Reportedly, the technology industry in South-East Asian countries such as Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam is expected to witness a boom over the next couple of years owing to the Silk Road Economic Belt also known as Belt and Road initiative, which was brought in by China in 2013. Increasing penetration of smartphone and internet coupled with rising GDPs in several countries on the South-East Asia region is anticipated to increase the demand for internet-based services that will unsettle consumer sectors as diverse as automotive, finance, retail, entertainment and media.
Currently, Indonesia has over 100 million internet user, which is anticipated to grow almost twofold during the next five to ten years. The World Bank suggested that Indonesian GDP will increase by nearly 5.1% in 2016 from the previous year, which is further set to increase to 5.3 in 2017 according an online sources. In March, leading accounting firm Deloitte, reportedly suggested that the country’s economy is likely to expand at an average of 5.2 per cent during the next five years.
Chief executive of Mainspring Technology, Liew Weihan, who is also an influential personality in the region’s internet sector has recently expressed his optimistic views on the potential market opportunities from the Silk Road initiative. Mr Liew initially entered the Indonesian market with business of web games then moved to news aggregation. Like the Chinese Toutiao, BaBe news app owned by Liew has recorder over 10 million downloads in Malaysia and Indonesia. A Chinese venture capital has been majorly backing his company Mainspring Technology with massive round A and round B funding, which was also supported by firms such as Fosun Kinzon and Gobi Fund in the year 2013 and 2014. He believes that the Belt and Road initiative will massively benefit Indonesia owing to the heavy involvement of China in the Country in terms of capital, technology and experience that is used for further development of the its business environment. Similarly, this initiative will also support the growth of the overall internet sector existing in the entire South-East Asian region. Compared to Beijing and Silicon Valley, the venture capital funding available to Start-ups based in South-East Asian counties is significantly low. A number of countries in the region are constantly trying to establish a basic internet infrastructure, this has been a major problem, particularly in the archipelago countries that have a widely dispersed populations typically disconnected by seaways.