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Asian startups are shaping global trends

There’s never been a more exciting time to be building a startup in Asia Pacific. Across the region, a diverse, talented and energetic group of founders is on the rise. And these entrepreneurs have an unprecedented opportunity to find the support they need to grow, with record venture funding flowing into the region.For Google, supporting…

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There’s never been a more exciting time to be building a startup in Asia Pacific. Across the region, a diverse, talented and energetic group of founders is on the rise. And these entrepreneurs have an unprecedented opportunity to find the support they need to grow, with record venture funding flowing into the region.

For Google, supporting startups of all sizes is part of our commitment to help digital economies grow. Today, at a virtual Google for Startups event, we shared some of the key insights from our partnerships with founders throughout Asia Pacific: how they’re targeting global growth, moving technology forward, and seeking out support to help realize their potential.

Building for the world

In April 2021, there were almost 200 unicorns (startups valued at $1 billion or more) in Asia Pacific, second only to the United States (290) and ahead of Europe (69). Many of Asia’s leading startups are making a global impact, whether by influencing new business models — like Grab and other Southeast Asian ‘super apps’ — or by tackling universal challenges — like CogSmart in Japan, which is working to help prevent dementia at an early age.

At the same time, the impact of COVID-19 has created greater demand for new digital services that startups are ideally-placed to build. In Southeast Asia, for example, 60 million people have become ‘digital consumers’ — using at least one online service — since the pandemic began.

Exploring emerging technologies

To meet the changing needs of the region’s online population, Asian startups are exploring what’s possible with the next wave of advances in technology. Many want to help solve entrenched social, financial and environmental challenges. Often they’re focused on areas where technology hasn’t made the same progress it has in more established sectors of the digital economy.

  • In artificial intelligence, the region’s founders are working on a wide range of powerful applications. Indonesia’s Kata.ai is a leader in conversational AI, helping businesses provide better experiences for their customers, while India’s BrainSightAI is building new tools to help researchers and clinicians better understand the human brain.
  • Decentralized finance (DeFi) is another growth area. Southeast Asian DeFi startups raised $1 billion in equity funding in 2021, six times the amount in 2020. With an eye on the shift away from traditional finance and trading, entrepreneurs behind startups like Korea’s DA:Ground are making it easier for people in the region to invest and access other financial services.
  • Financial technology (fintech) and e-commerce in Asia is booming. Many founders working in the fintech sector are driven by the goal of making finance more inclusive and e-commerce an even better experience. The Philippines’ Advance is making it easier for Filipino workers to access zero-interest credit through responsible partnerships with their employers. In Singapore, Shopinks helps retailers better engage their customers through chatbots and personalized emails.
  • In the wake of the pandemic, there is great momentum behind health technology startups such as India’s Zyla, which provides 24/7, personalized care through a mobile app, and Caredoc, a Korean platform that shares information on elderly care facilities.
  • Other founders are increasingly focused on sustainability, given Asia’s vulnerability to the climate crisis. Startups contributing to the response include Indonesia’s Duitin, which is managing 2,000 waste management sites across Indonesia, and Taiwan’s Lockists, a shared transportation platform that helps improve air quality by reducing car use.

Laying foundations for growth

While there’s ample funding available for Asian startups, we know that the region’s founders need a much wider range of support beyond investment. Common challenges faced by startups in the region include keeping up with regulations (which differ at country, state and provincial levels), getting access to infrastructure or technologies, and increasing the current low rate of women’s entrepreneurship.

Our aim is to work with everyone in the startup community — including founders, venture capital firms and governments — to help move the entire ecosystem forward. This year, we’re running Google for Startups Accelerator programs in India, Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia, providing support and mentorship for growth-stage startups. Our new Startup Academy program — launched in Indonesia — will coach early-stage startups. We’re working to help a more diverse range of startups through the Women Founders Academy. And we continue to build close links with private and public sector partners who share our commitment, with initiatives like Project Hatcher in Taiwan and our Startups & FinTechs Program with Cyberport in Hong Kong.

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The facts about the temporary Match Group agreement

No other mobile platform is as open as Android and Google Play, and no other platform has shown more willingness to champion user choice, invest in change, or collaborate with developers. We are currently defending these points in court against Match Group, and at the court’s request, on May 19 we reached a temporary agreement…

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No other mobile platform is as open as Android and Google Play, and no other platform has shown more willingness to champion user choice, invest in change, or collaborate with developers. We are currently defending these points in court against Match Group, and at the court’s request, on May 19 we reached a temporary agreement while the case is being heard and we prepare our planned countersuit.

On May 20, Match Group disregarded the stipulations it agreed to in court with a misleading press release that mischaracterizes what happened in the proceeding. We want to once again set the record straight to make sure the rest of the developer ecosystem is aware of the facts.

