Singaporean Entrepreneur David Yong Plans to Build a Gateway With South Korea - Men's Folio
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Singaporean Entrepreneur David Yong Plans to Build a Gateway With South Korea

  • By Asaph Low

David Yong, Director of Evergreen Assets Management, Plans to Build a Gateway With South Korea for Talent to Flow Both WaysDavid Yong, Director of Evergreen Assets Management.

David Yong may be seen as a young timbre scion but his ambitions go far beyond that. Since taking over the reins of his family’s teak business from his father, he has developed its presence across the Southeast Asian region — even investing in South Korean entertainment under the business portfolio organisation, Evergreen Assets Management.

K-pop is the latest business venture for Evergreen Assets Management. How are you positioning your business portfolio to ensure it has a competitive edge in the fast-paced landscape of K-pop?
David Yong: K-pop most definitely is fast-paced and competitive but the strong edge that Evergreen has is our strong connections and infrastructure throughout Southeast Asia (SEA). We have been doing business in the region since the 1990s and share a strong presence alongside local partners in Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia.

It is also a strong market that Korean content companies are fixated on and they are always looking for the right partners. As the CEO of Evergreen and taking the lead for this new entertainment business venture, it helps that I understand the Korean content industry — and being an artiste myself, I do have strong networks in South Korea which gives us an advantage in the market.

What are your ambitions and how do you measure the success of your venture in the years to come?
I aim for Evergreen to be the bridge between South Korean content and SEA. I also want artistes in the region to have more chances to explore opportunities in South Korea’s well-developed entertainment scene. Both regions will benefit greatly between cross border exchanges and I hope for greater development of the arts and culture across SEA in the years to come.

David Yong, Director of Evergreen Assets Management, Plans to Build a Gateway With South Korea for Talent to Flow Both WaysApart from the language barrier, cultural differences present themselves as a constant challenge when working with South Korean counterparts. How do you navigate and overcome these situations?
I believe that sincerity and trust between business partners and associates are vital in every country, especially in this industry. For every business relationship to succeed, it must first be built on trust and transparency. We are lucky to have constantly met the right partners to work within Korea since we launched our new entertainment venture.

Of course, at the same time, I am improving on my language skills to better communicate with my business partners and friends!

Do you feel the K-pop industry is reaching its saturation point or is there still potential to grow?
K-Pop has garnered much interest over the years but in recent times it has been widely accepted in the Western world, with the likes of BTS and BLACKPINK taking over the US and Europe by storm. I believe that this is a sign of more to come and an opportunity for more South Korean entertainment to be widely accepted globally.

David Yong, Director of Evergreen Assets Management, Plans to Build a Gateway With South Korea for Talent to Flow Both WaysEvergreen Assets Management is poised to be a gateway for South Korean and Southeast Asian musicians to tap into opposite markets. How do you feel this flow of talent will benefit from the various regions involved?
The South Korean entertainment market is very mature and developed in terms of their idol training system, marketing models and concepts. In contrast, the entertainment markets across SEA are generally still at their infancy stage. While there is a huge room for growth in SEA markets, the lack of the right infrastructure here does put artistes at a disadvantage compared to our counterparts in South Korea.

I believe that by giving more opportunities to artistes in the region to venture into South Korea, it would provide them with the required opportunities to take their craft to the next level.

When was the first time you experienced K-Pop and how has it impacted you since then?
I remember my younger brothers and his friends asking (begging) me to use my connections with JYP to get backstage at a TWICE concert held in Singapore. It was a priceless moment when I managed to get them backstage access and seeing their dream come through. I realised that content from South Korea has the power and influence to shape things globally and should be used in a right and positive manner that can inspire our current and future generation.

As such I decided that I would want to play a role in this influential industry and make a meaningful contribution to the scene in SEA.

Apart from the business aspect of K-Pop, you teamed up with Korean R&B group 4Men for the release of “My Way”, the OST for the Korean drama “School 2021”. What was the experience like for you working with them and on a song?
It was truly an honour to be able to work on a ballad song with such an experienced ballad group who has many top ballad hits in Korea as well as OSTs for countless top dramas. Yun Min Soo is a legendary ballad singer and producer (who produced the song) and it was truly a priceless experience to have done my debut song with them.

I was also proud that the song was chosen as one of the OSTs for the K-drama School 2021 and I learned a lot about music and entertainment from the perspective of an artiste instead of my usual perspective as an entrepreneur.

On a personal level, how do the lyrics of “My Way” resonate with you?
“My Way” talks about the internal struggle that all of us face at some point in our life when we are at the crossroads of love, career and where we are heading to next. Should we stay or go? We will always be confused at some point in our lives and this song portrays the feelings of fear of losing, longing and regrets to the listeners.

Do you have more plans to be involved in more song releases in the future?
As long as Evergreen is in the entertainment business, I would still be constantly involved in releasing new music, content creation and entertainment projects. I am so excited for my upcoming hip hop song release with a prominent Korean rapper. I strongly believe that in order for a business to be successful you must first understand the business from the ground up and what better way to do it than to be personally involved right from the start!

I am truly blessed and fortunate to be able to do what I love and I hope to share it with the world!

Outfits David Yong’s personal wardrobe
Photography Reuben Foong
Styling Tok Wei Lun
Grooming Manisa Tan using and NARS

Once you’re done with this story with David Yong, click here to catch up with our March 2022 cover stars, BTS!