Riding the Asia TMT wave: My experience as an Investment Banker in Asia

Riding the Asia TMT wave: My experience as an Investment Banker in Asia

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The world looks towards Asia for a myriad of things; chief among them are, arguably, trade, technology, and transformation. Within the last decade alone, the state of telecommunications and digital technology in this part of the world has vaulted upwards and onwards, in developed and emerging markets alike. Born and raised here, I have witnessed the milestones defining this growth and now in my role as part of Delta Partners’ Investment Banking team in Asia, I am fortunate to be at the forefront of the developments that this evolving landscape heralds.

Part of what makes my work exciting here in Asia – specifically Southeast Asia – is experiencing the seismic changes that the Asian innovation machine effects when supported by macroeconomic and technological levers. Most of the regional population still live in developing areas, but internet data and mobile devices have come (and are still coming) a long way in becoming more accessible, and with that comes innovative disruption in multiple forms. Digital currency has displaced cash and revolutionised the concept of money and payments, content providers have leveraged ubiquitous mobile platforms to deliver media to a wider audience, and E-commerce has completely transformed what was once a market heavily dependent on offline retail. In connecting providers of such solutions with the capital they need to launch, deploy, and scale, in a certain way my team and I have been contributors to such transformative growth.

 

Alongside the proliferation of internet technology is the need for strong digital infrastructure support. Indonesia is a key example of a country where internet use has taken off in ways that are nothing short of impressive - the country’s five unicorns1 are testament to the strength and growth of the internet market – and it was in this very country that I was part of a team that advised on the acquisition of five data centres which will be instrumental in supporting the expansion of the domestic digital economy.

Apart from the industrial aspects of my experience, another important takeaway from my work in Asia relates to cultural sensitivity. For instance, in an engagement where I was managing a strategic review of a family-owned conglomerate’s telco portfolio, I observed the elevated degree of courtesy, respect, and deference to higher ranked staff (who were often members of the family), and was reminded that in many Asian organisations today, family-owned or otherwise, this phenomena was a mainstay in internal operating structures.

Of course, navigating such a multi-faceted environment was made easier (and virtually impossible otherwise!) with the help of my team and in particular that of the Partners leading it, both of whom are veterans in their own fields with much of their careers built in Asia, and are familiar with the complexities of the region. The guidance I’ve received from them was, and still is, pivotal in developing my skillset and experience as a corporate finance advisor in this region and industry.

With the ever-changing horizons here, there isn’t one moment of pause to spare in keeping abreast of everything around me. As I write this on the flight back from yet another destination that my work takes me, I’m already looking forward to being part of the next frontier of TMT that this region takes me to.


Nicholas Tan
Associate, Investment Banking

Based out of the Singapore office, Nicholas is an Associate in the Investment Banking practice and is focused on the Asia-Pacific region. When he doesn’t have Microsoft Office open on his laptop, he enjoys exploring new technologies and, on occasion, new places for good coffee. Nicholas graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a lifelong distaste for energy drinks.

1 Startup companies with valuations exceeding US$1bn

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