Crystal Tai

Crystal covers business trends and cultural criticism, with a special focus on Northeast Asia, for the Asia desk. Before joining the SCMP, she contributed to Quartz, i-D Magazine, Monocle, Wallpaper, Lonely Planet and other publications. Her broadcast commentary has been featured on BBC Radio, CGTN and other media.
Crystal Tai
Crystal covers business trends and cultural criticism, with a special focus on Northeast Asia, for the Asia desk. Before joining the SCMP, she contributed to Quartz, i-D Magazine, Monocle, Wallpaper, Lonely Planet and other publications. Her broadcast commentary has been featured on BBC Radio, CGTN and other media.

Latest from Crystal Tai

Could Hong Kong protests sway the Canadian election?

With the main parties neck and neck, the Conservative leader raises the issue in an appeal to both expats and the Chinese diaspora. It is a high-stakes gamble that risks alienating as many voters as it attracts

14 Oct 2019 - 12:05PM

With the main parties neck and neck, the Conservative leader raises the issue in an appeal to both expats and the Chinese diaspora. It is a high-stakes gamble that risks alienating as many voters as it attracts

Could Hong Kong protests sway the Canadian election?
Japan, Thailand and Singapore benefit as Chinese tourists skip Hong Kong over golden week

The likes of Saudi Arabia also saw an upswing in travellers from the mainland – but overall fewer Chinese tourists went abroad this year, with a 15 per cent drop from 2018 attributed to more opting to visit local historical sites.

14 Oct 2019 - 12:48PM

The likes of Saudi Arabia also saw an upswing in travellers from the mainland – but overall fewer Chinese tourists went abroad this year, with a 15 per cent drop from 2018 attributed to more opting to visit local historical sites.

Japan, Thailand and Singapore benefit as Chinese tourists skip Hong Kong over golden week
Why are Japan’s universities lagging so far behind their international peers?

Despite Prime Minister Abe’s plan to see 10 Japanese universities in the world’s top 100, rankings have slipped since 2013 – as a result, experts say, of a lack of English-language innovation, university funding and internationalisation

2 Oct 2019 - 8:40PM

Despite Prime Minister Abe’s plan to see 10 Japanese universities in the world’s top 100, rankings have slipped since 2013 – as a result, experts say, of a lack of English-language innovation, university funding and internationalisation

Why are Japan’s universities lagging so far behind their international peers?
Thinking big, living small: how people across Asia cope with tiny homes

Tight accommodation is a harsh reality for many residents of Asian cities where population density is high. Four tiny home dwellers offer their thoughts on living small.

28 Sep 2019 - 4:23PM

Tight accommodation is a harsh reality for many residents of Asian cities where population density is high. Four tiny home dwellers offer their thoughts on living small.

Thinking big, living small: how people across Asia cope with tiny homes
Muji, Marie Kondo, and Asia’s tiny house movement

If you thought your Hong Kong flat was small, would you live in a 100 sq ft hut in a forest? Believe it or not, a growing number of millennials are choosing to do so as part of the ‘tiny house movement’.

10 Oct 2019 - 9:25AM

If you thought your Hong Kong flat was small, would you live in a 100 sq ft hut in a forest? Believe it or not, a growing number of millennials are choosing to do so as part of the ‘tiny house movement’.

Muji, Marie Kondo, and Asia’s tiny house movement
K-pop’s top awards show MAMA to skip protest-hit Hong Kong for Japan’s Nagoya

Observers said the decision to move the Mnet Asian Music Awards away from Hong Kong showed the costs from potential disruptions and safety issues were more concerning than the bilateral row between Seoul and Tokyo.

25 Sep 2019 - 4:40PM

Observers said the decision to move the Mnet Asian Music Awards away from Hong Kong showed the costs from potential disruptions and safety issues were more concerning than the bilateral row between Seoul and Tokyo.

K-pop’s top awards show MAMA to skip protest-hit Hong Kong for Japan’s Nagoya
For some firms, Hong Kong’s unrest has brought an uptick in business

A handful of local and foreign companies are seeing opportunities in catering to increased demand from Hongkongers for overseas property and migration services.

23 Sep 2019 - 7:25AM

A handful of local and foreign companies are seeing opportunities in catering to increased demand from Hongkongers for overseas property and migration services.

For some firms, Hong Kong’s unrest has brought an uptick in business
Fallen K-pop star Park Yoo-chun ordered to pay woman in sex assault case

Park, popularly known as Micky, has been told to pay the woman more than US$80,000. She is one of four women to have made sexual assault claims against the troubled star.

17 Sep 2019 - 2:05PM

Park, popularly known as Micky, has been told to pay the woman more than US$80,000. She is one of four women to have made sexual assault claims against the troubled star.

Fallen K-pop star Park Yoo-chun ordered to pay woman in sex assault case
North Korean-themed restaurant in Seoul removes Kim portraits after social media outcry

Eatery that decorated its walls with a North Korean flag and propaganda-style messages such as ‘more alcohol for the comrades!’ is being probed by local police on suspicion of breaching the national security act.

16 Sep 2019 - 11:18PM

Eatery that decorated its walls with a North Korean flag and propaganda-style messages such as ‘more alcohol for the comrades!’ is being probed by local police on suspicion of breaching the national security act.

North Korean-themed restaurant in Seoul removes Kim portraits after social media outcry
How Hong Kong-set ‘Hello, Love, Goodbye’ became the Philippines’ top-grossing film of all time

Experts and fans say it captures the lives of overseas Filipino workers, who finally feel seen after often being regarded as invisible in their daily jobs.

8 Sep 2019 - 11:07PM

Experts and fans say it captures the lives of overseas Filipino workers, who finally feel seen after often being regarded as invisible in their daily jobs.

How Hong Kong-set ‘Hello, Love, Goodbye’ became the Philippines’ top-grossing film of all time
As Germany debates calling its panda twins Hong and Kong, just how do pandas get named?

Panda twins born in Berlin’s zoo have sparked a national debate on China and panda diplomacy in Germany, with calls to name them Hong and Kong in recognition of the ongoing protests in the city.

6 Sep 2019 - 4:54PM

Panda twins born in Berlin’s zoo have sparked a national debate on China and panda diplomacy in Germany, with calls to name them Hong and Kong in recognition of the ongoing protests in the city.

As Germany debates calling its panda twins Hong and Kong, just how do pandas get named?
How Asia sees Carrie Lam’s withdrawal of Hong Kong extradition bill: ‘It’s welcome, but …’

Protesters in Hong Kong may have been scathing about the chief executive’s attempt to appease the public, but regional leaders have been a little more supportive

6 Sep 2019 - 12:06PM

Protesters in Hong Kong may have been scathing about the chief executive’s attempt to appease the public, but regional leaders have been a little more supportive

How Asia sees Carrie Lam’s withdrawal of Hong Kong extradition bill: ‘It’s welcome, but …’
6 events where Chinese students were involved in on-campus conflicts

From brawls over the Hong Kong protests to division over Tibet and Xinjiang’s Uygurs, political debate among Chinese students at Western universities has made headlines over the years. Here are six examples.

10 Aug 2019 - 11:46PM

From brawls over the Hong Kong protests to division over Tibet and Xinjiang’s Uygurs, political debate among Chinese students at Western universities has made headlines over the years. Here are six examples.

6 events where Chinese students were involved in on-campus conflicts
Hong Kong protests to Uygur camps: how Chinese students became a subject of scorn

Campus confrontations have erupted from Canada to New Zealand as mainland Chinese students react, sometimes violently, to public scrutiny of Beijing’s policies.

11 Aug 2019 - 12:48AM

Campus confrontations have erupted from Canada to New Zealand as mainland Chinese students react, sometimes violently, to public scrutiny of Beijing’s policies.

Hong Kong protests to Uygur camps: how Chinese students became a subject of scorn
South Korean fans call for ‘No Ronaldo’ ban after Juventus star sits out Seoul match

In Japan, though, Ronaldo may have gained some new fans who welcomed his decision to remain on the bench as an act of support for their country.

1 Aug 2019 - 4:30PM

In Japan, though, Ronaldo may have gained some new fans who welcomed his decision to remain on the bench as an act of support for their country.

South Korean fans call for ‘No Ronaldo’ ban after Juventus star sits out Seoul match
Toyota, Lexus, Honda and Nissan cars ‘kimchi slapped’ in South Korea amid rising trade tensions

As calls for Koreans to boycott Japanese goods continue over Tokyo’s export curbs, the country’s car owners have found their vehicles being subject to so-called kimchi terrorism, as angry passers-by hurl the fermented foodstuff.

28 Jul 2019 - 11:59AM

As calls for Koreans to boycott Japanese goods continue over Tokyo’s export curbs, the country’s car owners have found their vehicles being subject to so-called kimchi terrorism, as angry passers-by hurl the fermented foodstuff.

Toyota, Lexus, Honda and Nissan cars ‘kimchi slapped’ in South Korea amid rising trade tensions
Anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea brews as ‘trade war’ escalates

Some Japanese in South Korea are wary of discrimination but Zainichi or ethnic Koreans in Japan say xenophobia is an everyday reality.

24 Jul 2019 - 11:20PM

Some Japanese in South Korea are wary of discrimination but Zainichi or ethnic Koreans in Japan say xenophobia is an everyday reality.

Anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea brews as ‘trade war’ escalates
South Koreans want to avoid Muji, Daiso and Nintendo, but brand confusion could undermine any boycott of Japanese goods

Many South Koreans have vowed to boycott Japanese products – but in a globalised world, pinning down where something comes from can be easier said than done.

21 Jul 2019 - 6:52PM

Many South Koreans have vowed to boycott Japanese products – but in a globalised world, pinning down where something comes from can be easier said than done.

South Koreans want to avoid Muji, Daiso and Nintendo, but brand confusion could undermine any boycott of Japanese goods
K-pop band BTS praised for cholinergic urticaria admission, under fire over Saudi Arabia show

The revelation band member V suffers from heat-related allergy has drawn praise and empathy from fans, but touring the conservative Gulf nation is seen as flying in the face of the band’s support of personal identity and LGBT rights.

16 Jul 2019 - 6:21PM

The revelation band member V suffers from heat-related allergy has drawn praise and empathy from fans, but touring the conservative Gulf nation is seen as flying in the face of the band’s support of personal identity and LGBT rights.

K-pop band BTS praised for cholinergic urticaria admission, under fire over Saudi Arabia show
Kim Kardashian isn’t the first Westerner to sexualise Japan’s kimono. And she won’t be the last

After the war, the US sought to feminise perceptions of Japan by associating the traditional garment with prostitution and servile femininity, in an attempt to present the country as a small threat to the world.

12 Jul 2019 - 6:12PM

After the war, the US sought to feminise perceptions of Japan by associating the traditional garment with prostitution and servile femininity, in an attempt to present the country as a small threat to the world.

Kim Kardashian isn’t the first Westerner to sexualise Japan’s kimono. And she won’t be the last
Japan sends patent officials to US over Kim Kardashian ‘Kimono’ row

The reality TV star said she would rename her new line of shapewear but Japan’s trade minister Hiroshige Seko said the issue had become ‘a big deal on social media’ and warranted ‘a careful examination’.

2 Jul 2019 - 6:40PM

The reality TV star said she would rename her new line of shapewear but Japan’s trade minister Hiroshige Seko said the issue had become ‘a big deal on social media’ and warranted ‘a careful examination’.

