Here's what's keeping Asian company bosses up at night

Transform or go under: That's what's keeping bosses in Asia Pacific awake at night, according to new research from Dell Technologies.

Dell released survey findings on Thursday that showed 83 percent of leaders at mid-to-large-sized companies in the region saw digital start-ups as a threat to their business longevity.

More than half, meanwhile, believe their businesses could be obsolete in the next three to five years due to competition from start-ups.

The reason? Technology has leveled the playing field between tech-savvy entrepreneurs and large corporations with ample resources.

"The influence of [the] digital revolution has led to a significant decline in the barriers to entry across industries," Amit Midha, president of Asia Pacific Japan (APJ) commercial at Dell EMC, explained.

"Aided by the strong entrepreneurial spirit and government support in the APJ region, we have witnessed the rise of numerous digital start-ups," he said.

Start-ups in the region have a number of new drivers for success, including government support, improved networking opportunities and a ready supply of funding.

Many governments - Singapore is a prime example - have taken an active role in nurturing entrepreneurs through public and private grants.

Patricia de Melo Moreira | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Meanwhile, established companies are opening up incubators and accelerators to provide start-ups with access to a wide business network, mentoring and co-working spaces.

And venture capitalists and investment arms of many companies have poured money into promising start-ups.

A July report from KPMG and CB Insights showed that despite slower global economic growth, investors put $7.4 billion into venture capital-backed companies across Asia, in 343 deals.

While the number of deals slipped from 389 in the first quarter, the total investment amount rose on-quarter from $7.2 billion.

The number was even higher in the third quarter of 2015, when investors had poured in $14.7 billion in funding across 453 deals.

Digital start-ups around the world have also gone on to become multi-billion-dollar behemoths over a very short period of time, upsetting whole industries in the process - for example, Uber, which was founded in 2009, has been valued as high as $66 billion.

Its Chinese rival, Didi Chuxing, has been valued as high as $28 billion.

In the study, 58 percent of the respondents said they were uncertain what their respective industries would look like in three years' time, while six in ten respondents also said they were not able to meet their customers' demands for better security and quicker access to services and information at all times of the day.

Most of these companies, the research showed, were still in the early stages of fully embracing technology as a key component of their business.

Globally, just 5 percent of the companies surveyed were what Dell Technologies calls "digital leaders," representing companies that have ingrained digital transformation into the core of their businesses.

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