Govt policies, talent pipelines key to success: poll


GOVERNMENT policies and talent pipelines are key to startup success beyond the US and China, according to a latest PwC survey of more than 1,100 chief executive officers (CEOs) and industry leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec).

PwC's 2018 Apec CEO Survey - the results of which were released on Thursday - also found that Singapore is the Apec economy beyond the US and China with the best conditions to spark the next unicorn (a private company valued at at least US$1 billion).

With 31 per cent of votes, the Republic emerged as the No 1 economy with the right conditions to produce the next billion-dollar startup. This was followed by Japan, Hong Kong and China (each with 28 per cent of votes), Australia (24 per cent), Canada (23 per cent) and the South Korea (21 per cent).

When asked what conditions would help an economy spark the next unicorn, most respondents pointed to macroeconomic strength and stability, which garnered 222 mentions. This was followed by an attractive talent pool and pipeline (206 mentions) and market growth potential (197 mentions).

Other factors included a supportive regulatory and policy environment (with 172 mentions), an advanced digital economy (158 mentions), innovative and risk-taking appetites (141 mentions), and being a springboard to international markets (98 mentions). The least-mentioned factor was openness to investment and capital availability (90 mentions).

The survey found that only 36 per cent of Apec CEOs are investing in local startups, while 61 per cent of them are not and3 per cent "don't know" if they are.

Digital leaders are "far more likely" to invest in local startups, the survey found. Digital leaders refer to organisations whose CEOs or leaders have indicated that their businesses are "highly competitive" across digital capabilities such as data infrastructure and the development of digital products. Digital leaders are more likely to be tech companies, unicorns or US companies, said the survey.

PwC's 2018 Apec CEO Survey was conducted ahead of the Apec CEO Summit taking place this week in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. It found that business leaders across the Asia-Pacific remained confident that their companies' revenues would grow over the next 12 months despite increasing trade frictions.

Raymund Chao, chairman for the Asia-Pacific and Greater China at PwC, said: "While business leaders do not like uncertainty in any aspect of business, let alone flows of trade, they are learning to adapt to the new reality and finding ways to grow and thrive.

"While there are winners and losers in any trade war, our research clearly shows that businesses are uncovering new paths to growth."