Start-Ups in Asia vs. Europe: differences between start-up scenarios analyzed from the perspectives of a select group of industry experts from Germany and Malaysia

GBP International has been working with start-ups scenarios since 1997, over the last couple of years start-up buzzwords commonly used are venture capital (VC), private equity (PE), artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, Games, Internet of Things (IOT) and others. We wanted to bring together some of the​stakeholders of the industry and discuss the differences between start-up scenarios in Germany versus Asia. Sara Al


With the Malaysian Ambassador to Germany Sara Al Bakri Devadason as a host we had a perfect location in the center of Berlin and were happy to have a distinguished panel of entrepreneurs who shared their views and experiences. GBP International’s CEO Volker Friedrich moderated the panel and triggered interesting thoughts and discussion points shared among the panelists and the audience.


The key take-aways from the event are as follows:

  1. Asia has an enormous pool of talented and skilled engineers, having studied at top universities, representing a huge incentive for any start-ups to set-up their offices in Asia. The national​governments in Asian countries are playing a great role to grow their country into massive business hubs and each and every location has ups and downs.
  2. Due to these reasons, the Asia-Pacific region is not the same place like it was a decade ago and other than traditional places like Singapore and Hongkong also the other hubs like Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Jakarta are offering interesting perspectives.
  3. E-commerce and technology are the main leading areas here where about 40% of the VC investments are made in the technology industry. Our key note speaker Mr Puvan Selvanathan, CEO of Bluenumber, is a shining example where innovation and new technologies can solve problems and make a viable business case as well.
  4. Kuala Lumpur has about 3 million residents and even though the economy of this city is smaller than others, its vicinity to the broader markets of South-East Asia makes it a charming place to begin a company. The government of Malaysia is very supportive and one initiative called MaGIC is just one example.
  5. It is the time to set one’s sights on Asia, with its increasing corporate benefits and significant effect and interdependencies in the global market. As one panelist said: “ever since the trade war between USA and China started, we have many more inquiries for start-ups in ASEAN”.
  6. Successful businessmen in Asia are much more seen with admiration and respect than in Germany, where jealousy makes it tempting to hide success and feel guilty about it rather than being inspired and motivated.
  7. A social safety net as the one in Germany makes it „comfortable“ to fail, without risking life savings and bringing down the family, whereas in Asia we see young entrepreneurs betting their life savings into the business.
  8. A key issue of the discussion was the strong law and perception on data security and privacy in Europe, and the audience as well as the panel was 50:50 as to whether this is a plus or minus for the start-up businesses.
  9. The new areas of innovations and thus the future unicorns will most likely come from any of these areas:
    1. Commercial blockchain
    2. Gaming
    3. Artificial intelligence
    4. Robotics
    5. Big data
    6. Health Care
    7. Education
  10. Finally, any company – whether start-up or traditional brick and mortar business – have to have a comfortable package for their workforce and management when it comes to the quality of life and cost of living.

If you have further questions about the above subject, please contact us


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