Startups Thrive In Southeast Asia

By Low Shi Ping
China Daily, Beijing / Asia News Network

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Late last month, an official with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology said the country had $131 billion worth of private startups by the end of 2016, nearly doubling the figure from the year before.

China Daily, Beijing / Asia News Network

Elena Ionenko established “Turnkey Lender” in her native Ukraine to focus on the alternative lending segment.

The financial technology startup developed a platform for the end-to-end automation of the lending business, which offers the banking industry’s best practices and tools at an affordable price.

After analyzing where in the world would require Turnkey Lender’s services, the answer was obvious: Southeast Asia. With a combined population of 645 million, and a large proportion of the region still unbanked, the potential is “huge”, explained Ionenko.

A successful application to The FinLab, a Singapore-based accelerator program, saw her heading for the city-state last May.

“Singapore is the perfect hub for reaching out to our target markets that include Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia,” Ionenko said. “To date, we have made quite good progress — (with) paying customers in all these markets, plus strong partnerships with local credit bureaus, which will help us expand quicker in 2017.”

These moves by Turnkey Lender are indicative of the burgeoning startup scene in Asia. And to get a sense of the size of it, one needs only to reference China.

Late last month, an official with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology said the country had $131 billion worth of private startups by the end of 2016, nearly doubling the figure from the year before.

Xinhua News Agency reported that the official, Zhang Zhihong, used the term “unicorn”, which refers to young, unlisted companies with a market value of over $1 billion based on private funding sources.

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