Where is the Support from Brands During this
Dark Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year is undoubtedly one of the most significant cultural festivals among Asian Americans. But this year’s community celebration that is traditionally accompanied with cheer and joy, is now filled with frustration, fear, and anger.

In Chinatowns and other Asian-populated neighborhoods across the nation, many local small businesses have lost 50% to 70% of revenue since the onset of the pandemic and subsequent rise of xenophobia. Improvement and recovery measures have moved at achingly slow paces. To add to the pain felt by economic decline, anti-Asian racism has intensified. In less than a month, a series of astonishing anti-Asian hate crimes happened across the country, targeting our most vulnerable. Surveillance footage caught a 91-year-old Asian man brutally shoved to the concrete sidewalk in Oakland, CA. Noel Quintana, a 61-year-old Filipino man had his face slashed ear to ear in a NYC subway. A 52-year-old Asian woman was attacked outside a busy subway station in Flushing, Queens. She received multiple stitches on her head. Her assault was one of three separate and unrelated attacks targeting Asian women on NYC’s subway system in a single day. This list goes on. 

Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Asian man was murdered in San Francisco. 

The violence didn’t happen overnight. Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Americans have been scapegoated for spreading the coronavirus, perpetuated by hate-filled rhetoric like “China-Virus” and “Kung-Flu”. The Asian American community quickly became targets. At least 3,000 anti-Asian incidents have been reported since last February 2020 in the U.S. In NYC alone, there was a shocking 867% increase of anti-Asian hate crime in 2020 compared to 2019. But, for the most part, these incidents went unnoticed by mainstream media.   

It was the Asian American community itself that broke the silence. Outraged by the violent attacks against Asian seniors, Asian American celebrities Daniel Wu and Daniel Dae Kim, influencers like fashion designer Phillip Lim, and Instagram’s director of fashion Eva Chen, took to social media to call for action against hate crimes. A community-led volunteer group was quickly formed after a string of attacks in Oakland, CA, to escort Asian seniors. A group of Asian American chefs and restaurant owners in NYC teamed up to donate meals during Lunar New Year and raise awareness about anti-Asian hate crime through online fundraising campaigns. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Asian American creative community has been committed to driving awareness of anti-Asian racism. Influencer platform ISA transformed its annual concert to Identity with Unity, an online fundraising event. Racism Is Contagious, a heat map of anti-Asian hate crime, was launched through the collaboration between advertising agency ADMERASIA, media platform NextShark, non-profit organization Act to Change and other community groups. Asian rapper group Year of the Ox rolled out songs, such as Viral, to raise public awareness. 

During this unprecedented struggle, while the Asian community has rallied to help, the corporate world has been largely muted. So far, only a handful of brands have shown support. Hennessy, among the first to take action, made a statement condemning the recent hate crimes and donated $250,000 as part of its Lunar New Year virtual celebration to Unfinished Business, the brand’s initiative that provides immediate relief and long-term support to minority-owned businesses. They also made a donation to Hate Is A Virus, a nonprofit community of mobilizers and amplifiers that exists to dismantle racism and hate. Other like Nike and ESPN have also responded through social posts with the hashtag #StopAsianHate.

Corporate brands, with power and influence, wield a pendulum of clout. When a minority group faces brutal attacks and racism, the responsibility of raising public awareness and demanding social justice by brands is critical. It’s the difference between being heard and being silenced. It isn’t only industry peers that insist upon active allyship from brands. 60% of Americans say that how a brand responds to racial injustice will influence whether they buy (or boycott) the brand. Millennials and Gen Z, the most racially diverse generations in American history, have high expectations for their brands, far exceeding those of generations before.

From fashion and music to education and finance, the Asian American community has been an intrical part of the U.S. economy, art and entertainment. We have been your customers. We have been your creators. We have been your advocates. Now, we ask for your support. Stand up for the Asian American community. 

It’s time, let’s talk.

Jeff Lin

Working to Heal Communities: ADMERASIA & NextShark Connect Businesses to Donators & Volunteers

COVID-19’s impact across the nation has laid bare the cracks in every system; from healthcare and education to law enforcement and small-business.

In March of 2020, the sudden escalation of xenophobic racial targeting prompted ADMERASIA to collaborate with organizations and businesses nationwide to start Racismiscontagious.com, a tool designed to aggregate & visualize & address the rise in incidents of hate perpetuated against Asian Americans.

