Is Southeast Asia the next growth area for venture capital and private equity investors? A lot of wealthy investors have moved from their home countries to Singapore and set up their funds for investment in the Southeast Asia region.

eference: Billionaire Taizo Son ditches Japan to start afresh in Singapore, Bloomberg dated 17 April

Key Summary:  Taizo Son gains Permanent Residency in Singapore. Expanding to the Republic and setting up a base for his investment activities in Southeast Asia.

Our Insights:

  • According to James Riney, partner of 500 Startups in Japan via Twitter, the claim of Taizo Son ditching Japan and moving to Singapore is a “total exaggeration”.
  • Many wealthy investors, most notably Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook moved to Singapore because of the zero capital gains tax, the secure and safe environment and an investment gateway to Southeast Asia. A well-kept secret is that there are already several Japanese business leaders based in Singapore for similar reasons. Teruhide Sato, chairman of the Beenos Group, (a Japanese listed company) formerly known as Netprice moved to Singapore and invested in various consumer Internet startups in the region via Beenos Ventures.  Shuhei Morofuji, founder of SMS, a healthcare platform publicly listed in Japan, expanded to Singapore with  Reapra Ventures. Most Indian unicorn startups from Paytm to Flipkart are also incorporated in Singapore for the same tax advantage.
  • Taizo Son has only gained Permanent Residency in Singapore, but not full citizenship like Eduardo Saverin. It offers him the flexibility to have a second base of operation so as to focus his US$100 million fund on Southeast Asia. In the current landscape, the deal flow are centred around Indonesia, Philippines & Thailand. It will be interesting to see the focus of Taizo Son’s Mistletoe fund in Southeast Asia.

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