Malaysia The Startup Secret Of SouthEast Asia

Silicon Valley is the epicenter of Internet lore; however, there is no place on the planet that can match the digital adoption rate of SouthEast Asia. While currently only forty-percent of SouthEast Asia’s 660 million people are active Internet users, this number is estimated to be sixty percent by 2020. Additionally, SouthEast Asia has one of the highest literacy rates and seventy percent of the workforce are under age 40. Nonetheless, despite President Obama’s well publicized pivot to Southeast Asia with his frequent visits and promotion of the TransPacific Partnership trade deal, most people that do not live in SouthEast Asia would be unaware of the exciting companies and innovations in this region.

SouthEast Asia is only a region, which other than geography ,the countries that make up this market are quite dissimilar. The culture, religions, and history as well as banking systems, economies and governments are incredibly diverse. As an example, Vietnam with a communist government and a majority of its citizens following the Vietnamese Folk religion, does not have much in common with Indonesia, a democratic country which is the most populous Muslim country in the world.

Whenever the global press does spend some ink on the technologies and innovations of SouthEast Asia, they typically focus on the developing economies (most SouthEast Asian countries can be considered developing) or Singapore, the gleaming financial capital of the region. What falls below the radar is a country like Malaysia which for the most part is considered “developed” and is actually the 3rd largest market for start-ups. There are actually some fascinating Malaysian companies and technologies which deserve a mention.

Here’s a short primer on the top Malaysian founded companies:

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Founded by Andy Sitt  and Stephanie Sitt, 123RF, the flagship of the Inmagine Group is the fourth largest royalty-free digital media library in the world with 60 million stock images, audio clips, video footage and illustration and sales presence in 40+ countries. More than 70% of its sales are from the US and Europe.

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Disclosure: None

Author note: I do not have a relationship with any of the companies in this article, and the content is a result of travel and research in Malaysia.

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