(TL;DR – Homegrown and proud!)
Walk into any mall along Orchard Road and you’ll see a myriad of swanky international brands. But I bet you didn’t know that amongst the Chanel and Valentino, some of these brands are actually homegrown Singaporean brands that have made a good name for themselves.
Yes, that fancy place for scones and tea at ION orchard and MBS that’s always full is not some atas European brand but a homegrown Singaporean one. The 1837 on its logo is NOT the year it’s founded but the year that the Chamber of Commerce was established in Singapore. (Ahhh, now you know…)
2. Banyan Tree
The go-to luxury accommodation choice in Asia, ranging from the sleekest rooftop bar in Bangkok to elegant ocean-front villas in Maldives, this international hospitality brand was started by businessman Ho Kwon Ping when he was holidaying with his wife Claire Chiang in Phuket when they came across a piece of land they thought it would make an ideal location for a resort – the first resort Banyan Tree Phuket was hence built in 1994.
Remember that dress worn by Kate Middleton? Well, this dress from local fashion label Raoul sold out in just 24 hours after it was spotted on the Duchess of Cambridge. Since its establishment in 2001, Raoul has successful made it in the international scene with a strong presence in America and Europe and celebrities who have been spotted in the brand include Jennifer Lawrence and Rebecca Romijn.
4. Crystal Jade
I won’t be surprised if you thought that this restaurant chain serving up one of the best dim sum is from the land of dim sum itself, Hong Kong. Well, the restaurant first opened in 1991 at the now-defunct Cairnhill Hotel and today this Singaporean brand has grown beyond our shores to include Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Vietnam and South Korea.
This world’s leading gaming company was founded by Singaporean Tan Min-Liang. Today, the revolutionary brand is headquartered in USA, where Min-Liang is based in. With a strong social media following (537K+ fans on his Facebook page!), Min-Liang feels almost like our country’s own Mark Zuckerberg.
With mega superstars like Andy Lau promoting its 天王椅 (literally, Heavenly Chair), you would think that this #1 seller of massage chairs hails from Hong Kong (again…) but nope, OSIM was originally established in Singapore in 1980 by Ron Sim, as an electrical and household appliance company under the name of R Sim Trading.
Since we’re talking about Ron Sim and his businesses, did you know that he also founded and still owns or part-owns the GNC chain of stores and also yes, TWG? Anyway Ron Sim is in the news this week for wanting to take his listed company private.
Because of its Japanese-sounding name, it is often thought that this electronics brand hails from the land of the rising sun. AKIRA is actually a home-grown brand founded in 1990 and today it carries a wide range of electronic products ranging from rice cookers to air-condition systems and even 3D Blu-ray Smart LED televisions!