During the past few years, advancements to modern technology have made unparalleled changes to how we live our lives, with robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) becoming an integral step towards a more futuristic society as it is becoming more and more common, even as it is necessary, to rely on technology and machines to power our everyday needs.
In this edition, Top 10 of Asia takes a look at its list of the top ten most admirable companies in Asia (presented in no particular order) that are moving their respective countries towards a more sustainable and efficient future with their inspirational breakthroughs in the AI and robotics scene, thus helping communities to adapt to the ever-changing times.
(Photo Courtesy: CEO Ling Ming Ting / OTSAW)
Singapore-based advanced robotics technologies and next-generation artificial intelligence agency, OTSAW focuses on building robotics solutions for security, delivery and mobility applications, implementing their self-driving and artificial intelligence technologies into each cutting-edge machine.
Their globally launched Camello is a last mile-delivery autonomous robot that provides on-demand parcel and grocery delivery with UV-C LED disinfection. This patented disinfection technology is successfully lab-tested against live human coronavirus samples. This can be found in OTSAW’s OR-X autonomous disinfection robot, AERO-X aviation disinfection robot and AIRGUARD air disinfection modules.
(Photo Courtesy: OTSAW)
Geek+ is a global technology company founded in 2015 and is leading the intelligent logistics revolution with the application of advanced robotics and AI technologies to realize flexible, reliable, and highly efficient solutions. With over 800 employees and headquartered in Beijing, its solutions cater to a wide range of industries including e-commerce, retail, logistics, pharmaceutical and supply chain management.
eFishery is an integrated feeding solution for fish and shrimp farming from Indonesia that has been developing innovations within the aquaculture industry to offer end-to-end solutions for fish and shrimp farmers to easily access feed, financing and markets since 2013. Since its breakthrough innovation, the Smart Feeder, an automatic feeder that can record fish growth data, has grown to provide various services with an even greater coverage from supplying within the industry to meeting market demands.
As the first Aquaculture Intelligence Company in Indonesia, eFishery is committed to helping all parties within the aquaculture ecosystem by allowing farmers to increase productivity and quality of their cultivation, easy access to capital and possibilities to scale up their business.
SoftBank Robotics (Japan)
(Photo Courtesy: “Kent” Kenichi Yoshida, Chief Business Officer / SoftBank Robotics)
A subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Softbank, SoftBank Robotics Group is on its way to becoming a worldwide leader in robotics solutions through their constant exploration and commercialization of robotics solutions that help make people’s lives easier, safer and more connected.
Best known for developing Pepper, the humanoid emotion-reading robot, and Whiz, a top-class market professional vacuum cleaning floor robot, SoftBank Robotics is rapidly driving technology forward with over 35,000 SoftBank Robotics robots, Pepper, NAO being used in more than 70 countries worldwide in industries such as retail, tourism, healthcare, finance, education, facilities management and cleaning.
(Photo Courtesy: SoftBank Robotics)
Insight Robotics (Hong Kong)
Founded by Rex Sham, Hong Kong-based startup Insight Robotics is in the business of developing robots to improve the obscure, but critical, forestry management industry. Its data collection robots, designed to be deployed in heavily forested regions or national parks, give operators the ability to detect potential problems such as forest fires or tree diseases quicker than ever before.
Augmentus is a company that strives to help businesses recoup return on investment faster by drastically lowering the time, cost and skill barriers in implementing robotic systems. Inspired to build an intuitive, graphical robotics platform that simplifies and unifies the development and operation of industrial robots, co-founders Leong Yong Shin, Daryl Lim and Chong Voon Foo decided to use their shared experience leading teams to develop robotics solutions for multi-national corporations to create a no-code, fully-integrated robotics platform that enables anyone, with or without robotics training or programming skills, to develop, deploy and re-purpose robotic systems in minutes.
PLEN Robotics (Japan)
(Photo Courtesy: Founder & CEO Natsuo Akazawa / PLEN Robotics)
Established in 2017, PLEN Robotics Inc is an Osaka-based company with the mission of building a social infrastructure to solve the problem of workforce shortage in the service industry by utilizing robotics, IT and artificial intelligence to produce IoT solutions. Before founding PLEN Robotics, CEO Natsuo Akazawa devised and developed a prototype compact AI communicator as a solution to workforce scarcity.
That invention soon came to fruition as the company’s first product. “PLEN Cube” is a box-shaped AI assistant, small enough to fit into the palm of your hands, which uses face recognition and tracking functions through its 350-degree head rotation capability and up-and-down motion across a 20-degree range to support cashless payments, hotel receptions, drink orders and digitalization of the customer’s behaviour history.
