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How Chinese And American Companies Are Turning Southeast Asia Into A ‘Games Of Thrones’ – Forbes

Lately it seems like BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) and FANGAM (Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google, Amazon, Microsoft) are in a regional Game of Thrones for tech dominance in Asia.

Tencent and Alibaba are fighting it out in Southeast Asia, putting their bets on different e-commerce firms (
Lazada) or shared economy startups (
Grab,
Gojek). Alibaba has been the obvious recent aggressor here, but Tencent started investing in Southeast Asia a decade ago, funding companies like Sanook, VNG and
Garena. Southeast Asia is old news for Tencent. But Alibaba, despite being new to the scene is acting more aggressively and boasts more firepower. But this isn’t just about Chinese companies
carving up the region.

Also on Forbes: Why Alibaba’s Paytm Buy Proves Amazon Is Playing A Losing Game In Asia

From the other side of the world, we have Silicon Valleys top dogs
housing themselves in hubs from Tokyo to Singapore. Facebook, Google, Uber, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Apple and more all have regional HQ’s in major cities in Asia. Many of them make hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars every year in the
region. In the digital advertising space, this is especially felt by
previously dominant or rising players in Asia. The arrival of the Valley’s tech giants (namely Facebook and Google) sucked up their business while unlocking new areas of value and commerce.

In many ways, the Chinese companies are late to the Southeast Asia party. Sure, Tencent has been peppering money into the ecosystem here and there, but China, arguably just a technological decade ahead of its 
southern neighbors (give or take a few years) has been focusing on its own domestic opportunities. As saturation points hit a plateau, they have to look for growth drivers horizontally inside of China or new markets abroad. Meanwhile, many American companies have been operating in Southeast Asia for a
decade or more.

Today, Southeast Asia is primed. Its young population and growing economies are desirable. It’s not as politically dubious as the Middle East, it’s not too underdeveloped like Africa, not overdeveloped like Europe, and not thousands of miles away like Latin America. It’s the natural extension for Chinese companies and houses a Chinese elite to boot.

How Chinese And American Companies Are Turning Southeast Asia Into A ‘Games Of Thrones’ – Forbes}

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