Why should you focus on the East to search for innovation?
The favorite regions among those who wish to do business internationally are the ones with great capacity to embrace new technology, which supports investments, possess a high quality of living and allow global connections easily.
Meanwhile, startups from countries like Brazil and others in Latin America seem to remain focused on the Silicon Valley, even as the rest of the world will tend to look at where real opportunities are.
In these countries, innovation-based businesses, unfortunately, have the tendency to seek out opportunities when they are already established, in a very mature phase, instead of searching for new solutions. This way, these entrepreneurs will concentrate all efforts on trying to launch their businesses in California, New York City, London, etc, perceiving these ecosystems as golden opportunities somehow. Few and hard-earned examples of success will provide them with the illusion that this is the best way.
The notion of living in a bubble, isolated from the rest of the world, has never looked so real. Our close-mindedness and often stubborn attitude about looking at the international market are so great that we have simply forgotten to perceive the world around us, oftentimes reproducing hasty generalizations about developing regions such as Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
And where is the innovation?
Just to give you an idea, in the recently-published list of top 10 dynamic world cities, half of these cities were located in Asia, one was in Africa, one was in Europe, and only three were in the United States. Silicon Valley (even though not exactly a city) is the third top city on the list, not the first.
First on the list is Bangalore, also known as the Indian Silicon Valley, one of the biggest tech hubs in the country and also the second-fastest-growing startup ecosystem in the world.
Ho Chi Minh, in Vietnam, comes in second place, Shanghai, in China, comes in fourth and Hyderabad, in India, comes in fifth, and that is only to name a few. Broadly speaking, of thirty cities on the list, half are across the world and not in the North America-Europe axis as some might think.
If we analyze business opportunities through the prism of wealth, the East also comes on top, as the wealthiest nation on Earth is Qatar, followed by Brunei, Kuwait, the Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, which are placed among the top ten nations on the list of wealthiest nations.
None of it means, however, that you should abandon all your plans of taking photos at Google headquarters, in Mountain View, California, and launch your startup business in India or Hong Kong instead. The most important thing is to be on top of the new landscape of international economy.
China, for instance, offers a vast field of opportunities, due to the wide variety of problems that need to be solved, not to mention a consumption-avid population that is highly tech-savvy.
A real example
I just want to remind you that a Brazilian startup, 99, has recently received 320 million Brazilian reais (BRL) from Chinese investor Didi Chunxing. Evidently, this is still a new movement that oftentimes may or may not work, but it already points to the horizon of where we should be focusing when seeking innovation. I will risk saying that soon it will be the East which will be dictating the tendencies in the global economy, at least when it comes to technology innovation.