A recent paper by senior partner Sven Smit, McKinsey & Company, highlights the exciting emergence of 14 "transversal technologies" — technologies that transcend traditional sector boundaries and, in some instances, are attracting enormous annual investments, often measured in tens or hundreds of billions of dollars. This flourishing landscape signifies a pivotal shift from the past, where technological excellence was closely tied to sector-specific specialization.
In this transformative era, technology's reach extends far beyond conventional boundaries. Transversal technologies, encompassing AI, quantum computing, and cloud computing, have seamlessly integrated into our daily lives. Unlike bygone times, there is no single dominant player in this dynamic arena, paving the way for innovation and heightened competition.
As of today, North America, particularly the United States, enjoys a substantial lead in areas like cloud and edge computing, as well as quantum technologies. The United States claims a noteworthy 57 percent and 64 percent share of world-class patents in these fields, supported by an impressive 78 percent and 60 percent of global investments, respectively.
However, it is Asia that stands out as a region of promise in this ever-evolving tech landscape. Asia's remarkable progress is evident in several key trends. The combined assets under management in venture capital and private equity have surged 2.5 times since 2018, underscoring Asia's growing importance in the global tech sphere. Of all the new unicorns born within the realm of transversal technologies since 2016, a remarkable 27 percent trace their roots to Asia. Notably, Asia is establishing a strong presence in two critical domains. In clean energy, Asia lays claim to a significant 45 percent of world-class patents and is the birthplace of 49 percent of the world's new unicorns. In the field of mobility, the region is a dominant force, holding sway with 43 percent of all world-class patents and home to 48 percent of the world's unicorns. Beyond these areas, Asia showcases immense potential in other cutting-edge sectors, including AI, machine learning, immersive reality technology, space tech, bioengineering, and the thrilling frontier of Web3.
We find ourselves in an era of transformation, where technology knows no bounds and continues to redefine the competitive landscape. North America may have established dominance in certain domains, but the star on the rise is unmistakably Asia. With substantial progress in various transversal technologies, Asia is poised to be a key contender, promising an exciting future filled with global tech competition that pushes the boundaries of innovation and excellence.
With the rise of rapidly scaling startups, tech, and innovation, the opportunities are endless. Platforms like A2D Ventures are opening the doors to founders and investors for high-potential opportunities all across Southeast Asia.