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10 Brands Founded by Malaysians
The Petronas Twin Towers, beautiful tropical islands, and nasi lemak are just a few things Malaysians are proud to call ours. Here are ten other iconic brands that are either founded by Malaysians or made in Malaysia.
Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts
This luxury hotel group that spans over Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East was founded by “The Sugar King of Asia,” otherwise known as Robert Kuok. The Malaysian-born and raised billionaire opened the first Shangri-La Deluxe Hotel in Singapore in 1971, with a beguiling name inspired by James Hilton’s novel, Lost Horizon. With over 90 managed or owned hotel properties, the group is now headquartered in Hong Kong.
This household name in milk products started out as Pacific Milk Industries (Malaya) Sdn. Bhd., producing sweetened condensed milk for a Dutch company. Several decades and name changes later, it has grown to become one of the leading dairy companies in Malaysia and notably as the first company to introduce UHT milk in the country.
Before San Pellegrino or Acqua Panna were available in the Malaysian dining scene, there was Spritzer. Since its start in the late 1980s, Spritzer is known for its pure and clean mineral water sourced from the group’s 330 acre site in Taiping, Perak. Winning numerous brand awards over the years, Spritzer has diversified its range with carbonated and sparking water to name a few, and continues to remain a trusted household name.
They say that the French excel at pastries for their attention to detail, and creativity, but recent years have seen Japanese pastry chefs returning to Japan with French techniques, improving upon well known “Western” desserts with a distinctively Japanese precision. Realising this trend, Malaysian Datuk CL Liaw founded Komugi. Leading the way with premium ingredients that go into baking pillow-soft buns and delectable cakes, its taste and authenticity overseen by Japanese pastry chefs, it is a taste of Japan in Malaysia.
Unlike Jusco, Debenhams and Robinsons, Parkson is one of the few homegrown department stores in Malaysia. This mid-range department store first opened in Sungei Wang back in 1987, and has since expanded greatly operating 123 stores across Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Indonesia and Myanmar as of early this year.
Albeit a fairly recent phenomenon, the concept of Chinese restaurants serving la mian (hand-pulled noodles) and xiao long bao (steamed meat dumplings) has become a popular Malaysian favourite in recent years. Owned by a Malaysian, these restaurants included open-concept kitchens, so patrons could watch their noodles and dumplings being made by skilled chefs from China, with the freshest of ingredients.
Mention Lovely Lace and heady scents, white lace and teddy bears often come to mind. It’s a gift shop that’s perfect for little girls’ birthday bashes and wedding gifts. The products are handmade and crafted by artists residing abroad, creating gifts that are reminiscent of the English country side.
Ole Ole Bali
With food and décor so authentic, one would assume that there would be a main branch situated in somewhere in mystical Bali, right? Wrong! Ole Ole Bali and its sister restaurants, Bumbu Bali and The Waterlily Bistro were born out of a fascination for the Balinese culture, as stated on its website, “We fell in love with Bali where the food, marvellous; the ambience, impeccable!” It’s a little slice of Bali, right here in the city.
San Francisco Coffee
Time for a pop quiz! So, Starbucks came from Seattle, Coffee Bean from LA and Gloria Jeans from Chicago. What about San Francisco Coffee? San Francisco seems like the perfect answer. But, not quite. San Francisco Coffee is as Malaysian as Old Town White Coffee in its origins. Coffee is imported from all over the world, and then hand roasted locally, before making you their own brand of kopi.
Since the Japanese and innovation are synonymous, it would be fair to assume that Ogawa came from Japan. But this wellness brand that specialises in massage and reflexology products was actually founded by Mr. Wong Lee Keong and Ms. Lim Poh Kian who have proven that Malaysians too, can innovate, quite comfortably!
By: Lee Yang Ching
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