Rise of unicorns in South-east Asia: What drives this trend and will it last?

Grab and Go-Jek are two of the unicorns that were created in South-east Asia in recent years.
Grab and Go-Jek are two of the unicorns that were created in South-east Asia in recent years.PHOTOS: ST FILE

The growing affluence of a large young population is driving much of the growth in South-east Asia. Throw in digital disruption, and what you get is the rise of the unicorns - private start-ups with valuations of at least US$1 billion. The region has spawned 11 unicorns so far with analysts tipping at least another 10 set to join the club in the next five years. The Straits Times takes a closer look at what is driving this phenomenon and whether this is a tech bubble waiting to be burst.

SINGAPORE - Singapore-based Trax became the 11th unicorn in South-east Asia last month after it raised US$100 million (S$138 million) led by Hopu Investments to put its valuation at US$1.3 billion.

The firm, founded here in 2010 by two Israeli-born entrepreneurs, uses technology to monitor products on supermarket shelves.

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