Now, Asian Americans and their fellow BIPOC community members, are facing another round of hardship. Businesses damaged during fallout of nationwide protests have left many families, already struggling, with staggering losses to their finances.

ADMERASIA & NextShark (a partner on the Racism is Contagious website) have teamed up again, developing an interactive mapping system designed to intake data from fundraising campaigns for negatively-impacted small businesses.

The map gathers data from fundraisers and local organizations whose goals are to support businesses, including those added to NextShark’s business donation list. In order to better visualize the small businesses affected, ADMERASIA included tabs to find which states and cities the businesses belong to. There is also a tab to direct those looking to donate or volunteer at a BIPOC business in need of help.

If you are a colleague in the marketing and advertising industry who wishes to use their power to extend the reach of this initiative, or a business that is looking to connect with its community, please reach out to us. The country is in need of healing, and it’s all hands on deck.

For more information, contact:

XiaoHwa Sydney Ng

Digital Strategist&
Word Enthusiast

Asian Americans Unite Against Hate with Racism is Contagious


As the COVID-19 virus spreads, Asian Americans have experienced an increase in verbal and physical assaults. Racism is Contagious, a platform that aims to centralize, unify and visualize data associated with the rise of hate and violence targeting against Asian Americans, launched on April 6th. Formed by organizations and companies across the nation, its mission is to create a publicly accessible resource to combat the rise of hate crimes and aggressions towards the Asian American community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In doing so, our ultimate ambition is to build out a real-time data and analysis community tool that can help identify flare-up zones that will encourage more direct action from law enforcement through this publicly accessible resource. We want people to feel seen, feel safe and see change happen.” – Jeff Lin, CEO ADMERA&IA.

Joining with ADMERA&IA in this mission are media platform NextShark, social movement #HATEISAVIRUS, digital collective International Secret Agents, and a number of other entities; building a singular, united voice.

Racism is Contagious hosts a data analysis dashboard that generates real-time statistics utilizing the same backend technology used to track the global spread of COVID-19. The platform is bilingual, hosted in English and Chinese. Additional languages will be added.

“If you, or a loved one, has experienced an act of racism or bigotry we encourage you to come forward. Your privacy will be respected and we want you to know, you are not alone.” – Tammy Cho, #HATEISAVIRUS

“With the sharp rise of racism and discrimination toward Asian Americans in the last few weeks, we feel that it is important to help document these incidents with the hope of advancing causes within our community. I’m honored to be working alongside some incredible leaders.” – Benny Luo, NextShark

www.racismiscontagious.com will be aggregating through media partners and researchers. The site also encourages individuals to submit their incident reports through the Stop AAPI Hate form, hosted by A3PCON and Chinese for Affirmative Action.

“It is the most robust source of data active in the space, and we want to support, not detract from the ongoing efforts of Professor [Russell] Jeung and their team,” – Max Davidson, CIO ADMERA&SIA 

The platform is also forming new coalitions that will help push the campaign further, adding educational and informative resources for victims. If interested in connecting, please contact info@racismiscontagious.com.



The world is facing an unprecedented and challenging time. And while our heroic healthcare and essential workers are doing their part to fight the pandemic, many of us are preparing for the battle beyond. What does the future hold for business? ADMERA&IA remains committed to helping brands navigate through the difficult situation by providing insightful and thoroughly researched intelligence.

ADMERA&IA has launched an ongoing research series, ADMERA&IA COVID-19 MONITOR, to help brands track shifts in consumer attitudes and demands during the pandemic in order to aid a successful revival.

Released on April 26th, Life After COVID-19 is the series’ first report, featuring findings from a proprietary online survey that examined Americans’ sentiments during the lockdown and their vision of life after.

Want to know what folks are doing at home while practicing social distancing? Want to get into their thought process? Will they shop? Will they not? Will they travel? Will they not?

The report zooms into working professional groups in some of the biggest metropolitan areas in the U.S. that have been hardest hit by COVID-19, and highlighted nuanced findings of Asian Americans.

Here’s a sneak peek:

In the after-pandemic life,
71% will travel for vacation.
48% will prefer contactless payment.
46% will buy smart health-monitoring devices.
61% will be interested in trying 5G. For Asian Americans, this figure goes up to 70%.
32% will consider buying life insurance. For Asian Americans, this figure goes up to 39%.

