An article headlined "Seattle sizzles" in the February 19 Singapore Straits Times (registration required) makes the striking observation that Seattle alone has produced approximately the same number of leading global brands as the combined population (three billion) of Asia. On the Seattle list are: Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Boeing, UPS, Nordstrom, Washington Mutual, Costco, and Safeco. The list from Asia (excluding Japan) is: Singapore Airlines, Lenovo, Samsung, Hundai, San Miguel, Arcelor-Mittal, Oberio, Cathay Pacific, Acer, and Thai Airways. The writer, Jonathan Holburt, an American marketing expert based in Singapore, goes on to list the advantages Seattle enjoys and that Singapore might emulate. Holburt's list: high percentage of college graduates in the local population; the seminal role of University of Washington (rather like Stanford to Silicon Valley); a city known for arts and creativity; diversity of workforce; free trade; rule of law; a welcoming culture that causes startups to flock here; and a civic culture that encourages "giving back." One more factor is Seattle's ability to form companies that have their own brand, rather than producing components for someone else to brand. The story of the "Asian Tigers" for the next decades will be trying to move up the value curve from making things for more famous companies to being and creating those "muscle-brand" companies.