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New Asian companies find success with a regional focus

From lighting to fashion, there is money to be made in catering to once-ignored customers

Salt co-founder Aisa Mijeno inspects her invention, which is bringing lighting to remote villages in the Philippines. (Photo by Jilson Tiu)

TOKYO/MANILA -- In Asia, entrepreneurs can "think about creating startups that are global from day one," said Ernestine Fu, venture partner at the Alsop Louie Partners. "[That] is not possible in Silicon Valley."

One reason for this is that some problems that startups aim to solve are common to the region. A business model or product that addresses such a challenge has a large, ready-made market at hand, potentially creating the next Asian unicorn.

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