Forbes Asia August 2021

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

United States
Forbes Media LLC
13 Issues

in this issue

2 min
tech support

The recent meltdown in China’s tech stocks is a stark reminder of the increasingly important role of technology in wealth creation. In Beijing, the authorities have decided to rein in these companies, which some believe is being done to strengthen their hand against a perceived threat from big tech in China. It will most likely have a chilling effect on future investments by the global VC community into the country. Forbes editor at large Rich Karlgaard tackles this topic in his latest column, noting these punitive actions “raise major questions about the future role of international tech investors in the world’s second-largest economy.” We can also find tech’s central role in wealth creation in this issue’s two lists, the inaugural 100 to Watch and the annual Singapore’s 50 Richest. For the…

4 min
tax cuts for prosperity

While the White House and congressional Democrats are feverishly trying to enact massive, economy-killing tax increases, numerous states are going in the opposite direction by cutting them. These local officials recognize that reducing the tax burden on their citizens will give them more prosperity and the higher revenues that come with better times. Arizona, Ohio, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Montana, Louisiana, Idaho and New Hampshire have all passed reductions in state income taxes. Ohio has engineered the biggest tax reduction in the Buckeye State’s history, eliminating its two tax brackets over 4%. The first $25,000 of an individual’s income is now tax-exempt. Compare that with California, where one hits the 4% bracket at that income level. Ohio’s law also ensures that people who work from home don’t have to pay taxes…

3 min
the bigger picture

The year’s big question for global tech investors: What is going on in China? Over the last 20 years, that answer was easy. Growth, scale and investor profits. Anyone who could help was invited. That is why major international VC firms, such as Silicon Valley’s Sequoia Capital and Japan’s SoftBank, greatly expanded their Chinese portfolios. However, a closer look reveals that U.S.-based venture capital in China actually peaked in 2018. The two-way capital flow between the U.S. and China was already waning before Covid, before China regulators suspended the IPO of Alibaba financial services arm Ant Group in late 2020, and before last month’s curious wealth-destroying regulations aimed at online education firms and ride-share superstar Didi. How much money was lost due to government actions? Plenty. Ant was on track to be…

5 min
bot doc

As a kid, Adam Sachs, cofounder and CEO of Vicarious Surgical, watched the 1966 science-fiction movie Fantastic Voyage and was enamored of the premise of microscopic surgeons who performed surgery inside a scientist’s brain. “Humans are the wrong size to operate on humans,” he says. “We’re not going to shrink humans down, but we can create avatars of them. We can create little miniature robotic versions.” That’s just what he and his Vicarious Surgical cofounders—Sammy Khalifa, the company’s chief technology officer, and Dr. Barry Greene, its chief medical officer—have spent the past decade doing. They have developed an itty-bitty robot paired with a VR headset for abdominal surgeries that they hope to bring to market in 2023. Its two arms and camera are designed to enter the patient’s belly through an…

5 min
high gear

Aaron Tan, cofounder and CEO of Singapore-based Carro, is in overdrive. The online platform for buying and selling used cars in Southeast Asia joined the unicorn startup club in June when it completed a $360 million funding round that boosted its valuation to $1 billion. Speaking by phone, Tan says Carro is just getting started: “The plan is to look to become a decacorn in the next few years, as soon as possible.” But before he can hit that 11-figure milestone, he’ll have to contend with some tough competition. Probably the biggest threat is Carsome, the Malaysia-based used car platform that goes head to head with Carro in the same markets. It announced in July that it will partner with entrepreneur Patrick Grove’s Catcha Group to acquire Australia-listed iCar Asia in…

32 min
asia-pacific’s small companies and startups on the rise.

METHODOLOGY: To select our 100 to Watch, Forbes Asia solicited online submissions, and invited accelerators, incubators, SME advocacy organizations, universities, venture capitalists and others to nominate companies as well. The final 100 was selected from over 900 submissions. To qualify for consideration, companies had to be headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region, be at least one year old, privately owned, for profit, and have no more than $20 million in its latest annual revenue or total funding through Aug. 1. Our team evaluated each submission, looking at metrics such as a positive impact on the region or industry, a track record of strong revenue growth or ability to attract funding, promising business models or markets, and a persuasive story. The editors reserve the right to remove or replace any company or…