A joint report by KPMG and HSBC acknowledged that maturing technology-focused ecosystems in the Asia-Pacific are producing billion-dollar companies at a rapid rate. It said fast-growing, influential, and innovative startups with unicorn ambitions are an indicator of the Asia-Pacific’s growth trajectory.
The emergence of the new sector verticals, as per the report, is attracting record-breaking investments. This is prompting the proliferation of larger, more valuable startups in the region. Honson To, chairman of KPMG Asia-Pacific and KPMG China, believes the fast-growing technology startups are the new wave of SMEs contributing toward economic growth and more. He said the global push towards carbon-neutrality will be a major driver of innovation as traditional sectors go green. Honson pointed out that emerging giants will play a key role in developing technologies that can reduce carbon emissions and promote more responsible stewardship of the environment. He feels Asia will be a crucial battleground in the fight for a more sustainable future.
Surendra Rosha, co-chief executive of HSBC Asia-Pacific, said they see the startup ecosystem as complementary to the established end of the financial services industry. He highlighted it as a source of innovation and invigorate – both local and regional economies with their respective dynamism. Ong Pang Thye, the managing partner at KPMG Singapore, revealed that over 9,300 startups and 12 unicorns call Singapore home. KPMG expects the entrepreneurial impact of these enterprises to be significant in catalyzing innovation, while also giving a boost to the economic strength and market confidence. Ong said the challenge will be to continue attracting unicorns to reside in Singapore. To actuate this, strong economic support such as public and private programmes, and incentives for hot sectors will be needed. There should also be an environment to attract and groom top talent. Kee Joo Wong, CEO of HSBC Singapore, observed growing interest in venture capital participation in Series A and B rounds of innovative firms in either B2B software or financial services sectors across Europe and Asia.
The Asia-Pacific region, as per the report, experienced a boom in financial services transformation within the last two years as fintech applications progress in tandem with user uptake. It highlighted that considerable interest in cryptocurrencies led to a surge in crypto financial services providers and blockchain players.