10 hot start-ups that are reshaping Asia

From fintech to autonomous driving, via retail, health, education and media, we look at companies from across Asia that are shaking up the region.

The emergence of internet and mobile technology have given rise to ample new ideas and businesses capable of changing the way people live in the 21st century. From home-sharing and ride-hailing to food delivery and smart logistics, new ideas are flooding in – and there’s little doubt the coming years will bring more changes. 

What’s more, Asia is brimming with exciting new companies. In what will be the first of similar investigations, FinanceAsia has looked under the hood of some of the region’s most unique start-ups – from billion-dollar “unicorns” to early-stage companies – and selected 10 we believe have the potential to disrupt their respective industries and possibly become the next leaders in their sectors. 

We have ordered them in terms of approximate valuation from the largest to the smallest. Click on the picture for the full story. We would love to hear you feedback on our choices.

The top 10



Industry to disrupt: Media

USP: Customised news aggregation

Valuation: $20 billion (as of August)

Investors: General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital, CCB International, Sina Weibo

Founder: Zhang Yiming

Inception: 2012, China



Industry to disrupt: Computer vision; artificial intelligence

USP: Deep learning platform

Valuation: $2 billion + (as of October)

Investors: IDG Capital, Sailing Capital, CDH Investments and others

Founders: Tang Xiaoou, Xu Li, Xu Bing, Yang Fan

Inception: 2014, Hong Kong



Industry to disrupt: Education

USP: Only E-learning platform in China with US teacher community; big data analysis

Valuation: $1.5 billion (as of August)

Investors: Sinovation Ventures, Matrix Partners China, Northern Light Venture Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Tencent, and others

Founder: Cindy Mi

Inception: 2013, China



Industry to disrupt: Healthcare

USP: personalised health management, artificial intelligence

Valuation: $1 billion (as of April, 2016)

Investors: Tencent, Vcanbio, China Bridge Capital

Founder: Wang Jun

Inception: 2015, China



Industry to disrupt: Media

USP: Knowledge-sharing, interactive online Q&A

Valuation: $1 billion (as of January)

Investors: Tencent, Sogou, SAIF Partners

Founder: Yuan Zhou

Inception: 2011, China


Zhuan Zhuan

Industry to disrupt: Second-hand commerce

USP: leveraging WeChat’s user community; incorporated credit rating system

Valuation: $1 billion (as of April)

Investors: 58.com, Tencent

Founder: 58.com (Huang Wei)

Inception: 2015, China



Industry to disrupt: Healthcare

USP: Doctor discovery and healthcare database

Valuation: $650 million (as of January)

Investors: Tencent, Google, Sequoia Capital, Recruit Holdings

Founder: Shashank ND, Abhinav Lal

Inception: 2008, India


Trax Image Recognition

Industry to disrupt: Consumer

USP: Fine-grained image recognition

Valuation: $300 million (as of June)

Investors: Warburg Pincus, Investec

Founder: Dror Feldheim

Inception: 2010, Singapore, Israel



Industry to disrupt: Finance

USP: Cross-border FX trading and settlement

Valuation: $275 million (as of November 2015)

Investors: Citi Ventures, GSR Ventures

Founder: Richard Koh

Inception: 2010, Singapore



Industry to disrupt: Transportation

USP: Autonomous driving expertise

Valuation: Close to $100 million (as of March)

Investors: Sequoia Capital China, IDG Capital

Founder: Lou Tiancheng, James Peng

Inception: December 2016, China and the US


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