In the coming years, Southeast Asia and particularly Singapore will present significant opportunities for UK tech start-ups. The ASEAN region’s internet economy is predicted to grow to grow to a staggering US$300 billion by 2025 and Singapore has been working actively to position itself at the centre of the Asia Pacific’s technology and innovation across a number of sectors. British technological and innovative companies have been increasingly active in catching on this trend.
On 20 August 2020, KWM Partner Mike Wang and Of Counsel Jack Tsang (both based in the London office) spoke at the UK Department’s for International Trade’s webinar ‘Why Singapore? Journey to the East and Beyond’. They were joined by panellist’s Dr Michael Wilkinson, Founder and CEO of Inavya Ventures Ltd; Dr Philip Wong, Founder of WEB Biotechnology Pte Ltd; and Kenneth Chua, lawyer & Associate Director at TSMP Law Corporation. The event was led by the Department for International Trade (DIT) Singapore and the British High Commission in Singapore.
During the event, speakers looked at the reasons why UK tech companies should consider doing business in Singapore and how they could pivot from Singapore to ASEAN and global markets. Additionally, the panel discussed how UK tech companies could access the tech ecosystem and gave practical advice for companies interested in doing business in the region. In particular, Dr Wilkinson illustrated the “journey” that his London based healthcare-tech company took in pivoting from London to Singapore and advised his fellow UK entrepreneurs to “not to stop exploring international market just because there is a pandemic; it is important to use this time wisely to ensure that your company is ahead of others after the pandemic eases”. The KWM team highlighted the growing interest that Chinese investors have in the ASEAN region and using Singapore as a region hub for those investments.
As part of this webinar and together with the panellists and the Department of International Trade, a thought leadership piece will be published in the coming weeks which will likely consider the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways that UK companies engage with the technology ecosystem in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region.
King & Wood Mallesons works closely with a number of UK companies in the technology and innovations sector to support their engagement with markets and investors in the Asia-Pacific region, including in Singapore, and our view is that this trend will only continue to grow after the pandemic especially in the healthcare-tech sector.