Robotics are poised to dominate Asia’s startup scene in 2017


The Asian startup scene is set to be dominated by robotics and consumer banking in 2017, according to a new survey by Norwegian telecommunications firm Telenor Group.

The robotics industry was cited by 45 percent of respondents, who were asked which sectors were set to become Asia’s hottest startup scenes in 2017. An additional 20 percent cited consumer banking in Telenor’s poll of 215 technology experts on Facebook and LinkedIn from Asian countries, including India, Singapore and Thailand.

Telenor said its findings were in step with an earlier projection by the International Federation of Robotics, which predicted last October that 2.6 million industrial robots would be deployed worldwide by 2019, with China leading demand for the technology. In that study, the IFR said the robotics industry would be driven by an increasing reliance upon automation across industries and businesses.

Other sectors likely to experience disruption in 2017 include healthcare, cited by 14 percent of respondents in the Telenor survey, real estate (12 percent) and air travel (9 percent).

Telenor also asked respondents about their opinions on the most disruptive technologies in Asia’s startup scene in 2016. Just over 40 percent identified autonomous vehicles, while 23 percent pointed to fintech. Augmented reality was highlighted by 20 percent of respondents.

The rise of autonomous cars is likely to pick up pace over the next year, with 37 percent of respondents saying it will continue to be the most disruptive technology in Asia in 2017. Other technologies that should continue to prosper include Internet of Things devices, cited by 19 percent, enterprise mobile apps (also by 19 percent) and Bitcoin and blockchain-based services and applications (13 percent).

Telenor noted in its survey findings that Singapore is already one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to autonomous vehicles. The introduction of self-driving taxis last year is set to be followed by a pilot scheme that will see self-driving buses hit the city state’s roads in 2017.