The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) encompasses Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam — countries with a multitude of ethnicities and languages but tied together by culture, business networks, trade relationships, and shared resources. Southeast Asia is the world’s fifth-largest economy and has enjoyed remarkable economic progress in recent years. Much of its growth is due to an expanding labor force and increasing urbanization, making this highly diverse region a key focus for many companies across industries.
Facts & Figures
About Southeast Asia
GDP in 2020
Network of growing megacitites with
75 Million people in the 10 largest citites
One of the world’s fastest-growing internet
markets with 70.8% internet penetration
Home to 14 unicorns, including
Lazada and Zalora, who have German roots!
Source: Statista (2021), The Straits Times (2021)
for German Startups
Southeast Asia is a rapidly developing region with a growing talent pool, open business culture, and progressive regulatory systems that make it attractive for business expansion.
Industry Focus Areas
Main Startup Hubs
in Southeast Asia
Ranked as the 2nd most innovative country by Bloomberg, Singapore is renowned for its advanced digital and innovation hubs. The city-state houses 80 of the world’s top 100 tech companies, making it highly attractive for top tech talent.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest city, Bangkok, houses Thailand’s largest financial institutions and key seaports, making it a hub for FinTech, FoodTech, and manufacturing innovation. E-commerce is also a significant sector due to the country’s high internet penetration rate.
Ranked as the 11th emerging startup ecosystem in the world, Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur is the birthplace of several big-name startups such as Carsome. It is one of the pioneering trailblazers for Southeast Asia’s digital economy and an ideal location for startup incubation.
Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and is home to several unicorns including GO-JEK, Traveloka, and Tokopedia that are disrupting local, regional, and global economies across sectors. The city’s conducive environment allows owners to run a trial of their products before expanding business across the region.
With an average of 10h 56min spent online daily, no other nation is more digitally engaged. The country’s well-established outsourcing industry gives startup founders an experienced talent pool to draw from. Most of the country’s startups are based in Manila, with FinTech, enterprise tech, and InfoTech startups making up a significant share.
Vietnam’s emergence as a startup hub received a boost when foreign and domestic investors signaled their intent to invest $815 million in startups, reflecting a belief that it could rival Indonesia as Southeast Asia’s growth market for tech investments. As part of efforts to become an innovation center, Ho Chi Minh City recently approved a proposal to fund 1,000 startup projects by 2025.
What Others Say
Many startups believe that their success formula that worked in Germany will automatically work all over the world. Expanding into new markets such as Southeast Asia has to be done in a custom way. Although some existing processes in your home market can be replicated, startups must “smart paste” and be willing to adapt to the local nuances and challenges in order to succeed.
Dr. Sian Wee Tan, Executive Director of Finaxar & #GAMentor
German Accelerator provides the local networks, expertise, and access to local specialists to rapidly evaluate these markets and adjust our product-market fit. Singapore and the greater Southeast Asia region are highly competitive and entrepreneurial. We believe we can profit from the entrepreneurial ecosystem and provide cutting-edge and battle-proof solutions to the local markets.
Dr. Guenther Hoffmann, Founder of Lexatexer GmbH
By taking part in the accelerator program, Wagawin gained more visibility with new customers and helped us and the team on the ground to truly deep dive into the Southeast Asian ecosystem. Overall, the program really helped to fast-forward our market expansion plans.
Nicolas Leonhardt, CEO and Co-Founder of Wagawin
Programs We Offer in Southeast Asia
Market Access Program
The Market Access program helps startups to enter Asia with the support of our expert mentors and local team. Startups get access to and enter the identified target markets in Asia, and the program length will be individualized according to their company’s needs.
Bridging The Gap Between Education and Employment – CERTIF-ID Scales And Makes It In Southeast Asia
FEBRUARY 25, 2021
Written by Sharleen Lucas David
Tim Miller, Co-Founder & Managing Director at Certif-ID, shares his experiences and his journey in successfully scaling to this dynamic region. Hear more about his experiences in German Accelerator Southeast Asia’s program, including how he forged partnerships with TÜV Rheinland Philippines and UNESCO.
Read article >