Bloomberg reviews the winner-takes-all nature of the Chinese tech scene, with companies such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Didi spending exorbitant amounts of cash to the first to scale in their markets. Now these behemoths are seeking growth outside of China, with Southeast Asia being their first stop.
China’s laid the groundwork to take the helm of the regional economy for decades. Its ever-wealthier investors have poured billions into everything from transport to real estate, transforming the region. China almost doubled foreign direct investment into the six biggest Southeast Asian nations in 2016 alone, Credit Suisse Group AG estimates. Little of that largesse went to a tech sector in its infancy. But with deepening mobile penetration and an emergent middle class, the country’s tech giants are beginning to take note. The region hosts the largest ethnic Chinese population on the planet -- a comfort to would-be financiers craving cultural similarities. Growth in the Asean-5 of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam is projected to exceed 5 percent annually through 2022, the International Monetary Fund says, outstripping North Asia’s 3 percent on average.