The Future of Generative AI in Southeast Asia with Ong Peng Tsin

The Future of Generative AI in Southeast Asia with Ong Peng Tsin
Ong Peng Tsin explores the immense possibilities in Generative AI for the Southeast Asia startup ecosystem.

Fresh out of the studio, Ong Peng Tsin, co-founder and general partner of Monk's Hill Ventures, delved deep into the realm of Generative AI in Southeast Asia. Reflecting on his journey as a venture capitalist, Peng Tsin shared insights into the evolution of his daily role after eight years of team building at Monk's Hill Ventures. He emphasized the unparalleled potential of generative AI, likening its transformative impact to the iPhone revolution, and addressing the booming generative AI market in Southeast Asia, catalyzed by technologies like Chat-GPT and how it presents significant opportunities in the region. Last but not least, he shared what a great AI startup would look like in the region.

"It is not just cheaper, faster, better. I'm not gonna deny that. If we go forward a number of years, it's gonna cause what we've been calling economic singularity. The value of labor drops to zero and you got all kinds of problems from that. But in the immediate future, what's gonna be interesting is this is the first technology that enables us to automate relationships. Basically, the AI can interact with us the way we interact with us. This sounds very trivial,  but if you look at tech and you look at what has enabled tech to scale up to an incredible size around the world is our ability to automate the transaction. It's just that thing, and the problem with that is you end up with conversations of six months, LTV - Lifetime Value. What sense is in that?  You are talking about a human being and your lifetime values over six months. And it's for a simple reason. When you automate transactions, all you control is a transaction. So you take a human being and you transact, and you drain the relationship out of that relationship and you throw it away, and then get another one and keep going." - Ong Peng Tsin


  • Ong Peng Tsin, co-founder & managing partner of Monk’s Hill Ventures (@pengmhv, LinkedIn, main site)
  • Since our last conversation, what have you been up to?
  • What is the typical day now look like for you after building a strong team that supports the fund over the past eight years?
  • If a young entrepreneur comes to you, what advice you would give to him or her?

The Future of Generative AI in Southeast Asia with Ong Peng Tsin

  • Reference: The Future of Human-Machine Relationships … And what that means for businesses by Peng T. Ong
  • To start our conversation, can you share your interest in generative AI and how you define generative AI, large language models aka LLMs and generative pre-trained transformers aka GPTs?
  • What is the major unlock for this technology that it is hailed as the iPhone moment or new electricity?
  • How do you see the different layers of technology for example, the foundation models in the form of LLMs dominated by a few major players such as OpenAI, Anthropic and Hugging Faces, the API layers driven by langchain and the applications where people built plugins to harness generative AI?
  • How would you describe the total market opportunity for AI, specifically the recent boom in generative AI in Southeast Asia, given the breakthrough brought about by Chat-GPT?
  • What is the one thing you know about Generative AI that not many people know in the Southeast Asia market?
  • Could you elaborate on the key trends you see emerging in the AI industry in Southeast Asia, and how they compare to global trends?
  • From a venture capitalist's perspective, what business models do you believe are most viable for AI startups operating in Southeast Asia?
  • How should AI startups in Southeast Asia approach their go-to-market strategies? What are the key considerations they need to keep in mind?
  • What are the key challenges for generative AI startups in Southeast Asia, and how can they navigate them?
  • How can generative AI startups balance the drive for innovation with the ethical considerations that come with developing and deploying AI?
  • How do you evaluate the potential of an AI startup when considering an investment?
  • What would be your advice for regulators on the topics of hallucinations with the fear of generative AI being used for misinformation, copyright matters due to the training of data or the fear of AI destroying the world?
  • My traditional closing question: what does a great generative AI startup look like from your perspective?


  • Any recommendations which have inspired your life?
  • Peng Tsin's recommendation: Read science fiction books to imagine the future.
  • How can my audience find you?

Podcast Information: The show is hosted and produced by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong, Linkedin) and Carol Yin (@CarolYujiaYin, LinkedIn). Proper credits for the intro and end music: "Energetic Sports Drive" and the episode is mixed & edited in both video and audio format by G.Thomas Craig (@gthomascraig, LinkedIn).