Download our report to access the full details. Follow us on our social media channels to get the latest updates.

ADMERASIA’s Yashica Dutt, Author of Coming Out Dalit, Comes Home

Yashica Dutt, ADMERASIA’s Associate Creative Director, is back from her book tour! Dutt published her groundbreaking book, Coming Out Dalit, a non-fiction memoir about caste and its systemic impact on India and Indian communities across the globe, in 2019. Since then, her contribution to civil rights continues to grow.

Dutt on the Jaipur Lit Fest panel


After weeks abroad in India and various U.S. cities, Dutt returned to us with many stories to tell.

In India, Dutt attended the Jaipur Literary Festival, one of the world’s largest lit fest, and the Kolkata Literary Meet. Dutt was featured on numerous panels at both events.

Dutt at the Kolkata Lit Meet

The Harvard India Conference on a panel on Caste and Media

The tour continued to various cities including Mumbai and Delhi. Dutt had the pleasure of speaking to several students at colleges and universities.


Back in the U.S., Dutt attended a panel on Caste and Media at the Harvard India Conference, and another one the same day at MIT.

“It’s been rewarding, eye opening and in many ways one of the most defining experiences of my life,” says Dutt.

We are proud to have Yashica Dutt on our team.

Are American Brands Prepared for the Coronavirus Pandemic? Lessons in China Offer Tips

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading around the world and threatening the global economy. By February 26th, there have been 59 confirmed cases In the U.S. and the number is expected to increase sharply. “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when,” warned CDC officials, speaking to the pressing urgency of the situation.

For American corporate brands, it is critically important to react quickly and prepare solutions in coping with a potentially unprecedented scale of panic and business shutting down. During times of crisis like this, it’s the responsibility of brands to demonstrate solidarity and support towards the public while adjusting business strategy to survive.

How global and local brands in China have been adopting provide us inspiration and ideas.

As the center of the outbreak, China is the first to practice large scale city lockdown, and businesses, especially retail industries, have been severely impacted. In crisis management mode, brands are swiftly developing campaigns and cross-channel integrations to reassure their audiences and provide convenient shopping options much needed in the self-quarantine life.

Show Support and Sympathy

Since the last week of January, hundreds of millions of Chinese have been staying at home and waiting, with both patience and anxiety, for the “tipping point” to come. The outbreak has pressed a “pause and reflect” button for Chinese. While news headlines focus on the virus development, posts about keeping faith, self-reflection and eco-consciousness have skyrocketed on Weibo and WeChat, the two largest social media platforms in China.

Addressing this crowd sentiment, a breadth of brands have rolled out campaigns, with their brand DNA, product or service integrated,  to express support and sympathy and take actions to help fight the virus.

Photo credit: Louis Vuitton, Nissan, McDonald’s, Lego

Louis Vuitton put up a post on its official WeChat account “Every paused journey will eventually resume. Louis Vuitton wishes you and your loved ones safe and healthy.” It is a simple yet heart-warming, aspirational message, and true to the brand’s tonality and its roots as a fine travel luggage producer. 

There are also interesting cases on highlighting product features that fit practical purpose in this particular situation. Nissan featured its Motion-activated Liftgate with a headline “Zero Touch, Better Care” to address the public anxiety over virus transmission and contextualize the brand’s human-centered technology into a highly relevant real-life scenario. 

Besides financial donations, lots of brands are tailoring their business offerings to help the community. McDonald’s, for example, has deployed a special task force team that “Sends a little warmth to everyone” and delivered over 50,000 free meals to doctors and nurses on the front lines.

There is a strong sense of helping each other among the public too. LEGO recently posted a children education illustration series that uses LEGO pieces and characters to tell the story about the virus prevention. It was created by a LEGO employee during her quarantine time at home and has gone viral online.

Offer Convenient Shopping Experience through Cross-channel Integration

Retail businesses in China, including shopping malls, theaters, restaurants, car dealers, parks, museums, etc., either have to significantly shorten their operating hours or completely close down during the quarantine. Meanwhile, even though people are mostly stuck at home, there is still desire for shopping, and the desire actually grows stronger after weeks of remaining indoors. 

