Along with the globalization drive of Chinese companies, China is having a greater influence on the rest of the world as a marketplace, a foreign investor, and more importantly, a source of innovation. Southeast Asia (SEA), a densely populated region that’s expected to foster the next unicorn, is among the areas that are feeling these impacts.

Thanks to geographical adjacency and cultural similarities, SEA has become the first stop for Chinese companies when expanding abroad with an increasing number of Chinese firms like Huawei, Alibaba and Xiaomi are taking their foothold in the region. But what, if anything, will SEA startups gain from this boom?

TechNode got a chance to speak with Joel Neoh, CEO of KFit and former head of Groupon Asia-Pacific, to hear from the other side of the story. Malaysia-based KFit is a gym pass and O2O commerce platform that offers subscribers cheap health options and other offline services like salon and spas. As a hit startup in the region, KFit has marked a series of milestones this year. After securing a 12 million USD series A round this February, the company acquired Groupon Malaysia and Groupon Indonesia earlier this year.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.