All eyes are on the new land of unicorns.

Already taking in over one-quarter of the world’s total private investment dollars, Asia Pacific is giving North America a run for its money as the world’s number one producer of unicorns — start-up businesses valued at US$1 billion or more.

In Singapore, people and places exist alongside these rare, valuable businesses. Home to more than 9,300 start-ups and 12 unicorns, it stands as Southeast Asia’s top destination for start-up investment, accounting for 8.1% (US$2.65b) of the region’s total venture capita total value (US$32.62b) as of Q1 2022.

What is driving the rise of Asia Pacific as a digital trailblazer? And which businesses are set to make a lasting impact on the global business landscape over the next decade? Read the KPMG-HSBC Emerging Giants in Asia Pacific joint report for a thought-provoking window into the future of business.

The report analyses economic and investment indicators in 12 key markets, and interviews start-up founders and executives, to identify leading examples of future growth, as well as the conditions that will enable these markets to thrive in the constantly changing business environment.

6 key trends in Asia Pacific’s new economy

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Region-wide growth of
technology-driven businesses

While China remains the leading ecosystem in Asia Pacific for new economy start-ups, India is catching up as a source of digital innovation. Southeast Asia is establishing itself as the region’s other major digital market, driven by growth of its middle class.

B2C now; B2B soon

Consumer-facing companies, such as e-commerce and payments, are attracting the majority of investment in emerging markets, but more attention is shifting to B2B in areas such as enterprise productivity, education, healthcare and clean-tech.

Demographic drivers

A rising middle class and digitally savvy Gen Z consumers are driving digital economies across the region, with aging populations spurring innovation in markets like Japan.

Localised business models

The region's distinctive societies, economies and regulatory environments are all contributing to the rise of "hyperlocal" business models in Asia Pacific.

Manufacturing spillover

Robotics and automation are transforming factories, allowing companies in Asia Pacific to improve efficiency, traceability and transparency across their supply chains.

ESG on the rise

Increasing adoption of carbon emissions tracking, alternative and renewable energy and green finance solutions will create new opportunities for start-ups.

Singapore, the next SEA-licon Valley

Singapore stands at the forefront of Southeast Asia’s new economy, housing the highest number of unicorns and start-ups among countries in the region. Small in size but mighty in market value, it supports a thriving digital ecosystem with close to 200 accelerators, incubators and angel networks. Unicorns based here include super app platform Grab, which was founded in Malaysia in 2012 but moved its headquarters here in 2014; logistics platform Ninja Van, which operates in six countries across Southeast Asia; and secondhand car marketplace Carro.

The city is also a focal point of fintech talent with strong regional leadership on many fronts, ranging from regulation and legal frameworks to a business-friendly environment. KPMG analysis shows that Singapore’s market share of global fintech investments rose by 6.4% in Q2 2022, up from 3.1% in 2021.

Top 100 emerging giants in Asia Pacific

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