Countries across Asia are vying to boost their homegrown service economies, as a drop off in resources demand and a slowing Chinese economy are taking their toll. China has pumped over a billion into kickstarting their local innovation economy, while countries including Australia and India have launched their own costly campaigns.

“What I don’t think is good is when governments organize a very expensive [and] large one-time just to deliver a message,” said Martin Talvari, the CSO of startup conference organized SLUSH. “I think it was the Prime Minister [of Finland] who said, ‘Yup, we do a lot by not doing much.’ There’s a certain truth in there.”

Governments like the Chinese government have had a more heavy-handed approach. The Chinese government has offered generous support to both startups and investors in China, including the construction of high-tech parks, startup funds, tax benefits, and even “risk compensation” for venture capital firms. This year in Premier Li’s annual work report, “innovation-driven development” was reemphasized again and again as a priority for the Chinese government. However, China is not alone in its top-down push for tech and innovation. Almost every country in Asia has jumped on the bandwagon, each touting itself as a “startup hub.”

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Eva Xiao

Eva Xiao is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. Contact her at eva.xiao@technode.com or evawxiao (wechat & twitter).