The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022

Asia Insights, Rankings & Ecosystem Pages

The World Bank’s final Doing Business report, released in 2020, named three Asian ecosystems in the top places to do business in the world: Singapore at #2, Hong Kong at #3, and Korea at #4. Asia is a hugely varied region that is home to a vast array of tech startups, and Beijing is a longstanding leader in the GSER rankings. This year, however, the landscape is looking a little different.

India has seen a rapid rise in the number of large exits and early-stage rounds, and a substantial increase in Ecosystem Value. The nation produced 44 unicorns in 2021, and exits rose to $14 billion — a 10-fold increase over 2020. Delhi and Mumbai joined Bangalore-Karnataka in the top 40. Ecosystem-creation initiatives and startup-friendly policies are helping to drive this movement.

Meanwhile, the region’s major player, China, is experiencing the impact of government regulation. In 2021, Beijing cracked down on companies over issues including anti-competitiveness and data privacy. Global investors suffered when the Chinese government went after its Edtech industry in July, and it raised constraints on overseas IPOs in December. In 2021, China saw growth in large exits over $50 million decline, particularly in early-stage funding, although Beijing and Shenzen saw an increase in exits over $1 billion. In 2021, Bangalore-Karnataka beat out both Beijing and Shanghai in the amount of venture capital raised and number of rounds, according to London & Partners and Dealroom.

China remains a startup powerhouse — venture investment in 2021 rocketed above $130 billion, about 50% higher than in 2020, according to Bloomberg — but Asia’s tech startup story is no longer as straightforward as it once was.

Key Findings

  • Asia saw a 312% increase in the dollar amount of exits over $50 million from 2020 to 2021.

  • Early-stage funding deal amount increased by 69% from 2020 to 2021.

  • Seoul entered the global top 10 ecosystems for the first time, up six places from #16 in 2021 and #20 in 2020.

  • Several Indian ecosystems have risen in the rankings, most notably Delhi, which is 11 places higher than in 2021, entering the top 30 for the first time at #26. Bangalore-Karnataka has moved up one place from last year, to #22.

  • Japan has seen 113% growth in exit amount from 2020 to 2021, as well as 25% growth in dollar amount at Series B+ rounds. For context, the global median growth in exits is 77%.

  • Beijing has dropped one place from 2021, coming in at #5 globally, due to decline in growth of early-stage funding.

  • The performance of Chinese startup hubs is declining for the first time since GSER has tracked them. Eight of the 13 cities studied fell in this year’s rankings.