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Startups in the Asia-Pacific region - statistics & facts

Startups are companies with innovative business ideas and high growth potential, often operating in a young or non-existent market. Once established, they are generally no longer considered a startup. However, they sometimes do keep their successful startup approaches such as innovation capacity, flexibility, modernity, and flat hierarchies, trying to incorporate them into their business culture. Although theoretically, startups can penetrate every sector that meets the criteria of innovation and scalability, most startups fall in the technology and internet sector. The focus on technology, which means that almost no goods or other infrastructures are required, makes it possible to found startups without having an office space. This flexibility has caused the rapid emergence of startups worldwide, with the term “startup” becoming one of the most used expressions globally. Although startups have been predominately associated with the U.S. and other Western regions, the Asia-Pacific region has begun to build a reputation as being home to several powerful and successful startups.

Leading companies

The Asia-Pacific countries have begun to showcase their business style with an increasing number of successful new businesses. In recent years, one of the most successful new companies in China was the startup Ant Financial now known as Ant Group. China has by far the greatest number of unicorns, followed by India. Indian telecommunications company Reliance Jio had the highest total disclosed funding in the Asia-Pacific region, while Ant Group had the highest value. In Southeast Asian countries, new companies are founded daily. Grab, Gojek, and Tokopedia are just some of the local startups which have already earned the title of a unicorn.

Business environment

Ultimately, it is not the country itself but rather the demand on the market and the business environment, which determines whether a startup can be successful. While the product demand is market-driven, various criteria can be used to compare the business environment internationally. The Ease of Doing Business Index by the World Bank Group compares countries annually according to criteria related to different market entries and company operations. In Asia Pacific countries, Singapore has always ranked highly of the ASEAN states. Furthermore, surveys among business founders have revealed perceptions of the startup environment in different countries. These surveys do not only give better insights into the working environment but also show individual motivations for founding a startup.

Despite the success of Asia Pacific, the region is still made up of lots of diverse economies, each country with different levels of progression. In this way, it takes some countries very little time to start a business, while business creation is time-consuming in others. However, the startup situation in the Asia Pacific region has been greatly impacted by the outbreak of the coronavirus. Many companies have reported job cuts and revenue losses due to the crisis which the outbreak has caused on the economy. If the startup industry is to recover from the effects of COVID-19, then it is likely the Asia Pacific region will emerge stronger in the startup industry due to its increased digitization throughout recent years.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 25 most important statistics relating to "Startups in the Asia-Pacific region".


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