When it comes to inspiring out-of-the-box business ideas, we typically think of places like San Francisco's Silicon Valley or, in Asia, high-tech Tokyo and Singapore. But Asia has other promising countries with the potential for leading the way in launching brand new products, services and business models. This article takes a look at three lesser known innovation cities on the global index.
Strengths in manufacturing and reformed economic policies have developed Shenzhen into an innovation powerhouse dubbed the 'Silicon Valley of Hardware'. Once a small fishing village, Shenzhen is now home to some of China's biggest tech firms. There's Huawei which makes telecoms equipment, social media platform Tencent and search engine Baidu. You might wonder what makes Shenzhen such a target location for techies. The answer is likely in its vastly affordable electronic components. Engineers use hardware parts bought in bulk to make prototypes very quickly, making this exciting Chinese metropolis an startup's paradise.
Despite a notoriously risk averse society, India's population is able to thrive creatively. Many of the world's top CEOs including Google's Sundar Pichai and Microsoft's Satya Nadella are of Indian descent. India's culture of networking and mentorship, excellence in IT and pool of ripe talent makes it a fitting location for budding entrepreneurs. Bangalore, or Bengaluru, is India's innovation HQ. The capital is the world's second fastest growing startup ecosystem, with over 100 new businesses registered every day. The top industries for Bangalore startups include fintech, healthcare and energy.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is a Vietnamese city with a new name and newer ambitions. Vietnam's largest economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a high quality labour force, frequent skyscraper builds and millions of motorbikes. Leaders' efforts have been focused on transforming the fast-paced city into Vietnam's innovation centre. The government has invested in research, HR training, manufacturing and even entertainment innovations. It's definitely worth paying attention to the future of this high-energy location.