As part of our series of interviews with people across Asia-Pacific who use the Internet to create, connect, and grow, we asked Jianli Han how online tools helped grow his handmade silk carpets business, the Henan Yilong Carpet Company, into China’s largest exporter of handmade silk carpets.

How did you get into the carpet business?
Fresh out of university in the eighties, I was assigned a job in a state-owned enterprise in Nanyang, Henan province. The wife of a fellow worker was Uyghur and she excelled at weaving woolen carpets. Henan province was short of wool but had a long tradition of silk-making, so she tried to weave carpets with silk for personal use.

One year, I took one of her silk carpets to the Canton Fair, where I’d been assigned to work. I had put it in the corner, but on the first day of the fair, a businessman from Kuwait immediately picked it up for quite a tidy sum of money. It was then that I realized that silk products from Henan might be a promising business opportunity, and so I launched into it with the help of my fellow workers.

30 years later, we’re producing over 60,000 square metres of hand-knotted carpets every year, which is enough to cover 8 soccer pitches. Smaller carpets take several months, but larger pieces can take up to a year to make.

Why did you decide to sell carpets online?
Participating in overseas trade fairs was expensive. On top of registration fees, I had to ship several carpets and then send a number of colleagues to staff A booth. So I started looking for other ways to promote my business. In 2007, a friend told me about Google’s tools and products and showed me how to use them. After that, I decided to switch my investment from trade fairs to Google. On Google, you can be open and sell 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can easily get 100 times the customers online than you can from a trade fair.

You have a mobile-optimized website, but do people actually buy carpets on their phones?
In fact 80% of our buyers come via mobile search and the vast majority of them come from outside China. A hand-knotted silk carpet is something special, so people searching for them generally know quite a bit about what they’re looking for. Our website includes a lot of information about our products, making it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for — even a high price tag doesn’t discourages them. Also, mobile payments have enabled transactions to take place anywhere and everywhere.

Do you have any tips for other businesses wanting to use the Internet to grow?
User experience is the top priority. Your site should be optimized for mobile to guarantee a favorable customer experience when they make a purchase online. Apart from that I’d say it’s important to keep an open mind and be prepared to try to new things.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like backstage at the opera? Or how it might feel to dance under the glare of a concert hall’s spotlight? With a new virtual exhibition of performing arts on the Google Cultural Institute, you can experience all of this with the click of a mouse. And we’re also giving you front row seats to some of the world’s leading performances. So sit back and get comfortable as we dim the lights and take you through a world tour of performing arts…

You can browse performances and everything that goes on on- and off-stage at more than 60 institutions—including the world famous Carnegie Hall, to the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Berliner Philharmoniker. Moving east, I’ve selected some highlights from our partners in Asia-Pacific—the Queensland Performing Arts Center in Australia, the Dilli Gharana and Natural Streets For Performing Arts Foundation in India, Aomori Nebuta Matsuri in Japan, and the National Theatre of Korea, National Gugak Center and Kukkiwon in Korea.

Start with a tour of the Queensland Performing Arts Center and its lovely venues, indoor and out.
Left: QPAC’s Melbourne Street Green is a great place to enjoy free music outdoors on a Friday night; Right: The view of the stage from QPAC’s Concert Hall balcony.

Get lost in a sea of colored lights amidst the floats Aomori Nebuta Matsuri. The lantern floats at this annual Japanese summer festival in Aomori prefecture stand up to 10 meters tall and are made of fragile traditional paper wrapped around a bamboo frame. They depict Japanese gods, mythological and and historical figures.


In Korea, see how the demonstration team of Kukkiwon, the sport’s global headquarters, reinterprets the ancient martial art of taekwondo, presenting it alongside traditional music to create a special performance.

You can also learn about the Dilli Gharana, an ancient form of music from Hindustan in India.
Ustad Chand Khan Sahab giving a lesson to Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan. The portrait at the back is of Shams-e-Maousiqi Ustad Mamman Khan Sahab.