So many have turned their attention to online. Online shopping has become a way to fight boredom and keep up the spirit, and demand for some particular categories like health and wellness, entertainment, video gaming and beauty products are increasing. 

The situation has urged brands to integrate retail business with virtual online experience to enable consumer connection and generate sales. Thanks to the well-developed social commerce ecosystem in China, people can now enjoy VR shopping and make purchases easily with WeChat Pay or Alipay, the two dominant mobile payment systems in the country. 

Photo credit: Mixc Shanghai

Mixc, a high-end shopping mall in Shanghai, developed a VR mini program on WeChat that allows people to browse products from individual shops and counters inside the mall; from skincare and jewelry to grocery and baby care, and make instant purchases. This outbreak has, in a way, accelerated the development process of the concept “New Retail” in China as an increasing number of brands integrate offline and online businesses to create omni-channel experiences for consumers.

Interestingly, even big-ticket items like auto and real estate are jumping onto the bandwagon. 

Photo credit: BMW, Evergrande Real Estate Group

BMW’s official WeChat account has recently launched a mini program that allows people to take video tours of the cars they like and chat with sales representatives in their preferred dealer locations while browsing the dealer’s inventory in real time. This well-received novel experience has the potential to revolutionize the car selling model as over 50% of Chinese car buyers think online car shopping helps them save time and cost, according to a recent survey pulled by Dataway, a Chinese research firm. 

Evergrande Real Estate Group, China’s second-largest property developer by sales, launched an unprecedented online sales campaign on February 13th. Through VR experience, people can have a view on practically everything in the property – outdoor garden, building façade, model unit, amenities and sales office. Within only three days, the company had sold over 47,000 units nationwide with a total of $8.2 billion sales.  

Cross-channel integration and enrichment of online shopping experiences clearly help revitalize businesses in China during this tough time, and many business executives have recognized that this shift is not simply a response to the virus outbreak, but a long-term strategic implementation. 

Now, the tables turn to business in America. Brands can learn from the experiences of their Chinese counterparts and adjust to the new realities. We are a global community, and in the midst of this pandemic, we as members of that community should be building bridges and learning from one another to see us out safely on the other side – together.

Written by Selina Guo
Planning Director


ADMERASIA Starts a [R]Evolution

ADMERASIA Starts a [R]Evolution



ev·o·lu·tion/ˌevəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/ noun
2. the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.

And over our 25-year history, ADMERASIA has done a lot of evolving… we’re not afraid to change, in fact we embrace it. But, sometimes the demands of our market, our cultures, and the stories that we represent call for something more dramatic than slow, gradual change. They call for a radical disruption… even in the way that we look at ourselves & what we do.


& that’s why we chose our 25th Birthday party as the time to announce [R]Evolution, a new program designed to provide opportunities, mentorship & funding for new & emerging talents working in creative fields and help further the dialogue within the communities in which we operate.

[R]Evolution will include grants for creative initiatives, spotlight content, curate a program of events throughout the year featuring a diverse roster of incredible talent & even more surprises.

“We believe these voices are paving the way of the future, setting the foundation of how the world will turn. Investing in these individuals is not only good for the community, it’s also paramount to our own identity as passionate creators in the multicultural division.” – CEO Jeff Lin.

And as far as the 25th Birthday party itself?

We had startling performances by Yut, the EDM/DJ Violinist, Ruby Ibarra, Filipina hip-hop/rap artist extraordinaire and Year of the Ox, the rapping Korean-American duo. These artists are an inspiration. They are paving the way for Asian representation in ways we haven’t seen.

ADMERASIA is an &agency. We do more than ad, we connect; offering brand craft for an emerging Asia to the U.S. general market or Fortune 100 companies to the Asian community. Whether it be Asians, Americans or Asian Americans, we lay the foundation for our stories.

So be sure to enter your email at the bottom of this page for new updates on the program & for exclusive invitations to our happenings (we always reserve a few slots for our fans.)

Optimistic and Creative:
5 Ways Brands Celebrate Lunar New Year Despite Coronavirus Scare

When you start to see a spate of brands promoting their limited-edition products or ads with the festive red color in January, you know it is time to say Happy New Year again. Lunar New Year has become one of the most important moments for brands to engage Asian consumers around the globe, including millions in the U.S. It is not just an auspicious holiday deep rooted in tradition, it is also an occasion to spend. 

