Worldwide: Venture Capital, Tech And Start-Ups – The Funding Frenzy In Asia

Last Updated: 9 November 2017
Article by Amelia Hall and Laura Rogers

Most Read Contributor in Cayman Islands, July 2019

In recent years, Asia has seen a tremendous expansion in venture capital activity, with the aggregate value of venture capital deals in Asia reaching $67 billion, a staggering increase when compared to the 2013 figure of $11 billion1. The latest, largest, history-making fund raised to date, SoftBank's $93 billion Vision Fund, is like no other and proves that appetite in investing in tech and start-ups is continually growing.

It is interesting to note, however, that while the aggregate value of venture capital deals in Asia is increasing, Asia-based venture capital fundraising has been decreasing over the previous two years2. Bain & Company, in its 2017 report on private equity and venture capital funds in Asia3, noted that after allocating $115 billion to funds focused on the Asia-Pacific region over the previous two years, total funds raised in the region dropped almost 16% from a year earlier to $43 billion and slipped to 9% of the global total from 11% in 2015, which is unsurprising as results from the 2017 Bain Private Equity Survey4 indicate that general partners ("GPs") sitting on a mountain of dry powder may not have been giving fund-raising their full attention during the year, prioritising instead the buying of companies and working on their existing portfolios. However, in the coming year, while deals and portfolio management will continue to be priorities, many GPs indicated in the 2017 Bain Private Equity Survey that they will be refocusing on fund-raising as well. Close to 70% said they will launch a new fund in the next 12 to 24 months.

In China and Southeast Asia, the investment in tech and start-ups is on the rise, with an emphasis on social media, payments, e-commerce, ride hailing apps, online travel or pure technology. The general sentiment is that opportunity for growth in the Southeast Asian markets remains high.

Southeast Asia

For the first nine months of 2017, technology companies in Southeast Asia have pulled in approximately $6.4 billion in disclosed equity funding, which represents twice as much as the $3.1 billion brought in in 2016 and more than three times the amount raised in 20155.

Singapore and Indonesia are rapidly driving investments in start-up formation in the region, with many of the fastest growing start-ups, including Grab, Traveloka, GO-JEK and Tokopedia, hailing from Southeast Asia. There have also been an increased number of mega-rounds in excess of $100 million, for example, the $2 billion Series G round by Singapore ride-hailing company Grab6.

2016 alone saw sixteen Asian start-up companies ascend to billion-dollar valuation or above, of which four hailed from Southeast Asia: two Singaporean companies, ride-hailing app Grab and online gaming company Sea, and two Indonesian companies, travel bookings site Traveloka and ride-hailing app GO-JEK.

We have seen a notable number of Cayman Islands exempted companies and exempted limited partnerships being used as the vehicle of choice for start-ups receiving equity funding, including certain well-established tech companies and many early stage start-ups, which reflects the continued popularity of Cayman structures as fundraising vehicles. We have also dealt with the restructuring of local domiciled companies into Cayman holding company structures as part of an equity fund raising round.


China features heavily on the map with tech darlings such as Alibaba, Baidu, Didi and Weibo. In April 2017, Alibaba Group's affiliate, Ant Financial Services Group, attracted the largest private fund-raising round for an Internet company ever, when sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. (CIC) and others invested $4.5 billion in the online payments platform7.

Smaller venture capital and early-stage private equity deals are also increasing. Bain & Company noted that the particularly strong activity in Greater China in early-stage deals where value rose 24% from 2015 and was three times higher than the past five years' average8. These include, for example, $600 million second-round financing of electric car company Singulato Motors by Beijing's Lancapital Holdings to GGV Capital's $60 million Series B financing round of Zuoyebang, an online education company spun off from China's Baidu Inc9.

There has also been an increased use of Cayman Islands entities over the past twelve months in the Chinese market, with some Chinese clients electing to list such entities overseas rather than on the domestic exchanges. Cayman Islands exempted companies do feature heavily on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and are also popular vehicles for listing on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

Traditional Cayman Islands fundraising structures continue to be the vehicles of choice in China. We have seen an uptick in activity in hybrid funds with some Chinese managers launching hybrid funds offering both closed and open-ended funds and using the Segregated Portfolio Company in Cayman as the vehicle for these hybrid products.


Investment appetite in venture capital, tech and start-ups is here to stay with China and Southeast Asia very much leading the way. All signs are pointing towards investment activity levels in Asia continuing to grow as investors and managers look to Asia for opportunities, and we expect to see continued use of Cayman Islands entities to structure fundraising vehicles as the funds industry in Asia continues to grow from strength to strength.


1. Preqin, Preqin Special Report: Asian Private Equity & Venture Capital, September 2017

2. Ibid.

3. Bain & Company, Asia-Pacific Private Equity Report 2017, 16 March 2017

4. Ibid.

5. CB Insights, Tech Investing in Southeast Asia, 7 September 2017

6. "Grab Announces Didi Chuxing and SoftBank as Lead Investors for Current Round of Financing", Grab, 24 July 2017 (

7. Kane Wu, "Alibaba Affiliate Ant Financial Raises $4.5 Billion in Largest Private Tech Funding Round", The Wall Street Journal, 25 April 2016 (; Paul Carsten, "Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial closes $4.5 billion funding round", Reuters, 26 April 2016 (

8. Bain & Company, Asia-Pacific Private Equity Report 2017, 16 March 2017

9. Ibid.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions