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2016-01-27 00:00:00Financial ServicesEnglishMarkets for SMBs Emerging Markets for SMBs to Bloom In

5 Emerging Markets for SMBs to Bloom In

2 min read

If your financial statements are reporting consistent results and it looks like expanding overseas is a possible next step, these emerging markets are becoming more and more popular with the startup scene.


Liberalization of labor and environmental regulation is improving the outlook for the manufacturing industry in India. Policies are also being redesigned so as to attract additional foreign investment into the manufacturing, hydrocarbons, insurance, defense, and railways sectors. India is also a leader in the area of Business Process Outsourcing, with 2.7 million Indians employed in the sector as of 2012. 

India’s geographical location also makes it a popular investment for the manufacuturing sector, and enjoys convenient shipping routes to Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.  

Successful India-based startups within the last decade include Zomato, Flipkart, InMobi    


Malaysia has one of Asia’s best economic records, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging 6.5% annually for near 50 years. It’s also becoming friendlier to businesses, climbing to 18th on the World Bank’s Doing Business Index, which looks at regulatory best practices. Prime Minister Najib Razak is stoking growth with reforms and encouraging foreign investment with incentives in key areas, like clean energy and back-office services. 

SMBs are able to start private limited companies (Sdn. Bhd. companies) in Malaysia with a minimum paid up capital starting at RM500,000(INR7.7mn).   

Successful Malaysia-based startups within the last decade include, GrabTaxi and Flexiroam. 


With its youthful population and growing middle class, investors see Indonesia as a long-term destination. It’s particularly attractive for franchises and consumer product manufacturers, the US State Department notes. President Joko Widodo is prioritizing foreign investment, simplifying regulations and has ambitious plans to improve infrastructure. 

Indonesia is currently enjoying an e-commerce boom, and encouraged use of digital technologies such as a social media and online shopping is expected to increase revenues for SMEs by up to 80 per cent, according to a recent study by Deloitte. 

Successful Indonesia-based startups within the last decade include Tokopedia, Traveloka and Adskom. 


With a warm population that’s famous the world over, a strategic location within Asia Pacific, and keen English language capabilities throughout the country, the Philippines is an up and coming market that’s set to become Southeast Asia’s next top startup scene. 

The government is also passing a bill that exempts new businesses (foreign or local) from paying the first two years of tax upon the incorporation of a new company. This was done in an effort to help alleviate some of the struggles that new startups face in the Philippines with limited sources of funding, and to give space for them to grow in the beginning of the startup lifecycle. 

Successful Philippines-based startups within the last decade include CashCashPinoy and Zipmatch. 

Hong Kong 

Ranking third on World Bank’s Doing Business index is Hong Kong, a booming market right now for e-commerce, due to low government restrictionson e-businesses and increasing familiarity with western brands amongst its people.  

Cosmopolitan Hong Kong is diverse in its consumption, and the city-country enjoys over 80 per cent mobile phone penetration and 73 per cent internet penetration. On top of that, there is no corporate tax for transactions taking place outside of Hong Kong so ecommerce businesses benefit the most here. 

Up and coming Hong Kong-based startups within the last decade include EasyShip and Shopline. 


Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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