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19 MAY 2023

Welcome to this week’s edition of Culture Wire, a newsletter brought to you by Singapore-based pop culture and lifestyle marketing agency Culture Group.

In this week’s edition: 

  • Innovation of the Week: The app putting maps on the map
  • Fax, No Printer: Malaysia’s hottest drop to cop on TikTok
  • Regional Round-up: A batik boutique, K-drama fandom, diversity upgrades, and more! 

Innovation of the Week


Jagat is a location sharing social app for friends, developed by a Singapore and Indonesia-based startup. Although it has only been available for just over a month, the app has surpassed 1M DAUs with users obsessing over Jagat’s live location feature, which shows where friends are in real time. Other features include status updates, a chat function, and the ability to save locations as favorites to meet with friends.

💡 Our take

Southeast Asia’s mobile generation spends an average of 7.2 hours per day watching videos, and rely on the online world for everything from connection to commerce – from finding partners on Bumble to doorstep food delivery, and even preferring to shop online compared to in physical shops. But that’s only one part of the picture. Gen Zs may love escaping into TikTok, but what will truly win with this burned-out demographic? Technology that forges authentic real world connections. 

Enter Jagat, which blurs the line between URL and IRL. It’s an app, but it’s not centered around being online. Instead it enhances existing friendships – users can see where their friends are and what they’re up to in real time, and make impromptu plans to meet. You can draw a direct line between Jagat, the growth of voice notes and photo app BeReal (side note: BeReal usage is declining but, per a recent company blog, the app has over 20M global DAUs). The common theme here? Apps, platforms and digital services that offer users real-world spontaneity. 

Jagat is positioned to be a tipping point in real world interactivity vs virtual world connectivity. The real question for us is – how should brands respond? Well, is location-based connectivity part of your engagement approach? Based on the results we are seeing, it should be.

Fax, No Printer*

For those of you born before 1997, ‘fax, no printer‘ is Gen Z speak for ‘undeniable facts I agree with’

What’s the latest hot product to buy on TikTok Live in Malaysia?

Fresh fish

Kebaya and Kain

K-pop merchandise

Regional Round-up

👗 A mom and daughter duo of Nyonya descent launched a fashion house with the aim of making batik more appealing to Gen Z. Batik By Nell incorporates elements of Peranakan culture and the items are designed to be worn year-round. We’re seeing more local brands that are focused on broadening the appeal of SEA culture and traditions. How can you support their endeavors?

💙 If you’re wondering how to get to Sesame Street, maybe you should ask TJ, the show’s first Filipino Muppet. Sesame Street has been on an inclusivity drive in the last few years; Ji-Young, the first Asian American character, was introduced in 2021. The addition of TJ into the cast is a huge moment for SEA representation on a global stage.

🇸🇬 Lee Do-hyun caused a scene on his first visit to Singapore with 1,000 fans turning up to see the K-drama star arrive at the Korea Travel Fair (he later also paid a visit to Sentosa). Some super fans traveled from Indonesia to get a glimpse of their idol – clearly they wanted to share in The Glory. Is your brand able to tap into this level of fandom?  

🧖 After K-beauty, is it time for T-beauty now? A recent report suggested that Thailand’s skincare market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.6% to reach USD 4.39B in 2027. Apart from a thriving wellness industry, Thailand is already the top beauty supplier to other East and Southeast Asian countries, while local brands are tapping into local ingredients and practices to create a uniquely Thai USP.

❄️▶️ If you’ve been anywhere on social media this week, you’ll have heard the buzz around Coldplay. From Malaysian tickets being scalped for six times the price (alamak!) to Indonesian tickets selling out in four hours, it’s clear that consumers’ post-pandemic revenge spending on experiences is still going strong, and live music remains a major passion point.

⚠️ICYMI: The wait is over! The biggest gossip whipping around the last few months has been the author of one yet-unpublished biography of a famous figure(s). Votes were in for Taylor Swift, with Swifties sleuthing out clues that they thought pointed to the singer. But a book with this much hype? There’s really only one possible author – and that’s BTS

This Week's Trivia Answer

🐟 A. Fresh fish!

No, really! A fisherman from Sekinchan, Bang Amat, has started selling fish fresh from the boat on TikTok Live. He treats it like an auction livestream, chatting with his viewers and highlighting the speciality of his different wares. It has been a huge turning point in his career, with Amat stating that he sells 100 to 150 kilograms of fresh seafood every time he goes live on the app. 

TikTok has had a huge influence over what people buy, but even we have to admit that we thought the audience for fish markets were off the scale. Livestream shopping isn’t new, of course, but TikTok has provided users with a more accessible, and personable, way to shop live. Not sure how your brand can blend the digital and physical worlds? Why not drop us a line! 🎣

🚀 Over and Out!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever purchased on a livestream? Your secret is safe with us! 

Pop culture insights are better when shared. Subscribe, forward this newsletter on, or share the love on social media. Thanks for reading Culture Wire! 


Your Culture Mavens,

Acacia, Aliya, Angela, Kiko, & Vicki