GOOD

Straight to the Source: The Boba Guys Visit Taiwan

Boba milk tea is still wildly popular in Taiwan, but the country hasn't produced a recognizable brand for the product.

Bin here, reporting back with some observations on the current business landscape in Asia after two weeks in Taiwan, birthplace of boba milk tea.


Though my trip was mostly to report on cycling in Taiwan, along the way I managed to try boba milk tea everywhere I went. It could be found on most street corners and in most restaurants; I even stopped by Chun Shui Tang, the tea shop where boba milk tea was apparently conceived back in 1987.

Boba milk tea is still wildly popular in Taiwan, but the country hasn't produced a recognizable brand for the product. How is it that a region that has such high brand appreciation has produced so few international brands of its own?

Outside of Japan and Korea, there are only a handful of Asian brands that people worldwide will recognize. A major thorn in Asia is the topic of intellectual property protection. It's generally understood that if a brand manages to make it to the big stage, it will be copied shortly thereafter.

Thus, for a very long time, Asian businesses were focused on low cost and less focused on innovation. A prevalent business belief is that branding is a cost, rather than a strategic and long-term investment. Asian companies tend to view branding as a tactical maneuver, rather than as an intrinsic part of a company's identity.

This is all changing though, and very quickly. With China's burgeoning middle class and the massive demand for brand-name goods, all of Asia is starting to take notice. Companies overseas are pouring more money into their marketing budgets, and more emphasis is being put on branding—not only to consumers in their own backyard, but with an eye toward a more global reach.

Another difference: The general startup cost to open a business is relatively low in Asia. Picture a landscape dotted with hundreds of small mom-and-pop shops and restaurants with new ones opening seemingly overnight. In America, we have a lot of government red tape to clear before we ever start: A business has to acquire operating permits, tax filings, insurance, food and handling permits, the list goes on. The Asian system allows for many small companies to flourish, mostly focused on low cost and diverse offerings.

We think Boba Guys falls somewhere in between East and West, and we’ll explain why next week. Stay tuned!

Articles
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

Keep Reading Show less

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health