SINGAPORE – Badminton player Loh Kean Yew is among 47 individuals in Singapore who have been included in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia – a list celebrating 300 young entrepreneurs and trailblazers under the age of 30 in various fields in Asia.
The honourees were selected across 10 categories, including the arts, social impact, consumer technology, and entertainment and sports.
Announcing the list on Thursday (May 26), Forbes said it features young people who are inspiring change and driving innovation in their respective fields amid challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The list’s editor Rana Wehbe Watson said entrepreneurs and innovators on this year’s list are working towards reconnecting Asia after the pandemic-induced disruption and isolation.
“From innovative ways of delivering e-commerce and online learning services to venturing into the Web3 space, they provide a glimpse into what the region’s future may look like,” she said, referring to decentralised internet services such as those based on blockchain technology.
Singapore is represented by 34 entries – co-founders of the same company are grouped together in one entry – its highest number of entries since the list’s inception in 2016. It is the second-most represented country after India, having moved up from fourth place last year.
Loh, 24, was the first Singaporean to be crowned badminton world champion after winning the singles title at the 2021 BWF World Championship in December.
On his way to victory, he also beat Denmark’s world No. 1 and Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen, whose training camp he had attended a few months before. Loh, who was born in Malaysia and took Singapore citizenship in 2015, is currently No. 10 in BWF world rankings.
Other honourees include rapper Yung Raja, 26, who recently signed with US label Alamo Records, and Mr Ng Ming Wei, 27, a taekwondo athlete turned TikTok content creator and founder of digital marketing agency Boom Digital Media.
Mr Ng said he started Boom to help brands grow on TikTok and other social media platforms, especially since people are now are mostly using their mobile phones to access them.
He founded the agency in June 2020, when he was a university student in his final year. The company now has a team of 15 full-time staff and its clients include fast food chain Nando’s and Giant supermarket.
Boom also plans to set up overseas offices in Malaysia and Dubai to serve global clients, Mr Ng told The Straits Times.
“Many brands want to grow on TikTok but they are not sure who to go to… People always think that a brand’s account is hard to grow and that’s where I try to take up this challenge,” he said.
It also featured Ms Mia Deng, 26, the youngest partner at crypto asset firm Dragonfly Capital, as well as Mr Darshan Bathija, 28, and Mr Sanju Kurian, 29, who co-founded Singapore-based crypto exchange Vauld in 2018. The exchange also allows customers to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies and earn interest on their deposits.
Those who made the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list were selected from over 4,000 nominations – a record for the list – and vetted by industry veterans. Criteria for honourees include their demonstration of leadership, how they embody the entrepreneurial spirit, and their potential success in their industry.
Other factors like innovation, disruption, and size and growth of their ventures in some categories, also play a role.
South Korea’s world No. 1 female golfer Ko Jin-young was also featured on the list, as were Chinese Olympic gold-medallist skier Eileen Gu and Australian Max Shand, who founded music NFT marketplace Serenade.
The list also spotlighted China’s Zhang Zihao, who co-founded plant-based beverages firm Plantag. Its products include oat, sesame and pistachio-flavoured milk beverages, and it is also working on new products such as yogurt and ice cream.
Mr Rashid Khan, co-founder of India-based conversational artificial intelligence company Yellow.AI, also made the list. The company’s proprietary natural language processing engine helps clients build chatbots and voicebots in more than 100 languages that can be used to automate customer care or call centres.