RICE Media has named Khai Asyraf (pictured above) as its managing director as it looks to formally expand its offerings across the region. Asyraf was last client services director with the firm for over two years. The company has also handed its branded content strategist, Ilyas Sholihyn the position of editor-in-chief.

Along with the expansion plans, RICE Media will also be officially establishing a branded content studio to offer partnering brands its expertise in cultural storytelling and digital content. It is also set to grow “Storytellers”, a mentorship program that teams up with local companies and community organisations to nurture potential creative talents from all backgrounds. The publication will also be officially establishing a branded content studio to offer partnering brands its expertise in cultural storytelling and digital content.

According to RICE Media founder Mark Tan, who initiated the changing of guards, the move came as part of an internal company restructure. “RICE Media is embarking on a regional expansion that will see us bring our brand of irreverent, impact journalism to key markets in Southeast Asia. This requires a strong, innovative management team that understands the region’s cultural nuances,” Tan said.

Currently RICE Media offers digital marketing and media consultancy solutions for agencies and brands. Moving forward, it looks to diversify its range of clients from travel and lifestyle brands to the banking, finance, and insurance industry. Tan also added that aside from their years of experience in the industry, Asyraf and Sholihyn bring an in-depth understanding of local and regional audiences and “a penchant for taking creative risks”.

Tan added that under their leadership, RICE Media audience and partners can expect greater diversity in topic covered as well as more “dynamic storytelling that pushes both creative and cultural boundaries”.

Asyraf added that the disruption of the pandemic offers an unparalleled opportunity for transformation and reinvention. “On this note, I will focus on expanding commercial opportunities in Southeast Asia, elevating our creators' capabilities in the region,” Asyraf said.

Prior to his time with RICE Media, Asyraf has worked on multiple government and commercial accounts while leading notable national engagements such as “Project RED”, a social integration campaign by the Ministry of Communications and Information and Community Chest in 2019.

He made a mid-career switch to pursue his interest in the media industry as a producer, working on national sporting events such as SEA Games 2015 and ASEAN Para Games 2015. As an agency producer, he gradually rose through the ranks across multiple agencies, redirecting his focus to business development and content growth strategy.

Meanwhile, with a decade of experience in regional newsrooms and digital publications, Sholihyn (pictured below) will be driving the content direction in RICE Media and refining its impactful, quality storytelling across diverse topic verticals.

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“Since 2016, RICE Media has been a platform that challenges perspectives through unfiltered, unconventional journalism. We’ve matured as a brand, and we want to build on that foundation with a sharper focus on delivering thoughtful content while still balancing our business objectives,” Sholihyn added. He added that the company now wants to collaborate with brands and government agencies to help people understand culture better by providing clarity and nuance while going deeper into pertinent issues.

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