Check out our very own homegrown brands

January 9, 2017

From everyday necessities to luxury items, many locals have built successful brands from scratch. Read on to find out the 10 local homegrown brands that have found local and global success.

1.  Quality Drives Success 

When the focus is on quality, a business can truly blossom into a global brand. Yeo Hiap Seng, popularly known in Singapore as YEO’s, is a testament to that belief. The brand had humble origins as a small proprietorship dealing with soya sauce. The quality of the sauce gave the confidence to Yeo Keng Lian, who then led the small business to the food and beverage giant it is today. 

The brand’s commitment to quality and health has made it one of the preferred beverages of the locals. Available at all leading supermarkets, there is an entire range of drinks to suit different tastes: Teas, juices, health drinks, and more. The brand has also grown from the local scene to countries like Canada and the US.   

One of their specialty products is the range of Asian drinks that is an ideal thirst quencher for the balmy tropical weather of Singapore. The next time you are hot and thirsty, just reach out at the nearest supermarket for a bottle of refreshing lemon barley or chrysanthemum tea. 

2. The Sun Kissed Beer

If we say Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), it may not register. But say Tiger Beer, and interest will certainly be piqued. APB are the makers of Singapore’s iconic beer. The company was first called Malayan Breweries when it was first founded in 1931 and had won its first international medal in 1939, the first of forty awards that would follow.    

APB has been perfecting the taste and consistency of the lager which is inspired by the tropics. It is a matter of pride that the beer, which is brewed locally, has spread its wings to over 75 markets globally.

When the weather gets warm and humid, as it often does in Singapore, the locals reach out for an ice-cold mug of Tiger Beer.     

Try it out at local eateries or buy a six pack from the supermarket. 

3. A Saucy Solution

It all began with a unique problem that Chou Yang Len faced while running his noodle shop in Chinatown. The seasoning for the dry noodles were all imported from Hong Kong. Chou decided that the best way forward for his business would be to use locally produces sauces and pastes. Thus was born the idea of Woh Hup.

The brand has become a synonym with the entrepreneurial spirit that drives Singapore forward. Woh Hup’s signature range of sauces and pastes, in particular the oyster sauce, have become the staple of many an Asian household beyond Singapore.

The premium range of sauces and pastes has made Asian cuisine a whole lot easier to cook and master, so get your own sample in any leading supermarkets throughout the island.   

4. A Perfect Tea Companion

The Khong Guan brand is representative of the struggles and success that the island nation has witnessed in its glorious history. From hand-made biscuit manufacturers, the brand has taken the big leap to establish itself as the biggest producer of tea-time treats. 

With considerable effort and just a little bit of luck, the two men behind Khong Guan - Chew Choo Keng and Chew Choo Han - have built an empire that stretches across Asia to Europe, the United States and even the Middle East. Tea time in Singapore is perhaps incomplete without the Khong Guan cream cracker.

The entire range of Khong Guan favourites like lemon puffs and sultana biscuits is available at all leading supermarkets.

5. Heard of Crocodile Oil?

Most of us seek the refuge of creams and other beauty products to treat skin problems. These products contain artificial ingredients that could cause further harm. Why not try a natural method instead?

Chop Wah On has been selling medicated oils for a century now. The brand has established itself as the foremost expert in medicated oils and balms. Without the need for much marketing efforts, their customer base grow as the effectiveness of their products spread by word of mouth. 

Their crocodile oil is a unique and effective treatment for everyday skin issues, especially eczema. Sourced from farmed crocodiles, the oil is extracted from certain fatty tissues that possess healing properties when applied on the skin.  

Other popular products include the Eucalypthol Balm which can be used to ease stiffness in skeletal joints such as the knee, wrist, and neck. The Nutmeg Cream is also one of the more popular product which many tourists purchase home. 

Get your very own Singaporean skin treatment from Chop Wah On located at 34 Upper Cross Street, Singapore 058340.

6. A Tale of Two Brothers

The heritage of the Haw Par brand is a story built around two brothers – Aw Boon-Haw and Boon-Par. The former was the skilled communicator with acute business acumen while the latter was the quiet, industrious type. Together they built a corporate legacy that is a Singapore success story. 

Today, the corporate empire has diversified into other lucrative vertical such as leisure, real estate, and trading stocks but most associate the brand with their signature product, the Tiger Balm. For close to a century, the balm has provided relief from aches, pains, and even blocked noses and sore throats. 

Tiger Balm is today a globally renowned analgesic and a signature Singaporean remedy that has spread around the world. The range of balms can be purchased at the numerous Watsons and Guardian stores in the island.      

7. Sound Is Creative

Back in 1989, everyone thought that PCs would be relevant only to coders and geeks. Everyone, except Creative. 

One of the first to successfully predict that PC users would want more from their computers, Creative engineered a popular range of sound cards and speakers that has led to an audio revolution. Sound Blaster is their trademark and can be found on a variety of products that include headphones and handheld media devices.     

Sound has probably never sounded as sweet as when it streams out of a Creative product.  The crisp and clear sound has definitely drawn audiophiles in Singapore and around Asia towards the brand. 

Step into a Creative store and check out the best sound technology available in the island nation.

8. Good Design At Your Fingertips 

Just a sprinkle of good design can enliven a mood. It could be a creative coffee mug, a t-shirt, or an accessory. Naiise, a play on word 'Nice', is one of the top online retailers in Singapore for everything design. The brand is very much a millennial one, tapping into the immense potential of the internet to showcase the very best of design talent. 

The Singaporean brand has played its part in developing signature names such as Meykrs, LOVE SG, Little Red Box. Log onto their website and you will find a unique range of design collectibles, including food-themed and eye-catching lapel pins. The online store began as a platform for local designers and has now grown into a showcase for close to 900 emerging brands, both Singaporean and global.    

What began as a millennial online retail store has now mushroomed into brick and mortar stores located in premier destinations across the island nation. Drop in at Suntec, Orchard Gateway, Westgate or Clarke Quay Central to shop for some truly unique and truly Singaporean designs.

9. A Tale of Exquisite Style 

When Kwan Peng Seng began crafting luxury crocodile leather products for women, he probably did not realize that they would go on and leave a trailblazing path in luxury and style. The KWANPEN brand took roots in Singapore in 1938. Today KWANPEN is a brand associated with prestige and exquisite craftsmanship with boutiques located in London and other parts of the world.

Their handbags and clutches, especially the Raffles collection, are sought after not only in Singapore, but in other premier cities as well - Bangkok, Seoul, and Hong Kong. Each handbag is handcrafted from the finest crocodile and exotic leather, making it the ultimate style statement. Wear it around your arms, or hold it in your palms, and you are sure to get the looks going your way.    

Each Raffles handbag can take up to 30 hours to craft and create. Each accessory carries a unique style statement that cannot be found in factory-generated pieces. 

You can get your very own Raffles handbag from stores at Marina Bay Sands and ION Orchard. 

10. An Eternal Gift