Vietnam startup investment beats Singapore

By Dat Nguyen   February 13, 2020 | 05:22 pm PT
Vietnam startup investment beats Singapore
Entrepreneurs discuss ideas at a startup convention in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
Investment in Vietnamese tech startups last year exceeded that experienced in Singapore for the first time to rank second in Southeast Asia.

Total investment in Vietnam reached $741 million, compared to Singapore’s $693 million and Thailand’s $135 million, according to Singapore-based venture capital firm Cento Ventures.

Indonesia topped the chart in six countries studied at $2.38 billion.

Vietnam’s value surged 2.5 times over 2018, with the number of deals nearly doubling from 50 to 90.

Most notable deals include payment app VNPAY raising $300 million from Japan-based Softbank Vision Fund and Singapore-based sovereign wealth fund GIC.

Another e-payment app Momo pulled in about $100 million from American private equity company Warburg Pincus.

The country’s share of investment value in the region also jumped from 4 percent in 2015 to 18 percent last year, compared to Indonesia’s 59 percent, Singapore’s 17 percent and Thailand’s 3 percent.

Cento Ventures data shows Vietnam has one company, gaming firm VNG Corporation, valued above $1 billion, and at least 13 startups over $100 million including e-commerce player Tiki, e-wallet Momo and ride-hailing Be.

The Vietnamese government in recent years has encouraged entrepreneurship and wants the private sector to drive economic growth.

The number of newly established businesses in the country hit a new record at 138,100 last year, up 5.2 percent year-on-year, according to General Statistics Office.

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