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Jenny, Jixun, and Hans on Southeast Asia: Big Opportunities, Aggressive Giants, Advice for Founders

Season 2

Episode 7

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This episode is co-hosted by my colleague Dimitra Taslim. Dimi is on the investment team at GGV Capital. 

In today’s episode for Southeast Asia, we have GGV’s managing partners Jenny Lee and Jixun Foo. They shared one thing that excites them as investors about the region, what we learned from being an early investor of Grab, the role of China’s tech giants for this fast-growing market, and the implications it has for local founders. We’ve been getting a lot of questions about Southeast Asia. While we believe the talent to build great companies can come from anywhere, this episode is about Southeast Asia, home to 360 million internet users.

Much has been written on the growth potential of the region. If you don’t have the time to dig deeper, here’re some quick facts. A third of the population is under 30. 90% of the internet users are primarily on mobile. They are young, connected, and madly in love with social media. The average users in China and the US spend 6.5 hours online per day. The average Indonesian and Filipinos are online for 9 hours per day.

Some say if you missed the China train ten years ago, you could not miss this one. Others are more skeptical given the different stages of socio-economic development among various countries in the region.

As a firm, we have done ten deals in the region. More than half of that comes in the last 2.5 years. We are an early investor of Southeast’s leading Super App Grab. We reopened our Singapore office early this year and started spending more time on the ground. My colleague Dimi, who’s also the co-host for this episode, is from Indonesia and looks at investments in Southeast Asia.

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