Asia Insight – The emerging Asian innovation ecosystem and how WA companies must link in!

On Friday the 28th October 2016, the Curtin Asia Business Centre (ABC), together with our long-standing partner the West Australian, hosted a breakfast event at the Perth Pan-Pacific titled “The emerging Asian innovation ecosystem and how WA Companies must link in”.

This event was reported on in The West Australian newspaper on Saturday, 29th October.

A thought-provoking keynote address, by the CEO of emerging markets giant iFlix, Azran Osman-Rani, emphasised how Asian companies were able to take on international players like video streaming leader Netflix by adapting their business model to meet the needs of local consumers. A one size fits all model does not work in the South East Asian, Middle Eastern and African markets where iFlix is trumping Netflix. Mr Osman-Rani also drew attention to the next billion consumer emerging market. He commented that… “The opportunity is immense when you flip your thinking from the traditional Silicon Valley process of starting in the developed market curve.” China’s billion consumers have been joined by India’s billion, and the next billion will come from the emerging markets iFlix has targeted – in South East Asia, the Middle Eastern and Africa.

Mr Osman-Rani then joined a panel discussion with two fellow Asia connected entrepreneurs. Kirstin Horton, CEO of Indonesian incubator Jack’s Labs, a successful local WA business person whose company has developed several winning apps for the Indonesian market. Kent Matla is a 25 year veteran of the China market, who leads ‘Triangle Capital Partners’, an innovation fund to take Australian clean tech into the Chinese market. Both Ms Horton and Mr Matla supported the view that there was an exciting opportunity for Australian innovators to partner with local players in the growing Asian markets. One message that came out of the discussion is that ‘innovation’ is a key modernisation theme across Asia although each market is approaching this phenomena in a different way. Top-down government supported R&D programs connecting large corporates, universities and technology parks are being matched by growing, bottom-up start-ups and internationally linked incubators that are targeting opportunities at the bottom of the pyramid.

Professor Deborah Terry AO, the Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University, and a keen supporter of the WA Innovation ecosystem, gave a closing speech where she underlined the important role that WA’s universities could play in connecting WA’s innovators with Asia – especially the opportunity for Curtin University’s Asian campuses to build links into the emerging Asian innovation ecosystem. She reminded the audience that Curtin University is highly Asia engaged.

The Asia Insight event was followed by an ABC Asia Discovery Workshop for WA’s Innovators hosted at the Curtin Graduate School of Business (CGSB) as part of the launch of their Innovation Clinic by CGSB Dean and Professor of Innovation, Mile Terziovski. This an initiative to engage with local innovators and their advisors to win support for a new Asia Business Centre sponsored research project around “Pathways to Innovation in Asia”. Please contact the ABC if you would like to participate in, or support, this research program.

Richard Francis

Director, Asia Business Centre