It is no secret that Southeast Asia has been experiencing tremendous economic growth over the past number of years. With tensions mounting in the trade war between the United States and China, many companies are moving production out of China and into neighbouring countries such as Vietnam, creating a perfect environment for emerging industries to grow, throughout the region. Recently a poll of 104 of Singapore’s chief executives ranked Southeast Asia as the top market for growth and investment opportunities. 

With so much growth and a plethora of investment opportunities available, it may feel overwhelming to decide where to stake your money. Let’s delve into three of Southeast Asia’s burgeoning industries to look forward to so that you can make a more informed decision on where to invest your time and resources.

Automation (Artificial Intelligence and Robotics)

Did you know that worldwide, roughly 50% of all jobs have the potential to be automated by using demonstrated technology? Computers and robotics have the potential to control 30% of workplace tasks in 60% of all occupations

In a recent survey conducted by the International Data Corporation, 37% of companies surveyed reportedly plan to adopt some form of Artificial Intelligence over the next five years to make work life easier. These shifts in technological advances are exciting, and there are several companies at the forefront of this emerging trend in Southeast Asia. Supahands and ViSenze are two startups making a splash in this emerging industry.


Supahands, a Malaysian startup based in Kuala Lumpur, uses a combination of human and artificial intelligence to provide companies with remote workers that specialise in understanding and utilising consumer data. With well-known clients such as Uber and Grab, it’s no wonder Supahands continues its path towards global expansion.


E-commerce companies such as Urban Outfitters have been utilising AI-focused Singapore startup ViSenze’s advanced visual search and image recognition platform to help increase sales and create a more positive customer experience. ViSenze’s technology is geared towards enhancing the consumer’s shopping experience by recommending visually similar items to customers as they shop online.


The Internet-of-Things (IoT) has recently become an emerging trend in Southeast Asia, and the concept not only has the potential to impact how we live our daily lives but also how we work and run our businesses. IoT can connect any device that has an on and off switch, to the Internet, including everything from cell phones and cars to coffee makers and washing machines.

According to market research, Asia Pacific is projected to be the market leader for IoT over the next few years. With government initiatives accelerating the demand for connectivity, the number of things connected is expected to almost triple by the year 2020, from 3.1 billion to 8.6 billion, creating a $583 billion USD marketing opportunity. Let’s take a look at two IoT startups that are exploding in the market.

Homi SmartHome

Image may contain: 1 person, phone and indoor
Image courtesy of Facebook

According to research company MarketsandMarkets, Asia Pacific residents are predicted to be the largest adopters of smart-home technologies worldwide. In Hong Kong alone, smart-home revenue is slated to increase by approximately 42% over the next five years, making it an exciting time to invest in companies like Singapore-based IoT startup, HOMI SmartHome. HOMI has curated smart home bundles specifically built for Southeast Asian customers. They also provide their clients with consultations, installation, maintenance, and 24-hour support throughout their smart-home journey.


Five-year-old Indonesian startup, eFishery, boasts of its elite status as the first ‘fishtech’ startup in Indonesia. The company provides an IoT solution and data platform for farmers in the fish and shrimp farming industries. Farmers can monitor and schedule automatic feeding times through a smartphone app to prevent overfeeding that has the potential to pollute the ecosystem and put the fish’s health in jeopardy. eFishery not only increases feed efficiency but also aids in increasing profit margins of fish and shrimp farmers.

Sustainable Technology

For decades, countries have been turning a blind eye to the environmental issues that plague our planet. Social media campaigns have created increased awareness about global topics, the most recent being the burning of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. A global conversation surrounding our planet’s future has begun–deforestation, climate change, waste disposal, water pollution, and air pollution are just a few of the concerning environmental issues we face worldwide. It’s more important than ever to develop new technologies that will aid in the healing of our planet. These Southeast Asia, sustainable technology startups are doing their part to make a difference:

We explore Southeast Asian startups leading the green revolution

RWDC Industries

According to World Bank Statistics, South Asia has one of the lowest levels of efficient waste collections in the world, due in part to plastic – but maybe not for much longer! RWDC Industries, a Singapore based startup founded in 2015, has “developed technology to harvest outputs of a microbial fermentation process using plant-based oils that produces a naturally occurring biodegradable polymer called PHA.” Their PHA, called Solon, is fully biodegradable in soil, water and marine conditions within a matter of weeks. This plastic replacement technology is a massive stride to a more sustainable future.


As the name suggests, WeGen’s core belief is that “we” can “gen”erate and share all of our power as a community, rather than relying on large electric corporations. WeGen is a next-generation energy business that uses renewable energy, battery storage, and software technologies to develop energy solutions for commercial and residential clients. Using their proprietary software, customers can tap into a “distributed power plant” where homes and businesses share in both energy production and consumption, resulting in a smarter, cleaner energy system.


We are living in an age of rapid changes and technological breakthroughs, all of which will have a profound effect on our future daily lives. Stay educated and up-to-date on emerging industries in Southeast Asia, such as automation, Internet-of-Things, and sustainability to prepare for the future and ensure you invest wisely.