The Google Cultural Institute was founded in 2011 to bring the world’s treasures to anyone with an Internet connection. Starting in partnership with a handful of renowned museums, we’ve since joined forces with 900+ institutions to include historic archives, street art, and 200 wonders of the world. Now you can also visit dozens of the world’s stages together in one place—across mobile, tablet and desktop at and on the Google Cultural Institute website.

Posted by Kate Lauterbach, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute

While many parts of the world are rugging up and settling in for the cold winter months, today marks the first day of summer Down Under. Escape the winter chill with us on Street View, where you’ll find Australia’s most loved and well-known beaches ready for you to explore. Sun yourself on Bondi Beach, catch a wave at Bronte, or go for a virtual dip over at Manly with this latest collection of beautiful beach imagery.

Tourist mecca and reality TV star, Bondi is the quintessential Aussie beach. It was quiet the morning we captured this imagery, but on hot days sunseekers from far and wide flock to this popular spot. Home to the world’s first surf life saving club, you might just catch a glimpse of some iconic red togs as you walk past the lifesaver’s tower.

Bondi Beach

Head south along the coastal walk and you’ll come to Bronte Beach. Although the surf can be a bit rough for swimming, Bronte’s grassy picnic area and ocean pool make it a very popular spot with families.

Bronte Beach

Once you’ve splashed around Sydney’s eastern beaches, why not head to the north side of the harbour city and check out Manly and Shelly beaches. Lined with Norfolk Island pines, Manly is a beach for all seasons, drawing swimmers, surfers and tourists alike with its great breaks and long golden stretch of sand.

Manly Beach

Tucked around the corner from the hustle and bustle of Manly is Shelly Beach. Surrounded by a bush walking track and sheltered from the swell by a reef, Shelly is an ideal place to take a quiet swim.

Shelly Beach

If that isn’t quiet enough for you, drive a few hours south to Hyam Beach at Jervis Bay. This popular weekend getaway is surrounded by national parks, and according to the Guinness Book of Records, has the whitest sand in the world!

Hyam Beach

We hope you enjoy your time in the sun as you discover some of the most beautiful spots Down Under on Street View!

Posted by Cynthia Wei, Program Manager Google Street View

The British Museum opened its doors in 1759, offering free access to its 70,000 objects to all “students and curious persons.” The Google Cultural Institute has now made 4,500 of the museum’s eight million objects available for students, curious persons or anyone else with an Internet connection to see. For many who live in Asia-Pacific, this is a chance to pore over treasures from their region in far greater detail than even those in the museum can. Here are some of my favorite artifacts from Asia and Oceania:

The Admonitions Scroll by Gu Kaizhi (China, 6th century)

This 6th century Chinese scroll has been captured in super high-resolution—what we call gigapixel imagery—to give you a closer and more intimate view than you could ever get with the naked eye. Due to its fragile nature, it is displayed at the museum for only a few months of of the year; on the Cultural Institute, it can be accessed all year round. It tells the story of an instructress of the imperial court, who guides the ladies of the imperial family about correct behavior.
Gigapixel imagery enables users to experience the Admonitions Scroll in a way they would never be able to offline. The complete work can be seen on the left, and zoomed in detail on the right.

Miniature of Mughal Prince (India, 1610)

This miniature painting shows an encounter between a member of the Mughal elite and a holy figure. Measuring just 10.5cm wide and 22cm high, the fine details of this artwork are best seen close up—or by zooming in to the image on the Cultural Institute. You’ll be able to appreciate the incredible detail both in the foreground and background, and rich and subtle colors with a close and accurate depiction of nature.
Zoom in on the Cultural Institute to admire the fine details of this miniature painting.

