Pioneering Asia’s entertainment market, Trevor Lai loves creating stories to inspire all generations through his animation and creative studio, UP Studios.

What’s your story?
As the CEO and Creative Director of UP Studios, I create characters and stories with our team in the form of animated films, books, toys, apps and more for families around the world. I wrote, illustrated and published my first children’s book at the age of 17, and just published my 18th book. Most marketing and branding industry colleagues also know me as the host of the business talkshow Thoughtful China. I was Vice President of Canada’s largest communications company in China prior to following my dreams and setting up UP Studios. Among our most exciting accomplishments, we are proud to be the first studio selected by Apple to present our creative work in flagship stores across China, and will be publishing a major book series with Harry Potter’s publisher Bloomsbury next year based on our popular Piggy in Love character.

What excites you most about your industry?
Creating stories that can inspire generations of fans is a dream come true, and China’s entertainment market is entering its golden age. We have the opportunity to bring a level of creativity and quality to original IP in China the way Walt Disney pioneered the industry in America.

What’s your connection to Asia?
My parents were from China and I spent parts of my childhood in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

unnamed (1) unnamed (2) unnamed (3)

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Shanghai, as it’s become a destination of choice for businesses across all sectors.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I’ve received a lot of great advice over the years from a variety of wise people. One of the most often repeated pearls is, ‘trust your gut instinct. It is right more often than reason’.

Who inspires you?
Walt Disney, John Lasseter, Steven Spielberg, JJ Abrams, Warren Buffett, Connor MacDavid. People who love what they do and prove their excellence over time are great examples to learn from.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I recently had the privilege of spending a bit of time with David Beckham. He impressed my friends and I with his incredible manners, charm, consideration and patience. It was a sparkling reminder of how no matter who you are and how highly others may think of you, being kind to others is a trait we can all cultivate and apply daily.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Appreciate time with loved ones more, spend less time worrying about everything else.

How do you unwind?
I love working out and I train 4-5 days a week, including playing in an ice hockey league.  

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
The islands in Thailand like Yao Noi and Phuket have lots of resorts that offer a balance of luxury and seclusion that give my mind space to breath and recharge.  Painting outdoors under the sun is one of my favourite things to do on a holiday.  

Everyone in business should read this book:
“The Art of Power” by Thich Nhat Hanh

Shameless plug for your business:
UP Studios creates beloved characters and stories that come to life through animation, apps, toys and events with world-class greatest partners.  UP Studios is a leading animation and creative studio in China, and was recently selected by Animation Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Companies in the World” to watch. We’ve created characters like BOOMi and Piggy in Love that have garnered partnerships with Apple, Tencent and Holiday Inn. Discover our work at www.upstudios.cn and on Instagram/Facebook.

How can people connect with you?
upstudiosworld @ Instagram
upstudiosworld @ Facebook
[email protected]

Twitter handle?
Upstudiosworld

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnects

Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

Recently Published

In the fast-paced world of cryptocurrency, vast sums of money can be made or lost in the blink of an eye. In early November 2022, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, was valued at more than US$30 billion. By Nov. 14, FTX was in bankruptcy proceedings along with more than 100 companies connected to it. D. Brian Blank and Brandy Hadley are […]
Key Takeaways: The phenomenon of some fireflies’ flash synchrony has puzzled scientists for over a century. The phenomenon piqued the curiosity of many, including mathematicians Daniel Abrams and Steven Strogatz, who named it “chimera” In Greek mythology, the Chimera was a hybrid monster made of parts of incongruous animals – so a fitting name for […]

Top Picks

Key Takeaways: Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity has been remarkably successful in describing the gravity of stars and planets. However, gaps in our understanding start to appear when we try to apply it to extremely small distances, where the laws of quantum mechanics operate. A new study, published in Nature Astronomy, has now tested […]
Key Takeaways: Digital money is a form of currency that uses computer networks to make payments. It is not the digital nature of cryptocurrencies that differentiate them from digital money, but how they ensure the ownership of digital property that mark them as transformational. The Counter Currency Laboratory, a new initiative based in the Department […]
Key Takeaways: For many people, Buddhism appears to be uniquely compatible with modern lifestyles and world views. Buddhist mindfulness has influenced many schools of contemporary psychology. Buddhist philosophy embraces constant change and the inherent impermanence of all things. The 19th century Burmese monk Ledi Sayadawtravelled the nation teaching meditation and founding study groups. The forms […]

Trending

I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.

Latest Titles

Login

Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics