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Emerging giants of Asia Pacific identified as potential regional unicorns

The Asia Pacific region continues to see more unicorns as technology enables businesses to expand and achieve more possibilities than before. In fact, statistics show that Asia alone accounts for about 40% of unicorns worldwide with about 301 in China as of 2021.

Tech unicorns are developing the fastest, especially with most of these businesses being able to leverage the latest innovations in technology. As rapidly expanding businesses utilize the promise of new technology, the Asia Pacific region is also going through a significant business transformation – and the emerging giants will play a key role in all of this.

The region is seeking significant technological revolution for businesses:

With that, KPMG and HSBC recently released the Emerging Giants in Asia Pacific report, which analyses new economy companies in the region with a great potential to influence the global business environment over the next ten years. Ten leading emerging giant businesses were found in each of the 12 areas evaluated, which included over 6,472 technology-focused start-ups with valuations up to US$500 million.

Asia Pacific’s developing ecosystems for the technology sector are producing billion-dollar businesses at a rapid rate. Emerging giants, which are start-ups with unicorn ambitions that are rapidly growing, influential, and innovative, are a leading indicator of the Asia Pacific region’s growth trajectory this year because the International Monetary Fund expects the region’s emerging markets and developing economies to grow 20% faster than the global average.

The report claims that the introduction of new sector verticals is drawing record-breaking investments, which is fueling the growth of bigger, more valuable start-ups in the region.

From emerging giant to becoming unicorns 

The survey identified almost 120 technology-related industry subsectors among these enterprises in addition to the typical sectors connected to new economy businesses like fintech or software-as-a-service, with blockchain, smart cities, sustainability and ESG verticals being the most prominent. Furthermore, the top emerging giants in six of the 12 markets under study were valued on average at US$300 million or more.

Fast-growing technology start-ups are the new wave of SMEs, according to Honson To, Chairman of KPMG Asia Pacific and KPMG China. They also contribute to other aspects of economic growth. He also stated that Asia will be a crucial battleground in the fight for a more sustainable future.

“Looking ahead, the global push towards carbon-neutrality will be a major driver of innovation as traditional sectors go green, and emerging giants will likely play a key role in developing the technologies that can reduce carbon emissions and promote more responsible stewardship of the environment,” he said.

For Surendra Rosha, Co-Chief Executive of HSBC Asia-Pacific, the reason they are excited about Emerging Giants in Asia-Pacific is that they see the start-up ecosystem as complementary to the established end of the financial services industry. They are a source of innovation, and their dynamism invigorates local and regional economies.

Asia Pacific is the world’s largest fintech adopter. The region has seen a boom in the transformation of financial services over the last two years as fintech applications advance along with customer uptake. There has also been a significant increase in blockchain participants and providers of cryptocurrency financial services.

Some of the potential emerging giants from APAC include BioMind, HIPAC, and HuoMao TV from China,  BrightChamps, InterGlobe Technology Quotient, and JusPay from India and Cygames, Caddi, and Atama+ from Japan.

Meanwhile in the ASEAN region, the potential emerging giants include Indonesia’s Waresix, an online logistics platform and Singapore’s Spenmo, a payment software and technology company, Stader Labs, a decentralized financial protocol and applications company as well as Multiplier (Singapore), a HR services platform.

“As the world’s leading trade bank, we’re always looking for ways to help our customers innovate, develop the solutions of the future and add value. As up-and-coming leaders who will shape industries in the next decade, Emerging Giants represent a vital building block for a sustainable and prosperous future for the region,” added Dan Roberts, HSBC’s Global Head of Business Banking.

Darren Yong, Head of Technology, Media, and Telecommunications, KPMG Asia Pacific, claims that the new platforms and software applications being offered by the emerging giants of Asia Pacific are audacious, ambitious, and innovative.

“They are courageous about who they choose to partner with, which markets they are targeting, how they shape their business models, transforming company culture and mission statements. Perhaps most importantly, they are transforming and pioneering the technology landscape over the coming years, in addition to thinking about what is useful to their customers now,” he explained.