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Asia Pacific: The New Innovation Hub

January 2020

With a population of 4.5 billion people, of which 2.5 billion are projected to live in urban areas, and eight billion internet subscribers, by 2030, Asia Pacific is expected to be not only one of the most populous regions globally but a real power in terms of growing deployment of technologically-advanced innovations. The report analyses the role of digitalisation and connectivity as catalysts for evolving new business models and practices in the region.

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Key Findings

While ageing populations and smaller households are global trends, the fact that these phenomena have appeared in Asia within a single generation is unique. The fact that developing markets such ase China and Vietnam are already coming to terms with issues once thought to be the province of high-income markets alone offers a host of insights, as well as innovations not yet seen.

Economic growth has also brought with it substantial (and growing) income inequality, while exacerbating existing gaps between urban and rural consumers. At the same time, local players in Asia have increasingly turned to populations in rural areas as a source of growth, pioneering ways to use e-commerce, automation, and other innovations to reach a vast underserved population.

The new innovation hub
Why Asia Pacific?
How companies can win in Asia Pacific: demographic dividend
How companies can win in Asia Pacific: connectivity?
Where: clusters in Asia Pacific
Winning in Asia Pacific


Asia home to world’s oldest markets, while households keep shrinking
Gap between rich and poor, urban and rural widens across Asia
Solo dining takes off all across East Asia
Japanese convenience stores adapt to an older world
Social commerce brings new options to rural, low-income consumers
Conclusion/key takeaways (1)


Rate in Asia Pacific continues to surge
Rising middle class: pillar of growth in the region
Deeper dive into the trend
Case study #1: ADDress in Japan - better use of urban spaces
Case study #2: Danggeun Market - supporting the circular economy
Case study #3: Alibaba Cloud enhancing “smart city” appeal
Conclusion/key takeaways (2)


Pathway to digital transformation
Asia Pacific start-ups: part of the Unicorn club
The rise of the super app
The evolution of S-commerce
Case study #1: the constantly expanding super app Grab
Case study #2: Haidilao - a utomation at its best
Case study #3: Social commerce with Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book)
Conclusion/key takeaways (3)

Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion
The tale of two Asia’s
The smartphone is the bank in emerging Asia
Emerging Asia adopted mobile banking early
Case Study #1: Alipay
Case study #2: GCash
Case study #3: YouTrip
Conclusion/key takeaways (4)


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