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How to Scale Up in Southeast Asia

(From left to right) Taiwan Representative of BlackStorm Consulting., Harvey Ma and Co-Founders of BlackStorm Consulting, Jeslin Bay and Paddy Tan

  • The event covered topics on: how to scale up your business in Southeast Asia, the benefits and challenges of doing business in the Southeast Asia region, and the challenges faced by Taiwanese companies as well as how to overcome them
  • BlackStorm Consulting announced our interest to set up an office in Taipei, Taiwan

July 17, 2019: BlackStorm Consulting was privileged to co-organise the event on “How to Scale Up in Southeast Asia” held on July 17, 2019 with Industry Accelerator and Patent Strategy (IAPS) and Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA), along with BlackStorm Consulting’s partner – G Camp from Institute for Information Industry (III). Our Co-founders Paddy Tan and Jeslin Bay, together with our Taiwan representative, Harvey Ma gave a presentation at the event.

Here are the 3 main questions being answered during the presentation:

  • What is Southeast Asia? Why Southeast Asia?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of doing business in Southeast Asia?
  • What are the common challenges faced by Taiwanese companies and how do we overcome them?

Below is a quick summary of the event:

Our Co-Founder, Jeslin Bay sharing about many opportunities that Southeast Asia presents

During the presentation, Co-Founder of BlackStorm Consulting, Jeslin Bay mentioned that Southeast Asia is going to be a high-priority strategic region for businesses, where the economic growth and development is advancing and expecting to outgrow the global average in the upcoming years. ASEAN is expected to become the 4th largest economy in the world by 2030. These are the countries that are included in the Southeast Asia region: Myanmar(Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia and East Timor.

Our Co-Founder, Paddy Tan sharing about the possible benefits and challenges faced entrepreneurs in selected countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam

In the presentation, Paddy touched on the benefits and challenges of doing business in the Southeast Asia region. He shared about the tips to enter such unique markets and some case studies that BlackStorm Consulting experienced with our clients.

Our Taiwan representative, Harvey Ma presenting the challenges faced by Taiwan’s start-up ecosystem

Harvey mentioned that Taiwan is one of the 4 Asian tigers and there are a lot of areas that Taiwanese should be proud of. For example: highly skilled workforce, attractive labour cost for engineers, growing talent pool of software engineers and good quality of life in Taiwan.

To add on, Harvey also shared the main challenges faced by startups in Taiwan. Here is a summary of the challenges mentioned by him during the presentation:

  1. Taiwan has many pre-seed to Series A startups. However, there are very little startups in the Series B and C stages.
  2. Valuations in Taiwan tend to be lower compared to other established countries such as United States, Japan and China. This is most likely due to low transaction volume in the stock market which leads to low valuation of publicly listed and privately held companies.
  3. He also mentioned that Taiwan lacks of good infrastructure to attract international talents and investors.
  4. Taiwan’s economy has been stagnant and this deters companies to grow to a bigger scale. The economy is affected by these key factors – lack of job opportunities, lack of international exposure and small domestic market.
  5. The cost of doing business in Taiwan is higher compared to other Southeast Asia countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. This is because, Taiwan resembles a developed country more than it resembles a developing one.

The session was ended off with a few pieces of advice from Harvey on how to leverage on the strengths of Taiwan to level the playing field with international players.

We are delighted to receive many interesting questions by the attendees during the networking session. Some of the commonly asked questions were:

  • How should one set up a company in Singapore?
  • Which government body should one approach to apply for licenses in areas such as cryptocurrencies, advertising and educational?
  • Why do investors like to invest in Singapore-based companies?
  • How easy it is for Taiwanese to wholly own business in Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore?
  • What is the average cost of hiring a full stack engineer in Singapore?
  • Can BlackStorm Consulting help one to get partners?
  • How much would it cost to enter each market in Southeast Asia?
  • What is the most common exit strategy for a startup in Southeast Asia?

Overall, the event was a great success. We advise startups who are keen to expand footprint in SEA to do their homework and grasp a better understanding of the markets before taking any actions within the SEA as it can be very different.

Last but not least, we would like to thank everyone who had participated in this event. We hope you enjoyed the presentation as much as we do. If you are interested to find out more about doing business in Singapore, stay tuned to our next webinar coming up in August!

About BlackStorm Consulting

BlackStorm Consulting (http://blackstormco.asia/) is a boutique growth consultancy firm that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and investment management. We mainly serve clients in four sectors: FinTech, Gaming, Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT), and Manufacturing.

Our clients and connections are internationally present and range from small and medium sized businesses, MNCs, to government agencies.