Monday, April 05, 2010

Top 10 Cities To Do Business & Play In Asia

Having visited a good no. of cities in Asia, here's my very own top 10 cities To Do Business & Play:

10. Penang, Malaysia
Island life meets city life and history, culture, nature.. well, yes, Penang, just like its country, Malaysia, surely seem to have it all. The city is somewhat laidback and has a good mix of old & new, making time pass in this city not too hurriedly.

And besides the city, what attracts me is northern of the island where lies the Batu Feringghi beach. Though Penang's beach may not be the best in the region, but this city can be proud of itself for how many cities have a beach - not to mention, with white sand too?

And oh yeah, the food. Need I say more?

9. Bali, Indonesia
It may seem odd for some business people to actually live here and not in the capital city, Jakarta.

But well, life is much healthier here especially if u like much more space & lots more greens. The people here are friendly (quite comparable to the Thais), and one can get many talented locals who actually speak decent English.

Business wise - it's good to do those that target the tourists market or those having to do with lifestyle. There is already a ever-ready tourist market here, and the Bali brand is quite well known in the region for their products & services (eg spa).

Entertainment & relaxation- you most likely cant get enough of it. The island is big enough to explore and many establishments & natural wonders to enjoy the evenings & weekends. Life here is pretty relaxing too - think out of Kuta beach.

8. Seoul, South Korea
My experience with Seoul is just ok. Mainly because they don't really speak much English so its a bit hard to communicate with the Koreans.

But then again, Seoul has made its mark in Asia's entertainment world and should be something those in the media business should consider. Their working standards are near the Japanese (though I think not there yet - sorry!), so is something one can learn from as well.

Btw just like most other cities in Asia, Seoul has many different faces - depending on which type u'd like to explore. And its located quite strategically in northern Asia!

7. Beijing, China
Mega. That's one word to describe Beijing. With nearly 20 million people living in the city itself, Beijing is a definitely a good place to consider for business. And of course, being a city in China is a plus point to enter the big China market.

The city may not be as exciting to its sister city, Shanghai, but the people are waaaayyy friendlier, though somewhat more conservative. Language is not much an issue if one can speak decent Mandarin, at least.

6. Jakarta, Indonesia
Huge city in a large country, there's lots of business opportunities to explore in South East Asia's most populous nation & amongst the top 5 in the world. One can just be a jaguh kampung here and live a happy & rich life.

Talent wise - the people here are generally nice and the business executives speak good English as well. People here are also quite creative - close to that of the Thais & Filipinos.

5. Shanghai, China
The one main reason to go into Shanghai is because that's where all the money is. So what if China has 1 billion people? One need to know where those who can afford to buy your products are.

And stylo & rich Shanghainese do seem to have it & want to flaunt it too.

People here are okay - you don't get those smiling faces on the hustle & bustle streets but then the plus point is that the Business Executives speak good though a bit weird American English.

4. Taipei, Taiwan
The best Chinese city - that's Taipei for me!

It's quite an abuzz city with many things to offer. Life can be fast paced or slow, depending on you yourself.

This is a city to consider for it is currently the hub for the media business (HK what, where?). And besides, Taiwan, is also in many ways a gateway to the Chinese & China market though not directly.

The best part of all & why it is the no 1 Chinese city - the people are quite friendly and polite! (better than all the other mega Chinese cities - Singapore included!).

3. Manila, The Philippines
Many of those who do not know Manila or the Philippines well enough, may disagree with this.

But hear me out. Manila to me is a super friendly place (yes, I emphasis a lot on friendliness!), and the best part - the people here speak English pretty well. And they are quite talented too!

The media industry is huge as well (though it is a pity that its not exported much).

Mall-ing at their mega malls is a good way to relax. And one wanting to go for a holiday over the weekend - well, head over to any of the other islands & beaches.. or if that's too much a trouble, just drive to the nearby hill resorts!

2. PJ (aka Petaling Jaya), Malaysia
Abundance in talent, with people who can speak multiple languages for you to expand to other markets in Asia - well, the best place is definitely Malaysia. And the best city - non other than beloved Pea Jay!

People here speak multiple languages, with most of them knowing how to speak English. You want to go into the HK market - well, they can speeak Canto. China/ Taiwan market - there is those who speak Mando. Indo market - well, they can adapt their Malay language to Bahasa Indo!

Life here is somewhat more chillax compared to sister city, Kay El. It enjoys a little bit slower pace of life, though interestingly things do get done still.

Food is generously good. And despite the increasing traffic jam & occasional flood, PJ is still a very live-able city.. a good mix of residential & work. And over the years, PJ is getting much more fun with more places to hangout after office hours. But if that's not enough, just take a short drive to sister city Kay El!

1. Bangkok, Thailand
Ah.. the Land of Smiles & the City of Angels. What can go wrong here? To me, nearly nothing.. maybe except that not all Thais can understand English. But then again - understand or not, they will still get things done your way!

Thais are very creative too - their designs are unique.. and so are their business ideas. Nearly everything can be a business - just like turning the truck into a bar, selling 'branded' ice tea by pushcarts and opening a full booth just to sell pens at the BTS stations!

But most of all, it's the people that matters most & that is where Thailand scores! The Thais do make sure that every small detail is taken care of.. and with the ever smiling faces to come with that (don't it just melt your heart?).

But if that's Thais in general, then what about Bangkok? Well, this mega city has so many things to explore & do that one can never get enough. Every area in Bangkok is like a place to explore by itself, even if it means a few BTS stops away!

Bangkok maybe a bit hot & humid, but covered shades are aplenty and transportation is readily available - there's always the trains, the clean taxis or the extra efficient tuk tuks.. and I think they rank 1 in transportation here in S.E.A!

With all these good points, yes, Bang-kok, you truly deserve to be no. 1!

Well, there you have it. My top ten list for Asia. The only cities I didn't get to review would be the cities in Japan.. which I believe will be in the top 10, without doubt, once I've visited them.

Next up - Why some cities didn't make it into my top 10 list!



  1. I don't think Bangkok can be listed as one of the top places right now. More so after their political problems. :D

  2. Play in Penang maybe, but business? Hmm..

  3. yeah bangkok bang-kok!!! even with the unstable political problems... i will still love to go there... such a nice city :) and manila is good as well... erm i think KL/PJ has to be improved in order to compete with jakarta,manila,bangkok,taipei,ho chi minh, etc!!! yeah beijing is nice!! the transportation system there is even better than malaysia!!!!!

  4. Hey I also notice Balinese people are very friendly like the Thais. And yes, the locals told me that they prefer Bali than Jakarta as they earn more in Bali!

    I feel like going Philippines! Must go there one of these days!

    And of course I love Bangkok! Hope the political situation there get resolved quickly!


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