2020 LNY promotions from Burberry, Bvlgari, Nars and Cle de Peau Beaute.

2020, the Year of the Rat, is a special one. It is the beginning of a new decade and marks the start of the 12-year Zodiac cycle. However, the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus just a few days prior to the festival has largely changed this year’s celebration scene in China. Retail, restaurants, theaters and theme parks successively closed down, and tourism plummeted. In response to the circumstances, many brands, from global luxury group LVMH and beauty group L’Oréal to local e-commerce giant Alibaba, have made generous donations to help China fight the virus. 

Despite the majority of the population in China under self-quarantine at home, the New Year’s spirit continues – people are finding creative ways to stay occupied and fight the boredom. Similarly in the U.S., while Asian Americans are precautious against the virus situation and moving away from dragon dance parade and gatherings, the celebrations are turning to online shopping and gifting red envelopes money over WeChat (微信红包), the most popular social platform among Chinese. 

Echoing the spirit and demand, brands are not shunning away from their existing LNY promotions. This year’s beginning has been tough – we all need a bit more cheer and good luck than usual, don’t we? Here are the 5 ways that brands have adopted their 2020 LNY campaigns.

#1 Carnival of the world’s most famous rats

Rat or mouse, cheer up! Time to flourish and shine! 

Mickey apparently has been very busy juggling between many brand collaborations. He appears in GUCCI’s capsule collection where he plays with colorful waterfowl in a traditional Chinese painting; his joyful face is on the bottle of SK-II’s signature toner. As a lovely couple, Mickey and Minnie, in all-red outfit, become cute charms of fashion jeweler Pandora’s LNY collection. 

Jerry is catching up too. The cute character is featured in limited-edition bags and accessories from popular affordable luxury brands Kate Spade and ETRO.

Even New York’s Pizza Rat gets its own spotlight. Rag & Bone pays tribute to the rat’s optimism – no slice is too big to carry & no dream is too big to achieve! Exactly the optimism we all need for this new year.

For many other brands, from luxury jewelry and watchmaker PIAGET and Harry Winston to Scotch whisky Johnny Walker and winter staple UGG, interpretation of rat comes in different sizes and shapes.

#2 Fun interpretation of tradition

Nike’s first global LNY commercial has been a massive hit this year and is widely praised for putting a witty twist on the LNY red envelope gifting money tradition (给红包). The commercial showcases a chase between a girl and her aunt over multiple years as the girl refuses to accept her aunt’s red envelope. Of course, running away from auntie is not easy, and a pair of good shoes helps! “Hold nothing back this New Year”, Nike has certainly captured the playful yet audacious mindset of the new generation.

Be sure to watch the commercial till the end. 


#3 Tech x Style

Tech-savvy and style-minded, Asian Americans seek novel and exclusive product experiences. 

That’s why this year’s Adidas LNY edition has generated enormous buzz even before it hits the shelf in February in the U.S. The “Mickey Mouse Stan Smith” shoe design arrives in 3D comic strip graphics and you can only see the illustrations come to life with a pair of 3D glasses!

To make hearables more fun, Apple rolls out a service that allows consumers to engrave an emoji on their AirPods case. The emoji set includes all the Zodiac animals and a couple of fun options like the alien and poop. If this is not celebratory enough, LOUIS VUITTON has red-and-gold LNY collection earphones priced over $1000.


#4 Videos on Instagram and WeChat

Asian American Millennials and Gen Z are social savvy and bi-cultural. Social platforms have become a critical channel for brands to reach out to them, and we see brands have evolved from posting a single still greeting image to creating dynamic short videos, primarily animations, to enable longer and deeper connections with the audience. 

Some good examples from Instagram: Animations from Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. feature a nimble rat giving gifts to his loved one; Italian luxury brand Valextra debuts an illustration of a gentleman-like mouse magician; In an elaborate animation inspired by the Chinese paper cutting, Mercedes Benz cars joins the festive celebrations with Chinese families.

On WeChat, the most popular social app among Chinese Americans, brands are pushing customized LNY ads to laser focus on the fast-growing Chinese American segment. TD Ameritrade pushes its animated greetings through its official WeChat account to showcase their understanding towards the group’s cultural interests.

