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Tokyo, Singapore and Beyond: Discover the Powerhouses of Asia's Startup Ecosystem [Startup Genome 2024]

Jinny Kim
June 13, 2024

Asia's startup ecosystem is witnessing unprecedented growth and transformation, driven by a combination of government support, venture capital investment, and innovative entrepreneurial spirit. The region boasts several thriving hubs, each contributing uniquely to the overall landscape.

Here’s an in-depth look at some of the key ecosystems within Asia according to Startup Genome report 2024.

Source : Startup Genome

Singapore: The Pan-Asia Startup Hub

Singapore has cemented its position as a leading startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia, known for its pro-business environment and strategic location for accessing the broader Asian market.

In 2023, Singapore captured a significant portion of the regional tech funding landscape, with investments totaling $6.1 billion across 522 transactions . The city-state is home to over 4,500 tech startups, 400 venture capital firms, and 240 accelerators, venture builders, and incubators, making it a robust ecosystem for innovation. 

(Refer to : Understanding Singapore's startup ecosystem : What makes SG the 'Silicon Valley' of Asia?)

(Refer to : From Seoul to Singapore: How a Korean Startup Incubator Bet on Success in Southeast Asia )

Beijing: A Powerhouse of Innovation

Beijing leads the Asian startup ecosystem with the highest ecosystem value, driven by active technology startups and a significant number of unicorns. The city's startup ecosystem benefits from strong government support, particularly through the 14th Five-Year Plan, which emphasizes technology innovation, talent development, and enhanced intellectual property protection. 

(Refer to : Venture capital market in Asia declines in 2024? Here's some data to understand the current status)

Source : Startup Genome

Seoul: A Leader in Technology and Innovation

Seoul is another key player in Asia's startup ecosystem, ranking high globally for its technological advancements and innovation. 

The city’s startup ecosystem is characterized by strong government support, significant venture capital funding, and a high concentration of skilled professionals. Seoul's strategic initiatives focus on fostering startups in sectors like AI, bio-medicine, and the Blue Economy.

(Refer to : How Startups are Becoming Key to UN’s Sustainability Efforts : Interview With the Leader of WFUNA in S. Korea)

Tokyo: A Thriving Hub for Tech Startups

Tokyo has emerged as a preeminent hub for startup support, characterized by a strong network of government, corporate, and academic institutions. 

The ecosystem has seen significant transformation, fostering growth among venture capital firms, startups, and entrepreneurial talent. Tokyo's initiatives, such as the Tokyo Consortium and Tokyo Innovation Base, provide essential networking and investment opportunities for startups . 

The city has seen a substantial increase in late-stage funding deals and is positioned to be a competitive force on the global startup stage.

(Refer to : 3 Key Trends Shaping Japan's Startup Future: Insights from SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024)

(Refer to : Time to Change? Director of the most vibrant startup community in Japan reveals signs of Japanese venture trends

Source : Startup Genome

Kuala Lumpur: A Rising Star

Kuala Lumpur is rapidly re-establishing itself as a leading startup city in the region. With initiatives like the Malaysia Startup Ecosystem Roadmap (SUPER) 2021–2030, the city aims to nurture a new generation of startups. 

In 2024, the Malaysian government significantly increased its budget to support the startup ecosystem, developing comprehensive support platforms like the MYStartup portal . The ecosystem is bolstered by various funding sources, including Cradle Fund, MAVCAP, and Khazanah, along with private sector participation.

“Malaysia views startups as a pivotal force in driving local innovation and technological advancement. Cradle, as the focal point for the nation’s startup ecosystem development, seeks to combine the resources and experiences of all ecosystem stakeholders and aims to place Malaysia among the top global startup ecosystems by 2030.” - Norman Matthieu Vanhaecke, CEO, Cradle Fund

Manila: A Fast-Growing Ecosystem

Manila is the epicenter of the Philippines' burgeoning startup ecosystem, supported by a fast-growing economy and a rising innovation index. The city is home to nearly 1,100 startups, 60 incubators and accelerators, 50 venture capitalists, and 200 coworking spaces. 

(Refer to : Is it time to consider Philippines as an emerging center of startup innovation in Asia? Here’s the reasons)

(Refer to : The Philippine Venture Capital Landscape: An Emerging Powerhouse in Southeast Asia

※You can read more about the Asia startup ecosystem here.

Written by Jinny (underdogs)


*This article is co-written with ChatGPT and reviewed by the editor.


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Jinny Kim
underdogs. Media Manager & EO STUDIO. Freelance Writer