The Generative AI Revolution Powered by Asia-Pacific Startups

The Generative AI Revolution Powered by Asia-Pacific Startups

Attributed to Gaurav Arora, Director and Head of Startup Business in Asia Pacific and Japan at Amazon Web Services

Startups have always been at the cutting edge of innovation, and in the age of generative artificial intelligence (generative AI), they are poised to harness the technology to transform customer experiences and the way we work like never before. Investors recognize their value and potential, and have poured $21.4 billion into generative AI startups since the start of this year through Sept. 30 2023, up from $5.1 billion in 2022, according to PitchBook data. Today, more than 5,000 generative AI startups are building their solutions on AWS. These scrappy but nimble innovators are disrupting industries with new ideas, developing locally relevant solutions, and introducing new ways of using AI. The achievements of these startups are commendable given the challenge of navigating a rapidly evolving technological space.

Culturally Aware AI

Generative AI technology has captured the world’s attention for its ability to learn and apply knowledge – powered by foundation models (FMs) that are pre-trained on vast volumes of data. However, models are only as good as the data they are trained on. For instance, when Large Language Models (LLMs) pre-trained in English are tasked with non-English queries, they can produce errors and misinterpretations.

This is particularly important to the Asia-Pacific region, where the population speaks about 2,300 languages. To cater to the region’s diverse ways of working, cultures, and languages, there is an urgent need to train LLMs on culturally diverse data to build a more nuanced understanding of human experiences and complex societal challenges. The creation of more culturally aware and localised AI will increase the accessibility of AI technology, impacting countries, communities, and generations to come.

Startups are leading the way in training models with data that represents local text, imagery, audio, video, and other datasets. One such example is Botnoi Voice, a Thai startup that leverages AWS’s infrastructure to build a Thai language text-to-speech AI bot that creates new synthesized voices in the Thai language with remarkable naturalness and clarity. Brands benefit from the ease and accessibility of Botnoi Voice’s services – by simply going to the Voice’s website, and uploading their original text, they will be able to download an auto generated Text to natural Voice file without a subscription. This will improve customer engagement across industries, including education and media, and enable brands to offer engaging and intuitive experiences.

Innovation Across Industries

Startups play an important role across the entire spectrum of generative AI innovation, ranging from establishing the foundational frameworks with FMs to developing practical real-world applications. To date, startups using generative AI have already transformed a wide variety of industries like healthcare, financial services, media and entertainment, education, and gaming. By automating tasks, enhancing decision-making processes, and personalizing user experiences, generative AI continues to revolutionize how businesses and organizations of all sizes operate.

In the medical arena, AI-assisted training tools can create personalized and real-time training to medical professionals at scale to help address the current talent crunch. Australia-based startup SimConverse uses generative AI for simulated roleplay training for over 300,000 healthcare professionals in over 150 organizations in Australia and New Zealand. The company has used Amazon compute services to train their AI models on over 1,000 scenarios, ranging from simple communication tasks like basic history-taking to linguistically complex de-escalation and the delivery of bad news.

Another industry evolving with AI is the media and entertainment sector, where companies are using generative AI to automate content production, reduce costs, and increase output. South Korea-based startup Toonsquare is pioneering innovations in the webtoon industry with their novel AI-driven generative webtoon production tool, Tooning, powered by AWS. With Tooning, tasks that previously took 60 hours in a week can now be finished in just six hours.

Broadening access to AI

Startups have undeniably played a pioneering role in propelling the generative AI technology revolution from its inception to adoption across industries. As startups continue to drive innovation, they are also facing significant hurdles that encompass resource limitations, ethical and regulatory complexities, integration obstacles, and the absence of in-house expertise or technical proficiency.

To overcome these hurdles, startups need access to cloud resources that level the playing field. AWS recently unveiled technology enhancements at all layers of the generative AI “stack” to make it even easier, cheaper, and faster for startups to build, train, and scale their generative AI innovations. At the infrastructure (bottom) layer, this includes pushing the envelope on price performance with the next generation in AWS-designed ML chips, such as Trainium2, and introducing new capabilities to accelerate model training and inference with Amazon SageMaker.

For startups looking to experiment with existing models at the tools (middle) layer, Amazon Bedrock offers expanded choice of leading models, customization features, agent capabilities, and enterprise-grade security and privacy in a fully managed experience. At the application (top) layer, startups can transform how they work through applications like Amazon Q, a new type of generative AI-powered assistant that is specifically for work and can be tailored to a customer’s business. Another application is Amazon CodeWhisperer, an AI-powered productivity tool for the integrated development environment (IDE) and command line. AWS is also helping to plug the AI skills gaps for startups by providing free AI training programs all across the region.

Scaling Innovation

While building is the first step to the generative AI revolution, going global is equally critical in driving widespread adoption of startup-driven generative AI adoption across industries. India-based startup Yellow. AI, a leading conversational AI solutions provider, has listed its generative AI customer service solution on AWS Marketplace, a curated digital catalog with over 330,000 active customer subscriptions. Today, India-based Yellow.AI handles over 12 billion conversations across more than 85 countries annually.

As startups in Asia-Pacific continue to prove what’s possible by building, customizing, and scaling their own FMs or applications in generative AI, they will need access to the most price-performant and cost-efficient ML tools, support, infrastructure, and programs like AWS Activate to build culturally aware AI. We are excited to support these startups, which will help accelerate generative AI adoption and realize an AI-assisted future world with fresh perspectives and inventive solutions that will drive positive impact for all.


About Amazon Web Services

Since 2006, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud. AWS has been continually expanding its services to support virtually any workload, and it now has more than 240 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, media, and application development, deployment, and management from 105 Availability Zones within 33 geographic regions, with announced plans for 12 more Availability Zones and four more AWS Regions in Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand, and the AWS European Sovereign Cloud. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit

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