La competizione tecnologica globale si gioca nel Sud-Est asiatico


I giganti tecnologici cinesi e statunitensi guardano ai mercati emergenti dell’area ASEAN, investendo ingentemente nel settore dell’archiviazione dati.

For Chinese and U.S. tech giants, no place is more promising than Southeast Asia. The region involves rapidly growing economies and a consumer market of nearly 700 million people. The economic digitization process took off with the Covid-19 pandemic, creating favorable conditions for local e-commerce players to thrive and attract foreign investment. Several exogenous factors are also contributing to the attractiveness of investing in Asia's tech sector, including tight regulations for companies in China and revenue opportunities that are pushing U.S. multinationals to expand further and further "East." 

Chinese tech titans Tencent and Alibaba were among the first foreign companies supporting the incipient growth of e-commerce in the region, with investments in Sea Limited and Lazada. As an instance, Sea Ltd. is the flagship of Southeast Asia and thanks to foreign lenders' enthusiasm for the region's opportunities, it recently earned about $6 billion in new funding. It is a listed company in the gaming, finance, and digital commerce sector. In early September, it entered a deal with China's Tencent Holdings Ltd. which now owns 23% of it. Indeed, it's not an easy time for companies in the sector in China, where a tightening of regulations has resulted in a major reduction in their room for maneuver. According to The Economist, in August Chinese authorities released draft antitrust measures that would hurt the business models of domestic giants Alibaba and Tencent. Foreign markets account for a relatively small share of these Chinese groups' sales. But if everything continues in this direction, it seems that Southeast Asia will play a major role in the expansion process of Chinese companies. 

The opportunities presented by Southeast Asia's fast-growing digital markets have not been ignored by U.S. investors. A particularly competitive industry, where much of the financial competition between China and the United States is played out, is cloud computing. This is the industry that provides data processing and storage services - a vital function for both small and large companies and government institutions of the third millennium. According to experts, the total size of the cloud market in the region is still modest at less than $2 billion per year, but the encouraging fact is that it appears to be growing by more than 50 percent by 2020 and doesn't seem to be showing any signs of letting up. Amazon, Google, Microsoft are already involved in the sector. Facebook has recently invested in the construction of a massive 170,000-square-foot facility un the outskirts of Singapore, which will be Zuckerberg's first custom data center in Asia. But it's not the only one: the stable political system, abundance of highly skilled tech workers and its super-sophisticated infrastructure make Singapore a reliable location for big tech players targeting cloud services. Amazon, for its part, is still the undisputed global leader among providers of these storage services: its Amazon Web Services (AWS) controlled more than 30 percent of the global market in the second quarter of 2021, according to experts. It is currently expanding, thanks to the construction of infrastructure in Jakarta, Indonesia, which should be operational by the end of 2021 or early 2022, according to Nikkei Asia

Chinese and U.S. digital giants are riding the antagonism of the world's two superpowers. Between pull factors, such as the expanding digital market and promising demographic potential, and home country push factors, such as the renewed regulatory zeal promoted by Chinese authorities, Southeast Asia is set to be the battleground of global technology competition, led by Chinas and the United States.

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