Just read an interesting Techcrunch post from a couple of months ago. I liked the following section best but the whole (looooong) post is worth a read for anyone interested in the state of affairs in the Asian (not just SE Asian) Internet and mobile worlds.
I liked this section best:
Current Challenges In South East Asia’s Tech Scene
It’s still very early in the game, it’s already a huge market, and there’s room for massive future growth in South East Asia’s web and mobile industry. But there are still some significant hurdles to overcome, especially if you regard South East Asia as one region.
Some hurdles I personally see in South East Asia’s web and mobile market (and on the way to a possible integration) are the:
- still relatively undeveloped tech ecosystem and its “chicken and egg” problem
(depending on the country: big number of copycats, relatively low number of startups, few to almost no VCs firms/angel investors, low salaries for engineers, low propensity of skilled employees to work for startups, fewer people with an entrepreneurial mindset etc.)
- historically, culturally, and economically diverse markets
- much lower online spend than in North America or Europe
- weak exit environment (IPOs, trade sales)
- political and legal problems in some South East Asian countries
(IP protection, bureaucracy for startups, general political instability)
- massive “brain drain”
- still low Internet penetration (examples: Indonesia has 12.5% Internet penetration, Vietnam has 25.7%, the Philippines just 24.5%)
- fragmented mobile landscape
- underdeveloped online and mobile payment infrastructure (if any)
Many of these problems, for example the low Internet penetration, will probably solve themselves in the future. And in fact, local startups, partly financed by local venture capital firms (which do exist), are starting to crop up all over the place.
Much better expressed and way better informed than someone else's speech that I blogged ranted about back in June.