(Photo Courtesy: PLEN Robotics)
A global leading AI and humanoid robotics company established in 2012 by James Zhou, UBTECH is born out of industry-leading breakthroughs to digital servos – the core part that enables humanoid robots to move. UBTECH has grown its worldwide research, design, development, manufacturing, sales and marketing capabilities to successfully launch an entire portfolio of world-class robots, including consumer humanoid robots, enterprise service robots and STEM skill-building robots for kids at home with JIMU Robot and in the classroom through UBTECH Education.
Doozy Robotics (Singapore)
Helmed by CEO Suresh Chandrasekar, Doozy Robotics is a Singapore-based company that has established itself as a leader in the field of design and manufacturing of interactive and social humanoid robots. The company offers humanoid and autonomous robots that assist in sectors such as healthcare, hospitality, retailing, warehousing and office management, among others.
(Photo Courtesy: Doozy Robotics)
Youcan Robot (China)
Youcan Robot is a company developing world-class underwater robotic products and underwater video content exchange social platforms driven by the concept of “Endless of Exploration”. Founded in 2016, it continues to innovate and develop in the field of underwater intelligent robots to provide users with comprehensive underwater solutions.
Its first foray into the market started with the launch of its first underwater product the UAV BW1 in 2016, a professional diver underwater exploration device, and was followed by the BW Space in 2018, an underwater tracking drone that was also the world’s first underwater drone with smart features.
It’s safe to say at this point, with what’s been going on in the world, when you can’t even tell what day it is anymore or if time is even passing with how long you’ve been bound to the four walls of your home, it’s still well and good to have in mind where you can go to for your next break from city life.
In this issue, Top of Asia shares its random list of the top ten nature getaways in Asia where awe-inspiring nature together with comfort give you a break that you will never forget, be it just for a change of scenery or a break-away from the hustle and bustle of life.
Pulaithree Retreat, Kuala Kubu Bharu, Malaysia
(Photo Courtesy: Pulaithree)
Tucked in a rainforest atop a private hill in the Titiwangsa Mountain Range, and situated near the rustic town of Kuala Kubu Bharu in Malaysia is where you’ll find PulaiThree, a cosy and stylish villa designed with an open-shed concept and a deep respect for the environment. This 2-bedroom hideaway offers a picturesque view of the emerald green forested mountains beyond the beautiful town. Take the time to cool off in the tranquil pool, and when night falls, head on to the open platform as you enjoy a peaceful dinner with the full kitchen and outdoor barbeque area.
(Photo Courtesy: Pulaithree)
Elephant Hills, Thailand
Elephant Hills is Thailand’s first luxury tented jungle camp situated in the Khao Sok National Park, part of southern Thailand’s largest stretch of primary rainforest in the Surat Thani province. Their signature Elephant Hills Tours are reminiscent of the safari camp idea of African national parks with the spectacular tropical evergreen forest environment of southern Thailand’s Khao Sok National Park. Elephant Hills comprises two camps, Elephant Camp, the main camp, and the floating Rainforest Camp, both housing spacious, waterproof glamping tents that come fully equipped with all the amenities you’d be accustomed to finding at a regular 4-star hotel room.
Tiarasa Escapes, Janda Baik, Pahang, Malaysia
(Photo Courtesy: Tiarasa Escapes)
Nestled in the cool foothills of Janda Baik in the state of Pahang in Peninsular Malaysia stands a glamping wonderland short of a 45-minute drive from the city. Established by celebrated Malaysian director, producer and actress Tiara Jacquelina, Tiarasa Escapes spreads across 7 acres of majestic trees and fragrant fruit-laden grounds. The award-winning landscape architects at WHZ Environmental Design worked with the existing ecosystem to beautifully balance natural elements to furnish the area with 20 luxurious safari-style tents and 5 treetop villas, creating a charming space for corporate and intimate retreats, destination weddings and special events.
(Photo Courtesy: Tiarasa Escapes)
The Rainforest Ecolodge, Sri Lanka
The Rainforest Ecolodge was designed to preserve and provide a sensational experience of the forest habitat in all its glory. Thriving on a five hundred-acre division of the Enselwatte Tea Estate bordering the South-eastern side of the Sinharaja Rainforest, the environmentally-friendly alfresco room, observation deck, lounge and meeting room form key components within each unit. Guests can also enjoy the spellbinding view from any part of the lodge.
Treeful Treehouse Resort, Japan
(Photo Courtesy: Treeful Treehouse)
Located in Nago City, the northern part of the main island of Okinawa, Japan is Treeful Treehouse. Inspired by the concept of a “Sustainable Treehouse Resort”, the treehouse is supported by a living tree and legs based on an independent foundation, with one of our treehouses built on the side of the Genka River. This is all done strategically to ensure that nature’s creatures are undisturbed. The resort also promotes and acts on creating a sustainable society by not using fossil fuels but using electricity instead, and producing more electricity with solar energy than used. Kitchen waste is used as compost and used as fertilizer in the field.
