Singapore and Malaysia should be comrades in global tech battles, not competitors

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Southeast Asia Globe

Singapore and Malaysia are playing catch up with global tech capitals, but their pace may be slowed by talent that’s looking too timid for the cutthroat business.

“But playing too nice can cripple the industry. James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures, a venture fund focusing on China and Southeast Asia, says that local startups should emulate China’s ruthlessness and “get big fast”.

“There is nothing wrong with wanting to stay as a small entrepreneur, but if so, why play in the fast-growth tech game? Tech startups have to grow by penetrating new cities or countries, including expansion by acquisition. Otherwise, you are just setting yourself up to be acquired by the Chinese or the Americans when they enter your market.

Looking ahead, Tan says, a key tactic will be for Singapore and Malaysia to remain comrades, rather than competitors.

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