Why is Edtech a Nascent Industry in Southeast Asia?

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Edtech is a nascent industry in Southeast Asia because of the following reasons:

Low Internet Penetration Rate

The Internet penetration rate is low in Southeast Asia, particularly in the ASEAN countries. Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei have relatively high Internet penetration rates at 76%, 69% and 65% respectively.

However, most countries still have low Internet penetration rates: Cambodia (27%), Myanmar (20%), Vietnam (13%), Laos (11%) and Indonesia (9%). As a result, the potential market for edtech apps is quite small.

In addition, it is also difficult for developers to monetize their apps due to the poor Internet infrastructure and limited purchasing power of students. Thus, it will take some time before edtech becomes a profitable business for app developers.

The Education System Is Still In Its Infancy Stage

Education systems in most Southeast Asian countries are still in their infancy stage due to factors like lack of funding and limited resources as well as lack of educational resources.

As a result, there are not many students who have access to technology and can afford edtech products or services. Furthermore, most schools do not have strong IT support systems or training programs for teachers, which makes it difficult to implement innovative technologies like mobile solutions into classrooms effectively.

These factors are obstacles that impede the growth of edtech sectors in Southeast Asia. However, with more funding available from government initiatives like EduSpaze (Southeast Asia) 2019 , which aims to develop educational startups through mentorship, there is hope that the education sector will continue to develop through collaboration between businesses and educators.

Rise of Low-Cost Mobile Devices

The mobile device revolution has taken place in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. These countries have become major consumers of low-cost smartphones, which are mainly Android-based devices.

In addition, these countries have well-established payment platforms such as Alipay and WeChat Pay which allow users to make payments easily over the Internet. However, people from these countries still have limited purchasing power to spend on high-end edtech products due to their low income levels. As a result, more students are likely to purchase affordable apps or services that fit their budget.


Edtech is a nascent industry in Southeast Asia due to factors like low Internet penetration rate and low education standards in most ASEAN countries.

Furthermore, there is no proper infrastructure for edtech products or services to be integrated into classrooms effectively. The rise of low-cost mobile devices has enabled many students to access web applications easily but they still lack the purchasing power needed for premium educational services and products.

However, if governments continue to provide funding support for edtech startups or create policies that promote the development of this sector, it is possible that the growth of edtech in Southeast Asia will be propelled in the coming years.

About the Author

I am an educator have over 3 years of experience in product management, technology leadership, startups, angel investing and Edtech. I’m the Founder an EdTech startup Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co) to help teachers teach better and students learn better using videos and interactive activities. If you are a teacher or student, signup for free at https://cudy.co/sg/register to start teaching and learning better today!

You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.




Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and investor.

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Alexander Lim

Alexander Lim

Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and investor.

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