Saturday 1 September 2012

8 Amazing Malaysian Brands

8 Amazing Malaysian Brands

You'd be surprised by the entrepreneurial spirit of our fellow Malaysians.

AirAsia (© AirAsia)

You might be surprised that some of these brands are Malaysian while some have always been the pride and joy of the country. Looking at these brands, there is a lot indeed to be said about the entrepreneural spirit of our fellow Malaysians.

1. AirAsia

Anyone who doesn't know AirAsia by now must have been living in a cave their whole lives. Bought for a buck by then music executive Tony Fernandes in 2001, the company has grown by leaps in bounds in just ten years. The brand is now visible on English Premiere League jerseys, been voted the World's Best Low-Cost Airline in 2009 and 2012 and is the title sponsor of the Australian Moto Grand Prix.

Mamee (© Mamee)

2. Mamee Double-Decker

Seeing as how the Mamee Monster snack is popular with school kids in Australia, you'd be forgiven if you thought that was where the company originated. Make no mistake as Mamee Double-Decker has always been a Malaysian company based in Malacca, distributing its popular snacks including Mamee Instant Noodles and Mister Potato to ASEAN countries, Australia and now Canada.

Bonia (© Bonia)

3. Bonia

Since its founding in 1974, Bonia has been synonymous with luxury leather goods and naturally consumers expected it to be an American or European company. It was actually set up by SS Chiang who started out designing, manufacturing and wholesaling leather goods in Singapore, but now the company is headquartered in Malaysia. So far the company has enjoyed robust expansion and its superior quality products can be found in twelve countries worldwide including Japan, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Jelly Pong Pong (© Jelly Pong Pong)

4. Jelly Pong Pong

Susan Chyi started her own cosmetics line in 2001 from her bedroom while still studying in university with only $700 of her own savings. After getting her big break when Jelly Pong Pong was featured in Vogue UK, the company hit the $1 million mark in turnover within five years and now even celebrities like Fergie, Agyness Deyn and Olivia Wilde are ardent fans. However, despite being Malaysian, Jelly Pong Pong only reached our shore a couple of years ago but they've been a big hit ever since.

Bedat & Co. (© Bedat & Co.)

5. Bedat & Co

This luxury watch company was founded by the Swiss mother-and-son team of Simone and Christian Bedat in 1996 and, after a spell with the Gucci Group, was acquired by Malaysian company LuxuryConcepts Timepieces. It's no surprise then that the brand's first standalone boutique was opened in Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in 2008. However, the company's headquarters are still based in Geneva, Switzerland with the watches still being produced the traditional way ensuring superior Swiss design and assembly.

6. Top Glove & Supermax

These two companies may not be big fashion or F&B brands but they are worth a mention as respectively being the number one and number two manufacturers of rubber gloves in the whole world. Between the two, they have more than 30 factories, exporting to 185 countries in the world with distribution centres in the USA, Brazil, Canada, Australia and Europe.

Stage (© Stage)

7. Stage Cosmetics

With its handsomely-appointed stores, sleek packaging, high-quality products and that authoritative-sounding name, you would think Stage was an entertainment industry secret that was only recently made available to the general public. In reality, Stage was conceptualised right here in Malaysia, with products sourced from all over the world including Italy and Germany. Officially launched in 2008, Stage products have been getting rave reviews since then with many claiming its products to be superior to well-established international brands and is now also available in Singapore and Brunei.

Sereni & Shentel (© Sereni & Shentel)

8. Sereni & Shentel

Their claim to fame being featured on Blair Waldorf's head in popular TV series Gossip Girl, headbands created and designed by Borneo darlings Sereni Linggi and Shentel Lee have since graced countless magazines in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Australia and was also worn by Eva Longoria in an episode of Desperate Housewives.

Bata (© Bata)

Meanwhile, here are three companies commonly mistaken to be Malaysian but never were or are not anymore.

1. Bata

Bata has been ingrained in most Malaysians' minds as the go-to shoe brand to reach for when the new school semester comes around that it has always been taken for granted to be a local brand. It actually originated from what is now the Czech Republic (not the Netherlands, as most people thought) and its headquarters is now in Lausanne, Switzerland. Malaysia isn't even the home for Bata's Emerging Markets segment as that department is centered in Singapore.

Jimmy Choo (© Jimmy Choo)

2. Jimmy Choo

Yes, Dato' Jimmy Choo is Malaysian and yes, he designed those delectable Jimmy Choo shoes that have fashionistas the world over swooning at the mere mention of the name. However, from day one, Choo has always held only 50 percent of Jimmy Choo the company, which he founded with British Vogue magazine accessories editor Tamara Mellon. In 2001, Choo sold off his half of the company to Equinox Holdings Ltd. A few exchanges of hands later, Jimmy Choo Ltd is now owned by Labelux under the name J. Choo Limited.

Giant (© Giant)

3. Giant Hypermarkets

Once upon a time, Giant's tagline read something like 'By Malaysians, For Malaysians'. That changed after the company founded by the Teng family of Kuala Lumpur was acquired by Dairy Farm International Holdings, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange with a legal base in Bermuda

Originally at MSN

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