Here at GMIC 2012, Richard Robinson from Youlu is moderating a panel of speakers from the greater Asian region. Entrepreneurs from Australia, China, Indonesia, India and Thailand each gave their insights into what the start-up environment is like in each country.

Famous Australian entrepreneur and Founder of Kogan Technologies, a maker of electronics, spoke about his experience of building a successful company down under. The best part about being in Australia is clearly the great lifestyle and weather, being from Sydney I can agree. However Australia does suffer from challenges that make doing business harder. A small population of ~20 Million makes the market size difficult to scale, unlike China’s massive 1.3 billion population. That’s why he see’s China as the market any business man can’t afford to overlook. Beyond a small population, Australia’s position, all the way on the other side of the world makes it challenging to communicate with the rest of the world through very different time zones and long haul flights. Ruslan also noted that Australia lacks a very active venture capital industry. However, he reiterated that entrepreneurs should not focus on raising money but instead building a valuable business that makes customers happy. He believes, the first goal is to build a loyal customer community then profit will easily follow then VC’s will seek the company out.

Shieny Aprilla, COO of Agate Studio in Indonesia gave some insight into a country which has the fourth highest population in the world. With a very high mobile penetration, Indonesia like China has great potential. Although feature phones still dominate, smartphone growth is on the rise. One of the biggest challenges in Indonesia is taking online payments because technology and regulation is still immature. Interestingly, mobile carrier billing is more advanced in Indonesia.

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Jason Lim

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.