Singapore has displaced China as APAC’s top startup ecosystem

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Image by melis | Bigstockphoto

Startups in Singapore have much to celebrate – the city-state has overtaken China as the top startup ecosystem in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Index 2022.

Research centre StartupBlink, which published the index, said Singapore had the greatest increase amongst last year’s top ten counties. The score is the sum of the three subscores that measures quantity, quality, and business environment. Singapore got 3.98 points, 17.18 points, and 2.24 points, respectively.

Commonly known factors that contribute to Singapore’s success as a startup ecosystem include supportive government policies, the presence of experienced mentors and investors, and the city-state’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurialism.

In particular, Singapore’s fintech industry was singled out as the “overperforming industry”, with the city-state entering the world’s top 30 for other markets like edtech, e-commerce and retail.

Singapore’s total score of 23.408 was 13% higher than China’s score, resulting in the country moving up three places in the global rankings to the seventh spot. This is a significant achievement, considering that last year China’s score was 10% higher than Singapore’s.

China’s fall from the top spot can be attributed to a number of factors, according to the report. These include a lack of local-focused startups and “friction” between founders and the government.

“Singapore is a model for innovation and continues the pattern of a relatively small country massively over-performing and creating regional impact as an open and powerful Asian hub. Singapore’s favourable tax legislation and ease of doing business are attracting massive ecosystem investment. It is no wonder that the country keeps on producing billion-dollar valuations for its startups,” the report said.

In the rest of the ASEAN region, Indonesia broke into the top 40 globally this year, with Jakarta being ranked as the second-highest city in Southeast Asia for startups. The Philippines fell five places in the country rankings to 57th, with Manila coming in at 100th among 1,000 cities worldwide.

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