(Photo Courtesy: Treeful Treehouse)
Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary, Phillipines
Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary is perfectly situated between Port Barton’s Marine Park and Sabang’s world famous ‘Puerto Princesa Subterranean Underground River’, voted one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature.’ This getaway is also special for being an accredited Turtle Sanctuary by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development and is a partner of WWF-Philippines. Turtle Bay marine sanctuary has promoted the protection and increase of beautiful corals, tropical fish and sea turtles for the last 12 years, and operates with a vision and mission of protecting endangered sea turtles and the surrounding large nature reserve.
Kingfisher Ecolodge, Laos
(Photo Courtesy: Kingfisher Ecolodge)
Kingfisher Ecolodge is a perfect retreat situated just outside the Ban Kiat Ngong village in Pathoumphone District, Champasak Province, Southern Laos, and in access to some of the last remaining elephants in Southern Laos. The Xe Pian National Protected Area, soon to become a national park, attracts its fair share of visitors as it’s in view of an array of birds and other nature-dwelling creatures.
Like a number of retreats featured on this list, Kingfisher Ecolodge is dedicated to ensuring everything operates as sustainably as possible with its location. As a single-use plastic free lodge, every room is equipped with refillable bottles and a refill station is open to all guests. Hot water is supplied by a solar panel heating system, a vanity unit, tea and coffee and a spacious veranda complements a luxurious lounge for a relaxing stay.
(Photo Courtesy: Kingfisher Ecolodge)
Malihom, Balik Pulau, Penang, Malaysia
Malihom is a homegrown retreat tucked away in a 40-acre private estate in Balik Pulau, Penang. Open to the public since 2009, it offers two types of accommodations that one can choose from. Its signature Hilltop barns will have you spending your days in rice barns made of teak wood.
The Foothill homes, an old artist-in-residence turn into a co-living home for families or groups, is an Airbnb-style accommodation perfect for a close group of 5 to 6 people, and is equipped with a kitchen, BBQ pit and outdoor patio, while bathroom is on the floor above. A special treat about this residence comes in the form of its natural spring. From the water you drink to the water you bath in, all of it comes from this natural-occurring source.
Lodges Ekologika on Portibi Farm, Indonesia
A place for a great getaway, and rediscovering nature, Lodges Ekologika situated on Portibi Farm is a place to eat well with friends and colleagues while enjoying the simplicity of how life can be. Part of a reforestation project that mixes available local knowledge, guests have the unique experience to try their hand at more urban activities including farming, construction, and old school kitchen mastery. When that’s all said and done, it’s nice to just sit in the company of one another, digging into local and international flavours and creating a place to share wonderful tastes and stories, while the trees grow up around you.
The Sticks, Fraser’s Hill, Kuala Kubu Bharu, Malaysia
You’re probably well familiar with this entry to the list. The Sticks is an off-grid glamping retreat set in a lush Malaysian jungle an hour away from Kuala Lumpur. Featuring 12 unique houses and ‘tendoks’, a stay here will have you getting lost in nature and feeding into your inner daredevil. From white water rafting and paragliding to just lazing in a hammock, you’ll never be bored that’s for sure. And when that’s all over and done with, enjoy hearty home-cooked meals prepared on a flame-grilled barbeque or flavourful steamboat spread to satisfy every gastronomic craving you have during your stay. It’s no wonder many people can’t get enough of this place.
When you see the word ‘unicorn,’ the first thing that comes to mind would probably be the beatific horned beast of a many mystical stories. The very term is synonymous with this image of something left to be desired, but unicorns do exist—in the business world at least.
In this context, a unicorn is a privately held start-up company valued at over $1 billion. Coined by venture capitalist Aileen Lee in 2013, it’s used to represent the statistical rarity of successful ventures, and, as of February 2021, there are more than 500 unicorns around the world, and we have our fair share of them right here in Asia.
In this issue, Top 10 of Asia takes a look at its list of the most admirable companies, (presented in no particular order) that have risen to impeccable acclaim and achieved unicorn status to become heavy-headed players in their respective economies and internationally.
Bukalapak is an Indonesian-based technology unicorn established in 2010 by technology entrepreneur and then CEO Achmad Zaky, with a focus on helping to create a fair economy for all. Through their online and offline commerce platforms, they aim to provide everyone with options and opportunities to get more out of life. Serving more than 6.5 million online sellers, 7 million Mitra Bukalapak and 100 million users, they have also completed their services, with a B2B e-procurement line named Buka Pengadaan Indonesia (BPI) in 2019.
In 2020, Rachmat Kaimuddin was appointed as the new CEO by Bukalapak founders. Under Rachmat’s leadership, Bukalapak has proven the resilience of its business model that has been able to create social-economic impacts among the people. Last year, Bukalapak recorded an 80% increase in EBITDA and 4 million growth in a number of sellers and Mitra, representing its solid business performance and its existence as a digital platform that gives solutions to people’s needs.
