Private equity, venture capital investments into Asia in 2017 overtook Europe for first time

Pedestrians walking past a stock indicator showing share prices of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and other overseas stock markets in Tokyo on May 11, 2018.
Pedestrians walking past a stock indicator showing share prices of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and other overseas stock markets in Tokyo on May 11, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) investments into South-east Asia hit a record US$23.5 billion in 2017, going by an inaugural report by the Singapore Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (SVCA).

Last year became the first year that PE and VC investments into Asia overtook Europe, the report found.

"While North America continues to capture the lion's share of PE and VC financing (US$275.2 billion, constituting 48.4 per cent); investments into Asia grew a remarkable 37.6 per cent to reach US$158.4 billion, constituting 27.8 per cent of global investments, surpassing Europe for the first time."

VC financing grew 4.8 times from US$1.7 billion in 2014 to US$8 billion in 2017. While early-stage (seed and Series A) investments rose from US$39.5 million in 2014 to US$83.1 million in 2017, later or Series C investments ballooned from US$738 million to US$6.3 billion, accounting for 79 per cent of total venture investment in 2017, the report found.

"The growth momentum of these deals and size of these rounds have attracted strong participation from corporate venture, hedge funds and private equity blurring traditional boundaries," said the report released on Thursday (May 17)

The average round sizes of seed, Series A and Series B investments have also been trending upwards, growing around 12 per cent per annum since 2014 to reach US$0.8 million for seed, US$6.4 million for Series A, and US$19.4 million for Series B. The average round size of Series C investments have remained relatively flat at around US$34 million, the report found.