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[Review] Startup Asia

Asia - especially in countries such as India, China, Vietnam - is fast becoming the place where many entrepreneurs, whether locally born or lured back from Silicon Valley, are setting up shop. It's not surprising then that the region has also been on the lips on venture capitalists and angel investors who are intent on riding the technology innovation boom in this part of the world. And if you are interested in the rise of Asia's startup scene and how trends are shaping entrepreneurship in those countries, there's no better book you can pick up than "Startup Asia: Top Strategies for Cashing in on Asia's Innovation Boom", authored by journalist and Forbes contributor Rebecca Fannin. In part one of "Startup Asia", Fannin, through interviews with entrepreneurs, investors and industry movers, cleverly dissects these trends and reveal the inner workings of how these people operate in the seemingly challenging markets of China and India, as well as the new frontier market of Vietnam. You'll hear stories of how entrepreneurs in those markets have persevered and maneuvered their companies through economic busts, money troubles and infrastructural issues, and how they are crafting their own business models and strategies instead of borrowing established, "tried-and-true" models from the West. The second part covers the various sectors that have seen the biggest growth in Asia. For example, you'll find out how the mobile industry is placing their bets on explosion of smartphone usage in the region with mobile applications and mobile advertising, or about Asia's cleantech boom with the focus on electric cars, electronic waste recycling and even solar powered lights. Or how about companies that leverage on the rise of Asia consumerism, as well as the trend towards specialized outsourcing? Finally, Fannin offers strategies for success for the aspiring (or current) entrepreneur. You'll find out, for example, of how to tap on resources from local government. There's a close look at Singapore, and how the country is putting plenty of money to attract entrepreneurs and investors to build a viable startup ecosystem (although Fannin seems to take on an almost derisory tone as she describes Singapore's efforts). As a Singaporean, it's also great to see some local startups getting a shoutout in the book - 2359 Media, for example - and even Professor Wong Poh Kam, a familiar face and guiding light in our entrepreneurship scene. She ends the book off with advice on scaling startup clones, tapping on research and development chops from Asian universities, and taking a startup public on a stock exchange. "Startup Asia" is the go-to tome you'll need if you're ever interested in Asia's technology entrepreneurship scene. It's the book I wish I could have written - it's something I've spoken with a couple of folks some time back (you know who you are). The only problem? When a book is written about a particular subject, it usually is a signal that you might already be late to the game.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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