Grab Holdings Inc., commonly known as Grab, is a Singaporean multinational ride-hailing company founded by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling with operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan. In addition to transportation, the company offers food delivery and digital payments services via a mobile app. It is Southeast Asia’s first “decacorn,” a start-up valued at over US$10 billion).
The idea to create a taxi-booking mobile app came to Anthony while he was still attending Harvard Business School after seeing similar ideas being pioneered in the US. Aiming to provide safer taxi-riding experiences, he launched the ‘MyTeksi’ app in Malaysia with fellow Harvard graduate Tan Hooi Ling in 2012. In 2014, Grab moved its company headquarters from Malaysia to Singapore. The app has gone through a few name changes since its creation, from ‘MyTeksi’ to ‘GrabTaxi’ and then finally settling on ‘Grab’ in 2016.
Founded in 2012, Lazada Group is Southeast Asia’s leading eCommerce platform with a presence in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Founded by Maximilian Bittner, with the backing of Rocket Internet, the platform was started with the intention of establishing the Amazon.com business model in Southeast Asia. Since 2016, they became the regional flagship of the Alibaba Group, and are backed by Alibaba’s best-in-class technology infrastructure.
In 2018, LazMall was launched as Southeast Asia’s biggest virtual mall connecting shoppers to over 18,000 leading international and local brands. LazMall serves as a platform for brands and sellers to directly engage and create a customised experience for their customers.
Oyo Rooms, also known as Oyo Hotels & Homes, is an Indian hospitality chain of leased and franchised hotels, homes and living spaces that initially consisted of mainly budget hotels when first starting out. Founded in 2013 by Indian billionaire, entrepreneur and recipient of the Business World Young Entrepreneur Award, Ritesh Agarwal, OYO came to be when Ritesh was travelling across India at the age of 17. Having stayed in more than 100 bed and breakfasts, guest houses, and hotels, he came to realize that there was a massive undersupply of affordable and good-quality hotels in the unbranded budget hotel category. In a short time, OYO became one of the fastest-growing and second-largest hotel chains in the world.
Indonesian e-commerce technology company, Tokopedia, specializes in democratizing commerce through technology. Co-founded by William Tanuwijaya, CEO, and Leontinus Alpha Edison, Director, in 2009, it is an Indonesian unicorn along with ride-hailing company Gojek, travel service firm Traveloka and e-commerce company Bukalapak. Headquartered in Jakarta, Tokopedia has been a force that pioneers digital transformation in Indonesia, building an ecosystem where anyone can start and discover anything by empowering millions of merchants and users across diverse marketplaces, logistics, payments and financial technology businesses.
SEA Limited Group
SEA is the leading consumer internet company in Southeast Asia and Taiwan that has developed an integrated platform consisting of digital entertainment, electronic commerce, and digital financial services. Founder Forrest Li has served as the group’s Chairman and CEO since its inception in 2009. Headquartered in Singapore, the company operates three businesses: Garena, Shopee and SeaMoney.
Garena, the company’s digital entertainment business, is a global game developer and publisher with a presence in Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Latin America providing access to mobile and personal computer online games. Shopee provides users with a shopping environment that is supported by integrated payment, logistics, fulfilment, and other value-added services. SeaMoney is a digital financial services provider that offers e-wallet services, payment processing, credit-related digital financial offerings, and other financial products.
Traveloka is an Indonesian unicorn company and leading online travel company that provides a wide range of travel needs, airline ticketing and hotel booking services online throughout Southeast Asia and Australia. It recently expanded to provide lifestyle products and services, such as attraction tickets, activities, car rental, and restaurant vouchers.
Co-founded by Derianto Kusuma, Albert Zhang and acting CEO Ferry Unardi, the company has established partnerships with more than 100 domestic and international airlines, serving more than 200,000 routes worldwide. It also has the largest direct accommodation inventory, varying from hotels, apartments, guest houses, homestays, to villas and resorts.
Razer Inc., is a Singaporean-American multinational technology company popular for designing, building and selling the world’s largest gamer-focused ecosystem of hardware, software and services. Founded by Min-Liang Tan, the Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director, and Robert Krakoff in 2005, Razer is dual-headquartered in Irvine and Singapore and is recognized as the leading brand for gamers in the USA, Europe and China.
Razer began as a subsidiary of Kärna LLC, developing and marketing a high-end computer gaming mouse targeted to computer gamers but ceased operations due to financial issues. Tan and Krakoff procured the rights to the brand following a large investment from Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing and Singaporean holding company Temasek Holdings, creating the current iteration of Razer we all know.
In January 2021, Razer launched a range of high-grade masks designed to allow lip-reading and seeing facial cues when people talk, with LED lights to illuminate the wearer’s face in dark environments as part of the company’s initiative, Project Hazel, to encourage more people to wear masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Founded in 2010 by Joel Bar-El and Dror Feldheim, Trax is a Singaporean technology unicorn company and world leader in computer vision solutions for retail with offices throughout the Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South America. Their unique technology uses a combination of image recognition, deep learning and data science to turn shelf images captured with mobile devices, fixed cameras or robots into real-time actionable insights. Customers use the company’s computer vision technology to collect, measure, and analyse what’s happening on physical store shelves.
As of Feburary 2021, Justin Beha is the acting Chief Executive Officer, joining in 2018 after Trax’s acquisition of the company he founded, Quri, with Joel Bar-El and Dror Feldheim appointed as Executive Chairman and President respectively.
Established in in 2008, Zomato is an Indian online restaurant guide and food delivery platform co-founded by Pankaj Chaddah and Deepinder Goyal that achieved unicorn status in 2015 with a billion-dollar valuation which has since doubled. Zomato provides information, menus and user-reviews of restaurants as well as food delivery options from partner restaurants in select cities, connecting over 55 million users to restaurants in 24 countries across the world. Zomato was founded under ‘Foodiebay’, and was renamed in 2010 as Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd.
There are seven different types of twins known to exist in modern medical science, the most common type being identical and fraternal. Old tales would tell of how soulmates who were separated by death would be reborn again as twins. People have always had a keen fascination with twins, convinced that since they share a similar genetic makeup, they are endowed with ‘superpowers’ that ordinary siblings lack. In this issue, Top 10 of Asia shares its list of the top 10 identical and fraternal twins in Asia who have made a name for themselves in the fashion, business and entertainment worlds. After all, who better to share your successes and achievements as well as to ride the perilous waves of stardom with than your biological other half?
Ami & Aya Suzuki
Fashioning matching fuchsia bobbed coiffures, Ami and Aya Suzuki, better known as Amiaya, are a pair of Japanese twin fashion influencers and models who have taken social media and the fashion world by storm with their colourful and glamorous style. Starting their careers as a musical pop duo, they’ve graced the front rows of Paris, Milan and London Fashion Week for high-end brands like Valentino and Miu Miu, and have even been the faces of designer campaigns for the likes of Tory Burch and Mulberry.
Their passion for fashion has been an integral part of their lives with their parents owning a string of boutiques, and in following that passion, the dazzling duo are the creative directors of their very own ready-to-wear clothing brand, Jouetie based on street wear and vintage fashion.
Miko and Yumi Bai
BY2 is a Singaporean duo based in Taiwan composed of twin sisters Miko Bai and Yumi Bai. BY2 first gained attention at the start of their careers with their first two studio albums NC 16 and Twins, but it wasn’t until their third studio album, Grown Up, that gained them significant popularity, with the album topping Taiwan’s music chart, G-Music and several music charts in China.
Both sisters were exposed to the performing arts from a young age, learning the violin, piano, ballet and many other styles of dancing during their childhood, with their passion only growing as they reached adolescence. Despite being identical twins, they couldn’t be more different in terms of their personality. Miko has been described as more introverted and quiet while her sister, Yumi is more of an extroverted and outgoing person.
Kim Junsu & Kim Junho
Long-time fans of K-Pop may already be familiar with one of the two we’re about to talk about next. Kim Jun-su, also known as Xia, is a South Korean singer, dancer and stage actor. He rose to fame as a member of TVXQ, and is currently a part of pop group JYJ, a group made up of himself and two other former members of TVXQ. But not many know that he has an older fraternal twin also in the limelight.
Kim Jun-ho is a South Korean singer mainly active in Japan and China, where he is more well-known by his stage names JUNO and ZUNO, but had his named changed to Kim Moo-young after a name change back in 2014. Both twins are members of the South Korean all-star football team, FC MEN, whose make up includes other well-known Korean celebrities in the industry.
Richard and Raymond Gutierrez
Some readers might remember the next pair on our list if they’ve ever come across a reality show on E! News Asia called It Takes GUTZ To Be A Gutierrez that ran from 2014 to 2016, following the lives of the Gutierrez family, who are basically Philippines showbiz royalty, and the many hilarious escapades they get up to. The twin stars of the show were brothers Raymond and Richard Gutierrez.
Raymond is a TV host, editor, columnist, entrepreneur and occasional actor in best known for hosting Pinoy Idol in 2008, and was also one of the hosts of Showbiz Police.
Richard on the other hand is an actor, environmentalist and model. The Gutierrez twins began their acting career as children, and have worked in many movies with their father Eddie Gutierrez and other members of their family. As the sons of such a prolific Filipino icon, it only seemed natural that they would set out to do big things.
Rachel and Michelle Yeoh
Fraternal twins Rachel and Michelle Yeoh are the daughters of Dato’ Sri Michael Yeoh and Datin Sri Tina Yeoh, nieces to Tan Sri Dato’ Francis Yeoh and the granddaughters of Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Yeoh Tiong Lay, the founder of YTL Corporation. Coming from an illustrious family lineage, they had the fine opportunity of being the first twins and first Malaysians to have ever debuted at the Queen Charlotte’s Ball at Kensington Palace. From gracing the covers of respected publications like Vogue Japan and Hong Kong Tatler to modelling for Dolce & Gabbana‘s Fall 2017 fashion show in Milan Fashion Week, their impressive work in fashion had led them serve on the advisory committee for the British Fashion Council, which determines the allocation of funds and grants given to designers.
Thanuja and Anuja Ananthan
Thanuja and Anuja Ananthan are a pair of TV hosts and multilingual emcees hailing from the never-ending summer land that is Malaysia. Thanuja Ananthan is a model and beauty pageant titleholder, having been crowned as Miss World Malaysia 2009 and represented her country at the Miss World 2009. An actress and Masterchef celebrity, this multi-talented lady is more than just a pretty face. When she’s not juggling the many hats she is wearing, you can find her using her influence to make a difference as an animal ambassador and activist. Her sister Anuja lives a busy life herself as a yoga guru and full-time supermom. Her Instagram is proof just how amazing of a mom she is, with snippets of all the heart-warming moments she has with her family.
Jo Young-min and Kwang-min
Jo Young-min and Kwang-min are South Korean actors, models and singers. Both brothers started their journey to stardom as children under JYP Entertainment, one of the top entertainment companies in Korea, responsible for sell-out acts like TWICE, GOT7 and ITZY, where they trained for 2 years and eventually debuting as models and child actors in numerous commercials and dramas. They moved on to debut under Starship Entertainment as members of the idol group, BOYFRIEND. Despite having not made a comeback since 2016, the pair have been keeping busy with solo promotions both nationally and internationally, appearing on popular variety shows both together and individually.
Heo Min-jin and Min-seon
Heo Min-jin and Min-seon, best known by their stage names Choa and Way respectively, are members of Crayon Pop and its sub-unit group, Strawberry Milk (later changed to Choa & Way) under Chrome Entertainment. The group’s song ‘Bar Bar Bar’ became a viral sensation for their unusual concepts and intriguing viewers from all over the world. Their popularity even got them invited to be a part of Lady Gaga’s North American Tour as an opening act. If you haven’t heard it, it’s an extremely catchy number and still holds up to this day.
Although the group has not officially disbanded, they have been inactive since 2016. Way left the agency in 2017 and has since gone on to be a Youtuber and Twitch streamer, while her sister Choa still works in the industry under Park With Entertainment since 2018, often appearing in her sisters videos.
Valerie Krasnadewi and Veronika Krasnasari
Valerie Krasnadewi and Veronika Krasnasari are a kickass-take-no-names Indonesian modelling and entrepreneurial duo famous for being contestants in the fifth cycle of Asia’s Next Top Model representing their home country. Despite neither sibling claiming the winning title, their appearance gave them sufficient exposure to amass a large following both online and offline. Since the show, the ravishing sisters continue to model and have started successful endeavours of their own. They are the co-founders of LOOKATS, an Indonesian-based talent agency, and TWNS ECO, a platform dedicated to creating zero waste kits in support of the #beatplasticpollution movement and educating their followers on the importance of protecting the environment.
Riku and Riki Matsuda
The sporting world of football has its own set of twins in the form of Japanese footballers Riki and Riku Matsuda. Growing in a multiracial home, their father Indonesian and mother Japanese, Riki plays as a forward for Ventforet Kofu in the J2 League. His twin brother Riku plays for Cerezo Osaka as a defender. After attending Biwako Seikei Sport College for four years and becoming the side-captain, Matsuda signed on with FC Tokyo in 2014, but left after the 2015 season. It was in January 2016 that Matsuda signed with his hometown-club, Cerezo Osaka.
The purpose of philanthropy is for the improvement of mankind’s wellbeing and eliminating social problems. In the midst of the countless poor people in India, a number of billionaires have dedicated their wealth to philanthropic causes and are giving back to society to ensure that children, women and the hungry are well fed and taken care of. These philanthropists also strive to eradicate poverty through social initiatives that will make for life-changing impact in the society. Here, Top 10 of Asia shares its list of the top 10 billionaires in India who have donated huge sums of money for philantrophic causes. These individuals were also listed in the Edelgive Hurun India Philantrophy list.
Shiv Nadar is a billionaire in India who is also a philanthropist and industrialist. He is the founder and Chairman of a software firm, HCL Technologies Limited, Shiv Nadar University and the Shiv Nadar Foundation. The university was established for multidisciplinary education, embedded in innovation and research while the Foundation was established in 1994 and it is committed to create a more equitable, merit-based society through transformational education to bridge the socio-economic divide. It has established institutions and programmes in the underdeveloped areas in India related to art and also urban and rural education. Shiv has donated Rs 826 crore to charity.
Azim Hashim Premji is a philanthropist, business tycoon, investor and engineer. He is the founder and was also the Chairman of Wipro Limited. His commitment to philanthropy started with the cause of education for disadvantaged children and his education-centered foundation, the Azim Premji Foundation was established. The foundation now collaborates with over 200,000 public schools across India in training teachers and providing initiatives that included a better curriculum. Azim generously earmarked funds as endowment towards philanthropy as a charity pledge. Azim has donated Rs 453 crore to charity.
Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani is a billionaire business magnate who is the Chairman and Managing Director plus largest shareholder of Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, a telecommunications company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Mukesh also established the Reliance Foundation for philanthropic initiatives for underprivileged communities and he has given Rs 402 crore to charity.
Nandan Nilekani is an Indian entrepreneur, bureaucrat, politician and the co-founder of Infosys, an Indian multinational corporation providing digital services and consulting. Nandan and his wife, Rohini Nilekani donated half of their wealth to “The Giving Pledge” initiated by Bill Gates, Microsoft’s founder and his wife, Melinda Gates. Nandan has also donated and set up the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, which is a national education institution committed to the equitable, sustainable and efficient transformation of Indian settlements. Nandan’s donation to charity amounted to some Rs 204 crore.
Ajay Piramal is the Chairman of Piramal Group, a conglomerate dealing with pharmaceutical, financial services, real estate, healthcare analytics and glass packaging. He is also an Indian billionaire, industrialist and social entrepreneur. Ajay has set up a foundation known as the The Piramal Foundation and it is dedicated to engage in initiatives that improve the areas of healthcare, education, water and women’s empowerment in India. Ajay has given some Rs 200 crore to charity.
Rohini Nilekani is an Indian author, writer, author and philanthropist. She is the founder and Chairperson of Arghyam Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on water and sanitation issues. She is also the Chairperson of the Akshara Foundation that focuses on elementary education. Rohini started her philanthropic journey when she supported young girls with scholarships. The Akshara Foundation makes education accessible in government-run primary schools. Some Rs 142 crore has been given by Rohini for charitable causes.
Rahul Bajaj is a philanthropist and Chairman of Bajaj Auto, a subsidiary under Bajaj Group, a company providing variety of manufactured products and financial services in India and abroad, including motorised 2 and 3-wheelers, home appliances, electric lamps, wind energy, special alloy and stainless steel, cranes, forgings, infrastructure development, material handling equipment, travel, general and life insurance and investment plus consumer finance and asset management. The Bajaj family has a legacy of philanthropy and Rahul heads the CSR initiative of Bajaj Group that has seen some Rs 131 crore donated to charity.
Cyrus S Poonawalla
Cyrus S Poonawalla founded the Serum Institute of India in 1966 and it became one of the largest vaccine makers. For a philanthropic cause, Cyrus creates vaccine for downtrodden people with the cheapest and affordable price. He provided funds for the construction of roads, highways, parks and rehabilitation centre for the handicapped and people with leprosy. Cyrus also organises free rubella immunisation camps for girls at slum areas in collaboration with Rotary International. His contribution to charity amounted to some Rs 117 crore.
Anil Agarwal is the Chairman of Vedanta Resources Limited, a globally diversified Natural Resources Company dealing with zinc-lead-silver, iron ore, steel, copper, aluminium, power, oil and gas. He is also an avid philanthropist who is dedicated in helping those who are poor and needy. He set up the Anil Agarwal Foundation focusing on women empowerment, child development and education. He has also pledged a portion of 75% of his wealth to charity with some Rs 113 crore already given out to charity.
Gautam Adani is the Chairperson of the Adani Group, a company transporting logistics and energy utility portfolio businesses focusing on large scale infrastructure development in India. He is also the Chairman for Adani Ports & SEZ Ltd, the largest commercial ports operator in India accounting. Gautam has established the Adani foundation for the purpose of philanthropic work in 18 states in India. He has donated some Rs 84 crore for charitable causes.
Social entrepreneurship is a growing trend among youths all over the world as it not only helps create an impact in society, it also enables them to eke out a living. In this issue, Top 10 of Asia shares with you its list of youths who have stood out and made a major difference in changing the lives of their community and the environment. They were also listed in Forbes and have been awarded for their efforts in social initiatives that have been widespread. These youths from Southeast Asia have come up with novel ideas in aiding the community in terms of environmental conservation, assisting the underprivileged, and transforming lives.
Melati & Isabel Wijsen (Indonesia)
Melati & Isabel Wijsen are two sisters who founded Bye Bye Plastic Bag (BBPB). The movement started on the island of Bali, Indonesia in 2013 when they were only 10 and 12 years old. It started as a campaign for their home island of Bali and it soon became the country’s biggest youth-led NGO. BBPB has become a well-known international movement of inspiration and youth empowerment. In 2016, BBPB has since established 50+ BBPB teams all around the world. BBPB has been raising awareness about the waste problem in Bali by conducting activities such as delivering school presentations and workshops, organising beach clean-ups, providing 35,000+ alternative bags and creating a plastic bag free pilot village.
