Culture is more than just a collection of customs, beliefs, and values. It is also a source of inspiration, differentiation, and connection for many businesses in Asia, where culture is rich and diverse. In this article, we will explore how some companies from different Asian countries and fields are using traditional culture as a business strategy, and how they are finding success in Asia and around the world.
Ritu Kumar: The Revivalist of Indian Crafts and Textiles
Ritu Kumar is an Indian fashion designer and entrepreneur, who is known for her revival and promotion of traditional Indian crafts and textiles, such as block printing, embroidery, and tie-dye. She started her career in 1969, and has since grown her brand to over 100 stores across India and abroad. She has also designed costumes for Bollywood films and celebrities, and won several awards and honors. She uses traditional techniques and motifs, and works with local artisans and craftsmen, to create garments that are both contemporary and timeless. She also supports various social and environmental causes, such as women empowerment, education, and sustainability.
Muji: The Minimalist of Lifestyle Products
Muji is a Japanese retail company that sells a variety of household and consumer goods, such as clothing, furniture, stationery, and food. Muji’s name is derived from the Japanese word mujirushi, which means “no-brand”, and reflects its philosophy of simplicity, functionality, and quality. Muji’s products are designed to be minimal, natural, and affordable, and to suit different lifestyles and preferences. Muji also incorporates elements of Japanese culture and aesthetics, such as zen, wabi-sabi, and kawaii, into its products and stores. Muji has expanded its business to over 30 countries, and has also ventured into other fields, such as hotels, cafes, and houses, that offer a holistic and harmonious living experience.
Bong Joon-ho: The Storyteller of Social and Political Themes
Bong Joon-ho is a South Korean filmmaker and screenwriter, who is acclaimed for his films that explore various social and political themes, such as class, inequality, violence, and justice. He is best known for his films Memories of Murder, The Host, Snowpiercer, Okja, and Parasite, the latter of which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, making history as the first non-English film to do so. He is also the first Korean filmmaker to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. He uses his unique style and vision, and draws from Korean history and culture, to create films that are both entertaining and thought-provoking, and resonate with audiences around the world. He also collaborates with other filmmakers and artists, such as Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and Tilda Swinton, and supports the development of Korean cinema and culture.
Razer: The Leader of Gaming Lifestyle
Razer is a Singaporean-American multinational company that specializes in gaming hardware, software, and services. Razer was founded in 2005 by Min-Liang Tan and Robert Krakoff, two gamers and entrepreneurs, who wanted to create products that cater to the needs and preferences of gamers. Razer’s products include gaming laptops, keyboards, mice, headsets, controllers, and accessories, as well as software platforms, such as Razer Synapse, Razer Chroma, and Razer Cortex. Razer’s products are designed to be high-performance, ergonomic, and aesthetic, and feature the company’s signature logo, a three-headed snake, and its trademark color, green. Razer’s products are also inspired by Asian culture and mythology, such as its naming convention, which uses names of venomous snakes, spiders, and scorpions, and its slogan, “For Gamers. By Gamers.”, which is a translation of the Chinese idiom “以身试法”, meaning “to test the law with one’s own body”. Razer has become the leader of gaming lifestyle, with over 100 million users and fans worldwide, and has also expanded its business to other fields, such as esports, fintech, and smart devices.
Alibaba: The Digital Silk Road of E-commerce and Technology
Alibaba is the largest e-commerce and technology company in China and one of the biggest in the world, founded by Jack Ma, a former English teacher and internet entrepreneur. Alibaba operates various online platforms and services, such as Taobao, Tmall, AliExpress, Alipay, and Alibaba Cloud, that cater to millions of consumers and businesses globally. Alibaba’s business is inspired by the ancient Silk Road, a network of trade routes that connected Asia, Europe, and Africa, and facilitated the exchange of goods, ideas, and culture. Alibaba aims to create a similar digital Silk Road, that connects and empowers people and communities through technology and innovation. Alibaba also embraces and celebrates Chinese culture, such as its name, logo, and values, and hosts an annual shopping festival on November 11, also known as Singles’ Day, that generates billions of dollars in sales.
These are just some of the many examples of how real life people and companies from Asia are finding success in Asia and around the world by using traditional culture as a business. They demonstrate the potential and value of using culture as a source of inspiration, differentiation, and connection, and how they can create positive and lasting impacts on various levels. They also show the diversity and dynamism of Asian culture, and how it can adapt and evolve in different contexts and times. By learning from their experiences and insights, we can gain a better understanding and appreciation of Asian culture and its role in the global landscape, and also discover new opportunities and possibilities for ourselves and others.
How can you use your own culture as a business? What aspects of culture do you find most appealing or meaningful? How can you share and celebrate your culture with the world? These are some of the questions that we hope this article will inspire you to explore and answer.