1. Silicon Valley will remain the global tech hub followed by China though innovation centers in clusters around the world will matter more. Think Indonesia, Brazil and Russia, and of course, the perennial, Israel. London too will help to jumpstart innovation again in Europe as Silicon Roundabout becomes a reality. Entrepreneurs from around the world still flock to the Valley for that spark of imagination.
2. Startups will consolidate or die in the emerging Asian tech strongholds of China and India as the strong get stronger and the weak get weaker. The result will be more concentration of breakthrough products from fewer players and more pressure on startups to scale up quickly with a distinct advantage or get swallowed up.
3. Vietnam’s startup scene will continue to accelerate from multiple grass-roots efforts as the country’s scrappy entrepreneurs build businesses in mobile communications, gaming and e-commerce. Alternatively, markets such as Singapore that have force-fed innovation will lose ground to the true entrepreneur markets. See On the Silicon Dragon Trail, Startup Asia Surfaces.
4. India startups could finally begin to break through with innovative and market-leading tech products to supplement the country’s strong base in services (outsourcing).
5. Chinese tech and consumer brands that have cemented a lead in the home market will intensify their global outreach and begin to stand out as quality goods and services that can compete with North American and European names. We are still in the very early days of this phenomenon, and of course Lenovo already is a strong example of this progression.
6. China’s technology clusters that took root in Beijing and Shanghai will spread to western cities such as Chengdu and Chongqing as software parks, talent and government support help to put these outliers on the tech map. Hong Kong will emerge as a startup center in southern China.
7. Popular Chinese tech brands such as Tencent’s WeChat mobile phone ap and Xiaomi Technology’s smartphone will become “must-have” gadgets and successfully compete in overseas markets even with Apple and Facebook.
8. Signs point to stricter censorship and controls over the Internet in China, Vietnam and elsewhere.
9. Venture capitalists will become even more selective in backing startups in Asia as investment returns have been disappointing in recent years and all but the best venture firms are weeded out. Angel investors will help to fill in the funding gap.
10. The copycat era of look-alike western sites in China will fade and more original ideas tailored to the local culture will flourish as the Chinese market develops and grows more sophisticated. The same trend will spread to other key Asian markets such as India, which has lagged China by only a few years as startup India has developed.
Rebecca A. Fannin 范碧嘉 is author of Silicon Dragon (McGraw-Hill, 2008) andStartup Asia (Wiley, 2011), a contributor to Forbes, and a consultant and public speaker. Her news and events group, Silicon Asia, publishes e-newsletters for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, and develops conferences in the world’s tech hotspots. Videos, photos, articles and blogs related to her books and programs can be found at www.siliconasiainvest.com.
Her consulting work includes a KPMG white paper on China outsourcing, Sony research projects, and Econsultancy editorial content. She has partnered with NASDAQ OMX, Morrison & Foerster, KPMG, SVB Financial Group, O’Melveny & Myers, Sidley Austin, Deloitte, K&L Gates, DLA Piper, InvestHK, SecondMarket, and Wells Fargo on China and India business events. Rebecca has testified as an expert witness on China’s Internet before a U.S.-China Commission in Washington, D.C.
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