11 weird Asian business ideas

PHOTO: 11 weird Asian business ideas

When it comes to business, one must think outside the box to get an edge over the rest.

USP, or unique selling point, is a frequent buzzword by marketeers and advertisers alike.

To stand out, one must offer something new. To be a success, catering to people's needs are a must.

Take a look at some business ideas from Asia that definitely fit the bill.

Weird business ideas

  • All 100 seats in the crowded diner are made from toilet bowls, not chairs. Sink faucets and gender-coded "WC" signs appear throughout the three-storey facility, one of 12 in an island-wide chain of eateries with a toilet theme. - Reuters
  • Customers eat from mini plastic toilet bowls. They wipe their hands and mouths using toilet rolls hung above their tables, which may be glass-topped jumbo bathtubs. - Reuters
  • China's foulest fortnight for air pollution in memory has rekindled a tongue-in-cheek campaign by a multimillionaire with a streak of showmanship who is selling canned fresh air. Chen Guangbiao, who made his fortune in the recycling business and is a high-profile philanthropist, earlier in January this year handed out soda pop-sized cans of air, purportedly from far-flung, pristine regions of China such as Xinjiang in the northwest to Taiwan, the southeast coast. - Reuters
  • The A380 airplane themed restaurant has opened its doors in china serving western-style to customers on plastic trays in egg-shaped booths. Waitresses act as flight attendants in the restaurant, which has 6 airplane-themed rooms.
  • Round watermelons aren't exactly convenient to store in refrigerators. So, farmers in the southern Japanese region of Zentsuji decided to grow them in watermelons so glass boxes so they will grow up as squares. These sell from US$150 to US$250 apiece, much more expensive than regular round watermelons.
  • Created by 4 Hong Kongers in 2008, the site allows users to upload funny pictures and videos. By July 2012, it had secured $2.8 million in funding to increase staff and for international expansion.
  • It has spawned a Singaporean version, Sgag, which says it is not related to the original 9gag.
  • Who would have thought that cat poop would make good coffee? The Indonesians did, selling kopi luwak, which is made from the beans of coffee berries that are eaten by the Asian Palm Civet. The coffee, which originated in Java and Sumatra in Indonesia in the 1800s, can sell for up to US$65 a cup.
  • In 2011, with a nuclear plant just 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo still leaking radiation, demand for personal Geiger counters skyrocketed in the Japanese capital. The device, which can measure the level of radiation in two minutes anywhere, was invented by a Japanese non-profit organisation Radiation Watch that year, and costs between US$20 and US$70 on Amazon and eBay.
  • According to a documentary by anthropologist Mark L. Moskowitz, the funeral stripper concept began around 25 years ago, when the Taiwanese mafia took over an 'important' part of the country's mortuary business. His research showed that some of the plausible reasons why strippers are hired for funerals is because the deceased enjoyed watching them while he was alive, or because the strippers served as a sort of bribe to get mourners to come to the funeral.
  • Akihibara-based Clone Factory in Japan creates amazingly accurate replicas of faces using 3D sculpting technology to create 3D dolls.
  • Several photos of the person's face taken from different angles are combined into 3D date, which is fed into a specialised printer that uses plaster and ink to mould the finished replicas. Each work ranges around US$1,300.
  • One of the bizarre officers on Taobao.com, China's largest online marketplace, is on boyfriends for rent. Among other things, a rental boyfriend can accompany the girl to visit friends and families, go shopping, have meals and even get a kiss out of courtesy. The charge is by the hour. Demand for this service is higher during the Spring Festival.
  • With air pollution still worsening in China, face masks are in high demand. Some enterprising people, who decided to marry 'fashion' with utility has come up with these 'fashionable' face masks. According to the South China Morning Post, these bedazzled and befuzzled face masks have become as ubiquitous across China's cities as cell phone charms and vanity glasses.