#5 Influencer crossover

Influencers play a hugely important role in shaping Asian Millennials and Gen Z’s shopping decisions and brands certainly have taken note.

Mr. Bags, a highly popular Chinese fashion blogger, continues his collaboration with French fashion house Longchamp and launches a collection of handbags that feature a bright yellow cheese pattern – a humorous approach to hint the Year of the Rat. Hit shoewear brand Vans launches a limited-edition line in collaboration with young Chinese artist Zhao Zhao. 

Similarly, prestigious cognac brand Hennessy taps into renowned Chinese American artist Zhang Huan and releases a LNY collection with the packaging inspired by the contemporary artist’s work “Eaux-de-vie”. 


This is only the beginning. Brands need to do more, and do it right. 

While an increasing number of brands are aware of the significance and cultural context of the Lunar New Year, there are still brands that either totally overlook this opportunity or do it wrong by rolling out campaigns that are irrelevant or formalistic. Lululemon, for example, simply puts up bland images with uninspiring cultural elements on its website. Guess the response from Asian peers for this move? Yikes. You need to do better!

Asian American spending doesn’t stop after Lunar New Year. Chinese Valentine’s Day, Singles’ Day, Moon Festival and Diwali…you name it. Some of these Asian holidays have already become a global phenomenon – Singles’ Day, the online shopping spree on November 11th, generated $38 billion in 2019, with more than 200,000 brands from 78 countries including the U.S. The figure is double the combined sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and garnered within only 24 hours. 

Realizing the opportunities, some brands have gone ahead and developed a full calendar of targeted campaign activities to engage this affluent and influential consumer group, and they are the ones that will win the hearts, minds and wallets of this market. 

Do you want your brand to lag behind? Drop us a note if your answer is no. 

We wish you a healthy and prosperous Year of the Rat!  

Written by Selina Guo
Planning Director

The ADMERASIA Ultimate Holiday Shopping Guide 2019

Tis the season to be spending. But for today’s tech savvy shopper and trendsetter, Amazon can be (let’s face it) a BORE. Sure, the behemoth of online shopping can offer you everything from Yodeling Pickles to pillows featuring the face of Nicholas Cage, but oftentimes it’s a shot in the dark for a good product. Am I right?

There is an extraordinary pool of Asian and Asian American brands and platforms out there, capturing the hearts (and wallets) of shoppers everywhere. These guys aren’t “fringe”. They’re the new mainstream. Don’t be left behind with grandpa’s favorite brands and expand your shopping repertoire.

Here’s ADMERASIA’S Ultimate Holiday Shopping Guide WITHOUT Amazon. From bespoke jewelry to doing-good toys, there’s something for even the pickiest of gift receivers. We’ve split this guide into two sections, platforms and brands, helping you answer “where to shop” and “what to buy” this holiday season for your loved ones (and yourself).


Say Yes to YesStyle.com. This site is home to amazing, high-end, beauty and fashion brands from Japan, Taiwan and Korea. And for great discounted prices. Don’t forget to follow their Coupon IG account as well!

Discounts, discounts and discounts. Masksheets.com has the best offerings for skincare and beauty, including $1 facial mask sales. That’s right, you heard me! ONE DOLLAR!

Yamibuy calls itself the one-stop-shop for Asian brands and we certainly can’t complain. Beyond fashion and beauty, you can also peruse food, home décor and children departments. Matcha Kit Kats and pastel pink rice cookers? Done and done.

Interested in something with Southern roots? I’m talking Desi. Roti? Samosas? Chai? Making myself hungry. Check out DesiBasket.com. Shipping fresh and shelf stable staples of South Asian kitchens to the entire U.S. plus FREE shipping over $25! Good times!


Death Stranding is out!!! After the collapse of civilization, Sam Bridges must journey across a ravaged landscape crawling with otherworldly threats to save mankind from the brink of extinction. From legendary game creator Hideo Kojima comes an all-new, genre-defying experience for the PlayStation®4 system.

Who cares about Tiffany’s when there are some skilled bespoke craftsmanship going on out there. Virani Jewelers offers exquisite bangles, necklaces, rings and more fine accessories.

Michelle Phan took the world by storm when she became a leading beauty influencer. But now her attention is on the market. Featured on Elle and The Cut, EM Cosmetics are a must. We love their Magic Hour Lip Crème.

