China's tech crackdown propels investors, entrepreneurs to shift sights to SE Asia

(Clockwise) Rui Ma, founder of Tech Buzz China; James Tan, managing partner at Quest Ventures; and venture capitalist Helen Wong talk during a panel discussion at the Asia PE-VC Summit in September 2021.

After Beijing’s tightened regulatory control over its tech sector wiped out billions of dollars in value from internet giants, investors and entrepreneurs are increasingly shifting sights to overseas opportunities to diversify risks, with Southeast Asia among their top options.

China’s regulatory crackdown on its tech sector, which has by far erased about $1.5 trillion of value from the country’s tech stocks, started in November 2020 when the regulators pulled the plug on the initial public offering (IPO) of Jack Ma’s fintech juggernaut Ant Group. The suspension of Ant’s $34.5-billion IPO was followed by a slew of new legislations over the past months, ranging from anti-monopoly rules to user data security and protection laws, that have put high-profile tech companies under investigation and big-ticket fines.

Bring stories like this into your inbox every day.

Sign up for our newsletter - The Daily Brief
Subscribe to Newsletter