competitive marketplace, are likely to be far better positioned for the brave new world.
As South-east Asia's young, tech-savvy populations increasingly look to the internet to fulfil their needs, digitally native companies are winning a larger space in their hearts and wallets. Some of this has come at the expense of the established incumbents.
How has the rise of tech start-ups and unicorns disrupted markets and monopolies in the region? How should unicorns be regulated? Will unicorns play a leading role in driving sustainable economic growth and prosperity in South-east Asia? What does this all mean for traditional business?
Join us as we discuss these themes with a panel of business leaders, including Lien Choong Luen, General Manager, GOJEK Singapore; Joe Dische, CFO, PropertyGuru; Michele Ferrario, Co-Founder and CEO, StashAway; Natalie Black, Her Majesty's Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific, UK Department for International Trade; and Muhammad Azmi Zulkifli, CEO, InvestKL.
Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please send an email to email@example.com.