Once your startup has taken off in your local market, expanding geographically is a natural next step. Asia is likely to be on your target list given its promising consumer market that comprises a burgeoning middle-class with a high spending power, as well as increasing mobile and internet connectivity. I’ve seen startups going down this path but risks that emerge in Asia can prove to be a deal-breaker if not managed from the onset. Cultural risk Asia comprises over four billion people. It’s a diverse region with multiple languages and various preferences. One case in point is the varied preference over the use of cash across different countries within the region. Despite the Chinese being ahead of the curve when it comes to cashless payment, cash is still very much preferred in most Asian markets. Across Southeast Asia alone, many people remain unbanked. So, if you create an application without an option for cash payment, you lose out. One of the reasons why Grab, a ride-hailing app, gained a sizeable market share in Southeast Asia early on is that they accepted cash payments from the beginning, while Uber (when it was still operating in the region) initially only accepted card… Read full this story
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