Over the past few months, the ChatGPT  fever has swept Southeast Asia, leading large tech giants like Google and Meta to begin investing in artificial intelligence (AI) in Asia. Their moves are part of an attempt to build their presence and status by developing AI tools to match Microsoft’s AI generation tool ChatGPT.

Generative AI is artificial intelligence designed to generate content, such as images and articles, based on the data available and the training it has received that hones its algorithm to function in a particular way. AI in Southeast Asia has many applications, including working as a conversational chatbot to help businesses engage and retain customers and analysing research data to provide insights into a company’s operations.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC)—a global insights provider—two out of three companies in Asia-Pacific (APAC) have invested in or are thinking about investing in Generative AI.

Key players and startups using Generative AI within their industry 

Moving across multiple industries, it is clear that Generative AI will continue having considerable success, helping boost productivity, solve problems, and create content. Here are some of the key players and startups making a difference in the region:

Maestro Labs

Singapore-based Maestro Labs is an AI solution for creating high-quality emails faster. The emails are personalisable, meaning they are in the preferred tone and language. Furthermore, Maestro Labs uses enterprise-grade security to encrypt sensitive data in emails.


Indonesia-based conversational AI platform Kata.ai improves customer experiences by automating millions of conversations and business interactions. It helps to convert leads using personalised promotions, answer queries 24/7 through chatbots, and retain customers by listening to their needs and improving services.


Automation solution SparkAI helps companies and industries to automate services, scale their businesses, and resolve AI Edge cases in real time. That means it is adaptable and can adjust to situations as they happen. Agricultural machinery giant, John Deere, acquired the company in March 2023. 

Benefits of Generative AI

This branch of AI is revolutionising the world because of its myriad benefits. It can create information based on data research, analyse data to generate possible solutions, and review gathered research to provide insights and actionable reports. It can also countercheck data to detect errors, making it ideal for grammatical and editing software solutions. For businesses, there are marketing automation solutions, content generation, and chatbots for customer service.

Additionally, it is helpful for writers to create content based on the prompt given to it. The AI can access multiple research batches and articles to assess and produce complete articles and reports. Furthermore, it can assist writers in overcoming writer’s block by providing ideas and potential sentences when the writer is stuck. ChatGPT Southeast Asia users may use technology to generate summaries or translate different languages.

Its application in other sectors includes the ability to scan reams of code to detect errors or even create code to simplify the job for programmers and coders. Game designers can also design games using Generative AI and identify gaps or flaws that affect the smooth flow of the game.

Other use cases are in designing buildings in architecture, generating climate models for environmental protection, and forecasting weather patterns. For the travel and logistics sector, it will provide quality maps, directions and identification tools for safety. Cybersecurity is a big issue worldwide, and AI can detect and thwart hacking attempts in real time.Finally, the healthcare sector can benefit from diagnosis or use it to convert X-ray images to clear digital images and analyse patient data to predict health problems.

Challenges to its adoption and use 

While it has many incredible benefits, there are various challenges to its use and adoption. For instance, it is affected by the biases of its creators and may discriminate against vulnerable or minority groups. Some of its solutions depend heavily on the user’s prompt and may provide false or unwanted information. 

Moreover, the quality of information depends on the quality of data or research—some sources may be misleading, while others may be unknown and unverifiable. There is also a high possibility of copyright infringement since the AI generates content without crediting the source. There are challenges with illegal impersonation or deep fake videos and audio too.

According to Gartner, Generative AI uses a lot of electricity, which is unsuitable for sustainability. It is imperative that whichever technologies are adopted do not negatively impact the environment. Finally, other challenges include unequal access, insufficient funding, disproportionate AI learning and training options, and public fears of governments using AI for privacy infringements and surveillance.

AI in Southeast Asia will provide excellent value to the region if managed and supported well. The region remains fertile ground for AI advancement due to its young, tech-savvy citizens and their openness to adopting new technologies.