Chiang Mai Among The Smaller Asian Cities Popular With Start-ups

28 Apr 2017

While the big cities in Southeast Asia have long been the centres for start-ups in the region, Bangkok, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh and Kuala Lumpur now have some competition. A growing number of smaller Southeast Asian cities like Chiang Mai are emerging as thriving hubs for innovation with start-ups now choosing these locations, according to JLL.

The slower pace of life, lower cost of living, and opportunities to connect with a growing network of like-minded individuals have made these sleepy backwaters popular among start-ups. In addition to this, some places in the region have built up a positive reputation among entrepreneurs looking to build a new company.

One of the most popular small cites with this new wave of start-ups is Chiang Mai. The city is known as the capital of digital nomads due in part to its affordability and high quality of life. Well-known companies including the BBC and Amazon have held events at PunSpace, a locally owned and operated co-working facility. There are also plans to build an innovation centre to promote social enterprises and information technology know-how projects, reports JLL.

Two Indonesian cities have also grown in popularity among start-ups. Bali is home to several notable start-up successes and now there are start-ups in the region creating products and services to cater to this growing market.

Meanwhile, Bandung is known as one of Indonesia’s most creative cities with a young population and a friendly eco-system that makes it a perfect place for start-ups to grow. The city is considering implementing education reforms with a local app, Edubox, and constructing a mini version of Silicon Valley as well.

In Malaysia, Penang has become a place more start-up founders and entrepreneurs are choosing to call home, notes JLL. The island has strong state government support for start-ups and the recently launched accelerator @CAT for Creative, Analytics & Technology boosted the region’s start-up scene.

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