Japan sends patent officials to US over Kim Kardashian ‘Kimono’ row
Kim Kardashian urged by Kyoto mayor to reconsider ‘Kimono’ as the name for her new shapewear line

Backlash against Kardashian was swift, with many social media users accusing her of cultural appropriation.

1 Jul 2019 - 2:43PM

Backlash against Kardashian was swift, with many social media users accusing her of cultural appropriation.

Kim Kardashian urged by Kyoto mayor to reconsider ‘Kimono’ as the name for her new shapewear line
‘A Chinese kind of democracy’: why young Chinese-Canadians in Vancouver support Hong Kong’s anti-extradition bill protests

For a group of youths in Vancouver, the protests are a means to seek democracy that is not framed in a Western way. But others in the city say Hong Kong affairs are an internal matter for China.

3 Jul 2019 - 12:32PM

For a group of youths in Vancouver, the protests are a means to seek democracy that is not framed in a Western way. But others in the city say Hong Kong affairs are an internal matter for China.

‘A Chinese kind of democracy’: why young Chinese-Canadians in Vancouver support Hong Kong’s anti-extradition bill protests
‘The only Australian living in North Korea’ Alek Sigley was prolific social media user before he went missing

The Australian student was known for posting about his colourful life inside the secretive nation. But if his detention is confirmed, it would add him to a long list of foreigners whose fascination with North Korea landed them in hot water

27 Jun 2019 - 7:52PM

The Australian student was known for posting about his colourful life inside the secretive nation. But if his detention is confirmed, it would add him to a long list of foreigners whose fascination with North Korea landed them in hot water

‘The only Australian living in North Korea’ Alek Sigley was prolific social media user before he went missing
Kim Kardashian’s ill-fitting trademark sparks ‘KimOhNo’ backlash and accusations of cultural appropriation

The reality TV star and social media influencer is launching a new line of shapewear products but her bid to trademark the word ‘Kimono’ has already provoked backlash online.

28 Jun 2019 - 11:35PM

The reality TV star and social media influencer is launching a new line of shapewear products but her bid to trademark the word ‘Kimono’ has already provoked backlash online.

Kim Kardashian’s ill-fitting trademark sparks ‘KimOhNo’ backlash and accusations of cultural appropriation
Smearing cannabis on your face: the latest Asian beauty craze

The market for beauty products made from cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, is set to be worth US$25 billion by 2029

22 Jun 2019 - 7:30PM

The market for beauty products made from cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, is set to be worth US$25 billion by 2029

Smearing cannabis on your face: the latest Asian beauty craze
It’s not just Hong Kong, Asia has a rich history of protests: here are 5

Some have been driven by demands for political reform or a change of leadership, while others have been motivated by opposition to specific government actions or proposals.

24 Jun 2019 - 5:24PM

Some have been driven by demands for political reform or a change of leadership, while others have been motivated by opposition to specific government actions or proposals.

It’s not just Hong Kong, Asia has a rich history of protests: here are 5
K-beauty: is China falling out of love with Korean cosmetics?
Japan’s #KuToo founder Yumi Ishikawa asks: ‘Is it bad for a feminist to get naked?’

KuToo began as a movement against high heels and gendered dress codes in Japanese workplaces. The founder, however, has become the target of online harassment after her nude modelling photos stirred further debate about image expectations placed on women in Japan.

1 Jul 2019 - 4:47PM

KuToo began as a movement against high heels and gendered dress codes in Japanese workplaces. The founder, however, has become the target of online harassment after her nude modelling photos stirred further debate about image expectations placed on women in Japan.

Japan’s #KuToo founder Yumi Ishikawa asks: ‘Is it bad for a feminist to get naked?’
South Koreans rally to support Hong Kong protests against extradition bill

More than 20,000 Koreans sign a petition urging action from President Moon Jae-in as many remember their own history of protest.

2 Jul 2019 - 10:54AM

More than 20,000 Koreans sign a petition urging action from President Moon Jae-in as many remember their own history of protest.

South Koreans rally to support Hong Kong protests against extradition bill