Kakiemon elephants (Japan, 1650-1699)

These colorful porcelain elephants, which stand about one foot high, were made on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan. How did the potters know what they were making, when real elephants would not have been seen in Japan at this time? It’s likely that these were ordered specially by merchants of the Dutch East India Company for export, commissioned by design as ornaments for European mantelpieces.
Zoom in to admire the overglaze coloured enamels decorating these elephants

Moon jar (Korea, 1600-1800)

White, minimalist forms are not a modern invention. These “moon” jars were prized during the Joseon dynasty in Korea, symbolizing the Neo-Confucian ideals of purity and integrity. Play the audio guide to find out the fascinating history behind how this particular moon jar found its way into the British Museum’s collection.

Bark etching of a kangaroo hunt (Australia, 1800-1899)

The British Museum is home to one of the oldest surviving Aboriginal bark etchings. The etching is made of bark from a eucalyptus tree which was blackened by smoke from a fire. Zooming into the artifact, you’ll see that the sooty surface was incised to depict figures armed with boomerangs, spears and clubs hunting a kangaroo.

Carved Wooden Figure Known as A’a (Rurutu, 1700-1850)

This wooden statue from the island of Rurutu in Polynesia was presented to English missionaries in the early 19th century as the local population converted to Christianity. It has inspired several artists of the twentieth century, including the poet William Empson whose Homage to the British Museum drew a contrast between the religious power of the figure and its secular surroundings.

There is a supreme God in the ethnological section;
A hollow toad shape, faced with a blank shield.
[...] At the navel, at the points formally stressed, at the organs of sense,
Lice glue themselves, dolls, local deities,
His smooth wood creeps with all the creeds of the world. [...]
Being everything, let us admit that is to be something,
Or give ourselves the benefit of the doubt;
Let us offer our pinch of dust all to this God,
And grant his reign over the entire building.

The British Museum is not only worth a visit for the objects in its collection—it has some impressive architecture too. You can experience the Great Court and a view of the reading room, which was used for research and writing by Sun Yat-Sen, Bram Stoker and Karl Marx.
Go on a private tour of the museum whenever you want! This is the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court. The famous architect Lord Norman Foster transformed the Museum’s inner courtyard into the largest covered public square in Europe.

Through a special microsite called The Museum of the World, visitors to this virtual gallery can explore and make connections between developments across the world’s cultures.
Clicking on an artifact from India in the 16th century shows connections between related developments across the world’s cultures around the same period in history

The Museum of the World gives visitors a new way to experience the British Museum’s collections, providing a wealth of knowledge about the exhibits with just a few clicks of the mouse. Each artifact on virtual display is accompanied not just by a caption, but also a map identifying where the object hails from, an audio guide, and links to related cultural objects online.

Posted by Piotr Adamczyk, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute

It takes a lot to get a business off the ground. Last week, two young entrepreneurs — Dika Maheswara and his business partner Indra Prastha — joined Google’s first Launchpad Week in Jakarta, an opportunity to work with mentors from around the world to help them kickstart their online shipping service, Paket ID.

Paket ID is one of 13 Indonesian startups that participated in workshops covering everything from marketing and technology, to UI/UX design and how to pitch a business idea. They — together with GoArchipelago and Rumah Bengkel — won over a panel of judges with their pitches, and emerged as the “Top 3 Startups” of Launchpad Week Jakarta.

Pitch winners.jpg
The “Top 3 Startups” winners at Launchpad Week Jakarta (from left to right): Dika Maheswara and Indra Prastha from Paket ID; Bening Rara from GoArchipelago; Vierda Andriani and Dede Pradana from Rumah Bengkel.
The three winning startups are working on innovative ideas from an online solution for the pick-up, shipment and payment of goods, to socially-minded tourism, and a platform to connect vehicle owners with mechanics. While their approaches to monetization and customer retention vary, they share a vision to improve the way business is done in Indonesia.

Pitch practice.JPG
 Dr. Eunice Sari (left), a UI/UX expert from, shares her experience with one of the 13 startups participating at Launchpad Week in Jakarta
By working with Kibar Kreasi Indonesia to build a local community around Launchpad, we hope we can give these entrepreneurs—any many more in the future—a little boost at the start of their projects. If you’d like to take part in future Launchpad programs, please register your interest here.

Posted by Erica Hanson, Developer Relations Program Manager, Google

Google Play is available in more than 190 countries, making it a truly global platform for developers to build their high quality apps and turn them into successful businesses. A few months ago, we piloted a program in India to help developers make their content more accessible to more consumers by reducing the minimum price of paid apps, games, and in-app products on Google Play. Now this will be rolling out to 17 countries, including five in Southeast Asia.

Starting today, developers can offer their paid apps, games, and in-app products at these new minimum thresholds:

  • Indonesia: Rp 3,000.00 (was Rp 12,000.00)
  • Malaysia: RM 1.00 (was RM 3.50)
  • Philippines: ₱15.00 (was ₱43.00)
  • Thailand: ฿10.00 (was ฿32.00)
  • Vietnam: ₫6,000 (was ₫21,000.00)

Developers can go to the Google Play Developer Console and click on “Pricing & Distribution” or “In-app Products” to lower the price of your apps and games right away.

We hope this change allows developers from around the world reach more people in Southeast Asia.

Posted by Alistair Pott, Product Manager, Google Play

Is Asia developing towards mobile, or away from it? Three numbers from the Google-TNS Asia Pacific Mobile App Usage Study suggest an answer: as it expands, it will move towards mobile, not away from it.

The study asked people from across Asia about how they used their apps, revealing how central mobile has become to Asia’s daily life. And in markets where smartphones are only just becoming mainstream, we can expect that trend to strengthen.

We can sum this up in three numbers and two colors in the following chart:
Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 14.08.08.png
As is common in these kinds of surveys, Korea emerges as the smartphone paradise: they have the second highest smartphone penetration in Asia, the third-highest proportion of people who consider the smartphone their main device, and they install the most apps on their phone.

What’s interesting is India (IN) and Indonesia (ID). They have the lowest smartphone penetration in the survey and also the fewest number of apps installed on their phones (probably a consequence of having devices with far less memory). And yet, for them, the smartphone is more important to their daily life, not less: more smartphone owners in India and Indonesia consider their smartphone to be their primary device than in Singapore and Korea, even though they have fewer apps installed. Even when and if they do buy second devices like PCs and tablets, all their lessons about how the Internet works will come from that small touchscreen.

The mobile-first world of Asia doesn’t seem likely to be losing its center of gravity any time soon. Of course, each Asian country approaches the mobile Internet differently, and to get a more comprehensive outlook on what’s going on across the region, please read this article as we go through the study’s numbers at Think With Google APAC.

Posted by Masao Kakihara, Senior Research Manager, Market Insights, Google Asia-Pacific

On one of my first international trips since joining Google, it was great to come to Singapore to spend time with colleagues from across the region. It is clear that one of our big possibilities as a company is to help bring the next billion users online. Already, this region has half of the world’s mobile Internet users, and it is estimated that the majority of people who will come online in the next two years will come from Asia.
At Marina Bay, overlooking the Esplanade

In many ways, millions of people in Asia live in the future. They are mobile first, and generally mobile-only, with a completely different way of using the Internet and technology than we're used to in the West. Being here and seeing how people and businesses use mobile and the ways they are innovating is inspiring. There is so much the West can learn -- from rapid mobile adoption, to the extraordinary app development, and the proliferation of messaging apps across Asia-Pacific.

While we have plenty more to do, I am impressed by the progress we have already made. In just the last few weeks, the local teams began collaborating to bring the full Internet to many more people in India and in Indonesia. And everyday, they’re helping small businesses reach customers outside their villages, or encouraging app developers can to find new global audiences.

With all that we are doing across Google, we have the potential to improve the lives of billions, bringing connectivity, communication, and improved content to people who have never -- and may never -- have a traditional computer.

Posted by Ruth Porat, SVP and CFO of Google Inc and Alphabet Inc

From the lush waterfalls of the Milford Track to the alpine peaks of the Kepler Track, you can now explore some of the most stunning parts of New Zealand’s wilderness with the launch of seven of the world-renowned ‘Great Walks’ on Google Street View. Known for the beauty of their remote multi-day treks, the Great Walks are a favourite destination for hikers around the world, and are now available in 360-degree panoramic imagery right from your smartphone or computer, with Google Maps.

Collected with help from our friends at New Zealand’s Department of Conservation using the Google Trekker, this new imagery shows off New Zealand’s natural beauty while inspiring hikers around the world to plan a trip.

Our intrepid trekker collector Matt checks the lenses of the Google Trekker at Lake Te Anau on the Kepler Track

Take in the view of Lake Waikaremoana from Panekire Bluff, look down at the Hollyford Valley from Conical Hill, or check out the tallest waterfall in New Zealand — all without breaking a sweat.
Panekire Bluff looks over Lake Waikaremoana which translates to ‘sea of rippling waters’ in te reo.

Conical Hill on the Routeburn Track is quite a hike at 1,515 meters. (It’s easier to get to from your phone).

Dropping 580 meters from Lake Quill, the Sutherland Falls on the Milford Track are bigger than Eiffel Tower.

Emerging from the Enchanted Forest on the Heaphy Track you might not see hobbits, but if you’re very lucky you can sometimes spot baby seals. They’re even more common at Separation Point which is a fur seal breeding ground.

Wander through an Enchanted Forest on the Heaphy Track. (Eat your heart out, Peter Jackson).

Say hi to baby seals on the Heaphy Track

Even without seals, Separation Point knows how to put on a good show.

If you’re enjoying the coast, why not head south to the Golden Beaches on Stewart Island? Once you’ve explored that, you can head north again to the Abel Tasman Track and cross The Falls River suspension bridge or the Swing Bridge over the Kohaihai River.

An impressive 47-meter long suspension bridge takes you over Falls River

It’s just a hop, step and a swing bridge over the Kohaihai River on the Abel Tasman Track

New Zealand’s Great Walks have long been on the bucket list of keen outdoors people from all around the world. We hope by bringing the Milford, Kepler, Abel Tasman, Lake Waikaremoana, Heaphy, Routeburn and Rakiura / Stewart Island tracks to Street View, these images will not only help people who are about to trek them prepare, but give anyone who wants to virtually roam the beauty of the Great Walks an opportunity to do so. And you can view more Street View collections from around New Zealand here.

Today we opened the doors to the Kids Maker Studio, which we announced earlier this year, in Korea’s largest science museum, the Gwacheon National Science Museum.

It is our aspiration that this space and the accompanying outdoor Science Playground opening in the spring – both made possible through a partnership wih the Gwacheon National Science Museum and a grant from – will encourage more kids in Korea to ask audacious questions, seek out new challenges and set out to come up with previously unthought of solutions.

Our Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, was on hand to open the space…and help a few kids with their creative projects

The Kids Maker Studio will offer kids — and their parents – a wide range of workshops throughout the year. Upcoming sessions include everything from creating a stethoscope that can measure and convert electric resistance of various objects to sound, to making a model of a friend’s face using black strip resistor and LED lights.

Here are some pictures of the kids experimenting in the studio:

Over the past year, we have had an incredible opportunity to be involved in major initiatives that support Korea’s insatiable spirit for creativity and innovation. Through our partnership with the National Hangeul Museum, we opened an interactive space for kids to learn about the Korean alphabet. Earlier this year, we opened Campus Seoul, our first community space for startups in Asia. And next Spring, as mentioned, we will open the 2,000 square meter outdoor Science Playground at the Gwacheon National Science Museum.

We are so excited to see what the kids who come through these spaces create.

Posted by John Lee, Country Director, Google Korea