Bridging the gap between Asian and German startup ecosystems

Berlin, Germany

We know that the future of startup ecosystems is global. Asia will play a significant role in this globalized ecosystem due to its sheer size, innovation and growth dynamics. Business growth and development across Asia has already taken off; the number of unicorns in China (122) is bigger than those of 29 other countries combined, including Germany (13), India (21), and the UK (25), according to a report by CB Insights. The speed and scale of development in the startup scenes of India, South Korea, Singapore, and Indonesia are leading to the rapid globalization of the Asian market.

Stemming from this expansion, major investments in Berlin’s startups are now led by Asian venture capital firms such as Softbank´s Vision Fund and SBI Holding from Tokyo, Temasek and GIC from Singapore, Horizon Ventures from Hong Kong, or Tencent and Ping An from Shenzhen. Berlin’s developing ecosystem is thriving off the influx of investments, talent, and international business ideas from across Asia; it is vital for Berlin to stay connected to these dynamics. AsiaBerlin (AB), jointly produced by enpact e.V. and the Berlin Senate, is the platform that offers this opportunity for connection and collaboration.

The needs and perspectives in Asian ecosystems are not so different from Berlin: they have a similar necessity for internationalization. Having a big home market, as in the cases of India or China, may be even a trap; many startups are looking for opportunities abroad rather late, although they may have the option to scale abroad more successfully than at home. However, this requires looking beyond Silicon Valley and the highly competitive US market. This is an opportunity to look to Europe, where Berlin is probably the best place for starting a business thanks to its innovative, young, open minded, and English-speaking ecosystem. 25% of German startups are founded in Berlin, 60% of 2020 investments into the German ecosystem funneled directly into Berlin, and today, the city is the base for 11 unicorns. Together with (French-speaking) Paris, Berlin ranks second among Europe’s startup hubs and first in the European Union.

Berlin city view
Claudio Schwarz

For this reason, we offer an overview of the various opportunities and challenges to connect stakeholders in the ecosystems of both continents with the AB Summit, with AB events, and Delegation Trips. We also rely on powerful cooperation with our professional partners like enpact for the AsiaBerlin Delegation Trips and Events, or Openers for the AsiaBerlin Summit.. Additionally, we rely on the cooperation with dedicated partners in Asian and German startups, corporates, investors, embassies, ministries, and institutions. These close partnerships are essential for the enormous project of building bridges between Germany and Asia.

Now, as we continue to move forward and expand, we are considering the potential in other Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other ASEAN hubs in addition to our current involvement in China, India and Indonesia. Therefore, the success of our AsiaBerlin activities and the construction of sustainable networks depends highly on the contributions of our partner institutions in Asia. We need their support and their investments.

We need many committed partners in Asia and Germany who are dedicated to the idea of AsiaBerlin to create a relevant impact. We need you!




Rainer Seider

Rainer is active on behalf of the Berlin Government in supporting Berlin based citizens, corporates, SMEs and startups to think and act globally.

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