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Asia's Top Unique Startups

By Tasnim Tabassum

· Asia,Startup,Social Entrep

The recent decades have seen a surge of new entrepreneurs in the market who have successfully secured places in the hearts of consumers, challenging the positions of firms that have been around since the 1900s. Although an entrepreneur is also a businessperson, there is one definitive trait that sets them apart from other tycoons. It is their ability to be the first to identify a need that should be fulfilled.

Although Asia is now being considered to be one of the best startup hubs in the world, most of these firms have been based on the glocalized version of an idea that had been generated by another founder. Nevertheless, there are a enterprises that are based in Asia that were initially considered crazy but actually ended up making a crazy amount of money and recognition.

5. Ha Atari Dokoro

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Situated at an open space along Chuo-dori, Akiba’s Ha Atari Dokoro is a popular place in Japan where you can go and relieve yourself from stress. However, unlike other de-stressing techniques such as getting a massage or going on a hike, the approach here is providing some loud music to listen to and a whole lot of things to break into pieces. Considering the fact that Japanese employees usually work close to twelve hours a day, this is a great way of distracting oneself from the effects of workplace fatigue.

By the way, the startup’s name literally translates to “Smashing Place”. The next time you feel like yelling at your boss, go smash a few plates at Ha Atari Dokoro. You will definitely feel better.

4. Canned Air

Photo from BBC News

Constant coal burning has rendered many of China’s cities heavily polluted, especially those that are situated at the northern hemisphere of the country. Indeed, Air Quality Index (AQI) shows that the average AQI values in various Chinese cities are borderline hazardous.

Although it was a Canadian start-up that decided to sell canned fresh air to Chinese people in who are suffering from air pollution, it took no time for local entrepreneurs to join in on the venture by taking the place of importers.

3. Panama Fruit Producer

Photo from

Fresh, juicy watermelons are available throughout the summer season at farmer markets in all local areas. While they do offer the perfect refreshment on hot, sultry days, it is no amateur’s job getting them to fit into the refrigerator.

Panama Fruit Producer is a Japanese company that sells watermelons that have been grown in cubical boxes to give them the shape of a square fruit so that they are easier to freeze in cold storage areas. It’s easier to cut up the fruit as well.

The company now exports square watermelons to countries all over the world such as Netherlands and Germany. The idea is actually a few decades old; locals of the Shikoku Island in Japan grew the original square watermelons.

2. Liter of Light

Photo from Liter of Light Philippines

Often, the most complicated problems have the simplest solutions. That is, if one is willing to think outside of the box. Cheap abodes with thin roofs are a common scene in developing countries where habitants cannot afford to use electric light bulbs.

Founded in 2006 by Illac Diaz in the Philippines, Liter of Light provides an alternative to electric bulbs to its citizens in the form of daylighting. Transparent bottles are filled up with water and bleach, and planted on a hole in the rooftop. During daylight hours, the water refracts the sunlight coming in from outside into the room.

1. Grameen Bank

Photo from

The concept of microfinance may be very well considered the solution to global poverty today, but there was a time when giving loans to unqualified and poor people who have no collateral to offer would have been considered a “crazy move”.

After observing for many years that it is loans rather than charity that provides more motivation to impoverished people to try to stand up on their own two feet, Dr. Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh formed his own independent bank in 1983 that does just that. Today, the bank provides credit to nine million borrowers and affirms a repayment rate of 99.6%.

In 2006, the bank and its founder were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, a first and as of yet, only such recognition for Bangladesh.

As aforementioned, these startups are very much sustainable proving the point that anybody can be an entrepreneur as long as he or she has an idea that can be the solution to an unmet void in the market.

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