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20 July 2021
Asian and Middle Eastern investors double down on UK tech
Unsplash © Verne Ho

Asian and Middle Eastern investors double down on UK tech

UK tech startups have received almost twice the amount of capital in the first six months of 2021 from across Asia as they did during the whole of 2020. The data, which was released by Dealroom.co, can reveal that by the end of June, Asian and Middle Eastern investors had poured more than £1.7B into UK tech companies, equating to 13.2% of total investments made in the country.

The figures were released for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Digital Economy Council, in order to coincide with the inaugural Asia Tech X Singapore startup event and show that 2021 is also that strong flow of investment from across Asia into the UK is complemented by similar flows the other way, with leading UK-based venture capital firms increasingly investing in startups across Southeast Asia in particular.

Record number of Asian investments in 2021

The total number of running deals in the UK which Asian investors have taken part, now reaching 95, is already expected to surpass last year’s total of 106.

Japan is currently investing most heavily in UK tech is Japan, alongside other investors from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and China. Among them, SoftBank, GIC, DST Global, Temasek and Tencent are tapping into the UK tech sector.

There are now 577 UK startups with Asian investors, including giants Checkout.com, Cazoo and Deliveroo.

Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman said, “The UK tech sector is home to the most innovative, most exciting and most globally scalable startups in the world, so it’s no surprise Asian investors are recognising just what a wealth of talent we have here.”

“It’s also a huge compliment to have a region that has been at the forefront of tech and innovation for decades to believe so strongly in what we’ve built here in the UK and to want to be a part of that.” 

The flow of UK capital into Asia

The flow of capital into the UK is also accompanied by a significant flow of money in the other direction. In the past 18 months, UK VCs have invested a total of £1.45B in Asian headquartered startups. The total investment figure has already surpassed the total amount invested in 2020, suggesting the trend is only growing.

The UK’s most active investors in Asian startups include Baillie Gifford, Eight Roads Ventures, Index Ventures, RTP Global, and LightRock.