Silicon Valleys of the East

The Emergence and Growth of Start-up Ecosystems in Asia

Silicon Valley has become widely known for pioneering technology and stands as the leading global hub for startups. Few places in the world have generated as much wealth in such a short span of time. Startups play a significant role in driving economic growth, prompting policymakers worldwide to focus on cultivating their own startup ecosystems. 

A diverse talent pool, a consumer base, a culture that promotes innovation and access to financial resources are the components that a thriving startup ecosystem typically includes. Easy and frictionless access to qualified and skilled individuals in a central location is pivotal in nurturing an ecosystem conducive to fostering innovative startups, with the aspiration that a few among them will evolve into major international entities. Asia is home to numerous technology and innovation hubs, signalling a promising landscape for entrepreneurs aiming to establish high-growth companies. Several notable hubs include Singapore, Bangalore, Beijing, Tokyo, and several others. As per data revealed by StartupX, six out of the eleven top startup ecosystems globally are located in Asia.


Google, Facebook, Amazon and Salesforce are among the international companies that have established their regional headquarters, significant operations and research & development centres in the city-state. This trend can be attributed to several factors, notably a highly favourable business environment, a strong pool of talent and an advantageous geographical location that provides proximity to emerging markets in Southeast Asia.  

Global tech companies’ presence contributes to the startup ecosystem’s development. Typically, these companies engage in long-term projects with startups and operate programs specifically designed for them. 

Similar to how employees of well-known FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) companies in the US or BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) companies in China have gone on to establish successful startups, Singapore, with its diverse and global talent pool, may witness similar developments in the future. Instances like the ‘Lazada Mafia’ showcase successful startup founders reinvesting in the startup space after significant exits. Additionally, the government actively accelerates the growth of the startup ecosystem through its own programs that provide direct funding to early-stage startups.


China stands out as an emerging economic powerhouse, recognised for its rapidly increasing tech and innovation landscape. Zhongguancun, situated in the capital city of Beijing, was established three decades ago to become a hub for technology and innovation. Currently, Zhongguancun accommodates 9000 tech companies, including giants like Baidu and It’s considered a prime location due to its proximity to esteemed universities and research institutions, offering access to top talent. 

Most of the unicorns in China receive backing from a few major groups, such as Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and Xiaomi. Chinese startups often encounter a challenge distinct from their global counterparts, mainly in expanding their user base beyond China. Consequently, Chinese companies invest in companies like Tesla, Flipkart, and Spotify to acquire international market shares in e-commerce, finance and technology. 


India has one of the largest startup ecosystems globally, housing 38 unicorns per the Financial Express. From 2016 to 2020, startups in India secured over $63 billion in funding, as reported by the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. Amidst the pandemic, India’s internet user count surpassed 500 million. By 2025, it’s anticipated that over 1 billion Indians will be online, thanks to further advancements in digital infrastructure that aim to make broadband more affordable and accessible.

Leading companies like Google and Amazon are swiftly investing in various metropolitan cities to solidify their presence, recognising the potential to capture 1 billion users. With a continually expanding talent pool, an improving business environment, and a diverse and growing consumer base, India unquestionably stands as a fertile ground for startups.

Keep in in Box 

“By 2025, the number of startups in India is expected to cross 100K, creating more than 3.25 million jobs. Funding for Indian startups is likely to increase to over $150 billion, with total value creation exceeding $500 billion” — Inc42

The Next Wave of Growth 

By this point, it is clear why Asia might become the next hub akin to Silicon Valley. Several regions in Asia warrant attention for their potential to foster technological innovation. While we have mentioned Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand, other emerging areas are also worth monitoring. These regions exhibit promising signs of becoming influential tech centres in the future.

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