The court asked us temporarily not to remove Match Group’s apps from the Play Store on June 1 for its violation of our terms until a full trial in exchange for the following:

  • Match Group has to put up to $40 million in an escrow account to begin to account for the service fees it owes us.
  • Match Group must also provide Google with a monthly accounting of all in-app sales of digital goods and services from June 1 through trial so we can track what it owes for the immense benefit it receives from Google Play.
  • Match Group must work in good faith to further enable Google Play’s billing system as an option for users. Google agreed to work in good faith to continue to develop additional billing system features that are important to Match Group, as Google has already been doing for years with countless developers, including Match Group.

And Match Group’s claim that it can’t integrate Play’s billing system because it lacks key features contradicts the fact that Match Group has been proactively and successfully using Play’s billing in more than 10 of its apps. Match Group collected hundreds of millions in consumer revenue in over 50 countries through Google Play’s billing last year.

Not only are we confident we’ll succeed in defending against Match Group’s unfounded complaint, we will be filing a countersuit against Match Group for violating their obligations under the Developer Distribution Agreement and to ensure Google Play remains a trusted destination for users.

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NativeNonprofit.day highlights Native-led organizations

Native Americans/American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians make up 2% of the U.S. population, yet large philanthropic foundations allocate less than half a percent of their total annual grantmaking towards Native communities, according to Native Americans in Philanthropy.The Native Ways Federation (NWF) is working to change this disparity. Founded in 2008 by seven national,…

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Native Americans/American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians make up 2% of the U.S. population, yet large philanthropic foundations allocate less than half a percent of their total annual grantmaking towards Native communities, according to Native Americans in Philanthropy.

The Native Ways Federation (NWF) is working to change this disparity. Founded in 2008 by seven national, Native-led nonprofit organizations, the NWF unites the Native nonprofit sector, advocates for Native nonprofits and provides resources to educate people on the needs of Native communities. On May 20, NWF is launching their inaugural Native Nonprofit Day to drive awareness for Native-led nonprofits that are systematically underfunded. To help celebrate this initiative, they’ve partnered with the Google Registry team to register and use the domain NativeNonprofit.day, which anyone can visit to learn about and support Native nonprofits.

Initiatives like Native Nonprofit Day play an important role in building awareness and amplifying the voices of Native people. As a citizen of the Oneida (Onyota’a:ka) Nation of Wisconsin and a lead for the Google Aboriginal and Indigenous Network (GAIN), I see so many inspiring Indigenous organizations that are doing impactful work, but these groups and their efforts are sorely underrepresented in mainstream media. That’s why I hope everyone will take a moment today to visit NativeNonprofit.day to learn more about the NWF’s efforts, and other Native-led organizations that are doing critical work to support Native communities.

At Google, we’ve also launched several initiatives to support Native communities. Google.org recently announced a $10 million grant to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance to provide vocational internet training to thousands of rural and tribal communities.

Grow with Google made a $1 million investment in Partnership with Native Americans to provide digital skills curriculum and career services to 10,000 students at more than 50 Native-serving organizations. This program will also reach high school students preparing for college and careers, as well as vocational and non-traditional students.

If there’s an initiative or special day you want to raise awareness for, you can get your own .day domain name by visiting new.day.

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Enjoy a warm cup of trends for International Tea Day

From bubble tea to tea ceremonies, tea has deep roots and profound cultural significance across Asia. Just ahead of the United Nations’ International Tea Day on Saturday, May 21, we looked at trends on Google Search around the world and found bags of insights into what the world is searching for when it comes to…

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From bubble tea to tea ceremonies, tea has deep roots and profound cultural significance across Asia. Just ahead of the United Nations’ International Tea Day on Saturday, May 21, we looked at trends on Google Search around the world and found bags of insights into what the world is searching for when it comes to this brew-tea-full beverage.

Worldwide populari-tea

Assam, green or bubble: tea is the world’s most-consumed drink apart from water, so even if Earl Grey isn’t your thing, there’s most likely a brew out there that fits you to a T. But which types of tea are the most popular?

  1. Bubble tea
  2. Green tea
  3. Matcha
  4. Black tea
  5. Milk tea
  6. Kombucha
  7. Masala chai
  8. Iced tea
  9. Hibiscus tea
  10. Ginger tea

Worldwide top-searched types of tea, past 12 months. Source: Google Trends.

Green tea used to be the most popular type of tea on Search — until last year, when bubble tea bubbled up to become the most-searched type of tea around the world. The rise has been remarkable, with search interest for bubble tea more than tripling in the last five years, an increase of +220% worldwide. We’ve seen a similar trend with matcha; the beverage is now the world’s third most popular type of tea after search interest went up by +70% in the last five years.

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