Something for the tots? Try Modi Toys. These unique and cute gifts are perfect for the young and young at heart. Baby Hanuman, Baby Ganesh?! Our hearts are melting! And the best part is you’re supporting a business that supports children foundations and charities.

Ok, we couldn’t decide what we wanted to talk about more – Live Tinted, who offer every shade for every person, or influencer icon Nabela Noor’s X.O. line of products at e.l.f. So we went with both. The more the merrier!

Ok, something for the guys as well as the gals. (Not ignoring that men’s makeup is on the rise.) Korean brand BESLOW offers the latest chic and clean looks for everyone. And there will be sales. We promise.

And finally, the oldie but goodie Muji. The shop that sucks us in for hours and hours. Stationary, home décor, minimalist fashion all at very reasonable prices. Still delivering on quality after all these years. Yes!

We hope you not only enjoyed our holiday guide, but also discovered something special this year. Asia and Asian Americans are producing fine quality products, changing the landscape of how we buy and paving the way for new voices. Support the movement by buying from these brands or from your local purveyor.

(And Amazon can suck it.)

Written by XiaoHwa Sydney Ng
Digital Strategist&
Maker Bake

Top Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Diving Deeper into eSports: Why Do People Play Video Games?

Odds are, you’ve probably heard about eSports by now. Video games are becoming as big as traditional sports, and whether you are for or against it, that’s the future that’s coming.

Here are some of the eye-catching statistics you might have seen around:
• Global eSports revenue is projected to hit $1.1 billion in 2019, up 27% since last year.
• Esports will be featured in the 2022 Asian Games.
• The 2018 Olympic Summit encouraged “accelerated cooperation” for eSports implementation for Olympics 2024.
• In July 2019, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf won 3 million dollars for winning first place at the Fortnite World Cup, an invitational tournament for 100 players in New York City, with the whole season’s prize pool being 100 million dollars.
• League of Legends World Championships in 2018 got 100 million unique viewers for the finals, which is only 3 million under the unique viewership numbers from the Super Bowl during the same year.

As a member of the eSports community, I think it’s great that the news is spreading rapidly. That being said, large numbers and big percentages aren’t enough to paint the whole picture. People went from saying “I don’t get eSports” to “Woah! That’s a lot of money. I still don’t get eSports.” People who have negative perceptions of video games still have those perceptions, and if anything, are now just more confused than ever.

So what do most of these eSports articles geared towards educating the general public lack? When it comes to the statistics provided, the data makes it difficult to empathize for the people the stats are trying to represent. When we talk about eSports as this one big entity, we forget that it is made up of hundreds of millions of individuals, each one with their own unique needs, wants, and desires, as any other human being would have. And for eSports fans, they’ve found a way to satisfy those needs, wants, and desires: through video games. It’s easy to get lost in this huge phenomenon with every major company trying to get a slice of the pie, but to truly understand the oil that makes the gears turn in eSports, I believe we have to get micro instead of macro. We have to bring it back to the individual and ask: Why do people like video games? If we answer this, we’ll have a better understanding of why this industry is growing so fast in the first place.

To me, there is no better place to start to show the love for a game than the Fighting Game community (FGC for short). Starting from arcades in the early 1990s, the FGC were doing tournaments the way they’re run now in mainstream eSports way before all the money and fame came in. They would drive across the country just to have their hometown best players fight each other. Being a fighting game player became a lifestyle in itself. Many players didn’t have the income to travel far for tournaments, but would do what they could to get there, whether it be questionably-safe carpools or secretly crashing in each other’s motel rooms.

It becomes pretty apparent that there is more reason to playing video games than money and fame when looking at the FGC. There must be something within these games that makes players feel the need to carry old heavy televisions for miles in horrid weather just to go play a couple of casual matches with someone.

Before I describe what makes these players love their fighting games, I should share what makes me qualified to speak on their behalf. I have been involved in the Super Smash Bros. Melee competitive community for about 6 years, a fighting game which is regarded to have one of the most die-hard grassroots fanbases you can get in eSports. When I mentioned people lugging TVs around, I have been that guy hundreds of times by now. I started the Smash eSports club at Skidmore College, holding weekly tournaments as well as bigger-sized tournaments every semester for 3 years. I am now currently a Tournament Organizer for a prestige Smash Melee tournament series in Chinatown, NY every Wednesday.

Many within the FGC describe fighting games as “high-speed chess”. Others relate it to sports like fencing or boxing (setting aside the physical differences obviously). Your character has a certain set of moves, and so does your opponent, similar to how you as a chess player would have a set of moves connected to all of your pieces. In chess, moves get better or worse relative to the positioning of other pieces on the board. In fighting games, your moves get better or worse relative to where you and your opponent are positioned on the screen, and whether or not your opponent is actionable. This is similar to how a boxer might be committed to throwing a punch out so he isn’t actionable to do anything else at that time, creating the perfect opportunity for the opposing boxer to counter-hit. Fighting games have a similar amount of moves at their disposal compared to chess in any given situation, the speed and pacing of boxing, and the strategic decision making of both combined. Hence, high-speed chess.

Now, let’s take a quick glance over the top 5 eSports right now:



Hearthstone is an online card game by Blizzard Entertainment. Simple rules to understand, Hearthstone lets players get immersed in the gameplay quickly. Card games allow players to be creative and expressive with what cards they want to use for their decks, as well as give you the chance to take your time and think out your strategies. It also brings some randomness into the experience, which leads to crazy once-in-a-million situations that get millions of views on Youtube.





Overwatch is a multiplayer first-person shooter by Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard took the video game genre of first-person shooters and brought it to the next level. They gave it flavor with their personal visual aesthetic, along with adding variety to the different styles of play. Multiplayer first-person shooters in general take top-notch precision, team strategy and good communication, and resource management.




DoTA 2
DoTA 2 is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MoBA) game where two teams of five fight each other. Your goal is to defend your base and destroy your opponents. Between the bases are tons of places where you can interact and get benefits to help you capture your opponent base. Once again, you are given a set of tools and moves at your disposal, but it is up to you and your team to execute the right plan to achieve your goal.








League of Legends
League of Legends is another MoBA, with a deep character roster and thousands of item interactions that you can aim to acquire during the game. With so many characters, it is rare for someone not to find a character that fits their liking. Each game can feel so different, between switching up what position you play, the character, team strategy, as well as the interactions with items you can go for.




Fortnite is a Battle Royale game that is currently the most streamed game. Your goal in-game is to be the last one standing after 100 people enter the battlefield at once. You can build giant buildings, fly planes, shoot down opponents; it’s up to you how you’ll use these options to try and win. The game is easily accessible with access to mobile and caters to all age groups with its vibrant aesthetics and in-depth gameplay. With how crazy the game can get, even Fortnite advertises the game as “Anyone can win!”.



So what do all of these video games have in common? Strategy.
But wait, how is that any different from physical sports? Exactly.
Both are just games with tools given to the players with a structure they need to follow in order to reach a goal.

• The love for the competition
• The thrill of improvement
• The rush of victory
• The sense of community and teamwork

All of this is traditional sports. All of this is also eSports. But then, is there even a difference besides the obvious physical requirements? Well, in regular sports, there are rules. In soccer, I am told not to use my hands, so I don’t use them. I technically could physically pick up the ball with my hands, but I don’t because I make the decision to follow that rule. In video games, there are laws. I literally can’t teleport across the screen because the game itself does not give me the ability to do so. When it comes to gameplay in video games, there are no “rules”, only “laws”.

Don’t get me wrong, we play with laws in physical sports as well. Gravity, our own physical limitations, etc. But in a video game, the possibilities of laws created to make the game are literally limitless. This means, a video game can be created to be more challenging than anything the real world could ever offer. And once created, there are no rules.

This makes video games also about discovery. Every competitor wants to be the one to figure out how far we can push the limitations of the game. Every competitor wants to be the one to pull off a combo never seen before so people name the technique after them. The ceiling for skill feels limitless because it literally is limitless, and it makes you want to gun for the top once you get a taste of victory.

Esports is obviously a booming industry right now. I don’t want people to feel like the world of video games is something that’s completely not relatable and foreign. My hope is, with this article, I can help people see that there is a type of game for anyone who loves competition and strategy to enjoy; that the essence of video games isn’t much different from traditional sports. People understand what eSports is; now it’s time to try and help them understand the why.

Written by
Shane Kuo
UX Designer&
eSports Enthusiast