The new decade starts today. And as usual, we are issuing our beginning of the year predictions, for 2020 this time.

We are adding a Chuhai section this time round. Chuhai (or 出海) means venturing overseas. As pressure keeps increasing for both founders, investors and established companies in China, many will continue to seek growth in global markets.

Over the next few days, we will elaborate on each of these predictions – and as usual, we will review them at the end of the year.

Again, these predictions are an exercise to analyse the factors impacting tech ecosystem in respective reasons – they do not form investment advice. We welcome your feedback, especially when you have drastically different perspectives compared to ours.

Enjoy 2020!

Southeast Asia 

  1. Two or more late stage (Series C to pre-IPO) companies collapse; 
  2. Ecommerce & mobile wallet/payment sectors in Indonesia consolidate;
  3. Grab Financial becomes bigger than Grab Ride-hailing;
  4. Social ecommerce continues to grow, and be funded;
  5. Philippines (finally) takes off;  
  6. Korean investors continue to overvalue Vietnamese startups; 
  7. Growth funds become more available, competition for LP attention/funding becomes even more fierce;  
  8. More countries start digital bank licences, and finally a fintech unicorn emerges;
  9. Continuous expansion of mobility and (E or non E) vehicle-life cycle related tech startups; 
  10. More Indian companies expand to Southeast Asia


  1. The economy recovers but remains challenging, funding for startups continues to flow; exits still rare and far between; 
  2. B2B business models grow even faster, as cost pressure continues to hit businesses;  
  3. General cooling down of Chinese capital in Indian growth/late stage startups – more are monitoring rather than investing; 
  4. More investment in SaaS, AI, and enterprise companies with global ambitions; 
  5. Big ecommerce platforms take social ecommerce more seriously, through their own ventures or acquisitions; 
  6. Standalone payment companies, including PayTM, continues to struggle – they will be more bullish in lending; 
  7. More investment in Cloud Kitchens, adding supplies to delivery platforms and creating new culinary brands; 
  8. TikTok becomes profitable in India;
  9. More direct-to-consumer brands emerge and grow; 
  10. More entrepreneurs and innovations to revamp mobility, especially for autos and two-wheelers

Middle East 

  1. The economy (and Dubai property prices) hits the bottom, and start to rebound;
  2. Slash of promotions/discounts from major ecommerce giants, including Noon; 
  3. Logistic landscape shifts with consolidation; 
  4. More Saudi based regional startups emerge; 
  5. Abu Dhabi attracts more Chinese AI companies (and talent);
  6. More Chinese VCs active in Middle East raising money from regional LPs and investment in regional deals;
  7. Fintech still grows (very) slowly in the region, global fintech companies lobby for access to regional markets; 
  8. Careem mafia flexes more muscle;
  9. No more unicorns this year;
  10. Startups looking at reforming B2B supply chain finally emerge and gain traction


  1. Brands, Supply Chain, Fintech and business models remain the key for Chinese players venturing overseas; 
  2. SheIn leads all cross border ecommerce;
  3. TikTok becomes profitable in certain markets, headwinds remain; 
  4. Big companies take a second thought about India; 
  5. Alibaba consolidates global strategy, Meituan becomes more active; 
  6. More Chinese entrepreneurs with international exposure go overseas; VCs start to believe that Alibaba/Tencent experience is no guarantee for success in overseas markets; 
  7. More Chinese VCs set up presence in Singapore, and start looking at local deals in Southeast Asia; and they continue to bitch about high valuation; 
  8. More Chinese VCs active in Middle East raising money from regional LPs and investment in regional deals;
  9. Africa fever cools down; 
  10. Latin America is still too far – and opportunistic; Fintech, logistics and content remain the leading sectors getting Chinese attention

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].


Previous articleNew Year message from Momentum Works
Next articleMomentum Works is hiring!
Jianggan Li is the Founder & CEO of Momentum Works. Prior to founding Momentum Works, he co-founded Easy Taxi in Asia, and served as Managing Director of Foodpanda. The two years running Rocket Internet companies has given him a lifetime experience on supersonic implementation, and good camaraderie with entrepreneurs across the developing world. He holds a MBA from INSEAD (GMAT 770) and a degree in Computer Engineering from Nanyang Technological University. Unfortunately he never wrote a single line of code professionally - but in his first job he was in media, travelling extensively across Asia & Europe, speaking with Ministers & (occasionally) Prime Ministers. Apart from English and his native Mandarin, he is also fluent in French and conversational in Cantonese & Spanish. He tried to learn Latin (for three years) and Sanskrit (for six months) as well. In his (scarce) free time, he reads, travels, hikes and dives. Pyongyang, Tehran & Chisinau are among the interesting cities he has been to.