Louise Emmanuelle Mabulo (Philippines)
Louise Emmanuelle Mabulo founded The Cacao Project, an initiative which provides farmers with cacao seedlings; a sustainable high in demand, high value, and resilient crop, as well as other short term crops such as bok choy, okra and pumpkins to intercrop with the cacao. The project aims to assist farmers to create
short term income. The Cacao Project also provides training to responsibly and sustainably produce Cacao beans at a quality standard. Additionally, the initiative utilises barren lands to create productive economic forests and livelihoods for the indigenous farmers of San Fernando, Camarines Sur with the goal to build sustainable, environment-friendly, disaster-resilient livelihoods for farmers.
Okka Phyo Maung (Myanmar)
Okka Phyo Maung is the co-founder of RecyGlo Company Pte Ltd, a waste management solution platform in Southeast Asia that produces zero carbon footprint. Established in 2017, RecyGlo has a holding company in Singapore and subsidiaries in Myanmar and Malaysia. It also has plans to expand its branches to Indonesia and Cambodia. Its Waste Management Report identifies, quantifies and analyses the composition of the waste stream generated to ensure compliance with the requirements suggested by the ISO 14001-2015 (Environmental Management Standard) requirement, YCDC and regional environmental agencies in South East Asia.
Kisum Chan & Lincoln Lee (Singapore)
Kisum Chan and Lincoln Lee are founders of Rice Inc, a social enterprise on a mission to solve world hunger. The company sources quality rice from Southeast Asia and reinvest profits to provide smallholder rice farmers the sustainable agritech they desperately need. These technologies help farmers reduce post-harvest losses, increase their income and is environmental friendly. Rice Inc’s work has been recognised by President Clinton, the United Nations and the International Rice Research Institute.
Richard Yim (Cambodia)
Demine Robotics was founded by Richard Yim Demine Robotics at the University of Waterloo and incorporated in January 2016 in Canada. It operates in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It specialises in product development and engineering expertise in the context of explosive clearance operations with the mission to save land, limbs and lives of those affected by conflict by developing and delivering robotic solutions to clear landmines and remnants of war safely and efficiently. Its solutions revolutionise clearance operations of antipersonnel landmines and other small-scale unexploded ordnance, including cluster munitions and buried improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Demine Robotics also partner and work with some of the most respected global humanitarian organisations to transform explosive clearance.
Sabrina & Elena Bensawan
Founded by Sabrina and Elena Bensawan in 2014, Saab Shares House Of Learning is a non-profit organisation which focuses on education, healthcare and women empowerment. In terms of education, it focuses on providing holistic education along with character building in order for youths to be financially independent in the future. Saab Shares has over 14 branches around Indonesia, assisting the nation’s underprivileged children. In terms of healthcare, besides supporting children with terminal diseases, it holds free medical treatments and improved nutrition intake for underprivileged children. Lastly, it also provides underprivileged mothers with various skill trainings, regular seminars and intensive coaching for them to have a source of income for their family.
Swietenia Puspa Lestari (Indonesia)
Swietenia Puspa Lestari founded Divers Clean Action (DCA), a youth-led organisation in Indonesia. Being an enthusiastic diver since she was a child, her main focus for DCA is on marine debris cleanup and segregating trash. DCA started partnering with 100 divers and now, with over 1,500 volunteers across Indonesia and Southeast Asia in cleaning debris and empowering coastal communities. Other than that, DCA has also held environmental programmes and conducted many campaigns and training with the coastal community in order to educate the people about the importance of waste management.
Trang Nguyen (Vietnam)
Trang Nguyen is the founder of WildAct, an organisation that focuses on monitoring the illegal wildlife trade markets. It sets up conservation education programmes and in 2018, WildAct collaborated with the University of Vinh and organised the first master course on Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade for early career conservationists and Vietnamese students. It also provides scholarships for exceptional students to conduct their own research.
Melia Winata (Indonesia)
Melia Winata is the co-founder of Du Anyam, a social enterprise that produces wicker crafts to improve the livelihoods of women and children in Indonesia. It also provides women with the opportunity to earn an income through wicker weaving. Du Anyam has worked with more than 1,100 women across 50 villages. The products have been exported to Europe, Australia and the United States. The enterprise was appointed in 2018 as the official merchandiser of the Asian Games in Indonesia.
Wen Shin Chia (Malaysia)
Wen Shin Chia founded Green Yards, an eco-products company that makes candles, cleaning powder and soaps from recycled cooking oil. The idea stems from one of her university projects when she was studying environmental science and technology. It turned into a full-fledged business. Green Yards aims to reduce water pollution and it sources the used oil from Malaysia’s households and restaurants. It sells the products in gift shops and also online in Malaysia.