With improving infrastructure, customer base, talent base, and funding, many business models have started to emerge from the last decade in Southeast Asia. This has brought new vitality into the Southeast Asian economic system. 

An interesting fact behind their success is that many Southeast Asian founders are taking inspiration from China, in one way or another. 

It is fair to say that China saw unprecedented innovations in business models, generating successful companies such as Alibaba, Ant financial, Pinduoduo, Meituan etc. These companies offer practical experiences and inspiration to founders in Southeast Asia’s ecosystem in the following ways: 

  1. Learning from the business models & the experience of successful companies; 
  2. Taking investment/experience directly from their much bigger role models in China;  
  3. Avoiding mistakes that have been made in China; 
  4. Pitching investors about the plausibility of business models by taking Chinese examples; 

Many Southeast Asia unicorns have thrived: Grab got the inspiration from Meituan Dianping, and Ant financial; Shopee got the inspiration from Pin Duoduo, etc. 

We have done a map: 

Southeast Asian companies are taking inspiration from China

In addition to the unicorns illustrated in the picture above, there are other companies looking to China for inspiration: Kargo/Ritase-> Manbang; Axinan -> Zhongan; J&T Express -> SF Express; aCommerce -> Baozun; etc. 

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].