March 14th is typically batted about as “Pi day”, since the date abbreviates to 3.14. While many of us celebrate by eating pi-themed pie and trying to memorize as many digits of pi as possible, Asian companies think about White Day (白色情人节 in Chinese). It’s the day when men are supposed to give back to the women who gave chocolate or other gifts to them on Valentine’s Day. It is celebrated across China, South Korea, Japan and other Asian countries.
Instead of complaining about merchant’s tactics and the “just to have the sales” view, let’s look at how startups across Asia are pushing their products to the lonely hearts, pie lovers, and mathematics lovers.
1. Japanese 3D chocolate and jellies
White Day was first celebrated in 1978 in Japan, started out by the National Confectionery Industry Association as an answer to Valentine’s Day. Fab Cafe, a Japanese 3D printing destination, allows men to map out their body with a 3D scanner and make it into a 3D jellies and chocolates to give to their lovers.
2. In homage to Rasberry Pi
In an homage of Rasberry Pi, AR/VR technology company Usens launched its Kickstarter campaign of AR/VR headset Impression Pi on this day in 2015, which later hit over US$ 30 million.
3. Understand loneliness for lone entrepreneurs
Chinese recruiting startup BOSS Zhipin held an event called “Love single entrepreneurs” on last year’s White Day. The CEOs and co-founders of Beijing-based startups gathered to talk about their lonely entrepreneurship journey. The company explained that “An entrepreneur should go through a lonely and arduous process, and the community should understand their hardship and effort to create value in the market”. The recruiting platform went on to raise a $US 28 million C round funding in September 2016. (Chinese source)
4. Targeting the sex market in China
In China, concepts of marriage and sex are becoming less and less traditional as younger generations come of age, leading the sex toy market grow quietly. This has created a market opportunity for startups as well, focusing on sex toys and sex VR content. The founder of 51Lulu, a patent-owning smart sex toy startup, Huaping Feng says that the sex toys sells 3-5 times more than commodities. 51Lulu organized a couple-themed conference on this day in 2016 to introduce its sex toys to the public. The Beijing-based company raised RMB 80 million series B round in March 2016 to resume its listing plan. (Chinese source)
5. Watch and jewelry for South Korean couples
The most wanted White Day present voted by Korean couples was watch and jewelry, and smart watch startups come up with couples promotion. Zikto, a smart wristband startup that helps you straighten your body posture, came up with a couple discount promotion to sell their wristbands.