Asian celebrity investors are bringing star quotient to startup investing.
Asia represents a thriving, diverse entertainment ecosystem. From K-pop and Bollywood, to live sports, esports, and gaming, entertainment in the region has grabbed eyeballs across the world.
Entertainment in Asia has branched out past national borders, despite much of it being focused heavily for a regional audience.
Globally, viewers are beginning to look at entertainment industries beyond what their local entertainment sector is serving up. The rising tide of the Korean Wave, Bollywood’s box office success overseas, and anime’s worldwide acclaim only serves to reinforce this “glocal” trend.
Several Asian celebrities have subsequently entered the global limelight, but not just for their entertainment prowess. Many have ventured into the field of investments as Asian celebrity investors, putting their wealth to use through startups and industrial trends across the region.
Here are five such Asian celebrity investors, and where they chose to place their bets.
Manny Pacquiao (The Philippines)
This star professional boxer from the Philippines has made sweeping moves in the investments space. Pacquiao has made investments across property, hospitality, FMCG, and tech. He also has a partnership with Founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, to build ecommerce and logistics hubs in the Philippines.
His startup investments include Canadian clean tech company Waterotor Energy Technologies, Singaporean sports media company ONE Championship, and Filipino car rental platform Graventure.
Deepika Padukone (India)
Widely recognized Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has a slew of investments in her portfolio. The actor turned investor after she set up her family office KA Enterprises in 2017. The office is led by former investment banker Nitin Kanchan.
KA Enterprises’ popular investments include furniture rental platform Furlenco, spacetech startup Bellatrix Aerospace, and parent company of Epigamia, Drums Food International.
Hu Haiquan (China)
Chinese singer Hu Haiquan, of the famed Yu Quan duo, has taken steps into the investing space. In 2013, he participated in a seed round for an undisclosed amount for Chinese consumer tech startup Tomoon.
The investment in Tomoon was one of about 50 investments made by his venture capital fund Haiquan Fund. Set up in 2013, the fund manages investments worth about US$200 million, according to a 2017 report. Some of its areas of investment include technology, telecom and media, healthcare, and AI. It also provides incubator services for startups seeking support with marketing, branding, and upgrading.
Jay Chou (Taiwan)
Taiwanese singer-songwriter Jay Chou has a number of investments under his belt. One of his earliest investments includes an undisclosed amount in Taiwanese group messaging app 31SMS.
The pop star also invested in a League of Legends team — he bought Taipei Assassins (TPA) and rebranded them as J Gaming. His other forays in esports include an announcement with Alibaba Founder Ma to host esports events, including a major tournament, in China. He also invested RMB18 million in partnership with venture firm IDG Capital in an esports stadium in Futian District, China.
Abhishek Bachchan (India)
Sports is a favorite investment space for this Indian actor-turned-investor. In 2014, Bachchan announced that he would be setting up a separate firm to handle his investments in sports entrepreneurship, which include two teams in professional league sports within India.
He also co-invested in Singapore startup Meridian Tech. The company’s crypto lending platform Ziddu was acquired by LongFin Corp, driving the value of their stake up by 7500%.
These Asian celebrity investors are joined by many of their peers who are looking to be more enterprising with their investments.
As they accumulate wealth and grow their social reach through their profession, their ability to provide value as investors only increases from a branding perspective. For celebrities that possess an investor’s acumen, this turns into a win–win as the likes of Ashton Kutcher and Ryan Reynolds have demonstrated. Clearly, star power is worth a handful even outside the entertainment space.
Header image by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash