How Technology Improves Freight Party Relationships

Business-to-Business (B2B) transactions have evolved tremendously in recent years. The need to adopt a more sophisticated technology to meet the demands of improving processes has become relevant. Moving freight by land, air, and sea can be complex and labor-intensive but could be managed easily with the help of technology. If you have a freight business, using technology could also improve your relationship with your clients. 

Here are five ways how technology can improve freight party relationships.

1. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID effectively tracks shipments, including their condition, without the need of scanning them.  It stores unique identifying data on a tag with information such as product information, manufacturing date, sell-by date, origin and destination location, and batch number. It automates distribution and simplifies management, ensuring accuracy in freight movement.

Accuracy and efficiency in freight movement are the top services clients look for in a freight mover.

2. Load Board 

A load board is an online source that houses posting for freight loads in real-time. It shows available load that freight owners can grab from the system with consideration on quantity, quality, and rate. Thus, ensuring you maximize the cost of doing business while streamlining your operations. You may know more about load boards on this page. 

Businesses that sign up on the load board are carefully vetted, therefore assuring the security of parties partaking in delivering quality service to their clients. 

Load boards ensure you maximize your capital by always keeping your truck full. In the course of a delivery fulfillment, flatbeds can proceed to take another load. Of course, this should be within the proximity that needs moving. Getting another load from the system reduces the cost of fuel and increases productivity. Instead of going back and forth or sitting idle, you’re increasing your profit.

3. Machine Learning

Machine learning has become increasingly popular since it has significantly revolutionized supply chain operations in recent years. Documentation in the supply chain business could be a tedious task that takes a lot of legwork. Currently, machine learning automates the process from data capturing up to reporting insights. This fast and efficient method eliminates repetitive duties such as data encoding, verification, and writing analysis.

Conventional supply chains follow specific predetermined workflows. Even if not followed incrementally, the integration of machine learning in the system will not disrupt the rhythm. Machine learning excels in analyzing an astonishing amount of information, discovering patterns, and using pattern recognition to make optimal business decisions.  

Using it will give your business the most accurate and optimal insights you may employ in improving processes within your enterprise. Clients might see that you value progress in meeting the demands of the industry you’re in.

4. Global Positioning System (GPS)

GPS now dominates the business sector by allowing accurate determination of geographical locations of just about anything in the world.  

GPS helps drivers navigate locations, effectively plan route assignments, and monitor driver behavior.  The mobility solution provided by GPS guarantees freight owners make informed decisions that the business will benefit from.

When delays are inevitable, freight owners can accurately justify using the GPS, thus improving client trust. This also elevates the quality of drivers since their driving behavior will be monitored, as reckless driving will be eschewed.  Drivers will be more conscious of their driving skills and would want to show top performance.

The rising cost of fuel in the world market is hurting many businesses especially the logistics industry. Using GPS identifies the shortest and most efficient route for moving. Thus, it’s maximizing fuel efficiency, improving speed in delivery, and lowering cost. 

5. Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is a database ledger that holds the history of ownership of a digital asset in the system that technically can’t be modified.  Everyone may be given access to the data but only those authorized to do so can make changes.  This is very promising as this eliminates fraud with the use of smart contracts. 

Moving freight transfers goods across several channels and all transfers are susceptible to fraud and corruption. Using blockchain technology ensures data is incorruptible.

Conclusion

Modern technology has paved the way for the development of a lot of things that surround us. To say that technology is inevitable is an understatement.

As an entrepreneur, you need to best deliver quality service to your clients. You should incorporate technology to meet the demands of your business.  This takes a lot of calculated risks but the benefits you will reap will be in abundance.  

Setting the Bar as a Trusted Brand

By Cyrus Gilbert-Rolf, Managing Director, EMEA & Oceania, EVRYTHNG

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is a tough one. Highly competitive, crowded, and frequently driven by price. Now producers are being put under even greater pressure, as consumers increasingly only want to buy from brands that they feel align with their own values.

With people becoming more aware of what they are putting into their bodies the focus on health issues is intensifying, coupled with sustainability and inclusivity being taken more seriously (particularly by millennials and Gen Z). This means that brands that want to retain, or even gain, a share of the market need to be seen visibly contributing to these causes.

Consumers are increasingly holding brands to account, wanting more information than can be delivered on a label or billboard. Businesses must now be able to show that their products have been sourced, produced, even transported, in a safe and sustainable way – along every step of the supply chain. 

These demands for data are too important to ignore, with 99% of consumers saying that transparency is important in fresh food products, and 75% of consumers stating they would switch to brands offering more complete information. 

With the addition of regulators requiring enhanced transparency and accuracy around Environmental Social and Governance (ESG), it’s more important than ever that companies seek to establish a reputation of trust. 

True transparency

It’s no longer enough to simply state that a product is Fairtrade/organic/non-GMO. Consumers want to see the proof of this. They want evidence that a brand is treating its workers fairly and behaving in an ethical and safe manner – and this expectation extends across the entire supply chain. As younger generations gain more buying power this demand for rich information will increase, and brands need to adapt to this market now. 

So far gaining this full visibility across the whole supply chain has been difficult, with data being disparate and inconsistent across suppliers. However, with the ability to mass serialise products, digitally print unique identities onto goods on a mass scale is becoming more affordable. Coupled with the computing power and cloud capacity to share, process and store of these massive amounts of data from each product, true end to end visibility is within reach.

This stands to revolutionise the CPG industry – enabling consumers and businesses to access all the information around a product’s life cycle by simply scanning a code – delivering true end to end visibility for the first time. It also provides businesses with both the challenge and opportunity of finally being able to meet customer expectations of transparency. Consumers will expect it, and it will be up to businesses to ensure they deliver it – or risk losing market share to those that do. Done successfully, this provides a chance to build trust, even generate loyalty, across a customer base that can be engaged with both pre and post purchase on an ongoing basis. 

Maximising engagement to build trust

Up until now opportunities to directly engage with consumers across the CPG market have been limited due to the lack of product registrations in this arena. Product digital identity stands to change all that, as consumers are able to scan a code pre-purchase – giving a line of communication to potential purchasers, and further opportunities to engage post purchase – all with the aim of encouraging repeat or further purchases from the same brand. 

Of course, this all depends on the consumer liking what they see when they access that information. As the market matures there is no doubt that there will be an increasing expectation of richer data and superior levels of transparency and authenticity. 

Changing the game on product recalls

The benefits of this new technology go beyond meeting consumer demands for information on how a product is produced. It will also make a significant difference to the tricky area of product recalls. 

No matter how focused a company is on safety, recalls are commonplace. How this is managed can have a significant impact on a brand’s reputation and the trust its customers place in it. In the CPG arena recalls are frequently done via in-store posters, social media, and email. There is very little opportunity for direct-to-consumer engagement, purely because the nature of the market means that product registration is rare (for example, a consumer would not register a bottle of shampoo, or a tin of beans).

As well as enabling companies to maximise both pre and post purchase engagement, it will also provide a direct channel to issue safety alerts should the need arise. Managing crisis points in this way will go even further in protecting, if not building, that all important consumer trust. 

Plan now for the consumer of the future

There is no doubt in my mind that product digital identities are the future. In addition to meeting the ever-growing demands for data from the consumer, it also plays into the ESG movement by providing information on product life cycle, highlighting opportunities to enhance sustainability.

Businesses must start to plan now for the consumer of the future and consider how they will meet customer expectations but also maximise the potential opportunities and establish themselves as a trusted brand. This means:

  • Starting to gather information across the entire product and consumer journey 
  • Unifying data from supplier, internal, and consumer facing applications around a unique and cloud enabled product identity 
  • Enabling each point of contact with the product to read and write contextually relevant data
  • Let customers know. Highlighting the fact that they are fully transparent, and that consumers can easily access the product life cycle and a full suite of information about its origins
  • The industry as a whole must work together to fully embed this new technology so that everyone can benefit. 

It is essential that businesses start taking these steps sooner rather than later and use the plentiful opportunities that end to end visibility and product digital identities offer in order to build a reputation as a trusted brand – ensuring that they are the ones that consumers are switching to, not from.

7 Important Factors That Affect Your Business Growth

Growing and expanding a business is undoubtedly one of the main goals of every entrepreneur. Profitable growth usually means that you’re succeeding in your efforts, and the hard work is finally paying off. Unfortunately, for many diverse reasons, not every business can thrive. When looking for the causes, it’s essential to realize that in many cases, simply coming up with a groundbreaking idea is not enough for a positive outcome.

Businesses have to be nourished constantly. If you want to achieve your goals as an entrepreneur, you need to work around the clock. Among particular aspects that need to be considered to ensure your business’s constant and steady growth are business structure and management. Capitalizing on social media marketing might be a good idea while adopting sustainable and green practices will help attract more customers. Things like online presence, credibility, openness to new ideas, and clear articulation of goals will also prove beneficial. Let’s take a closer look at these things.

 

Openness to New Ideas

One of the most effective ways to grow your business is by taking advantage of opportunities. When setting up a business, there are certain things you can expect from it, but some are and will remain, like the economy or political situation in your country. Due to this uncertain air, every entrepreneur needs to keep an open mind to make the right decision when required. Recognizing patterns earlier than your competitors is one of the most critical factors determining whether you’ll achieve success.

New ideas can also mean services provided by others, which can make running your business easier. If you’re working with international companies, for example, hiring a translation company that owns proper translation equipment might be suitable for your needs. While transactions keep the world moving, brands don’t have time to focus on language challenges getting in the way of their funds.

 

Budgeting and Finances

How you spend your money determines whether or not you’ll achieve your goals for the next quarter or year or even five years down the road. You need to make sure that you have a solid financial plan that has been appropriately implemented into your operations. Your first step should be creating a budget – outlining your expected profits for the next six months along with possible expenditures related to marketing, advertising, payroll, office space, utilities, etc.

The second step would be deciding how much money is going towards each category as well as writing down some basic financial principles such as using a free check stub maker to write checks as soon as possible and avoid losing track of them. Paying bills immediately after they arrive is also crucial, so you don’t rack up late fees. Another thing is being organized to avoid unnecessary spendings. An organized office will save you a great deal of money over time because you won’t lose any documents or information that might be useful later on during tax season or when trying to figure out what happened with finances during a certain time.

 

Business Structure and Management

The organizational structure consists of hierarchical levels, departments, and divisions that contribute to the business operations. As a business owner, you will need to determine how you want it to look and who will do what. A good structure will focus on the common goals and aims of particular departments while empowering them to take decisions on their own. The key is to ensure that all parts of the business work in harmony while being efficient and effective.

In order to achieve success, you will need the right kind of people on board. This can be done through good recruitment practices, but the ongoing training and development of your people is also an essential factor to bear in mind.

 

Marketing

A successful marketing strategy is a must if you want your company to get more recognition and push it ahead of competitors. To get the most out of your marketing efforts, you need to make sure you’re targeting the right audience. If you’re not getting the desired results from your campaigns, you might want to reassess your strategy and try something else.

One of the most efficient ways to get more customers is by implementing a solid digital marketing strategy. Social media marketing is an excellent way of getting more exposure for your business. Regularly posting short promotional videos and visually interesting photos or interacting with people in the comments will boost engagement and help create a bond with your customers.

Moreover, you will need to consider the overall look of your website and its usability. The fact that you have a good product is not enough; you need to make sure potential customers will be able to find it. Pay close attention to the design of your website, the mobile version, and the way you’re using social media. Confusing text, banners, pop-ups, and calls to action that don’t engage users will only send them away.

 

Sustainable and Green Practices

More and more people are becoming aware of environmental issues and are making conscious efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s essential for every business that wants to grow to adopt sustainable practices. By increasing awareness, you will be able to reach new customers – and build their loyalty.

Moreover, eco-friendly solutions can help you cut costs while gaining profit in the long run. You could even turn these eco-friendly practices into an opportunity for business growth by offering products and services that promote sustainability or making it a part of your brand image. Whether it’s a small thing like using less printing paper or focusing on creating a more energy-efficient office space, it’s always great to do something for the environment.

 

Clear Articulation of Goals

Every business owner has specific goals that they want to achieve. Having clear objectives is essential if you want your company to grow and expand its horizons. It would be best to make sure that everyone in the company understands what you want them to do to understand their roles and responsibilities.

You can achieve it through working on your communication skills and organizing meetings with professionals who will help lead you and your workers. It will also allow for better cooperation between employees and other companies involved in your business operations. If you want to achieve the best results, you must remain realistic about your goals and expectations. This way, you will know for sure what should be done to fulfill your intentions.

 

Brand Image

Creating a recognizable brand image will help you connect with the customers, and it’s essential for businesses that want to grow and expand. By working on your brand image, you will be able to boost your business, attract new customers, create a name for yourself, and make more sales.

As an entrepreneur, you need to make sure that the company’s brand identity is consistent across all of its marketing channels. This applies to both online and offline marketing efforts. By maintaining a particular look and feel of the brand, you will maximize your business growth and create a strong reputation.

 

Conclusion

If you want to achieve your goals, you need to make sure that you’re focusing on the right areas. While coming up with a business idea is key, it’s not enough. You have to work hard to maintain it, provide your workers with the right tools, and make sure that you get more customers. Not every business can succeed, but that doesn’t mean that yours won’t. With the right approach, dedication, work ethic, and determination, you might just be able to get exactly what you want!

ADDX Tokenises First Private Credit Fund, Lowers Minimum from US$5m to US$20,000

Managed by Temasek-owned SeaTown, the fund with committed capital of more than US$1 billion is raising external capital for the first time

Private market exchange ADDX has enabled rare fractional access to a private credit fund with more than US$1 billion in committed capital, reducing the fund’s minimum investment size for individual accredited investors from US$5 million to US$20,000. The move helps diversify the investor base of private credit funds, which have traditionally been designed to serve institutional capital. This is also the first private credit fund to be tokenised on the ADDX platform.

The lowering of the investment threshold was made possible through the issuance of security tokens with an exposure to the SeaTown Private Credit Feeder Fund LP (“SeaTown Private Credit Fund”). Also known as digital securities, these tokens are more efficient to administer because they make use of blockchain and smart contracts to overcome manual processes at different stages of their life cycle – including custody, ownership tracking, fund earnings distribution and secondary trading. The use of security tokens also eliminates the need for multiple intermediaries, which brings down costs further for both issuers and investors.

Fund manager SeaTown is a wholly owned subsidiary of Seviora Holdings, and is indirectly owned by Temasek Holdings. SeaTown has been investing in private credit since 2012, with US$2.1 billion of investments to date. In all, SeaTown manages five funds with US$6 billion in total AUM as of 30 June 2021.

Private credit funds are funds that make direct loans to companies or buy such loans from the secondary market. Technology is enabling the entry of non-institutional capital a time of significant expansion for private credit – also known as private debt – as an asset class. According to Preqin, private debt assets under management (AUM) have more than doubled in the past decade, from US$315 billion in 2010 to US$848 billion in 2020. Preqin is projecting private credit AUM to increase further, to $1.46 trillion by 2025.

SeaTown Private Credit Fund is raising capital from external limited partners (LPs) for the first time. The close-ended, four-year fund is focused on extending private credit to companies in the Asia-Pacific region.  To date, the SeaTown fund has deployed more than US$500 million in investments. Over half of the fund’s portfolio of deployed investments is in secured loans or bonds, while the remainder is in second-lien loans and preferred shares. The offering on the ADDX platform was completed last month, with individual accredited investors subscribing to US$7 million in tokens. The tokens are now listed for secondary trading on the ADDX exchange, which allows other accredited investors to take part.

Oi Yee Choo, Chief Commercial Officer of ADDX, said: “SeaTown is a distinguished name in the world of private capital. SeaTown’s link to the Temasek group of portfolio companies and its extensive deal sourcing network across the Asia-Pacific region enable the fund manager to be more selective in executing deals with a good risk-return profile.”

She added: “In the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, the growth of private credit funds has accelerated in part because traditional lenders such as banks have taken a more conservative stance on lending. Amid this expansion, we can see the private credit fund space maturing and attracting a deep pool of professional talent. Giving individual investors access to this burgeoning asset class resonates strongly with ADDX’s mission of democratising the private markets. It is not feasible for an investor with a net worth between US$2 million and US$20 million to enter a private credit fund with a minimum ticket size of US$5 million. But at a US$20,000 minimum, that same investor is able to take part in this previously-inaccessible asset and benefit from the enhanced portfolio diversification.”

Founded in 2017, ADDX, previously known as iSTOX, is a full-service capital markets platform with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) licenses for the issuance, custody and secondary trading of digital securities. The financial technology company raised US$50 million in its Series A round in January 2021. Its shareholders include Singapore Exchange (SGX), Temasek subsidiary Heliconia Capital and Japanese investors JIC Venture Growth Investments (JIC-VGI) and the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ). Individual accredited investors using the ADDX platform today come from 27 countries, spanning Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Americas (excluding the US).

Create a Sense of Crisis Before Diving into Digital, Urges Huawei Rotating Chairman Guo Ping

Huawei Rotating Chairman Guo Ping delivers a keynote speech at the 13th Global Peter Drucker Forum

A sense of crisis should be encouraged and intensified to help drive digital transformation, Huawei’s Rotating Chairman Guo Ping has told a gathering of management professionals at the 13th Global Peter Drucker Forum.

Motivated employees “on a mission” and strategic planning aligned to the company’s goals were key to creating the climate for successful change, Guo Ping said.

He predicted all companies would “go digital” in future, but feared some currently at the early stages lacked clear strategic goals and were “just following the pack”.

Guo Ping told delegates at the annual Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna on Wednesday that there was “no real alternative” to change, but that companies had to answer a key question before successfully embarking on digital transformation: “By going digital, how can they improve their organizational competitiveness and achieve their strategic goals?”

Guo Ping said high-quality planning was the starting point for successful digitalization. A fundamental transformation of Huawei’s product development in R&D and sustainable supply chains began twenty years earlier with IT Strategy & Planning.

“Looking back, we feel quite lucky, interlocking the goal of digitalization with the company’s overall strategic goals was certainly the right move. As a result, our organizational capabilities greatly improved. These transformation programmes made us a world class company”.

Guo Ping said changing employees’ mindset was “the biggest challenge” but key to successful transformation, with urgency generating “a sense of mission” and momentum for change.

“The sense of a crisis is important. Make it visible to intensify (it) to make employees truly understand the need for a change,” he advised, adding that the current situation had “been the perfect opportunity to create a climate for change” at the company.

He said Huawei had ensured employees had understood the need for change, fostered a culture of eagerness for transformation and ensured affected workers had felt protected.

Guo Ping said Huawei’s own culture of innovation begins with a tolerance for failure, with its researchers encouraged to adopt a varied, trial-and-error approach.

Citing the multiple 5G technologies Huawei had developed before one given technology was selected to be part of the industry standard, he recalled the words of the company founder Ren Zhengfei:“You take a path to find it only leads to a dead end. You share it with others so that they don’t repeat it and try another path: that’s also a success”.

Guo Ping highlighted the importance of transformation management and that at Huawei “the one thing that never changes is change”.

“To advance with times, we review our transformation planning every year, to ensure it aligns with our business strategy.  I believe continued transformation management will enable companies to constantly improve their capabilities in the digital era,” he said. “I hope all companies will boldly embrace change. After all, there’s no real alternative.” The Peter Drucker Forum is held every year in the management guru’s hometown of Vienna, Austria. The annual event, the 13th since 2009, brings together professionals of modern management from around the world. The theme of this year’s conference was the human imperative of navigating uncertainty in the digital age.

Temasek Establishes the Asia Sustainable Foods Platform to Accelerate the Commercialisation of Sustainable Foods in Asia

Temasek today announced the launch of the Asia Sustainable Foods Platform to focus on addressing the challenges of scaling up the production of alternative proteins, as well as accelerating the growth of sustainable foods in Asia.

The Asia Sustainable Foods Platform aims to provide solutions and support, as an enabler, operator and investor, to food-tech companies as they go through their life cycle from product development to commercial scale-up.

  • As an enabler, it will provide R&D advisory and pilot-scale manufacturing facilities to support food-tech businesses accelerate their product commercialisation;
  • As an operator, it will provide manufacturing capabilities, along with market insights into commercialisation opportunities to support scaling up across Asia; and
  • As an investor, it will also provide businesses with a network of strategic connections and allocate capital to promising food-tech start-ups.

Asia is expected to require around US$1.55 trillion of investment over the next decade to satisfy growing consumer demands for healthier and more sustainable food options. We need to evolve our current capabilities to bolster food security and strengthen supply chains,” said Yeoh Keat Chuan, Deputy Head, Enterprise Development Group at Temasek.

“Temasek has invested over US$8 billion in the global farm-to-fork value chain since 2013, and will continue to increase our investments in this space. Singapore has a significant role to play in the transformation of the agri-food sector. The Asia Sustainable Foods Platform aims to support local and regional businesses, innovate, scale up and commercialise,” he added.

The Asia Sustainable Foods Platform will be managed by a core team of food-tech professionals, led by newly appointed CEO, Mathys Boeren. Prior to joining the Platform, Mr Boeren worked in the food and food-ingredients industry for more than 25 years, amongst others for Unilever, Givaudan, Symrise and Kerry. More recently, he has advised start-ups in the sustainable food space on the alignment of product attributes and consumer preferences.

Mr Boeren highlighted that “Our key differentiating factor is our end-to-end enabler, operator, and investor capabilities that provide bespoke solutions and support to aspiring food-tech companies at every stage of their growth cycle. With our support to remove friction-to-adoption, companies can speed up their product development and pilot launch, as well as accelerate their commercial scale-up and go-to-market. In the end, it is our goal to delight consumers across Asia with tasty, fresh, traceable and sustainable food.”

Accelerating Product and Process Development with the Food Tech Innovation Centre (FTIC)

The Asia Sustainable Foods Platform and A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Food & Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) have committed to invest over S$30 million in the Food Tech Innovation Centre (FTIC) over the next three years, to provide tailored infrastructure and service offerings to promising food-tech start-ups.

FTIC will be a one-stop shop where aspiring food-tech start-ups will have access to a
food grade pilot scale facility with extrusion and fermentation equipment, shared labs, test kitchens, co-working spaces, as well as A*STAR’s deep R&D know-how.

“SIFBI is excited to partner with Temasek’s newly established Asia Sustainable Foods Platform on the FTIC, which will provide much-needed pilot scale capabilities for Alternative Protein (AP) companies to shorten time to market. We expect that this partnership will help anchor AP companies, and to contribute significantly to the flourishing and vibrant food-tech landscape here in Singapore,” said Dr Hazel Khoo, Executive Director, SIFBI.

This will address pain points food-tech businesses face in bringing their innovations to market, such as long wait-times for pilot-scale facilities and equipment; the lack of deep product & process development capabilities; and the difficulty in navigating regulatory processes and understanding unfamiliar markets in other parts of Asia.

FTIC is also pleased to announce that its first partner, Next Gen Foods, will be setting up their global R&D and innovation centre within FTIC. Next Gen Foods is a food start-up that is creating a portfolio of delicious, nutritious and sustainable plant-based foods – beginning with its popular chicken made from plants, TiNDLE, now available in over 150 restaurants across seven markets in AsiaEurope and the Middle East.

“At the core of Next Gen Foods is a dedication to creating plant-based foods that are not only sustainable – but also delicious, nutritious and scalable,” says Timo Recker, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Next Gen Foods. “We can only do this through a commitment to continuous product innovation and growth, and we’re thrilled to become the first company to put down roots in the brand-new FTIC. It is a significant milestone that reinforces our commitment to build a global impactful player based in Singapore, and we are grateful to our partners at A*STAR and Temasek’s Asia Sustainable Foods Platform for joining us on our mission to create a better food system for future generations to come.”

Robust Co-manufacturing Capacity with Leading Industry Players

The Asia Sustainable Foods Platform is exploring two joint ventures with global industry experts in plant-based and microbial proteins.

A partnership with CREMER, a German agri-food multinational with expertise in plant-based protein, through a joint venture company, will augment the Platform’s manufacturing capabilities for plant-based protein products. Key to this process is high moisture extrusion (HME), a new technology for producing texturised proteins that more closely resemble meat than other plant-based manufacturing techniques. The Platform’s investment in, and the operation of, the joint venture company are subject to obtaining all required regulatory approvals and consents.

Given the nascent technology, CREMER’s expertise in contract manufacturing and operating other HME plants globally will provide essential support for businesses in this area where few companies have mature HME capabilities and capacity, particularly in Asia.

“For CREMER, the customer has always been the starting point of our decisions. We are constantly improving and developing value-added services and products for our customers in tomorrow’s world. Recognising the growing importance of sustainability, health and plant-based foods in supporting the global food ecosystem, CREMER wants to play a major role in driving these trends by contributing production knowledge we have gained over decades. By bringing HME capabilities to Asia, CREMER aims to provide production support to the fast-growing plant-based community here,” said Damian Krueger, General Manager of Sustainable Nutrition at CREMER.

The Asia Sustainable Foods Platform has also signed an agreement with ADM, a global leader in nutrition, that will pave the way to form a joint venture that enables contract development and manufacturing services for microbial proteins produced via precision fermentation. ADM’s global capabilities, and innovative fermentation-based expertise, will help enable smaller existing food-tech companies to efficiently scale their fermentation innovations through to the pilot scale. This project is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

“We’ve talked to innovators, from startups to mature food providers, in Singapore and across APAC, and they have told us that they are eager and waiting for a partner that can provide support for food-grade precision fermentation technology,” said Joe Taets, president of ADM’s APAC business. “This first-of-its-kind joint venture in Singapore would meet that demand, and in doing so, will help further the development of the alternative protein industry in APAC.”

“EDB is pleased to be supporting ADM and Temasek’s Asia Sustainable Foods Platform efforts in building up precision fermentation expertise in Singapore. The joint venture addresses the needs of innovators in developing and scaling fermentation-based solutions, allowing them to serve global customers from Singapore. This will also strengthen our agri-food ecosystem through ensuring that the suitable infrastructure and technological capabilities are in place to spur innovation of agri-food technologies,” said Damian Chan, Executive Vice President, Singapore Economic Development Board.

China-Singapore Trade in Services Innovation Forum to Discuss New Paths for High-Level Opening-Up

The fourth China-Singapore Trade in Services Innovation Forum, an important official supporting event of the fourth China International Import Expo, was held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai yesterday afternoon. It was also the first time that the annual forum was held at the CIIE venue.

This year, the forum took as its theme ‘Digital Empowerment, Create the New Pattern of High-Level Opening-up in Trade in Service.’

How to accelerate the development of digital trade, how to set up and improve the its governance system, and enhance the ability and level of such governance have become the key issues about which all parties are concerned in the process of promoting the high-level development of trade in services.

The forum was hosted by the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government and organized by the Suzhou Municipal People’s Government and Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee. Yicai Media Group provided all-media support as the exclusive media partner.

Chi Fulin, president of the Hainan-based China Institute for Reform and Development, delivered a keynote speech entitled ‘Benchmarking International High-Level Economic and Trade Rules,’ that analyzed in detail the paths for the innovative growth of trade in services under the new pattern of development. Chi said that international economic and trade rules are undergoing profound and complex changes and trade in services is becoming the focus of global free trade and the reconstruction of rules. The opening-up process and the interconnection of domestic and foreign benchmarks should be promoted, fair competition in the field of trade in services should be facilitated, and innovative development in trade in services should be strongly spurred. 

In the subsequent keynote speech session, Qian Bin, vice president of Bank of Communications and a member of the bank’s Party Committee, shared his view on the ‘Opening-up and Development of Trade in Services Spurred by Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technologies in the Financial Sector,’ while Li Tao, vice president of Philips Greater China, shared his opinion on ‘Restructuring and Positioning of Multinational Corporations’ Industry Chains Under New Pattern of Development.’ And Wei Zhe, founding partner and chairman of Vision Knight Capital, discussed ‘Systematic Capacity Improvement of Companies Engaged in Trade in Services in the Digital Economy Era.’ [‘CEO Systematic Capacity Improvement in the Digital Economy Era,’ as per the previous story]

Exploring New Paths to Open Up Services

Suzhou Industrial Park, one of the forum’s organizers, is an important collaboration project between the governments of China and Singapore. It boasts the special gene that marks the partnership between China and Singapore, and it has the advantages that are richly endowed by nature in promoting the development of the trade in services and digital trade. 

The world’s first special agreement covering the digital economy, the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, was signed by New ZealandSingapore and Chile on June 12 last year. Singapore is also a member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that will take effect next Jan. 1 and the country will take over the presidency of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2022.

Last December, China and Singapore also announced follow-up talks on upgrading the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement to focus on negotiations over trade in services and investment liberalization by adopting a negative list, to further liberalize and facilitate bilateral trade and investment.

Chua Teng Hoe, consul-general of the Republic of Singapore in Shanghai, signed the Memorandum of Understanding for Service Industry Development between the People’s Government of Suzhou at the forum. Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, Bank of Communications and the Suzhou Industrial Park also penned a strategic agreement, and 21 groups of company representatives in three batches inked contracts at the forum.

Suzhou became a pilot city for China to experiment with service trade innovative development in 2006. The Suzhou Industrial Park is a leader in service trade development in the city and even Jiangsu province, and in recent years has been hitting new record highs in the scale of services trade with better structure and higher quality.

Yang Yudong, editor-in-chief of Yicai Media Group, attended a roundtable brainstorming with representatives of companies and institutions in Shanghai and Suzhou at the forum on the topic of ‘Vision under the New Pattern of Shanghai-Suzhou Integrated Development: Digital Technology Rebuilding the Global Industrial Chain.’

Innovative development of digital technology has greatly improved the tradability of cross-border services and rebuilt the globe’s industrial and value chains, according to guests at the brainstorming. Digital trade is developing rapidly, and new digital industries, new business forms, and new patterns have emerged. Regional development also provides great opportunities for the development of digital trade. Building a service trade cluster in the Yangtze River Delta region is a demand and an opportunity against the backdrop of integration of the region, especially the Shanghai-Suzhou integrated development.

ADDX Expects Significant Upside in Japan, As Partner Tokai Tokyo Receives Security Tokens License

The two companies will collaborate on issuances by Japanese real estate companies and banks, that will be offered to investors in Japan

Financial services company Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings and private market exchange ADDX have announced a new partnership to offer fractional private market investment products to investors in Japan, after Tokai Tokyo secured a security tokens license from the Japanese regulator.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Tokai Tokyo is the holding company for a leading securities brokerage in Japan. The company offers investment and trading services to investors via its network of 144 offices in Japan. It holds consolidated net assets worth US$1.4 billion and has US$38 billion of client assets under management.

Last month, Tokai Tokyo received a license from the Japanese regulator – the Financial Services Agency (FSA) – that allows the company to deal in security tokens, also known as digital securities. With the new license, Tokai Tokyo and ADDX plan to collaborate on security token issuances by Japanese real estate companies and banks. These future deals will be tokenised on the ADDX platform before being distributed by Tokai Tokyo to sophisticated investors in Japan. In addition, Japanese investors will be able to trade the digital securities on the ADDX secondary exchange through Tokai Tokyo.

With this new business partnership, ADDX expects a significant increase to its revenue from the Japanese market. Under the tie-up, Tokai Tokyo will be the first company in Japan to distribute security tokens that are tradeable on a secondary exchange. It will also be the first in Japan to deal in security tokens for non-liquid assets, as previous security token licensees received regulatory approvals for liquid assets.

For Tokai Tokyo and ADDX, this is a partnership that began in 2019 when Tokai Tokyo made its first investment in ADDX, previously known as iSTOX. Tokai Tokyo was also a lead investor in the US$50 million Series A fundraising round by ADDX in January 2021. Other ADDX shareholders include Japanese investors JIC Venture Growth Investments (JIC-VGI) and the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ), Singapore Exchange (SGX) as well as Temasek subsidiary Heliconia Capital.

Yuji Ban, Senior Managing Executive Officer, Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings, said: “It took a long time to get to this point, but we now have a license for security tokens. Our future collaboration with ADDX will be key to establishing an innovative business model in Japan, where a digital security exchange like ADDX does not exist yet. We and many others in Japan eagerly anticipate working with ADDX to create investment opportunities for Japanese investors and new financing options for issuers. We look forward to working with ADDX on a variety of security token projects in the near future.”

Oi Yee Choo, Chief Commercial Officer of ADDX, said: “Japan has one of the most forward-thinking regulators on the issue of digital securities – alongside those in a handful of other jurisdictions, including Singapore. This prevailing view has once again been validated by the Japanese regulator’s latest move to grant a new security tokens license. As Japan embraces innovation in the capital markets, individuals will, no doubt, be the chief beneficiaries. The community of individual sophisticated investors in Japan is deep and sophisticated. Historically, they have shown a strong interest in real estate investments. But the opportunities open to them – whether in real estate or other asset types – are curtailed because of the high minimum investment sizes in the private markets. Digital securities can fractionalise investments, helping individuals to diversify their portfolios and to invest with a strategy and asset-mix closer to that of family offices or institutions. This promises several positive knock-on effects – from better retirement adequacy to a fairer distribution of wealth.”

She added: “Tokai Tokyo is one of the oldest and most trusted financial companies in Japan, with roots dating back to 1908. We expect this partnership to yield multiple deals over the next few quarters. The possibilities are exciting and limitless, given how the two companies share the same vision on innovation in the financial services and bring complementary strengths to the table.”

Digital securities are securities issued using blockchain and smart contract technology. They are more efficient to administer, because the technology reduces the need for intermediaries and automates manual processes. Digital securities are also regulated and backed by real-world assets. The efficiency of blockchain allows minimum ticket sizes for private market products to be reduced from US$1 million to US$10,000, expanding access for accredited investors to previously out-of-reach assets, including funds, bonds and pre-IPO equity. Issuers benefit from lower fees, the ability to reach a larger investor base, a lower fundraising threshold, as well as a faster speed-to-issuance.

ADDX is a full-service capital markets platform with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) licenses for the issuance, custody, and secondary trading of digital securities. Individual accredited investors using the ADDX platform today come from Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Americas (excluding the US).

7 Efficient Tips to Maximize Automated Product Inspection

Product integrity is a real issue for manufacturers and consumers alike. Companies heavily invest in equipment and technology to aid in fast production. However, the speed at which the products are produced, packaged, and labeled leaves room for possible defects. One unidentified defect in the production chain may affect both the brand and the consumer.

Manufacturers are now focused on product inspection to help identify and correct any defect before it goes further into the production line. But still, the fast nature of production means manual inspection isn’t the best way to conduct an inspection. Therefore, many manufacturers have resorted to using automatic inspection systems.

Using an automated system offers several advantages such as higher accuracy, higher speed, lower costs, and consumer protection. However, achieving these benefits doesn’t come automatically once you purchase an inspection system. There are a few crucial practices that you’ll need to do to get the best out of it. Here are some tips that will help you maximize automated product inspection: 

1. Choose a Reliable Vendor

Once you decide to automate your inspection system, ensure that you’re working with a reliable vendor. If you’re purchasing an inspection system such as TDI Packsys food metal detector or an X-ray inspection system, it should be from a provider who prioritizes quality inspection. 

One way to choose a good vendor is by searching online and reviewing their profiles to see if they match what you need. You can also ask for referrals from people who have purchased inspections systems before.

2. Create an Inspection Baseline 

Your inspection system team should have a baseline to work with. The baseline will help them know what’s acceptable and what isn’t, and what counts as a correct label and a defect label. This will help them know what products can move to the next level and what needs to be corrected first. 

If you have a customizable inspection system, then you can fit it with an inspection baseline. Every product that passes the baseline will be moved to the next level, and those that fall short will be flagged. 

3. Train Operators 

While the inspection process can be repetitive and operators can master the basics, it’s still possible to forget the principle. Additionally, there can be cases where you change your inspection system when pursuing higher quality or if you have to be compliant with new standards.  Your operators should then adjust to suit the new requirements.

Therefore, you should train them every time you change the system. Test them with a series of principles you expect to see from the new automation system.  

4. Control Material Movements 

Your automated quality systems should have interlocks enacted to prevent the movement of products until the necessary actions are taken or inspection is passed. In some inspections systems, a contaminant can be identified, but it may still go to the next stage because of the fast process and the number of products. 

Your automation system should be able to identify the products that have defects and remove them from the production line. If a product passes one stage and develops a defect before the next stage, it should also be flagged and removed. This will maximize the efficiency of the inspection as no defect will be missed at any stage. 

5. Monitor and Redesign 

Over time, your system may develop calibration problems and defects, and it may flag products that are okay. It could also fail to identify defective products and let them move to the next stage. Such misses could mean you spend more resources correcting products with no problem or releasing defective products to your consumers.

Because this is a concern for your finances and reputation, always inspect flagged products for any misses. If you notice any misses, test the system using predetermined products that have contaminants and those that don’t. This will enable you to identify where the problem is, so you can redesign, recalibrate, or change the system entirely. 

6. Use Data-Driven Inspection 

Machines become better in decision-making as more data is fed into them. The same is true for inspection systems. More data about products records, previous defects, and other anomalies will help your system learn to perform more quality checks on products. Machine learning will efficiently help the inspection system detect anomalies, parts, quality, and quantity as they are exposed to more products. 

Ensure that the system records data every time it carries out an inspection. Over time, the system will use the data collected to improve inspections with limited human intervention. 

7. Proper Instrumentation 

Sometimes manufacturers can lack the proper instrumentation to achieve the level of accuracy that they desire. For example, only inspecting the finished products means missing substandard components that have entered the production line through the raw materials. 

Therefore, manufacturers should have proper instruments at different stages of production. For instance, you may need an X-ray inspection to identify bugs or hair strands on the raw materials. A combination of different inspection instruments may achieve better results.

Conclusion 

An automated inspection system will achieve better efficiency than manual inspections. However, you’ll need to observe certain practices to get the best out of it and ensure your products only leave the factory after it passes all the required inspection standards. The tips discussed in this article are great ways to maximize automated product inspection.

Extensive Cooperation between China and Japan in Digital Society and AI

Co-hosted by China International Publishing Group (CIPG) and Japanese non-profit think tank the Genron NPO, participants from both countries shared ideas and held in-depth dialogues on digital economy, artificial intelligence(AI), economic and trade cooperation, and cultural exchanges during the two-day forum.

At the sub-forum of the 17th Beijing-Tokyo Forum on October 26, both Chinese and Japanese experts held candid and in-depth discussions on the prospects of bilateral cooperation in digital society and AI, and reached consensus on relevant issues.

Sino-Japanese digital cooperation boasts great prospects

Xu Zhilong, editor-in-chief of the Science and Technology Daily said at the forum, “The development of digital economy is not merely the development of digital technologies or products, but to build an ecological system of digital economy.”

Tatsuo Yamasaki, distinguished professor of the International University of Health and Welfare expressed his hope that this platform could explore solutions to the issues concerned the community with a shared future for mankind, such as the care of the elderly in an aging society, AI enabling climate change monitoring, tracking carbon footprint through AI technology, reducing energy consumption, and integrating traditional energy with new technologies.

Pang Dazhi, vice president of NetEase believes that the young generation in China and Japan gets to know each other’s culture through digital products, such as animation, games, music and movies. “In fact, based on the same cultural heritage and highly complementary technology on game development, the two countries have broad space for cooperation in the field of digital culture and digital economy.”

Novel trends and scenarios of digital economy

Duan Dawei, Senior vice president at iFLYTEK Co.Ltd. said, there is great room for cooperation between China and Japan in the field of AI. “China and Japan face common challenges in education, medical care, care for elderly people and other areas. Thus, we can discuss how to offer better service to the public through AI technology.”

Taro Shimada, Senior VP of Toshiba corporation, said that the use of logistics data is vulnerable to natural disasters. “Both China and Japan are committed to improving the toughness of supply chain through sci-tech. Facing the shock of COVID-19, logistics data presents both opportunities and challenges. Common sense has been reached on the sharing of logistics data, promoting the use of logistics data to a new level.”

Jeff Shi, vice president of SenseTime, said AI can help solve the aging problem faced by both China and Japan, dealing with the practical challenge of productivity shortage. “AI can help solve the productivity shortfall. Meanwhile, AI itself is trying to improve productivity by reducing its reliance on data and humans.”

“Zero carbonisation” gains momentum through digital economy

AI helps develop new materials such as new catalysts, said Junichi Hasegawa, COO of Preferred Networks. “Photovoltaic, hydraulic and hydrogen energy are all commonly discussed energy sources, whereas they all belong to secondary energy sources. Therefore, carbon emissions are unavoidable in the production of these new energies and how to reduce carbon emissions in producing these energy is an important issue.”

In addition, human society is inseparable from computers. How to reduce the power consumption of its data centers and develop new computers with higher efficiency and less emissions is also worth thinking about.

“Total global carbon emissions fell by a record 7 percent in 2020 from the previous year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Liu Song, vice president of Pingkai Xingchen (Beijing) Technology Co.Ltd., “However, economic activities did not suspend, the reason is the vigorous development of Internet economy.”

Liu said that online activities can significantly reduce carbon emissions while ensuring normal economic development. We may seek new path on energy conservation and emission reduction through the use, transmission and storage of data in the future.

Data protection and security are focused

Hiromi Yamaoka, board member of Future corporation, said that developing AI needs to address concerns on privacy collection. “The application of AI requires the collection of high-quality data, which involves the aspects of data governance, privacy protection and other issues. In the process of developing AI, the concerns should be tackled. In addition, when it comes to cross-border data flows, countries around the world should reach a consensus to ensure the security of data flow,”said he.

Liu also shared idea on this topic, saying that the boundaries of national security and personal privacy need to be clearly defined. China has paid attention to the dialectical relationship between development and security of data flow.

Pandemic Shines Light on Stark Contrast in Healthcare for Employers with Overseas Staff

Covid has shone a harsh spotlight on the global inequalities of health care. Employers with staff in overseas positions are seeing a stark contrast in the care individuals may receive if left to the health system of their host nation.

While this may sometimes be very high-quality care, it may also come at a very high cost. In other areas, staff will not receive the level of care they would expect at home. This is making many employers see that they must ensure their staff are supported and provided with adequate care, and that the costs are fully covered.   

Global disparity statistics

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) World Health Statistics Report 2021 shows that healthy life expectancy at birth in the United Kingdom is 70.1 years. This compares to 63.7 years globally. Japan has the highest healthy life expectancy at 74.1 years, with Lesotho being the lowest at just 44.2 years.

Irrespective of the pandemic, global health care inequalities are rooted among social, political, economic and gender inequalities and there are stark differences in the spending on health care around the world. Deloitte’s 2021 Global Health Care Outlook report shows that by 2024, at one end of the scale, the USA is likely to spend US$12,703 per capita on health while, at the other end of the scale, Pakistan is likely to spend just US$37 per capita.

Uniting employees

The disparities in health care around the world can contribute to overseas employees feeling isolated and undervalued. A robust health and wellbeing programme can, however, help to connect a disparate workforce around the globe, with physical and mental support stretching far beyond the boundaries of each country, so it’s vital that employers put such support in place.

Virtual support

The rise in online support throughout the Covid pandemic means that it is now even easier and more commonplace for help to be made available through virtual services, and this is something that employers must consider. Whether this is online GP appointments, virtual physio, or video counselling, it means that support can be made available anywhere in the world with internet provision.

Indeed, figures from Statista show that the global digital health market was worth an estimated US$175billion prior to the pandemic in 2019. This is expected to reach nearly US$660billion by 2025, so it’s a trend employers need to incorporate.

Sarah Dennis, head of international at Towergate Health & Protection, says: “Employers of overseas staff must embrace the growth and development in digital health. It is a major opportunity to provide better health care in isolated parts of the world and to introduce a level of consistency and equality across their provision.”

The importance of wellbeing

Reported in the Deloitte findings, Dutch experts believe that the focus is shifting from health care to health and wellbeing. There will be greater focus on healthy lifestyles, vitality, and wellness, on prevention and early diagnosis. This is a movement that many HR and employee benefits professionals have been promoting for some time.

Employers should ensure that the health and wellbeing policy they put in place is wide-ranging. There are lifestyle considerations to be made according to the countries in which employees are working. Where Australia, for example is attuned to work-life balance and has an active, outdoors lifestyle, in other countries this routine is less likely. Wider support should therefore be included – such as guidance on nutrition and exercise – to support employees in every country.

Cultural differences and mental health

Sarah Dennis comments: “In some countries they just don’t talk about mental health issues. This does not mean, however, that employees there don’t have mental health problems, and they may well need more support than those in countries where mental health is openly discussed.”

With cultural differences and stigma still attached to mental health conditions in many countries it is important for employers to investigate options for mental health support and to access specialists who have experience abroad themselves. Mental health support for overseas employees may include global employee assistance programmes (EAPs), counselling, and support hotlines. Many of which are open to the employees’ families too.

Sarah Dennis concludes: “The pandemic has brought challenging times across the world but there is now an opportunity to use this to unite employees. Health and wellbeing has been pushed high up the agenda and it is up to employers to now ensure it stays there. Understanding global differences in approaches and ensuring there is adequate support for staff around the world is a good starting point.”

Q4 2021

Welcome to the Q4 edition of APAC Insider Magazine, your quarterly source for all of the latest news and updates from across the Asia Pacific region.

As we enter the final quarter of 2021, we are able to reflect on a busy year for the APAC region. From the positive and inspiring moments such as the victories celebrated at the Tokyo Olympic Games, to the bleaker events and the ever-present shadow of an ongoing global pandemic, there is no doubt that 2021 has been a year unlike any other.

Similarly, it has been a busy year for APAC Insider, which has celebrated the successes of a plethora of businesses across a range of awards campaigns, despite the turbulence of the past twelve months. In this Q4 issue of APAC Insider, we present yet more success: our featured company, for instance, is the Singapore-based salon, Nail Palace, which has won not one but two awards at the South East Asia Business Awards 2021. We find out more about the chain’s story so far, and those of the other award-winning companies featured within this issue.

Thus, we hope you enjoy this quarter’s edition of APAC Insider and its insight into the corporate landscape of the region. As ever, we wish you all the best as 2021 comes to a close and look forward to welcoming you back in 2022.

Smartization: The Key to Sustainable Business Growth Post-Pandemic

Digital transformation has had a significant impact across many industries. Beyond the regular cast of tech characters, companies spanning a wide range of verticals began to implement digital transformation to respond to market demands; the pandemic has only accelerated this trend. This global crisis crippled industries and threatened businesses of all sizes. While the situation seemed hopeless to some, others saw opportunities for positive change. Would you believe that a 100-year-old tire manufacturing company would consider smart transformation of its business to combat these challenging times?

Research conducted by Gartner shows that, since the outbreak of COVID-19, corporate budgets for technology have increased by 6.9% on average, which has a positive impact on smart transformation. In previous crises, companies often cut expenditures first, but this time their investment in technology has not decreased. In fact, the use, research, and development of smart hardware, the upgrading of management systems, the development of remote collaborative platforms, and digital means for pandemic control and prevention are now top priorities, showing the commitment of business leaders to smartization as well as the urgency of business transformation.

For many companies, working with an IoT platform was a great option to accelerate their digital transformations without having to spend millions on R&D. The following case studies are prime examples of how companies have met the demands of their customers during the pandemic, not only surviving the pandemic, but thriving throughout.

Expansion into Innovative Categories

In the early stage of the pandemic, while people were locked down at home, roadways were deserted, and buses, trains, and airplanes all sat empty. Later, social distancing and fear of community spread of the virus led people to turn to individual modes of transportation.

Goodyear, one of the world’s largest tire companies, employing about 63,000 people and manufacturing products in 46 facilities in 21 countries around the world, picked up on this trend and turned to smartization by means of business innovation. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more than 100 years, Goodyear has been delivering quality products that get people where they need to go.

Goodyear has licensed Miralbueno Group that develops activities in the agricultural machinery sector, gardening, hardware, and industrial sector. In 2020, Miralbueno Group started its partnership with an IoT development platform to power its scooters, air purifiers, and air quality monitors under the Goodyear brand. IoT technology has quickly enabled Miralbueno Group to seize new opportunities in the market and upgrade selected products to be connected within a very short time period. Currently, these IoT-enabled products, under the Goodyear brand, cover all aspects of life and are widely embraced by European and South American consumers, and more products are under development.

Traditional Goes Smart

As more people are turning to smart products to maintain a normal life and interpersonal relations, this has accelerated the smartization of daily life. During the pandemic, consumer demand for digital products and services has experienced robust growth. According to Gartner, in 2021, it is expected that the demand for digital products will go up to 83% with contact-free smart devices such as smart lighting leading the way.

SATCO, founded in 1966, is a New York-based lighting company. Thanks to advances in IoT technology, smart speakers and smart voice assistants are widely available, making the application of voice-controlled smart devices possible. In the era of artificial intelligence, more and more lighting manufacturers are eager to transform their business. SATCO is no exception.

In 2021, SATCO launched its first smart lighting brand, STARFISH™, which consists of more than 50 smart lighting products, ranging from recessed downlight fixtures to color-changing strip lights, electrical outlets, and switches. The growing line of products can be controlled and interconnected through the STARFISH app. Furthermore, the products can also be connected with more than 410,000 smart devices to provide consumers with the ease of interconnectivity. The STARFISH product line has been met with overwhelming success during the COVID-19 pandemic, with product sales increasing 100% month over month.

Businesses Move Towards the Era of the Metaverse

Today, business owners and executives around the world see the pandemic as the biggest risk factor impacting economic and business growth. As smartization is embraced by all industries, the digital revolution is well underway, with widely used passive smart products and more sophisticated active ones. At the same time, AMI (ambient intelligence) has become a “helper” in coping with the pandemic and is expected to create the next driver of growth, triggering a network effect.

Virtual reality has become a key target for all industries and the era of metaverse is coming. Virtual reality has not only become the vanguard in the fight against the pandemic but also a priority goal for different industries. Technology, which used to be thought of as in the background, is now front and center, driving new business models and transforming products and services across all industries.

Tuya Smart enables companies to achieve their smart transformation goals. For more information, please download the white paper: The 60 Smartest Companies Thriving Post-Pandemic.

According to the white paper, The 60 Smartest Companies Thriving Post-Pandemic, published on October 21 by Tuya Smart, a global IoT development platform company, Gartner, a world-renowned research and advisory company, and media platforms Global Intelligent Business and IoT Business Vantage (IBV), digitalization and smartization are current top trends for business across industries in light of the pandemic. The white paper also explores how companies use new technology in response to the drastic changes brought by the pandemic and achieve their smart transformation goals.

APAC Cloud Advertising Market Growing at Higher Rate than North America

A report released by Reportlinker finds that the worldwide cloud advertising market is expected to grow at 19.6% from a current figure of $2.7 billion until 2026, when it is expected to be worth $6.7 billion, with North America holding the largest market share, while the Asia Pacific (APAC) region is expected to grow at a higher rate.

 

New methods and technology move to fore

As marketing efforts have evolved considerably over the past decade, and new methods and technology have moved to the fore, the advent of digital marketing and cloud computing has afforded marketers the ability and privilege to target very specific customers in their own homes, with the support of digital marketing leaders such as www.12handz.com.

The report “Cloud Advertising Market with COVID-19 Impact, by Component, Application, Organization Size, Deployment Model, Vertical and Region—Global Forecast to 2026” surveys some of the vital new opportunities such as social media marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click, content marketing, mobile marketing, and marketing analytics, helping businesses analyse and reach their target audience.

Demand for personalised content and experiences is further driving the adoption of cloud advertising, with verticals such as consumer goods and retail, and media and entertainment, bringing new investment in cloud marketing technology.

Of the five major regions surveyed by geography—North America, APAC, Europe, MEA, and Latin America—North America commands the lion’s share of the cloud advertising market at 48%, while Europe (27%), APAC (15%), and the rest of the world (10%) fill up the second half.

The North American region is expected to hold its lead during the forecast period as marketing technology is deeply entrenched on the continent, led by the U.S. and Canadian economies. This area, additionally, commands a higher percentage of social media and smartphone users—U.S. penetration of mobile devices is 90%, followed by Canada—and advertising spending is considerably higher in these countries than any other.

According to Gartner Research, customer growth in the APAC region was 27.8% in 2020 and the software market grew 13% to a figure of $99 billion, adding $11 billion to the software market overall.

 

Platform segment projected to hold largest market share

Data analytics is rising in priority as marketers seek accurately to profile their target audience and optimise digital advertising for more efficient results. Targeted marketing is therefore driving consumer analytics and growing the cloud advertising market which is supporting marketing departments as they develop, manage, and implement campaigns boosting revenue growth.

By component, the cloud advertising market is divided into platforms and services, with the platforms segment projected to hold the largest market share during the forecast period. Online platforms afford organisations the ability to personalise and automate Web-based marketing campaigns, and this segment is projected to capture the largest market size during the forecast period.

Platforms work well delivering repetitive tasks such as social media information request follow-ups, after-sales support, emails at regular intervals, integrating data, building customer profiles, delivering instant content, reporting, and enabling collaboration with other team members.

Marketing tools such as testing and personalisation, analytics, omni-channel campaign management, content management, and data management are all hardwired into platforms, and they also bring artificial intelligence (AI) capability, crunching consumer data in real-time and the ability to modify display content on-the-fly.

 

Public cloud bringing simplicity and easy deployment.

Services offered via a free or subscription-based public deployment model are using the cloud for simplicity and easy deployment. Because investment capital for this model is minimal and managing the infrastructure outsource, the public cloud is expected to grow to the largest market share.

The benefits of the public cloud are that it is scalable, reliable, lower cost, flexible, and location independent. The major concern, however, is data security and some enterprises, therefore, are moving into private and hybrid cloud models.

Vendors worldwide are adopting organic and inorganic growth strategies, and these include partnerships and collaborations, mergers and acquisitions, new product launches, and enhancements, while some are deploying a blend of both to expand their customer base and market share.

The “Cloud Advertising Market” report profiles key vendors including Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce, Google, IBM, SAP, Acquia, Demandbase, and Experian, who are all stepping up to the dynamic market needs and partnering widely, implementing strategies to meet higher demand.

One data engineering cloud company capitalising on growth is Trifacta, which announced its continued expansion into Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), with a new regional presence in Singapore and Bengaluru, India.

“I’m incredibly impressed with the depth of talent in the region and the entrepreneurial spirit of our India and APJ team. In just a short time, this group has substantially impacted Trifacta’s success. Continued investment in this region will be key for our continued innovation, and we are excited to bring on new team members across all departments and locations,” said Adam Wilson, Trifacta’s CEO in a press release.

Do’s and Don’ts for Pacific Rim Business Success

The Asia-Pacific business market represents one of the largest, and most densely populated geographic regions on earth. Sellers and business owners who choose to operate in this commercial zone often do so because consumer markets are huge, economies in the Pacific Rim area are enjoying a growth spurt, and digital business models mean sellers need to deliver goods to buyers in every country of the world. However, for companies who have never done business in Asia, let alone the Pacific Rim markets, it’s essential to keep several key facts in mind.

Step one for any successful enterprise is to define markets. After that, it’s up to entrepreneurs to choose among several other priorities, including dealing with language barriers, doing smart logistics planning, respecting local cultural norms, not relying on one-nation markets, and remembering to network even before launching an Asia-Pacific based business enterprise. Here are several guidelines that can help owners and entrepreneurs get the most out of their profit-seeking ventures.

 

Define Your Markets

The Asia-Pacific economic zone includes dozens of nations and cultures, each with its own population centers, product preferences, laws, customs, and ways of dealing with new merchants. It’s imperative to define, both geographically and otherwise, your target markets if you decide to operate a for-profit entity in the area. Taking too broad a reach will quickly spread resources thin and leave you with nothing but frustration to show for your efforts. Begin by defining your ideal customer by age, product preferences, and specific location.

 

Optimize Fleet Management

Nowhere is high-quality fleet management more important than in densely populated, geographically spread-out environments. The entire Asian business zone of the Pacific Rim fits that description perfectly. That’s why managers need to review a guide on the latest developments in safety tech for vehicle fleets, primarily those related to collision avoidance systems for in route transport.

Most of the central urban areas in Asian-Pacific markets include streets and highway routes that are busy and congested for many hours per day. So, even off-peak trips run into their share of bumper-to-bumper slowdowns and dangerous situations of all kinds. Collision avoidance tech is the newest tool managers have at their disposal to minimize accidents and make sure that drivers are safe while moving goods from Point A to Point B.

 

Bridge the Language Barrier

The majority of corporations that operate anywhere in Asia attempt to hire local workers for offices, as drivers, and for all but upper management roles. Unlike many other large commercial zones, Asian business regions often include consumer groups that speak several different languages. It’s impossible for outsiders to enter these economic corridors unless they use local staff. In places as far apart as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines, merchants must navigate at least a half-dozen major languages and many more regional dialects. Fortunately, most of the region’s economies are sturdy enough to offer plenty of qualified local help.

 

Don’t Skimp on Logistics Planning

Anywhere in Asia, logistics planning is a vital component of corporate success. Not only does the area encompass some of the world’s largest urban centers, but street systems, geography, and transportation laws are wildly different from place to place. Wherever you end up paying your trade in the Asian-Pacific sector, spend more time on logistics planning than usual. Anticipate erratic traffic patterns, shipping delays, political factors that play a role in transport, and other potential challenges that are unique to this part of the world. And don’t ignore weather, because Pacific storms appear with short notice and have the potential to interrupt shipping lanes for days on end.

 

Respect Local Cultures

Familiarize yourself with local religious, cultural, national, and other customs before writing a business plan. The variety of Asian markets is one of its hallmarks, so it’s essential to spend time learning about the places where you’ll be offering your goods and services to local consumers. As the world heads towards a severe talent crunch, be sure that you are using globalization practices, including hiring individuals with an understanding of the culture in which your business operates.

 

Invest in Networking

It’s important to network before entering any new market, but Asia’s most sought-after urban centers present unique opportunities and problems for newcomers. Spend up to a year ahead of your local launch getting to know vendors, local employment agents, relevant public officials, legal experts, chamber of commerce representatives, and anyone else who might be able to assist your company with a smooth landing in a new, complex marketplace.

4 Key Components of an Enterprise Cybersecurity Strategy

The need for cybersecurity measures is only growing. People take many steps in order to keep their data safe, which often provide enough protection. However, it is different when you look at it from a business perspective.

Like digital expert Roger West says, you should pay special attention to cybersecurity, especially when marketing your business online. If you want to take care of your company’s cybersecurity, you must safeguard the data and infrastructure.

Enterprise cybersecurity strategies often consist of several fundamental components, including a comprehensive cybersecurity training and education program and an established cybersecurity culture. Effective strategies can protect you and your business on many levels, as long as you remember cyber essentials – training, support and certification.

If you are new to the topic and wish to know the four key components of an enterprise cybersecurity strategy, make sure you check this article below!

 

Cybersecurity Awareness and Training

The first and crucial component of an effective cybersecurity strategy is establishing and implementing a comprehensive training and education program across your enterprise. This must be carried out to produce both knowledge and skills while promoting an environment in which it is clear that cybersecurity is a key business priority.

Such a program aims to enable your employees to make security-related decisions and implement best practices to protect themselves, the business, and the data within it. It is vital to ensure that all employees, including management and executives, are familiar with cybersecurity fundamentals.

As part of your training program, you should introduce an element of ongoing training for existing employees. It is also wise to include education sessions in your employee onboarding process. This will ensure that all new employees have a solid foundation in cybersecurity practices from the very beginning.

 

Network Monitoring

To effectively protect your network and data, it is essential to monitor them. This involves extensive logging of both inbound and outbound traffic, as well as the use of tools such as firewalls and intrusion-detection devices.

You can also employ a combination of technologies, such as baseline security and threat detection and developer and application monitoring. These programs can give you valuable insight into how secure your network is, as well as your applications and data.

Network monitoring allows you to find out if there is any kind of suspicious activity in your network. For example, you can check who is accessing what devices and applications. If you notice anything suspicious, it is vital to act immediately. You can put a block or restrict access to the suspicious device, application, etc. Another option is to check the data that is leaving your network. For example, you can find out who is sending it outside of the organization. This is an excellent way to stop data exfiltration.

Finally, it is essential to note that while you can use several tools to monitor your network, not all of them are sufficient. Some of them might be too expensive, while others might not offer the kind of advanced features you need. This is why it is vital to choose the right tool for your network monitoring.

 

Incident Response Plan

No matter how strong your network security is, there is always a possibility of getting hacked. It is vital to have an incident response plan in place before the incident happens. This will enable you to deal with any potential cyber-attacks or data breaches in the most efficient way possible.

The plan should include a step-by-step approach to dealing with the security incident. In certain situations, you might need to notify law enforcement agencies, as well as relevant stakeholders. After that, you can take the necessary steps to contain the damage and prevent future incidents from occurring.

As part of your incident response plan, you should also consider appropriate responses to cyber attacks. Your IT department can develop and implement these measures, and the response will likely depend on the kind of attack you are facing. For example, you can deal with an email-based phishing campaign with a phishing response plan. If you encounter a ransomware attack, it is vital to have an effective backup and recovery solution in place.

 

Identity And Access Management

A lack of centralized identity and access management can result in a serious threat to your network security. It is vital to ensure that there is only authorized access to the network and data while also preventing unauthorized or inappropriate access.

It is essential for any enterprise that wants to secure its information and data effectively and efficiently. Proper identity and access management enable you to separate your network into two parts: public and private. This way, you reduce the risk of a cyber attack.

Additionally, you should implement a single sign-on solution to make it easier for employees to access all of their business applications using a single username and password combination. This will enable you to protect your data from unauthorized access by reducing the risk of a successful attack.

If you want to ensure that your company’s resources and data are safe, you should definitely pay attention to the identity and access management system. This is not only recommended – it’s absolutely necessary.

 

In Conclusion

These are the four key components of an enterprise cybersecurity strategy. If you are new to this topic, make sure you take the time to implement these security measures in order to prevent cyber incidents from happening. If you already have a cybersecurity strategy, then make sure all these practices are well taken care of. Remember that cyber incidents can be very costly, and it is always better to prevent them from happening than to try to fix them.

6 Ways to Provide Training and Support to Remote Employees

With the advent of technology, it’s now possible to train and support your remote employees. This is especially popular nowadays since the pandemic has made businesses adopt a work-from-home (WFH) policy across the Asia Pacific Region. More companies in Singapore, India, the Philippines, China, and other regions in the Asia Pacific are now posting jobs for remote workers

If you’re one of these companies, here are some ways to help you efficiently train and support them:

1. Utilize Learning Management Systems (LMS)

What is a learning management system? An LMS is a web-based technology or software application where you can create, implement, and evaluate training materials. Both you and your remote employees can access this tool. For trainers, the LMS lets you create content for your remote employees. And individuals needing training can use the discussion forums and video conferencing features of the LMS for a more interactive session. 

With this tool, you can educate them from wherever you are, and you can do it anytime. There’s no need for you to meet in person since all you’ll need is a device and the Internet to access the LMS. This is also a cost-efficient way to conduct training because you won’t have to worry about venues, snacks, equipment, and other considerations that come with in-person training. 

In addition, some LMS has an all-in-one functionality that trainers and trainees can use to register, save events, communicate, and notify each party about such progress. With such, you can also monitor their training progress.

2.Use Various Communication Tools

Remote workers need powerful communication medium. For instance, apps that offer video conferencing capabilities are crucial in providing similar visual cues to an on-site work setup. Video calls ensure that all parties involved have a mutual understanding of the topic at hand, and it’s also useful for more complicated or sensitive discussions. Although chatting has come a long way, it still can’t provide more detailed information than video conferencing can. Lastly, video calls are also crucial in reducing the isolation that most remote workers suffer from. 

If your company isn’t already using a communication tool, it’s time to get one. You can find providers who offer affordable and easy-to-use communication tools; thus, even your least tech-savvy member can learn to use these tools.

3. Leverage Other Technologies

Other than LMS and communication tools, it’s essential to leverage other technologies to ensure that the training and support you provide remains efficient. Fortunately, numerous software is available for live-streaming, posting lectures, and project collaboration aside from video conferencing. 

Moreover, technology can also assist you throughout the onboarding process of new employees from across the Asia Pacific. If you hire new talents, you can use technology like screenshots and videos to provide step-by-step guidance in business processes. By leveraging these technologies, you can give your trainees a clearer and more comprehensive reference about their roles.

Moreover, some tools have a built-in translation, so your hires from across Asia—who have different languages—can understand your discussions better when they use such a feature.

4. Utilize Video Training Tools

Not only can you use videos when communicating, but you can also use video training tools to conduct live training. These tools let you share your screen, making it easier for you to project your content. Moreover, most of these tools have recording capabilities that make it easier to save your video lectures. As such, you can use them in your future lectures, too.

5. Remember That Delivery Is Crucial

Digital collaboration is a skill that needs to be practiced just as much as interpersonal skills. So, before you push through with your training session, make sure that you have the necessary skills for it. Try completing a trial run to see how well you do as an instructor. Taking this extra step will give you a boost of confidence once actual training starts.

In the actual training session, you might want to use a clean background for a professional look.  Also, as much as possible, try to block outside distractions like phone calls or other noises that can disrupt your sessions. Make sure to show your face clearly and look at the webcam directly if you’re on a video call, as this gives off a more personal approach.

6. Select the Most Suitable Approach 

Similar to its on-site counterpart, remote training doesn’t have a universal approach. This means that not all trainees will learn the same way. Some might prefer the synchronous approach, whereas others might want to learn on their own, especially since your remote workers are from different regions in the Asia Pacific. Thus, it’s better to use a method that fits your trainees’ learning preferences. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of approaches you can implement:

  • Self-directed learning: This learning strategy, as the name suggests, is directed by the learner. This means that they can study at their own pace and access the learning contents at their convenience. 
  • Real-time Learning: This one involves instantaneous approaches. It uses channels like video calling apps and cloud-based software where you can share information with everyone.

 

Conclusion

Training remote employees from across the Asia Pacific can be easier than training in-person employees. This is because you can utilize various tools and learning approaches when delivering the training materials. You can easily record yourself, and many employees can access them, which makes the whole training process more efficient. 

APAC Insider Announces the 2021 Legal Award Winners

United Kingdom, 2021- APAC Insider Magazine has announced winners of the 2021 Legal Awards.

Now in its sixth year, the APAC Insider Legal Awards recognises the efforts of law firms and legal advisors throughout the Asian Pacific Region. After another difficult year in the wake of COVID-19, the legal sector has persevered under unfavourable conditions, and arguably come out the other side stronger. With a fighting spirit and a hope on the horizon, the future is looking bright for not just the sector, but for the Asian Pacific as a whole.

Awards Co-ordinator Harwinder Pawar commented on the success of the deserving winners at the launch of the supplement: “I would like to congratulate all of the winners in this year’s Legal Awards. After another difficult year in many industries, these businesses have continued the thrive under pressure. We all wish you the best for the coming year ahead and can’t wait to see what you do next!”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated professionals selected for them, please visit https://www.apac-insider.com/awards/legal-awards/ where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors

 

About APAC Insider

Published quarterly, APAC Insider endeavours to bring you the latest need-to-know business content and updates from across the Asia Pacific Region

Keeping pace with a vast array of ever-changing sectors thanks to regular contributions from some of the region’s foremost corporate professionals, APAC Insider is home to the very best news, features and comment from the people and institutions in the know.

How to Make Sure That a Property Is Worth Investing In

There are many types of investments that you can make, ranging from stocks to cryptocurrency. However, most of these investments come with huge risks, which is something that many people find to be a bit off-putting and discouraging. Fortunately, there is something that comes with considerably lower risk, and that is real estate!

Would you like to learn more about investing in real estate? If your answer is yes, you came to the right place! In this article, you will find a list of tips that will help you ensure that the property you are thinking about buying is worth investing in. They include checking whether it meets your investment criteria, researching the local housing market and multiple properties, and calculating the costs of the investment upfront. Check it out!

Check Whether It Meets Your Investment Criteria

One of the first things that you need to do when determining if a property is worth investing in is to check whether it meets your investment criteria. It is vital to have a clear understanding of what you are looking for.

For example, are you interested in investing in a big property that will give you a great return on your investment? Are you looking for a place that will become more valuable over time? Once you have figured out what you are looking for, you can start looking for suitable properties that meet these criteria. If you discover that you don’t have enough funds for a property that piques your interest, you may consider taking out low rate personal loans.

Check the Local Housing Market

When you are trying to assess whether a property is worth investing in, one of the most important things to do is check the local housing market. If you are looking at a property in an area where there are many houses for sale, then this is definitely something to look into.

If there are many houses for sale in a neighborhood, it might mean that something is wrong with the localization – or on the contrary, that it is attractive to potential buyers for some reason. Depending on the cause, it can be an indicator that the prices will either increase or decrease soon, so you can see how crucial it is to check it.

Check Out Multiple Properties

If you want to make sure the property you are planning to play is worth investing in, you need to research multiple offers before you make a purchase. You do not want to get stuck on one mediocre property and end up settling for it.

The more properties you see, the better your idea of what is out there and what kind of values and opportunities you have. On top of that, if you open yourself up to more options, it can help prevent buyer’s remorse from setting in later on.

Calculate the Costs Upfront

Before purchasing any type of property, it is always a great idea to do some research and find out how much it will cost you not only to buy but also to maintain and keep it running. If the expenses outweigh the income the investment will bring in, or there’s a chance you won’t be able to cover the expenditure before you start profiting, there is no point in buying. This is why it is essential to think about the cost of repairs and maintenance, insurance, taxes, and management fees ahead of time.

Check Whether It Is Legal and Up to Code

Next, you need to make sure that the property is legal and up to code. You do not want to invest in a property that does not have permits or something else. If something happens, you might end up having to pay a huge fine. If you are not sure whether the property you are interested in is legal or not, then it is best to use the services of a lawyer to determine that.

Figure Out Your ROI

Finally, you should always consider whether the property can provide you with a return on your investment. Before purchasing anything, you need to think about how much money you are going to put into it upfront and how long it will take for you to get this money back through things like rent. If the property will not provide you with enough profit, then why bother?

In Conclusion

There are many reasons why you might want to invest in real estate. Perhaps you are looking for a way to make some passive income, you need a place to live, try to pay off your student loans, or simply want a second house.

In a nutshell, if you want to find a property that is worth investing in, it is essential to conduct thorough research. You should check the local housing market, see how much profit you can make from renting out the property, and consider whether it will be able to provide you with a good return on your investment. It might seem like a lot, but you surely want to invest your money right.

5 Real Estate Business Ideas That You Should Use in 2021

Have you been thinking about starting a business? What about a real estate business? You might not be aware of this yet, but the commercial real estate market is worth trillions of dollars in the United States alone! Because of that, it is definitely worth checking out.

However, if you want your business to be successful, you will have to check how to write a law report, as well as come up with a profitable business idea. Luckily, this article will help you take care of the latter!

Below, you will find a list of real estate business ideas that you should use this year, including becoming a landlord, real estate photography, becoming a real estate agent, flipping houses, and managing property.

Check it out, find an idea that you like, and take the first step on your journey to becoming a successful business owner!

Renting Out Properties

Becoming a landlord is an excellent option for those who have inherited a property, but neither are willing to move in nor sell it out. And while applying for an inheritance loan will ensure that you have enough money to wait till the probate process ends, renting out an inherited property, later on, will provide you with a passive income for years.

The first thing that you need to do is post an advertisement about looking for tenants. The advertisement should be written concisely, free of grammatical errors and typos, and contain high-quality photos and a detailed description of the property you are planning on renting out. Ideally, you should post your advertisement online – this way, you will reach larger numbers of potential tenants.

Once you have found a few tenants, you should draft a lease agreement and have the tenants discuss the lease agreement with you. If you feel like you can trust the tenants you have been talking to, you just need to sign the lease agreement. It is that easy!

Try Airbnb

Have you ever heard of Airbnb? It is a website where travellers can rent out rooms and entire houses from the local residents for short periods of time. That way, travellers can end up having an affordable and authentic experience while they are traveling.

It is a great way to make money if your property is located near a popular tourist attraction. You just need to take a few pictures of your property, post an advertisement on Airbnb, and wait for the guests to come around!

Real Estate Photography

Have you ever wondered how real estate agents can show off the properties they have to offer in such a professional manner? You might not be aware of this yet, but it is about hiring a great real estate photographer.

If you want to get into this business, it is recommended that you start small. For instance, you can take pictures of the houses of your friends and your family members and offer to take photos of your neighbours’ homes. Soon enough, you should be able to start charging money for your services!

Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Have you ever thought about becoming a real estate agent? You will be able to make money by finding properties for sale and clients willing to buy these properties. If you become a skilled real estate agent, you will be able to make huge sums of money by charging a percentage of the property’s price.

You can become a real estate agent in about six months, depending on where you live, but you will have to obtain licensing and become a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to be able to use the title Realtor.

Flipping Houses

Have you ever seen TV shows where people buy old houses and transform them into better and prettier ones in order to make a sale? These people are called house flippers, and they can make tons of money doing it. In fact, it is similar to buying stocks – you make money from the difference between the house’s initial selling price and the final one.

However, if you want to make your house flipping business profitable, you need to avoid the most common mistakes novice real estate investors make. When it comes to planning house improvements, you should avoid overestimating your skills and knowledge and make sure you do not underestimate the time and money this project will require.

Managing Property

If flipping houses does not sound appealing to you, then it might be that managing properties will be a better fit. There are many types of businesses that specialize in managing properties.

For instance, some people specialize in taking care of rental properties in big tourist destinations, such as seaside resorts. They ensure that the renters pay for their stay and that the property is kept in top condition, among other things.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different real estate business ideas that you can use to make money, and these are just a few of the most profitable ones out of the bunch. If you put in the time and dedication, you should definitely be able to make one of these ideas work out in your favour. If you are lucky, there is a chance that it will be your ticket to becoming rich!

Natural Disaster Preparedness — How Can You Protect Your Business?

Although you may not have to protect your business from natural disasters right now, it can be something that you will need to do somewhere in the future. No one can predict how soon your company will run into some trouble. As a result, the sooner you start preparing your natural disaster emergency plan, the better off you will be when mother nature decides to wreak havoc on your business.

Creating a business continuity plan, establishing a crisis communication policy, and taking out insurance are among the most common methods of preparing your business to better cope with the results of natural disasters. However, you should also create backups of critical data and evaluate the indispensable assets you need to protect.

Here, we take a closer look at these crucial steps every business owner needs to take and explain their importance. Let’s get started.

Create a Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan is an essential part of any well-thought-out disaster strategy. It details how your business will operate in the event of a natural disaster. In other words, it’s a well-researched blueprint that prepares you for how you can mitigate against the loss of people and property, as well as how to get back up and running again quickly.

Before writing your business continuity plan, it’s a good idea to create a risk assessment checklist. This will allow you to document the threats and vulnerabilities your company faces. It will then be easier for you to decide the appropriate business continuity measures that you need to implement. For example, if you are worried about communication between members of your company becoming more difficult due to external conditions, you might consider introducing another messaging tool – in such a case, you might want to learn what a SIP server is.

Keep in mind that you should refresh this plan at least once a year. To help you make this process more efficient, you might also consider getting business continuity management software which could prove of utmost importance in difficult times.

Establish a Crisis Communication Policy

In addition to a business continuity plan, you should also have a crisis communication policy. It will help you define how you will communicate with employees, the media, and your customers in times of crisis. You can then use it to guide your decision-making process when disaster strikes.

Additionally, a crisis communication kit can also come in handy. It contains a broad selection of tools you can use to manage emergency response. This kit usually includes a set of guidelines, a sample press release, a list of social media contacts, and a sample contact list.

Take Out Insurance

The impact of natural disasters can be devastating for any business. However, they can be devastating for small businesses in particular. This is because small businesses lack the resources that big firms have to mitigate against the loss of employees, inventory, and property. So, if your company is a small one, you should seriously consider getting insurance coverage.

The type of insurance coverage you decide to get will depend on the nature of your business. If you’re operating a brick-and-mortar establishment, you may want to get property insurance coverage. On the other hand, if you run an online business, you may want to get business interruption insurance coverage instead.

Moreover, you should consider your location. If you’re in an area where hurricanes are not an extreme rarity, you should buy appropriate insurance, and so on.

Create Backups of Critical Data

No matter how well prepared you are, sometimes things can go wrong. When this happens, you don’t want to lose your entire business due to a natural disaster. To protect against such an unfortunate scenario, you need to create backups of all your critical data.

Creating backups of your data is a crucial step that every business should take. These days, backup solutions can be inexpensive and automated, which makes it even easier to do. The most critical data for you to back up are your financial records, company data, and customer data. You don’t want to lose any of this information.

Determine Which Assets Are Indispensable for Your Business

You also need to determine which assets are indispensable for your business – they have to be protected at all costs.

As an example, if you own a manufacturing plant and you need heat and electricity to operate your machines and produce your products, then the heat and electricity you need to keep your business running are of utmost importance. If one or both of these elements were to go out during a natural disaster, your business would lose money.

One way to make sure you’re planning for the right assets is to identify what you need in order to keep your operations running. You can start this process by creating a list of the essential functions your business needs to continue operating and meeting customer demands. Think of these functions as the “must-haves” for your company.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the importance of creating a natural disaster preparedness plan for your business. Of course, we haven’t covered every detail in-depth, but we have discussed the most important aspects and how they can affect your business.

Take what you’ve learned here and use it to create an action plan that will help you prepare for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. If you take the time to create a business continuity plan, establish a crisis communication policy, take out insurance, create backups of critical data, and evaluate the assets that are indispensable for your business, you will be in a significantly better position to cope with the results of natural disasters.

How Can Online Public Relations (PR) Impact Your Business?

It is safe to say that every business owner out there would like their business to grow really quickly. There are quite a few ways of ensuring that kind of growth, including hiring a team of seasoned marketing specialists, networking with other business owners, and researching the latest industry trends.

However, there is one thing that many business owners forget about, and that is online public relations. It might not sound that important, but if you do not know how to communicate with your customers and potential business partners, it might end up discouraging people from doing business with you. PR is both about the ways of communicating (e.g., getting a faxing app to distribute press releases efficiently, establishing contacts with media, managing your online presence) as well as about how you communicate in terms of the tone of voice, language, and so on.

Do you want to learn more about it? If your answer is yes, this article is definitely for you! Here, you will find a short description of what online public relations are about, as well as a list of ways in which they can impact your business, including attracting potential business partners and increasing the loyalty of existing customers. Take a look!

What Are Online Public Relations?

Online public relations is a title used to describe the processes of communicating with the public and the media through the use of digital communication channels. Online PR can be divided into two major parts: traditional internet marketing and social media marketing.

Traditional online marketing involves the use of blogs, press releases, social media feeds, and other communication channels to create a strong online presence for your business. Social media marketing refers to the creation and management of social media accounts (such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and so on) and their integration with your website.

The main goal of online PR is to attract new customers and promote your business by providing valuable content to your target audience. You can also use online PR in order to build your brand’s image if you have not done so already. By creating a positive image for your company, you can build trust between you and your potential customers, which is very important in terms of turning them into loyal clients.

How Does Online Public Relations Impact Your Business?

Many company owners are not aware of it, but online public relations can have a tangible impact on your business, particularly when it comes to its growth. Here is a list of how it can help you make it more profitable.

Attract Customers

The internet is a great place to find people who might be interested in your products and services, and with a little bit of clever online marketing, you might start attracting customers from other countries! If your business becomes popular and has a strong reputation, it might also help you get in touch with potential business partners.

Increase the Loyalty of Existing Customers

If you start working on improving the image of your business, it will become more popular and trustworthy, which will result in increased loyalty from your existing customers. If they like the way your business works and the fact that you care about them and their opinions, they might come back and purchase more products or services from you.

Enhance Your Reputation

If you want to be taken seriously by people interested in doing business with you, you need to build up your reputation, which is what public relations are about. If you communicate with other industry professionals through social networking sites, you will get a chance to show off your knowledge and expertise. Soon enough, you might become an authority figure in your industry!

Attract Investors and Sponsors

If you manage to build an excellent reputation for your business, you might be able to use it to attract potential investors and sponsors. Why would such people not be interested in doing business with someone really popular with their target audience?

Attract Journalists

The other group of people that you can communicate with through online public relations are journalists. If you want the media to paint a great picture of your business, you can reach out to different news outlets and individual journalists and introduce yourself as someone worth writing about. This way, you will ensure that the information published about your company is accurate and not misleading.

How Can You Ensure Good PR?

Are you interested in using online public relations to your advantage? If so, here is a list of the most efficient ways to go about doing it!

Use Online Marketing Techniques

If you do your research, you will find plenty of online marketing techniques that you will be able to incorporate into your marketing strategy. You do not have to spend millions of dollars on marketing. Instead, you can start by creating a blog with informational content, among other things.

Network

Networking is an essential factor in the success of your business. One of the most efficient ways to network is through social networking sites, where you can meet many people interested in the industry you work in.

Attend Events

Finally, attending important events is an easy way to reach out to potential investors and clients. Most industry-specific conferences and conventions feature speakers and industry experts who are willing to share their knowledge about specific topics and meet other people interested in the industry. This gives you a chance to make valuable connections and establish yourself as an authority figure in the industry.

In Conclusion

To sum up, if you want to attract potential customers and investors and enhance your reputation, then online public relations are definitely something that you should invest in. You can use a wide selection of social networking sites or create a blog where you can post updates about your business. This way, you will keep people interested in what goes on inside your company, thereby attracting customers and all kinds of people who might be interested in doing business with you. It is definitely worth your time and effort!

The Bumpy Ride of Emerging Markets Towards Digitization: How Applying Strategic User-Oriented Approach Could Boost Usage of Public Services

The need to digitize public services has become even more prominent since the pandemic, as quarantine and overall mobility restrictions have made citizens turn to online platforms. However, the efforts to create a smooth transition to the digital space are yet to earn trust of the citizens, leaving governments with a riddle to solve: how to create e-services that people are eager to use? 

Emerging markets have been following the digitization race. However, a lack of a user-oriented approach when designing e-services has been slowing down their progress, resulting in poor user engagement and unfulfilled expectations of citizens. According to Mindaugas Glodas, CEO at NRD Companies, a global IT and consulting group of companies specializing in e-governance, Design Thinking (DT) methodology could help address the problem at its core. Employed by world’s leading governments, DT principles can aid in developing user-oriented e-solutions and, as a result, drive expedient digitization of the public sector.

Putting technology first hinders progress

When it comes to modernizing services, the initial ideas tend to revolve around the need to digitize and automate services, not the people who will be using these services. For this reason, a great deal of government efforts to present modern e-solutions fall short of public expectations. This approach has been hurdling the development of e-governance initiatives, especially in emerging markets.

For example, in Lebanon, a country in the Middle East, inadequate service delivery has severely weakened the public’s trust in the government. In an attempt to remediate the situation and deliver greater value to citizens, it started to implement strategic reforms to transform its e-services. However, excessive focus on the IT framework, rather than its citizens’ aspirations and needs, resulted in progress slowdown, without solving the problems at hand.

Similarly, in the case of Pakistan and its efforts to create a digital government, the country has faced a number of impediments that followed the e-service adoption progress. The scarcity of people using the solutions, and the lack of awareness about their significance and benefits are one of the key reasons why the country’s efforts collapsed.

“There is no point in creating new technology just for the sake of it — citizens should find the solutions necessary and use them on a daily basis. Creating such solutions is done by involving citizens: conducting surveys and inviting them into the planning processes. Only then, based on their behavior, should a government aim to create services that reflect their needs, not vice versa. This is why countries sharing a similar approach as Pakistan or Lebanon struggle when trying to implement e-government initiatives,” Glodas explained.

In large part, the creation of public services as modeled by demands of institutions, not the needs of the citizens, is caused by a lack of suitable tools. Mr. Glodas shared that even in Lithuania, a developed and highly digitalized country with a high digital literacy level, a survey of heads of governmental institutions showed that only 27% of respondents believed their institutions have tools suitable for the creation of modern digital services.

“Of course, there are other obstacles some countries face, for instance, red-tapism, limited or inadequate allocation of resources, political corruption, etc. However, a more user-oriented approach, like Design Thinking and its principles, is invaluable in terms of leading deliberate change in governments that have the necessary tools and are willing to transform their e-services,” he added.

Design Thinking for a user-centric approach and successful e-Government

According to Mr. Glodas, putting people, rather than technology, at the top of the priority list maximizes the likelihood of successful e-service adoption. This is where Design Thinking comes into play, as it fosters a user-oriented focus.

Design Thinking is a methodology, whose principles are based on deep-level user analysis, aiming to discover the needs of the user and build from there. Glodas notes that although widely utilized by the business sector, Design Thinking is also successfully applicable in the government sector. For example, studies show that in the UK, which has applied DT for building e-government e-service systems for the past twenty years, the confidence of citizens towards e-solutions has increased to 78%.

Mr. Glodas noted that Design Thinking methods have shown to be effective in building e-Government systems in emerging markets. For example, NRD Companies has facilitated the creation of new public digital services in Barbados by implementing the GxP platform. This platform provides tools to create and launch e-services based on principles of DT in a matter of 5-8 workdays without the external help of IT contractors when other data is readily available from other platforms. For citizens and businesses of Barbados, services built on the GxP platform have shortened the time required to receive a driver’s license, alcohol trade license, and other documents from 56 to 5 days on average.

Another example of the application of the Design Thinking method is the Personal income tax return wizard, implemented by NRD Companies in Lithuania. This e-service is a replacement for an older tax return system, which required filling in complicated forms. Older e-service regularly caused huge workloads for State Tax Inspectorate (STI) specialists during months leading to the deadline of tax return declaration due to the need for consultations.

The new wizard tremendously simplified the process of tax returns: 60% of users were provided with a possibility to file their declarations with one-click. For most the procedure took no more than 3 minutes and 87% of taxpayers did not need any help from specialists of STI. In 2019, the first year when the tax declaration wizard was launched, 1.55 million taxpayers filed their declarations — an increase of almost 11%, compared to 2018. Citizens who have used the new tool also report a much higher satisfaction rate and STI reports a lower level of errors in declarations.

“It is important to note that the needs of citizens vary country by country. That’s why Design Thinking method comes in handy: it helps to identify the right solutions on a case-by-case basis for governments to implement. This way, administrations can build efficient systems from the get-go, instead of figuring out the right strategy through trial and error, sacrificing the time and funds that could be used on other projects,” Mr. Glodas explained. 

The World Is Headed Towards a Severe Talent Crunch; Globalization Is Key to Bridge the Talent Chasm, Says Zinnov

– 69% of employers find it difficult to fill job vacancies; increased demand in technology & logistics segments

– 76% of the tech talent supply does not possess the required skillsets to fulfil tech job roles

– Digital Engineering and the resultant spend are expected to accelerate across industries, resulting in a convergence of skills, further widening the talent supply-demand chasm

– India, China, Canada, Poland, and Mexico emerge as top COE hotspots in the world

The unprecedented need for companies to innovate and digitalize faster, has made talent a top priority. With the ongoing talent wars, organizations have been scrambling to manage the ‘Great Resignation’ as well as find the right talent. This is evidenced by the ever-widening gap between the talent demand and the woefully inadequate supply. A case in point is the global Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) talent gap that companies are grappling with as they adopt platforms and data-driven models. Zinnov‘s analysis shows that while the global AI/ML talent gap stands at a massive ~1.2Mn, there are only ~650,000 AI & Big Data/Analytics professionals who are directly employable in these roles.

To bridge this gap, companies will need to explore newer talent strategies including leveraging global talent hotspots. Zinnov’s one-of-a-kind study titled, COE Hotspots of the World,” is a comprehensive look at the top global destinations with under-tapped talent pools. It explores the factors that make these locations conducive to set up full software engineering teams, and how globalization is a critical lever in winning the talent wars.

COE Hotspots of the World

An amalgamation of extensive primary and secondary research, the Zinnov study covers 13 countries from across Asia Pacific (APAC), North AmericaLatin America (LATAM), and Eastern European regions, evaluated across four key dimensions of talent availabilitysoftware engineering ecosystem maturityease of doing business, and cost analysis. The countries evaluated include IndiaChinaPhilippinesCanadaBrazilMexicoLithuaniaEstoniaPolandBulgariaBelarusRomania, and Czech Republic using data from the US as the baseline.

Building scalable Centers of Excellences (COEs) with the capacity to house complete software engineering teams requires the organizations to identify the best-fit location. Although all 13 countries evaluated exhibit high potential for setting up software engineering teams, they show different degrees of potential in terms scalability of teams, availability of diverse talent to build complete software engineering teams, affordability, and ecosystem maturity. The maturity of these ecosystems is reflected in the presence of academic institutions for building talent pipelines, Service Provider companies to leverage local partnerships, start-ups, and ease of doing business in terms of languages spoken, government regulations, geopolitical stability, IP, and data privacy.

Globalization – A Talent Gamechanger

The pandemic brought the criticality of globalization into razor sharp focus, not only to ensure business continuity, but to future-proof organizations against disruptions. The role of talent in future-proofing organizations, especially now with the proven success of the remote work model, is undeniable. Zinnov’s analysis shows that enterprise software companies with globalized engineering R&D locations are valued higher at a 7.1 multiple, compared to companies with domestic ER&D at a 5.4 multiple. Adding to the fray, the acceleration of global Digital Engineering spend across industries will result in a convergence of skills, hence putting a premium on skilled talent around the world. This global talent crunch, if not addressed by solving for the source of talent, rather than competing with the same pools, will inevitably lead to a stalemate, that will not only hamper business growth but also cripple organizations with scaling challenges.

As organizations chase talent around the world, a distributed multi-hub strategy will become imperative to drive business growth and accelerate innovation. And trends such as increased adoption of business communications platforms, development of Cloud-based infrastructure for closer collaboration, and the emergence of new regulations have further emphasized the effectiveness of a multi-hub strategy.

Speaking about the unique study, Pari Natarajan, CEO, Zinnov, said, “Talent will be at the core of decision-making for organizations across the globe. As leaders grapple with the increased talent crunch, it will become critical for them to identify new talent hotspots to build Centers of Excellence where full software engineering teams can be housed, that can take end-to-end ownership and be scaled at optimal costs. Our experience with our customers in a post-pandemic construct, highlights the potential that Eastern European countries possess in terms of high-quality talent; however, this is hampered by scalability challenges due to limited talent pools. India emerged as the best-fit location as it will be home to 1/8th of the world’s digital talent by 2030.”

“Additional dimensions such as geopolitical stability; ease of doing business; a mature ecosystem of technology start-ups, universities, and Service Providers; and strong processes that go well beyond business continuity to create business excellence, are what continue to make India the top choice for companies. With a continued focus on human development programs, Asian countries specifically, have the potential to outpace other economies in growth, primarily due to the talent advantage,” he further added.

Commercial Property 101: 6 Things Proprietors Should Know

Whether renting out for an office, restaurant, clinic, or shopping center, being a commercial property owner isn’t as easy as it sounds. As a commercial property investor, there are certain financial, administrative, and legal obligations you need to fulfill to get your business going.

Here are some of the things you should know when investing in a commercial property:

1. Property Tax And Other Mandatory Tax Payments

Acquiring a commercial property means you’re mandated to pay property taxes annually. Different jurisdictions use different calculations in determining property taxes, but ultimately, it’s decided by the city, state, or municipality.

Most territories have their tax rates and assessment methods to determine the land and building values of the commercial property. In Singapore, for instance, property tax rates are calculated by multiplying the building’s annual value to the property tax rates that apply. 

Meanwhile, in Australia, when a commercial property is sold, damaged, or donated to someone else, it’s subject to capital gains tax. If this applies to you, read Commercial Loan’s article on how this type of tax affects commercial property value.

2. Keeping Everything In Order  

 An owner has an obligation under the law to stay compliant with the building and safety codes. To avoid running into costly repairs and renovations, perform preventive maintenance. Have your property checked for both minor and major issues—from structural integrity to the performance of its components such as heating and cooling systems, insulation, ventilation, and so on.

If your building is new, secure permits and other accreditations set forth by the local laws within your jurisdiction.

3. Hiring Skilled Professionals

A neophyte commercial property investor needs the services and guidance of the following skilled professionals to help with the various stages of the purchase: 

  • A real estate professional to provide insights on the best deals and best properties on the market and to assist with the procurement process.
  • An accountant or bank representative to link the investor to reputable financial institutions offering the best commercial real estate loan products.
  • A lawyer to negotiate on your behalf. A legal expert must also understand the implications of the purchase, create and notarize the deed of sale, and draft the lease contract and agreement that your future tenants will have to sign.
  • An engineer to inspect the building for structural soundness.

Getting your commercial asset for the first time requires careful planning. If you lack the experience, it’s best to seek the guidance of seasoned professionals to come up with a smart decision.

4. Rental Returns And Net Operating Income

Business owners need to have a clear understanding of the commercial asset’s income-generating capacity. To quantify the profitability of a business space, investors typically compute the net operating income (NOI) of the entire property. You can get it by adding up the gross revenues or total rental income minus the operating expenses. These expenses don’t include depreciation costs, capital expenditures, and amortizations.

Generally speaking, commercial real estate revenues depend on the quality and size of the building, its location, and the current market performance.

5. Finding Long-Term Tenants

A successful commercial property is often measured by the amount of income it generates. While it’s more challenging to find a good lessor for business spaces than residential properties, commercial tenants are often subject to long-term contracts as it can be very costly to relocate a business. 

To attract lessors who are in it for the long haul, choose a strategic location for your building. If your property is located in a suitable area, business renters will flock to your place. Besides location, organizations will also take into account accessibility to major transport networks, and the overall safety of the neighborhood. Floor space, layout, and available parking are also part of the main considerations.

6. Downsides To Being A Building Owner

If you plan to manage your own commercial property, be prepared to face the following challenges:

  • Tenants violating terms of their contract lease agreement.
  • Keeping current tenants and looking for new lessors.
  • Tenants’ customers that cause potential problems with security and access.
  • Several maintenance works that need to be done regularly and sometimes on an emergency basis.
  • Ensuring compliance with the building code as well as fire and safety regulations.
  • Pest infestation and other building problems.
  • High energy consumption.

Tips Before Investing In Commercial Properties 

Before parting off with your hard-earned cash, make sure the property you’re buying will generate cash flow. Real estate investors should make this their main consideration in buying commercial assets.

Additionally, don’t collect business properties if you’re a first-time building proprietor. Your new acquisition would require your time and attention, and you should get the hang of running one first before expanding to another venture. Put simply, focus on one type of commercial space to start with. Don’t mix both retail and office spaces so it doesn’t get complicated.

Final Thoughts

Not everything is rosy when it comes to owning a building. However, these issues are nothing but minor stumbling blocks that can be addressed with smart and informed decisions. 

If you’re a building owner who’s worried about facing tenancy, tax compliance, and other related issues, don’t worry because it’s not the end of the world. By weighing all the pros and cons, you’ll be able to overcome these challenges.

Ultimately, a commercial property investment can be a long-term and high-yielding investment if you know how to choose and manage your property well.

Global Investment Firm Capria Ventures Invests Further in South East Asia; Partners with Indonesia based AC Ventures to Boost Early-stage Venture

  • Capria’s first LP investment and partnership in Indonesia demonstrates global readiness of Indonesia Venture opportunity
  • AC Ventures is Capria’s 5th local fund manager in Asia; with 14 active partnerships globally
  • AC Ventures’ US$120M target fund will invest $1M- $10M in early stage companies across sectors such as e-commerce, logistics, fintech, MSMEs and digital media enabled businesses

Global investing firm Capria Ventures announces a partnership with Indonesian venture capital firm AC Ventures to advance the Indonesian startup ecosystem by investing in the next generation of technology entrepreneurs. AC Ventures manages a total AUM of US$300M and plans to complete the final close of a  US$120M target fund by this year. The partnership is in line with Capria’s commitment to invest and impact the lives of millions across the Global South including Southeast Asia, India, Latin America and Africa.

Jakarta based AC Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in technology enabled solutions addressing billion dollar market opportunities in Indonesia. Several of its Fund III portfolio companies such as Shipper, Stockbit, Aruna and Eden Farm have grown exponentially in the past 18 months, becoming category leaders in their respective markets.

“AC Ventures and Capria share a similar approach as hands-on, value adding investors bringing hi-octane capital that support founders with collective experience, network and resources. Capria’s global experience in startups from the 14 partnerships bring an edge to identifying and understanding emerging market ventures. AC Ventures’ proven  leadership in sourcing local startups at an early stage along with their track record of supporting founders reinforced our investment decision,” said Dave Richards, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Capria Ventures. He added, “Capria will also look to co-invest directly in the portfolio companies, alongside AC Ventures, in breakthrough solutions with global potential.”

Commenting on the partnership, Adrian Li, Founding and Managing Partner, AC Ventures said, “Capria brings together a trusted peer group of fund managers from the Global South where market dynamics are almost similar. We’ve seen that this exchange of knowledge, ideas and experiences can be leveraged to build a strong and globally competitive portfolio.”

Building the next-gen leading seed fund in Indonesia

AC Ventures was formed in 2019 as a merger between Convergence Ventures and Agaeti Capital Ventures, each of which managed an Indonesia-focused early-stage venture fund. Combined, the firms have invested in more than 100 startup companies since 2014. Their two previous funds have been performing well, including several early exits

Several drivers have contributed to Indonesia’s rapidly rising status as a compelling investment destination. The massive young population, the emerging middle class, the fast-growing internet economy and stable economic and political landscape have helped produce Southeast Asia’s largest technology companies such as Gojek, Tokopedia and Traveloka. Situated at the heart of Southeast Asia, the country is the world’s fourth most populous country, with millions joining the middle class each year, and consumer expenditure forecast to continue growing at double digits. Other key factors are maturing infrastructure supporting digital adoption, decreasing costs of hardware (smartphones/ notebooks), improved payment rails, vastly improved logistics delivery infrastructure and greater availability of talent amongst others. Ever increasing access to capital is also one of the biggest drivers of growth. With global pools of capital chasing late stage deals, to successful public market listings of Indonesian unicorns, a predictable exit ecosystem has also been established

 

Resilience and returns

Over 95% of AC Ventures’s portfolio benefited from changes in consumption patterns resulting from the pandemic. AC Ventures latest fund has already seen over 25 follow-on financing rounds into its portfolio companies since its 2020 first close delivering over 2.5X gross return on invested capital in unrealized gains. Several of ACV’s portfolios such as Shipper, Stockbit, Bukuwarung and Aruna have attracted globally renowned growth investors including DST, Sequoia, Valar and B Capital.

Outlook for Indonesia

With an average growth rate of 49% per year since 2015, Indonesia’s internet economy is thriving. This growth pace has exceeded all expectations and has positioned Indonesia as the largest and fastest-growing internet economy in Southeast Asia, well on track to cross $130B by 2025. The outbreak of COVID-19 triggered a new era of growth for the digital economy, as consumers got a major push to move online and adopt e-commerce and other digital solutions. Indonesia is home to six unicorns including ride hailing giant Gojek, online travel agent Traveloka, digital payments firm OVO and GoPay, and online marketplaces Tokopedia and Bukalapak. It also has the biggest stock exchange in SE Asia, so liquidity is not an issue.

How Can Businesses Prevent Expense Report Fraud in 2021?

Oversight conducted multiple surveys to determine the correlation between the pandemic and expense fraud. Here’s what they found:

Spending trends from November 2020 show a massive 57% increase in expense fraud.

The problems of expense fraud are real and threatening. Thus, companies need to find ways to mitigate fraud if they’re looking to remove financial leaks from their system. The following article covers everything business owners and Finance teams must know to identify and eliminate expense fraud.

What is expense fraud?

Expense fraud is a deliberate and planned attempt by an employee to fool your Accounting/Finance teams with fake evidence to claim more money in reimbursements.

Why should companies prevent expense fraud?

According to the ACFE, organizations lose about 5% of their revenue every year to fraud. In the most extreme cases (Enron Scandal, 2001), they could lead to the death of a company.

As you can see, it wouldn’t be enough to have CFEs audit your company on an annual or bi-annual basis. Instead, what would help is if the business and Finance teams take a firm stance against expense fraud. Further, Accounting and Finance teams can undergo training to detect and prevent fraud.

How does expense fraud affect a company?

  • The average loss in an expense fraud case can be somewhere around $1 Million.
  • Fraudulent expenses can drag reimbursement cycles over multiple months, sometimes even two years, causing an average loss of $31,000.
  • If one fraudulent expense is detected, it is an indication that employees could have explored other means for achieving more reimbursements.
  • Public knowledge of expense fraud can cause a 17% decline in stock value.

How can companies prevent expense fraud in 2021?

1. Develop a work culture of honesty

This needs to be a top-down approach where employees learn from leadership. Enforce anti-fraud policies, conduct business ethically and allow employees the freedom to report suspicious activity without feeling threatened. Finally, lead how you’d like to be led.

2. Draft clear and concise expense policies

A clear and concise expense policy that is unambiguous is a must. Set clear limits for budgets, cost centers, cash advances, and per-diem rates while also over-communicating these to your employees. This will make it clear to them just how easily Finance teams can detect fraud.

3. Proper documentation and storage of receipts

Making digital receipts mandatory for submitting any expense will make employees feel accountable. This also ensures a secure repository of receipts to retrieve and match against claimed reimbursements, if needed. In addition, businesses can use an expense report software or receipt scanner to digitize all forms of expense receipts.

4. Create custom approval workflows

Depending on the size of your workforce, set up financial workflows that require 1 or 2 reviews of every individual expense before they’re approved. Additionally, train approvers, managers, and Finance teams on what to look for concerning expense fraud. This would be crucial towards preventing expense fraud.

5. Regular reviews of credit card activity

This can help determine canceled or refunded charges to linked company accounts. Furthermore, Finance teams can compare actual activity with reported activity to look for discrepancies. This creates a mechanism that ensures no canceled or personal expenses get approved for reimbursements.

6. Conduct regular and surprise audits

Have an external auditor come in during set quarterly meetings and random moments to verify a proper correlation between reported expenses and the corresponding documentation. This would help in the detection of fraudulent activity at a much earlier stage. 

7. Leverage the power of an expense management software

An expense management software eliminates the need for manual verification of all submitted business expenses. Instead, the software comes with a real-time policy engine that checks all expenses for fraud. It also reviews all expenses against set company policies to ensure no policy violations and out-of-policy payments get through. This exponentially boosts employee policy compliance, helps mitigate expense fraud, and saves vast amounts of time for Finance teams. 

How an expense software helps eliminate expense fraud:

  • Employees are aware of company policies with an expense software as it intimates them in case of violations right at the source of expense submission. 
  • All receipts are stored securely in centralized cloud storage for easy access by Finance teams during audits. This makes it impossible for employees to submit the same receipts for multiple expenses.
  • The robust policy engine in the software can be fed custom business rules to suit your company’s needs better. This ensures zero policy violations and expense fraud.
  • An expense software comes with a digital audit trail that stores all actions taken by every stakeholder on a particular expense report. This ensures that Finance teams know all the changes made to a report before they approve it.
  • With easier receipt tracking, TATs decrease significantly, leading to increased trust and confidence employees have in the organization.

Conclusion

It’s no surprise that several businesses have ended up closing shop due to expense fraud during the pandemic. This only makes it even more necessary for companies to stay more vigilant in preventing it. 

When employees are aware of the potential risks they face if they submit fraudulent reports, they would be much less likely to indulge in such practices. Furthermore, this would also begin to influence other employees who’d follow the same suit.

Increased Security Needs and Remote Work Spur Asia-Pacific Network Security Market Growth

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) network security (NWS) market finds that the increasing acceptance of remote work and adoption of cloud, the remote workplace, collaboration, and security are driving growth. The emergency adoption of remote work due to the pandemic has led to investments in upgrading security control systems to protect remote employees. Additionally, the increased number of highly sophisticated cyber-attacks (organized or government-backed) on critical infrastructure and government organizations is driving organizations and businesses in the region to increase their investment in cybersecurity technologies to strengthen their threat detection and response capabilities. As a result, the buoyant market is estimated to hit $7.32 billion by 2025 from $5.12 billion in 2020, registering steady growth at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4%.

“From a technology perspective, as demand for secure software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) and secure cloud edge services solutions soars, the network firewall segment will continue to be the leading force for the overall NWS market growth over the forecast period,” said Vivien Pua, Information & Communication Technology Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “Similarly, the secure remote access segment is expected to maintain its strong growth momentum, mainly fueled by the increasing need for high-performance, secure remote access that has been soaring due to work-from-home environments.”

Pua added: “On a macro level, stringent regulatory compliance around data privacy and protection continues to be a key market driver, particularly for highly regulated industries, such as BFSI, government, telecommunications, and healthcare, and sectors that have critical infrastructure.”

Organizations are increasing their investments in cybersecurity technologies, presenting lucrative growth prospects for NWS market participants, such as:

  • Surge in the replacement of threat prevention platforms in the short term: The need for high-performance, integrated, and automated threat management platforms will lead many large enterprises to refresh and replace systems. 
  • Short-term demand for secure remote access and zero-trust network access: Vendors need to review their channel partner strategy to drive better business outcomes and channel partner engagement.
  • Increasing demand for secure SD-WAN: Vendors should work closely with their regional channel partners to educate the market and offer support to help businesses achieve their goals.
  • Increasing need for critical infrastructure (CI) protection: Market participants should focus on security solutions to protect CI from cyberattacks. They may need to expand their product or service offerings to include industrial control system security/operational technology security solutions in their portfolios.

AGIC Capital Announces Final Closing of US$1.2 Billion Fund for Investments in Smart Industries

AGIC Fund II raised US$1.2 billion, reflecting strong investor appetite for funds with distinctive investment strategies and innovative, differentiated approaches to post-investment value creation. It targets majority and significant minority investments with enterprise values typically in the range of US$ 50 – 500 million.

Founded in 2015 by capital market veteran Henry Cai, AGIC Capital’s debut US$1 billion fund made seven buyout and growth-stage investments, mostly in Europe, and has successfully exited three investments to-date with good returns.

AGIC Fund II started raising capital in 2020 and was largely subscribed to by existing investors who re-upped their commitment. It will continue AGIC Fund I’s successful strategy of investing in mid-market companies that possess differentiated technologies and have attractive growth potential with international expansion being a key growth driver, in particular in Asia.

AGIC’s value creation leverages its local presence and resources as well as unparalleled network and knowledge of the Asian markets to deliver hands-on support to portfolio companies for growth strategy and business development, localization of products and manufacturing as well as local company building. It is also keen to finance bolt-on acquisitions and help with integration.

Henry Cai, Founding Partner of AGIC based in Hong Kong, said, “The strong performance of AGIC Fund I proves that our strategy of supporting portfolio companies in their international expansion is highly effective and resilient even during times of unusual stress. We will continue to focus on supporting our companies with our complementary resources and know-how.”

Heiko von Dewitz, Partner of AGIC based in Munich, said, “While AGIC’s target investment sectors continue to benefit from strong long-term tailwinds, our deep technology and domain expertise allows us to early spot emerging technology and industry trends and identify promising investment targets. This will remain another key success factor for AGIC going forward.”

PhonePe launches the “Pulse” of Digital Payments, India’s first interactive geospatial website

– PhonePe Pulse is India’s go-to destination for accurate and comprehensive data on digital payment trends

– The Pulse website reveals digital transaction habits of over 300 Mn Indians at a district level

– The Pulse report is a ‘state of the union’ in-depth view on the Indian digital payments industry

PhonePe, India’s leading fintech platform, today announced the launch of PhonePe Pulse, India’s first interactive website with data, insights and trends on digital payments in the country. The PhonePe Pulse website showcases more than 2000+ Crore transactions by consumers on an interactive map of India. With  over 45% market share, PhonePe’s data is representative of the country’s digital payment habits.

PhonePe also launched the Pulse Report, an in-depth study on the evolution of digital payments over the past 5 years. The report also has rich insights about how digital payment adoption across India has evolved since 2016, and includes detailed geographical and category specific trends.

The insights on the website and in the report have been drawn from two key sources – the entirety of PhonePe’s transaction data combined with merchant and customer interviews. The report is available as a free download on the PhonePe Pulse website.

This innovative new product is relevant to multiple ecosystem stakeholders including the government, policy makers, regulatory bodies, media, industry analysts, merchant partners, startups, academic institutions and students. The rich data set along with insightful trends and stories can be used by these partners to understand consumer and merchant behavior and identify new opportunities for growth.

PhonePe Pulse is a first-of-its-kind product in India and is the culmination of months of research and collaboration by a cross-functional team which included Corporate Communications professionals, Business Analysts, Marketers, Designers, Writers, Engineering and Business teams from across the company.

Speaking at the launch, Sameer Nigam, Founder and CEO of PhonePe said, “I am delighted to be launching the PhonePe Pulse website and report today. Pulse is our way of giving back to the digital payments ecosystem. When we started PhonePe five years back, we struggled to get reliable granular data on digital payments trends across the country. We had promised ourselves that if we are successful and gather enough data on our platform, we would open it for anyone who wants to get deeper insights on the Indian payments industry. We built PhonePe Pulse because we can, and crucially because we should help unlock opportunities for others to build in India.”

Rahul Chari, Co-founder and CTO of PhonePe added, “We strongly believe that a core contributor to our success has been our philosophy of building open platforms that allow all participants in the ecosystem to grow. We are an extremely data driven company with our data platforms and knowledge stores being at the core of a lot of systemic decisioning. PhonePe Pulse is an extension of our open platform approach to the information we have garnered at scale with the view of democratizing the access to this data for the benefit of other stakeholders in the ecosystem. The end product today is only the start and we hope others take the same approach to data sharing and transparency.”

ADDX Expands China Footprint with US$200-million Agreement Linked to China’s Offshore Investment Scheme

Official quota under QDLP programme allows institutions and high-net-worth individuals in China to invest in both public and private market products abroad

Digital securities exchange ADDX – formerly known as iSTOX – expects to enlarge its business in China significantly, after concluding a US$200-million agreement tied to a government-granted quota for Chinese offshore investments.

The Qualified Domestic Limited Partnership scheme, or QDLP, allows domestic investors across China to buy into renminbi funds that focus on overseas investment opportunities. Fund quotas are allocated through a few major cities – including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chongqing.

ADDX has reached an agreement with the Singapore-regulated wealth and fund management company ICHAM, which has received a US$200-million allocation as part of the Chongqing government’s overall US$5-billion QDLP quota. Under the agreement, ADDX will be the primary venue for investments from the ICHAM fund in China authorised to raise capital from Chinese institutions and individuals. ADDX will offer Chinese investors access to private market products issued in the form of digital securities covering a broad range of asset types, including pre-IPO equity, hedge funds, VC funds, real estate funds, wholesale bonds and structured products. The ADDX-ICHAM partnership was among the first batch of two QDLP quota recipients announced by the Chongqing government last month. ICHAM is also the first Singapore company to secure a QDLP allocation in any Chinese city. ADDX and ICHAM were both founded by ADDX Chief Executive Officer Danny Toe.

Coming less than a year after ADDX signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Chongqing government to set up a future digital securities exchange for the Chinese market, the new tie-up is an important fillip to ADDX’s international growth plans, the company said. Regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), ADDX currently serves accredited investors from 27 countries, spanning Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas (excluding the United States).

Oi Yee Choo, Chief Commercial Officer of ADDX, said: “The opening up of official channels like QDLP to allow Chinese investors to diversify their portfolios globally has been taking place gradually and steadily since the 2000s. Amid rising asset prices within China, this move by the Chinese authorities is a prudent one that empowers Chinese institutions and high-net-worth individuals to participate in high-quality opportunities wherever they are, before bringing their returns back into the Chinese economy to the benefit of local businesses and households. For international companies that manage or facilitate these investments, including ADDX, China represents a massive opportunity. We are only in the early days of this burgeoning flow of capital between China and the rest of the world.”

Ms Choo added: “At ADDX, our international expansion strategy is grounded on our strong, varied set of blue-chip offerings. We are building the world’s leading private market exchange with blockchain and smart contract technology. World-renowned issuers have been drawn to the speed, cost efficiency and access to capital that digital securities provide, in a revolution that will eventually consign traditional, paper-based securities to history. ADDX is also regulated in Singapore, which has established its standing as the top wealth management hub for Asian family offices and high-net-worth individuals, thanks in no small part to MAS’ strategic long-term plan to build a conducive environment for global investors and asset managers. As Chinese wealth goes in search of opportunities abroad, the financial ecosystem in Singapore that ADDX is a part of has a competitive edge because of its deep pool of talent, robust and progressive regulations and openness to the world.”

Launched in 2012, QDLP is one of a few official programmes for Chinese offshore investments, which include QDII and Wealth Management Connect. The QDLP is notable because it allows offshore investments in a greater variety of assets – not just public market products, but also private market ones with a potentially higher risk-reward profile. Chinese individual investors in QDLP funds have to meet sophisticated investor requirements.

ADDX was founded in 2017 as an integrated issuance, custody and exchange platform for digital securities. The financial technology company is backed by Singapore Exchange, Temasek-owned Heliconia Capital and Japanese investors JIC Venture Growth Investments (JIC-VGI) and the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ).

4 Reasons to Include Customized Products In Your Marketing Strategy

In the modern digital world, most individuals want things to work their way. For this reason, customers may expect your business to deliver customized options to meet their personal tastes and preferences. This means you may have to engage in what other similar businesses are doing and also develop a product that meets customer preferences. 

Product customization is one of the major strategies you can utilize to serve your customer base successfully. Customers have different tastes and preferences, and not every one of them would use your product the same way. This proves why product customization is necessary for your business. But before knowing how product customization may fuel your marketing plan, it’s essential to first understand what product customization is all about.

What Is Product Customization?

Over the last few years, consumer demand for customized products has skyrocketed. Gone are the days when tailor-made products were basically limited to general products, such as mugs, where individuals used to have their favorite pictures printed on them. Nowadays, there’s a wide variety of products that can be personalized. 

Product customization is the process of delivering tailor-made products to customers based on their needs and expectations. This strategy is one of the most effective ways to promote customer experience and satisfaction.  

Most customers may receive their personalized products through a merchant or modify the products themselves, exactly the way they want. The second option is what online stores may offer, where potential clients may customize their products online. For instance, customers may choose real wood encasements and other similar alternatives to receive a personalized product.

Why Integrate Customized Products Into Your Marketing Strategies?

Here are some reasons to include customized products in your marketing campaigns:

To Build Customer Loyalty

Building customer loyalty is one of the reasons you should include customized products in your marketing plan. Suppose your clients receive the exact products they want from your business, there’s a high chance they’d come back again and again. If you have customization options that are different from those of your competitors, clients may develop loyalty to your brand. If customers become loyal to your business, they’re likely to recommend it to their friends and relatives. This would allow you to generate more leads, thus increasing your chances of generating more sales. 

To improve loyalty through customization, it’s vital to have options that are more unique and eye-catching than what your competitors offer. Suppose your business rival is offering their customers an option to have personalized words printed on the back of their black hoodie products. You can beat the competition by allowing customers’ first names and offering different color selections. The more you have unique customization options, the more you may improve customer loyalty, and this increases the efficiency of your marketing strategy. 

To Improve Customer Satisfaction 

Delivering tailor-made products is vital for creating a personalized customer experience for each section of clients, thus improving customer satisfaction. 

To help enhance your customers’ satisfaction, the following are some points to remember: 

  • All customers are different. Whether you have a physical or online store, your customer base may have distinct needs and preferences. Understanding this may help you develop a product that’s as suitable to many people as possible. But it’s important to understand that the more you try to appeal to everyone, the more you might appeal to no one. So instead, try to build amazing products for each specific section of users.
  • Customers may prefer products created just for them. Tailor-made products are a great marketing plan as they make customers feel appreciated and happier. Remember, happy customers could lead to repeat customers, thus improving your profit margin.
To Have A Better Customer Insight

You may use customer data, such as trends and customers’ buying habits, to improve the efficiency of your marketing strategy. Through this, you may develop better customer insight, giving you a strong competitive advantage. If you have no product customization options, you’d be able to have access only to information on products you have in stock. But through customization, you may be able to understand your customers better, giving you an upper hand over your competitor. 

Because of technological advancements, such as data analytics, you may use the gathered information to deliver products as per your customers’ needs and expectations. In the coming years, artificial intelligence technologies may let you utilize customer customization habits to improve your marketing strategy and anticipate the next big sale trend.

For Increased Sales

While it’s cheaper to order products in just one basic form, you may charge more for the customized products. It’s suggested that customers may be willing to pay more for customized products, which could increase your profit margin. 

Another way product personalization may increase your sales is through a word-of-mouth marketing strategy. There’s a high chance a satisfied customer may recommend your brand to family, friends, and acquaintances, thus helping increase your sales and profits.

Takeaway

With the increasing need for product personalization, it’s important to incorporate such options to improve your customers’ shopping experience. This could increase the chances of customer retention for your business. Product customization also helps improve customer experience and satisfaction. This, in turn, ensures you attract more customers, which could allow you to generate more sales. 

Vacation Ownership in Southeast Asia

The travel industry has taken significant hits due to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year and a half. Many travel destinations were left empty and without tourists to help boost their economy.

With the rollout of the vaccination, travel restrictions have been lifted to an extent, allowing safe travel between countries. One well-traveled place with plenty of timeshares is in Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand and Indonesia. Both of these countries have so much beauty to offer their travelers and timeshare owners.

Southeast Asia has experienced its ups and downs over the past few decades with vacation ownership, but it has made a comeback. It can hopefully continue to be a prized destination for travelers even after COVID-19 fades. Vacation ownership in Southeast Asia is still a relatively new practice, but the beautiful destinations are hard to miss.

The History of Vacation Ownership in Southeast Asia

In the 1990s, vacation ownership, also known as timeshares, began in Southeast Asia. Primarily in Thailand, these destinations were great for business owners and professionals to purchase into to have somewhere to vacation. However, the timeshares quickly faded because of credibility issues within the industry. Many who owned timeshares may have taken advantage of the rescission period to get out of the timeshares in fear of being scammed.

Those who lived in Thailand thought that these vacation ownership programs were part of a pyramid scheme. However, stricter guidelines were set in Thailand and other regions of Southeast Asia regarding vacation ownership in the late-1990s and early-200s.

The efforts to rebuild trust within the vacation ownership business proved effective, and the company has since flourished. Stricter consumer protection laws were established and improved to ensure that those who owned and operated vacation resorts and homes were ethical in their practices.

Current Status of Vacation Ownerships in Southeast Asia

Currently, timeshares in Southeast Asia are some of the best in the world. In 2015, Asia experienced an increase in sales, and it was the largest across the globe. They were able to employ tens of thousands of workers and contributed significantly to the economy.

In Thailand specifically, there are over 50 companies that are part of the vacation ownership industry. Additionally, they boast more than 55 resorts as well as over 1,000 apartments. As a result, those involved in the industry have helped contribute to the Thai tourism economy each year.

There’s still a potential for growth in this region of the world. Some of the best markets include Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. When you purchase a vacation spot, you’re guaranteed to have it at the same time every year and don’t have to worry about managing the property.

A Beautiful Place to Vacation

Every year, about 139 million international travelers come to Southeast Asia to experience the wonderful beaches, food and hospitality. The region is becoming more and more attractive to people worldwide. The tourism industry is vital to Southeast Asia, and participating in vacation ownership now, especially as the world is reopening, is a smart investment. It’s a beautiful place to vacation and a promising destination for timeshares.

New Data Privacy Law Passed in China

On the 20th August 2021, China’s National People’s Congress officially passed a law designed to protect private online user data. This will be implemented starting 1st November 2021. A draft of the proposed law was made public in April 2021, giving businesses time to adjust and make the necessary changes. Here we will take a look at what this new law is, what is means for businesses, and what could happen in the future.

 

What is the new law?

The Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) is a comprehensive set of rules surrounding personal data. The new law is a tougher ruling for business use but means more privacy for consumers. The law states that a clear purpose must be outlined by businesses as to how they will use and handle personal data.

The regulations also state new conditions for which companies can collect and store personal data, and has created new guidelines for ensuring data protection when data is transferred outside the country.

It is reported that Beijing has been growing concerned with how internet-based companies in particular are collecting and using data, without much consequence to the companies.

The PIPL along with the Data Security Law (DSL) mark two major regulations set to govern China’s internet in the future. The DSL, to be implemented on 1st September 2021, sets a framework for companies to classify data based on its economic value and relevance to China’s national security.

In July 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), its top cyberspace regulator, announced it would launch a probe into Chinese smart transportation giant Didi Global Inc for allegedly violating user privacy.

Recently, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) passed a sweeping set of rules aimed at improving fair competition, banning practices such as fake online reviews.

As both the PIPL and DSL come in to effect soon and have similar interests, both laws will require companies in China to examine their data storage and processing practices to ensure they are compliant, according to experts.

The PIPL will require handlers of personal information to designate an individual in charge of personal information protection, and calls for handlers to conduct periodic audits to ensure compliance with the law.

 

What does this mean for businesses?

This means businesses in China will have to comply with the law’s requirements, in the country’s efforts to regulate the cyberspace. Tech giants will need to ensure their user data storage is secure after public complaints about mismanagement and misuse of personal data.

In January 2021, the government-backed China Consumers Association (CCA) issued a statement criticizing tech companies for “bullying” consumers into making purchases and promotions. Since then, regulators have routinely reprimanded companies and apps for violating user privacy. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology accused 43 apps for illegally transferring user data and called on them to make rectifications before 24th August 2021.

 

What does this mean for the future?

The new laws are much like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules laid out by the Europe, which were implemented in May 2018. As they are very alike, China can go forward operating in a similar way.

Business will have to move fast to implement the necessary changes and comply with the new data privacy laws, or potentially face a fine up to 2 million yuan.

PPDS Brings Most Advanced Control and Management Capabilities to Philips Corporate Displays

Where AV meets IoT: Ideal for corporate environments, the award-winning Crestron XiO Cloud™ platform allows customers to deploy, monitor, and manage their Philips OPS displays from a centralised location, reducing installation time and increasing uptime.

PPDS, the exclusive global provider of Philips Professional TV and Digital Signage products, software, and innovations, is excited to announce it is among the world’s first manufacturers to gain Crestron XiO Cloud™ certification, bringing unrivalled control and management capabilities to workplace displays.

This deep collaboration between PPDS and Crestron demonstrates the greatest levels of integration and support to the Crestron ecosystem from a display manufacturer, with PPDS offering the most advanced and complete version of the award-winning XiO Cloud™ solution available anywhere in the current market, driving productivity and long-term financial gains for customers.

Bob Bavolacco, director, technology partnerships at Crestron, added: “PPDS has become a deeply integrated Crestron partner, adopting and rapidly embracing our technology at a level that surpasses anything else seen in the current marketplace.”

Future-proofing the workplace

First unveiled at ISE 2018, the ever-evolving Crestron XiO Cloud™ makes the ability to deploy, manage, monitor, and evolve workplace displays a simple, fast and secure process, enabling remote control of the display’s functions from a single location (including via a Crestron touchscreen device or a web UI dashboard).

Built on the Microsoft® Azure® platform – used and trusted by some of the world’s leading and most data sensitive organisations, including Fortune 500 companies ­– Crestron XiO Cloud™ integrates seamlessly with a wide range of Philips Windows™ and Android™ digital displays and pro TVs to suit the customer’s needs and requirements. This includes its new range of Philips T-Line and C-Line  interactive displays, plus the full range of digital signage and professional TVs, including MediaSuite, B-Line, D-Line and Q-Line.

Effortless installation

With Crestron XiO Cloud, customers can now configure thousands of Philips professional displays in the time it takes to configure one. The long, often costly, and disruptive configuration process for new displays and other devices is now a thing of the past, with customers able to centrally configure and provision all their Philips professional displays in all rooms before the products have been installed and without visiting the site. Once displays are connected to the network, they will automatically retrieve their settings, programmes, and firmware specific to the environment being used, and immediately begin reporting data. This can cut installation times for new devices by up to 90pc.

Updates can be scheduled on individual displays or collectively, entirely remotely and at a convenient time – such as during non-office hours – or staggered across rooms’ usage or occupancy for greater levels of efficiency, consistency, and security to the workplace.

Troubleshooting can also be tackled immediately and entirely remotely, with Crestron XiO Cloud™ monitoring all devices at all times, sending AV/IT managers instant alerts whenever an issue is detected. This allows problems to be addressed as and when they occur – even before the user realises – reducing potential disruptions or equipment shutdowns to keep spaces up and running, without running to them.

 

Workplace analytics

With rooms and devices automatically monitored 24/7, Crestron XiO Cloud’s workplace analytics helps give managers better understanding of how rooms and systems are being used. These include system usage versus occupancy, and new people counting functionality to understand how many people are actually using rooms versus their current capacity.

Customers can purchase the Crestron XiO Cloud™ service on a monthly basis, with pricing based on the number of rooms and service options required. 

Sian Rees, International Product Manager Software at PPDS, commented: “We’re absolutely delighted to be able to bring this revolutionary solution to our partners and customers, strengthening our relationship with Crestron and taking our Philips professional displays further into the Crestron ecosystem. For XiO Cloud, we’ve gone deeper than many other manufacturers to maximise the benefits and capabilities of the ground-breaking solution. Offering the ultimate experience and performance for our partners and customers.”

Does It Make Business Sense to Invest in Selangor Real Estate?

Selangor is commonly known as the second most prosperous state in all of Malaysia, so it would certainly make business sense to invest in local real estate. To put more facts behind the claim, let us take a look at Selangor from a real estate investor’s perspective.

The Second Most Prosperous Malaysian State

Kuala Lumpur is, of course, the most financially successful state in Malaysia, but that does not always make it the most prospective area to invest in real estate. The problem with Kuala Lumpur is that the real estate there is already far too expense and developed. Buying property in Kuala Lumpur as an investor is going to be very expensive with no guarantee of significant returns anytime soon. Selangor, on the other hand, offers more opportunities for future growth in price.

In fact, developing townships such as Bukit Beruntung is considered to be one of the best places for retired expats to settle for a life of peace and quiet, without sacrificing any of the modern life comforts. Whether you are an expat, a working professional, or a real estate investor looking for the perfect series of property to invest in, take a look at these options in Bukit Beruntung listed on Property Guru. PropertyGuru.com is the most extensive website to find real estate in the country, so rest assured that you will find more than enough options to select from their collection. Just adjust the filters to see exactly the kind of real estate that you are looking for.

Attractions Raise the Price of Real Estate

For a long time, international tourism ceased almost completely due to the recent pandemic, but the doors are starting to open now. This is good news for locals, travelers and, of course, real estate investors. Now is also the perfect time to buy property in Selangor because the prices are still down.

Once international tourism gains full force, all prime areas in the state will become a lot more expensive. In case you are not aware, Selangor has a large number of tourist attractions such as:

  • The Sky Mirror of Kuala Selangor (only two such places exist in the entire world)
  • Selangor is the golfing capital of Malaysia with 46 beautiful golf courses spread throughout the state
  • The Golden Triangle of Selangor
  • The Blue Mosque (Masjid Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah)
  • The famous i-City, which is also known as one of the world’s only true smart cities
  • Trekking, mountain biking, rock climbing and more at Hulu Selangor and Kanching.

Even as someone who has retired to Malaysia or is at least thinking about it, rest assured that you will not have any shortage of places to enjoy in Selangor.

Developments in Progress

There are several developments in progress already, especially in and around the aforementioned township of Bukit Beruntung. This provides investors an opportunity to immediately join an ongoing project, without having to spend money on founding one by themselves. Even if you wish to start a housing project of your own in the developing parts of Selangor, the state government will most likely welcome the opportunity. To know more about the necessary permissions, licenses, permits, etc. as a builder/developer that you may need to get started, pay a visit to the state government website here.

Some of the Most Popular Residential Areas in Malaysia are in Selangor

Selangor provides the perfect mixture of rural tranquility and urban life within a few short miles of each other. You could drive out of your beautiful country house and find thriving nightlife within just a few minutes! On the other hand, you can drive back from a tiring day of work in one of the industrial districts and enter your little piece of personal heaven in a nice and quiet residential neighborhood in about the same time.

This is what makes Selangor particularly popular among expatriates, locals, and working foreigners alike. We have already mentioned Bukit Beruntung, but other nearby locations like Cheras, Shah Alam, and Puchong hold similar charms as well, albeit in slightly different flavors. Combine all of this with the comparatively affordable price of real estate in Selangor and now you know why the state is applauded so much as a residential state.

When you first move into a new country, it will be difficult irrespective of where you move to. Even then, Selangor just promises to be a better fit, because the state isn’t yet as overdeveloped as some other parts of the country are. This provides a newcomer with the little respite they need, while getting oriented with their new home. From a real estate investor’s perspective, it is important that they pay heed to why people like Selangor and implement their development plans accordingly, so as to keep those likable aspects undisturbed.

Business Accountancy of the Year – Perth

There’s no accounting for success, but this Perth based firm have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they deliver it on behalf of their clients. Pine Accounting and Tax Services is the result of years of experience, navigating the challenging waters where the legal and financial sectors converge. Having proven themselves to be an essential part of Australian business, they’ve been recognised for their success. We dig a little deeper to discover exactly what they’ve done that sets them apart from the competition.

 

It’s not enough to know where money is going these days. People expect more from those who take care of their finances. Instead of simple number crunchers, clients want to know that their accountancy team has their best interests at heart. Those who turn to Pine Accounting and Tax Services know that the team are always looking to secure them and their businesses in the best possible place.

Over the years, Pine Accounting and Tax Services has been able to work with clients of various standing, from individuals through to small businesses and onto large corporate structures. Each is provided with the same level of care and attention, treated with equal importance at every stage. With the ability to offer a wide range of services, including tax returns, business consulting, Superfund compliance and audits, it’s clear that the Pine team are more than qualified to provide a comprehensive offering that answers any and all accounting and tax needs.

Where the team thrive, however, is in how they achieve this. Trust lies at the heart of every decision made by the team, who take the time to ensure that their clients are comfortable with what is being done on their behalf. There is always an assurance that the team will offer high-quality, professional, timely services for all clients, no matter what their size or industry. While the team offers a little more than simple number crunching, accuracy is at the heart of what is on offer. There are no errors, no hidden fees and a fast turnaround to ensure that people can make the decisions they want to quickly and move on with their lives.

There’s never a bad time to get in contact with the Pine Accounting and Tax Services team, as they are always on hand, ready to offer some friendly advice. This means that when a crisis emerges, they are around and available to make things good again, even out of hours. As your trusted advisory team, they thrive under pressure and thrill in the chance to prove themselves in stressful situations. In many ways, this is what sets apart the Pine Accounting and Tax Services team from the rest of the crowd. Where others will sit back and wait for events to occur, this team is always finding new and exciting ways to be proactive in their approach.

Much of the team’s work spans numerous industries, and has the potential to be applied to dozens more with ease. Tradies, deli owners, pharmaceuticals and financial planners all turn to Pine Accounting and Tax Services for assistance. They do so because they know that they will receive a service that is second to none, providing invaluable support that is targeted specifically at their aims. The team at Pine Accounting and Tax Services always work towards partnership, collaboratively building up something stronger than what was once there. It’s an approach that has secured impressive success for all.

As a team who focus on handling the tax and accounting needs of various individuals and organisations, it’s little wonder that this firm is now able to offer a wealth of personalised service to clients. For self-managed super funds, Pine Accounting and Tax Services is ideally placed to lodge tax returns and completes all necessary reporting and lodgements to the ATO.

For all Superfund clients, Pine tax engages an independent auditor to ensure that a client’s Superfund meets with the stringent regulatory and compliance requirements of the industry. By doing this, the team are frequently in touch with auditors and trustees to ensure any errors are rectified and trustees in a process are well informed of the Superannuation laws.

This same careful approach can be applied to individuals too. When the time comes for tax returns, things can get very stressful, very quickly. Fortunately, the Pine Accounting and Tax Services team are able to simplify such processes significantly. Working closely alongside clients, the team can complete and lodge a tax return with the ATO, enabling you to get a refund in no time at all. This hassle-free process has been refined over years and is sure to make even this most tiresome of processes a breeze.

Small and medium businesses naturally bring their own unique challenges to the table, that fall between the needs of an individual and the complexities of a self-managed super fund. When the time comes to file the necessary tax information, the Pine Accounting and Tax Services team will already have matters well in hand. They collate and simplify preparations and lodgements of a firm’s annual taxation, financial statements and reporting requirements. As the team already work alongside a firm when it comes to these matters, it is easy to assist in the management of staff payroll, superannuation contributions and fringe benefits to name but a few factors. The comprehensive support that is offered to clients has proven time and time again to be the secret to the firm’s impressive success within the financial sector.

Part of the Pine promise is an ethos that ensures better value for money on behalf of all concerned. It’s this approach which has led the team to become a brand leader, and indeed a brand of choice, throughout Australia. Securing this position has not be easy for the team and has involved a great deal of work on all sides. Now, Pine Accounting and Tax Services is able to offer clients the skills of a qualified Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and registered tax agent.

This comes in the form of Hamza Maqbool, who completed his Masters in Accounting at the University of Western Australia and gained his MBA from Institute of Business Management Pakistan. When this knowledge is supplanted with over ten years working with large firms in public and private accounting practice, it becomes clear that Hamza knows the industry inside and out. Thanks to this, clients know that they are receiving quality assistance that will give them the same opportunities as their larger competitors. It makes him the ideal person to lead Pine Accounting and Tax Services to the next level.

The team at Pine Accounting and Tax Services has flourished under this impressive leadership, with an atmosphere that is committed to improvement and takes advice from all quarters. There is no place to settle here, with new ideas and concepts being explored all the time. Needless to say, this has allowed an ambitious team to flourish as they test the waters of the industry at large. Pine Accounting and Tax Services acts as a platform where they can push the limits.

Those who come to Pine Accounting and Tax Services all share a real passion for the industry, and value what they will be able to offer to the client. As a young company, the team are committed to supporting those who may not have the experience of other firms. This has proven incredibly useful to the way in which the business operates as it has encouraged a learning environment. Staff are able to connect with the mission of the firm by feeding on the work of others.

This is why training is done on the job, as it allows people to see how things work in action. As well as offering a practical approach, it invites people to share in the general ethos of the company. This practical approach benefits everyone, and people can progress to new levels of independence as they feel comfortable. Regular reviews are conducted by senior managers to ensure that standards are kept high and progress is being made.

During the COVID-19 crisis, this high standard of leadership has been vital to securing success, both for Pine Accounting and Tax Services and for the clients whom they serve. There has been an enormously disruptive element to the industry at large that has made the need for active players clear to many businesses. While some had previously been able to act with advisors who essentially acted as compliance officers, the need for a team who were able to react quickly and effectively to the changing circumstances of the last year has been clear. This situation is unlikely to change as business starts to react to the way in which the COVID-19 pandemic has affected how industry operates.

It became clear very quickly that the best advisors were those who could take an agile approach to this unprecedented challenge. Finding new ways of working with clients was a priority, and so the team at Pine Accounting and Tax Services have been able to adopt new technologies such as video chats and online tools to support their clients. This change was very easily achieved thanks to the team championing the use of cloud technology long before the crisis occurred. They have long been able to work from any location as a result of this decisive move. Having this capacity in hand well before it was required allowed the team to get a head start on many competitors in the business, as well as supporting many clients who suddenly found themselves requiring urgent support in this way.

While many have adapted well to the need to implement social distancing methods and WFH requirements, it’s clear that this is just the first step for many as opposed to the final destination. Firms and teams must embrace the potential of technology not just to survive the fallout from COVID-19, but to ensure they are fit for purpose in the 21st Century. The world of digital technology has opened up new opportunities for all, but those who don’t take part will be left behind.

This means that businesses must train their staff so that they can work remotely in an effective manner. There must be more investment in the appropriate infrastructure, covering areas such as technology and cyber security, to ensure that this is the case. The impact of opening the technological doors is to remove physical boundaries from businesses. A client based in Perth can seek the services of accounting firms in other states without compromising on quality. While this allows the team at Pine Accounting and Tax Services to access a much larger market, it also invites much more competition from across the board. By staying afloat in these challenging times, the team will be able to grow more effectively, leading a charge and making a justified claim to being a market leader.

Looking forward, the future seems bright for this intrepid team. The COVID-19 pandemic has not stymied their work, but made it all the more effective, accelerating many clients through years of work and development. As the team has explored new possibilities for expansion, they have increased their extensive range of services to appeal to a broader range of clients. This includes mortgage broking services, originating from the need to help clients meet their financial needs.

In line with the technological revolution in which the team have invested so much, the launch of a new app “MyTaxman” has the potential to become a guiding light within the financial industry at large. This will provide a much-needed platform for buyers and sellers of professional services. During the pandemic, there has been a need for accounting services that are both cost effective and can reach to the general population. By helping clients to more easily connect with practitioners of financial services through the use of an inbuilt video/ call function, the team hope to transform the way in which the industry works. It will allow customers and contractors to communicate and choose between various quotes much more easily, with incredible transparency throughout.

When looking for a financial and tax advisor, you can’t do better than the team behind Pine Accounting and Tax Services. Under the impressive leadership of Hamza Maqbool, the team have been able to take a leading position in a market that could have been severely affected by recent events. Their ability to adapt is legendary, and their capacity for foresight astonishing. It’s why this is a firm that not only thrives today, but will continue to thrive long into the future.

For business enquires contact Pine Accounting and Tax Services via  www.pinetax.com.au or email [email protected]

Introducing the Xero App Store, the Next Evolution of the Xero Ecosystem

Xero invests in app ecosystem to help Xero customers find, trial and buy apps to help them 
run their business

Xero, the global small business platform, today unveiled the Xero App Store, a reimagined and easier way for small businesses, accountants and bookkeepers to discover and purchase apps to help run their business, while helping app partners grow on the Xero platform. 

The Xero App Store is available at apps.xero.com and delivers on Xero’s aspiration for more customers to access and benefit from the power of Xero connected apps. 

From today, Xero app partners in Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand will have access to a suite of new subscription and billing APIs (Xero App Store Subscriptions) that will enable them to offer Xero customers the ability to trial, purchase and manage their app from the Xero App Store.

Steve Vamos, Xero Chief Executive said, “Our vision for the Xero App Store is to be the place where small businesses go to discover and buy apps that complement Xero, and the place to help developers grow their business.”

“Today’s milestone is exciting because better connecting Xero’s platform to external apps — whether it’s to manage inventory, receipts or their customer relationships — is a powerful enabler for small businesses looking to grow, manage their workflows or digitally transform their business. With these improvements, we can better connect small businesses and developers to each other, in smarter and more seamless ways.”

Xero’s recent research report The Job Ahead: Small businesses and the global economic recovery, showed firms in Australia, New Zealand and the UK that used five or more business apps performed better than those with no apps. They grew their sales by 4.3% in the year to December 2020, while those without apps saw a decline of 3.4%. These small businesses also returned to near net job growth across 2020, with a year on year decline of 1.8% – compared to firms who had no apps connected, which experienced job losses of 5.1% year on year.

The Xero App Store will bring new benefits to small businesses, advisors and Xero app partners, with greater focus on marketing and growth initiatives designed to connect app partners with small business customers. The Xero App Store will enable customers to: 

  • Find the right Xero connected app, when you need it: With improved search capabilities and personalised recommendations powered by machine learning, the new Xero App Store makes it easier for businesses to find the right apps for their needs, based on their industry and unique profile. The recommendations engine will also provide app partners with more qualified leads.
  • Choose the right app through improved access to app reviews and greater insights: More detailed app reviews are now front-and-centre to help small businesses choose the right apps, and sophisticated analytics have been introduced to support app developers. Enabled via a new app Partner Dashboard, developers now have access to analytics and insights to help track customer conversion and get real-time customer feedback about their apps.
  • Buy the right app with access to a new Xero App Store Subscriptions offering: From today, app partners in the UK, Australia and New Zealand have access to new subscription and billing capabilities (Xero App Store Subscriptions) which will allow Xero customers to pay and manage their apps in one place. This will be available in the US and Canada in the next 12 months, followed by Asia and South Africa. Xero’s investment in this technology takes away some of the development pain points experienced by our early stage developers, while improving the experience for Xero customers through consolidated billing and managing upgrades or downgrades from one place.

The Xero App Store also introduces clearer and more consistent terms for partners and a referral revenue share of 15% (excluding fees) on subscriptions for new customers, who sign up through the Xero App Store. App partners can continue to sell their apps to Xero customers via other channels, with the referral revenue share only applying to sales generated via the Xero App Store.

The new terms will apply to apps available within the Xero App Store on a phased basis. Any new app joining the Xero App Store will join on the new terms from today, while existing apps will have until 4 August 2022.  

Xero’s Executive General Manager of Ecosystem, Nick Houldsworth, said Xero recognised early on the benefits of being an open platform, which is why it opened  its APIs to developers in 2009 to encourage innovation and extend its platform capability.

“We’ve been building towards the Xero App Store launch over the past 18 months and are excited to see the impact of this enhanced experience for our customers and partners. The Xero App Store now provides strong foundations for encouraging greater digital transformation, while democratising access to technology for small businesses. As Xero scales globally, this is reflected in the calibre of services offered by our partners in the Xero App Store,” Houldsworth said. 

Top Tips on Protecting Your Business from Chargebacks

Chargeback was created as a protective tool for customers from any fraudulent merchants on the market. Nowadays the situation has changed. Merchant payments for chargebacks became a target for numerous fraudsters. So, if your client started a dispute, it is recommended to check all the reasons immediately and make sure that no criminal scheme is involved.

Unlike the refunds procedure, chargeback does not require contact between seller and buyer. Instead, the customer contacts the bank, files a complaint complaint and starts the dispute. Bank decides whether to approve chargeback or not. Unfortunately, chargeback fraud happens often, even with the best merchants with solid reputations. Some customers misuse the chargeback process to receive money after getting the product or services they paid for.

Legal Actions or Crime

Customers who misuse chargebacks for their gain learn this system well enough to know that their actions are partly legal. Regulations of the dispute are far from perfect and stay unchanged for decades. While this type of fraud is still called friendly, every merchant who suffered from such a scheme disagrees with the name. Unfortunately, not all actions can be argued. If the customer did not put the signature on the delivery document, they may claim that there was no package delivered.

Dishonest cardholders can get motivated by next reasons:

  • They don’t need to contact the merchant directly;
  • They want to receive free services;
  • They want to avoid the handling fee;
  • Refund limit is expired;
  • The delivery schedule is not suitable for them;
  • The return process on the website is too difficult;
  • The real owner of the payment card does not know that  a purchase was made;
  • The buyer is not aware that he made the transaction.

Best Ways to Protect Your Business against Chargebacks

No matter which digital tools or strategies you use, there is no 100 percent guarantee of protection from chargebacks. Every day the global market is attacked by fraudsters and criminals. Whether you have a small business or a big one, you can only minimize the chances for unnecessary spending and cut the damage that may occur.

Follow the next steps:

  1. Use the payment processor you trust. Even if you don’t know the system, check out the reviews, ask your colleagues. Pick the trustable way to accept payments. It must be highly secured fraud hackers with the detection of frauds. It may ask for the CVV card number or AVS. This way, you will not only protect your money but your customers as well;
  2. Advanced seller protection. If you use services like Cash App, PayPal, or even Shopify, you have an automatic fraud detection system that monitors every action. You may decide which charges you can approve automatically or not, whitelist some accounts while blacklisting others. Many reliable companies also offer insurance in case of chargebacks. Besides, you may handle the disputes started by customers through the platform of payments;
  3. Always keep receipts and proofs of transactions. Whether you trust your client completely or not, you have to make the transaction screenshots and automatically save all the receipts. These are the major pieces of evidence of your point of view. Save copies of all receipts and orders. If you can, save the conversation screenshots with customers. Make screenshots of delivery moves and keep them in the specific folder;
  4. Provide the information on the payments and return policy clear and visible. Your customers need to know what to expect and how to file for a refund. A refund is always better than a chargeback since you don’t have to pay unnecessary fees;
  5. Monitor the quality of services you provide. Perhaps, the chargeback you have to pay is justified. Check out the quality of the product and the reliability of the delivery company.

Life without Chargebacks

Although there is no 100 percent guarantee that your actions will keep your business safe from chargebacks, you can still avoid them. Pay attention to every factor on the list, and make sure you follow these basic rules. A happy customer will stay with you for a long time.

Nur Ink Innovations to Start a First Pilot with One of the World’s Largest Digital Printer Manufacturers

Nur will provide the customer with water-based environmentally friendly pigment inks for installation in industrial grade digital printers it manufactures. The customer is a Japanese public corporation.

Nur Ink Innovations Ltd. which engages in research and development of various types of water-based, green and environmentally friendly pigment inks, announces that it has contracted with one of the world’s leading international digital printer manufacturers for strategic collaboration and technological development of water-based digital printing pigment ink that was developed by the Company (NurTex).

Moshe Nur, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Company: ‘We are pleased to announce the start of a technical pilot with one of the world’s largest and leading players in digital printer manufacturing. This pilot continues the Company’s strategy to become a leading global supplier in a green world of environmentally-friendly water-based pigment inks – designed for use in printers and digital printing systems’.

‘We believe that the application of our inks in the relevant industry, direct digital printing on garments (DTG), will increase the global market by approximately 15%, opening for the Company a gateway to a huge market worth $5 billion annually in addition to other applications targeted by the Company in huge, multibillion dollar markets’.

As part of the pilot, the ink, which is designed for printing directly on to t-shirts and other garments will be installed in an industrial printer made by the digital printing manufacturing corporation. The engagement is part of the Company’s OEM White Label business strategy for collaborating with leading players in the global printing industry, inter-alia, companies such as Epson, Roland, Ricoh, Brother, EFI, Mimaki, Agfa, Kodak, among others.

In the Company’s estimation and in accordance with the agreements with the customer, insofar as the pilot is successful, the digital printing corporation intends to install the Company’s ink at several end-customer sites for a paid commercial pilot. The pilot is expected to last for a period of between 4 and 6 months (between 6 and 9 months from the date of this announcement).

The Company estimates that this engagement will advance the Company’s research and development efforts and that successful application of the ink in the industry relevant to this pilot will enable various applications that are currently unavailable for the vast majority of the digital printing market (for example: printing on dark garments made of 100% polyester), and consequently increase the general markets of direct-to-garments and direct-to-textile printing and expand the use of water-based pigment inks, and expedite the arrival of the company’s products. The business engagement model between the company and the digital printer’s corporation, insofar as the pilot process is completed, is expected to be the OEM Private Label model of multi-year ink supply.

Growth in Hong Kong Wealth Market to Drive Affluent Population Growth in 2021, Says GlobalData

The Hong Kong wealth market is expected to rebound after a COVID-19 pandemic induced contraction in 2020, driving up affluent investor numbers. This population, including mass affluent investors (holding liquid assets of US$50,000–$1m) and high-net-worth (HNW) individuals (holding liquid assets of more than US$1m), is expected to grow by 7.8% to reach 3.9 million in 2021, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Hong Kong is one of the main financial hubs of Asia-Pacific and is home to a particularly large number of the region’s wealthy population. According to GlobalData’s Wealth Market Analytics, the affluent population in Hong Kong including mass affluent and HNW collectively account for 60.6% of its total population in 2021 – compared to its peers – Singapore (32.2%), China (5.3%), and India (0.7%).

The number of affluent individuals in Hong Kong recorded an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 5.1% between 2017 and 2019, rising from 3.2 million in 2017 to 3.7 million in 2019 on the back of strong financial market performance. However, the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on the local real estate and stock market, and subsequently affected Hong Kong’s affluent population, which are notably more exposed to both sectors than those in the lower wealth bands.

Ravi Sharma, Lead Banking and Payments Analyst comments: “The population of the affluent investors is expected to rise in coming years supported by the recovery in the economy, widespread vaccinations and improvement in stock market performance. Furthermore, an expected increase in residential property prices will result in capital gains, which will further boost investors’ optimism.”

Equities and mutual funds were the most hit by the pandemic, though overall GDP took a substantial beating according to the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department. The benchmark Hang Seng Index failed to recover losses incurred earlier in 2020 and therefore closed 2020 down 3.4% against 2019. Similarly, the position of mutual funds also decreased by 0.9% during the year.

Retail deposits, on the other hand, registered high net inflows in 2020, the highest in a decade, benefiting from heightened volatility and uncertainties in other riskier asset classes.

The Hong Kong wealth market is set for a recovery as its economic performance is expected to regain momentum and this results in a shift away from deposits among the investors, towards riskier assets equities and mutual funds, both expected to see strong growth.

Mr Sharma concludes: “Despite several challenges brought about by the pandemic, Hong Kong’s wealth management market has remained mostly resilient and is now all set to rebound. The strong predicted retail investment growth is expected to benefit the investors and will further push the rise of affluent individuals over the next four years.”

Processing Equipment 101: 4 Steps To Plan Your Purchase

Manufacturing is one of the industries where technology has grown pervasive. Industrial technology has evolved into a requirement for manufacturing companies to cut costs, eliminate waste, and boost profitability through processing equipment. The right equipment may significantly enhance your operations, productivity, innovation capability, and bottom line.

 

Global Data surveyed over 300 small, medium-sized, and large companies in APAC across a variety of vertical sectors, including manufacturing, utilities, retail, and healthcare. Global Data provides an in-depth insight into IoT (Internet of Things) perspectives of end-users, their investment plans, the choice of connectivity technology and suppliers, key advantages companies are hoping to gain, and the geographic range of deployment in its report.

 

In the study, equipment and management were the most frequent application cases in APAC across all of the sectors covered by the survey due to the direct financial advantages of operational efficiency.

 

However, to get those benefits from significant capital investment, you need a good and sound purchasing strategy that considers both your short and long-term needs. Whether you’re starting from scratch or your business needs to review its purchasing process, this article will explain key steps you should take.

 

Step 1: Assess Your Processing Equipment Needs

The first stage in the selection and purchase of processing equipment is to identify the business requirement. The cost of buying and installing capital equipment may be an enormous burden for any business. Before you make a move, try to assess the following questions:  

  • Will your business benefit from purchasing the processing equipment?
  • How does this processing equipment fit into or meet your future business needs?
  • Does the need for processing equipment meet a safety need or regulatory requirement?

The search for processing equipment may be time-consuming and challenging if you don’t follow a defined process. Because product testing can’t be performed before purchase, choices are usually based on pricing, the credibility of the supplier, and design data.

 

Step 2: Make an Expenditure Plan

The operating expenses plan comprises new processing equipment. Still, it should also consider your current equipment’s scheduled downtimes and forecast end-of-life for you to prepare for replacement.  

Whether you’ve done your capital expenditure plan and understood your equipment’s cycle periods, you’ll know if the latest model is a low-cost option. For some cost-effective tips, if you have a limited budget, you can purchase used processing equipment, such as a double cone blender and other equipment, at a very competitive price.

Manufacturers may also budget for essential maintenance data by connecting IoT-enabled gadgets to other devices through cloud or legacy systems via a range of sensor points, such as currents, voltages, vibrations, and temperatures. In this way, IoT transforms maintenance into a fast-paced, automated process capable of anticipating problems months in advance.

 

Step 3: Research for Reliable Suppliers

Following the creation of a comprehensive specification of your business needs and expenditure plan, the third stage in selecting and purchasing process equipment is to assess the available suppliers. This phase starts with the distribution of your specification to the most competent vendors found.

Consider the following when selecting a provider to help you minimize repairs, maintenance, and safety risks.

  • When selecting a manufacturer of food processing equipment, look for experience with your business.
  • Product testing with your manufacturer of processing equipment enables you to solve any issues before becoming problems in your facility.
  • A list of references should be sent to your equipment manufacturer, including a contact person whom you can question about the processing equipment.
  • While specific standard fittings may work for your procedure, you should be able to customize some processing equipment elements without much difficulty. You may want to add or delete some features, add coatings or finishes, or change the machine size to suit your facility.
  • You may wish to examine the manufacturer’s facility to select the best processing equipment, manufacturer. This will allow you to understand better how the manufacturer does business, including the production equipment and technologies they employ, the facility’s condition, capacity, and compliance with safety regulations.

You can check the list of Asia-Pacific businesses and startups (APAC) in the equipment manufacturing area includes statistics on their history of financing, investments, and acquisition patterns.

 

Step 4: Negotiate Your Contract Terms with Your Chosen Supplier

The negotiation of a contract is a process of negotiating with suppliers on an arrangement that benefits both sides. This often leads to reduced pricing and more significant product volumes (or expectations of future sales). The objectives of these discussions are simple:

  • All criteria are well defined
  • Goods and services must be identified
  • Both sides have expectations, including time limits, quality, etc.
  • Risks and obligations are highlighted
  • Compensation, including payment schedule, conditions of financing, and total cost, is fully stated
  • Dates of renewal, completion, and termination, and delivery dates agreement

Negotiating without adequate presentation will always lead to failure. You may enter into a contract, but the probability of better pricing or better terms is low. You must know this supplier and its rivals. Find out how pricing compares to the market, what the supplier charges to provide the processing equipment.

  

Conclusion

The suitable investment in the appropriate equipment and tools for work is one of the greatest methods to save costs. It’s because one of the costly business expenses is the maintenance and repair of your processing equipment.  It’s essential to establish a sound purchasing procedure in your processing equipment to reduce your company expenses significantly.

2021 Global Digital Economy Innovation Competition Officially Launched. Accelerating the Upgrading of Digital Economy Industry

As an important part of 2021 Global Digital Economy Conference, the 2021 Global Digital Economy Innovation Competition will be held on August 2, 2021 in Beijing.

The “2021 Global Digital Economy Conference” is co-sponsored by the People’s Government of Beijing Municipal, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Commerce, and the Cyberspace Administration of China. The “2021 Global Digital Economy Innovation Competition” is jointly organized by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economics and Information Technology, the People’s Government of Daxing District, and Asia Data Group.

Over recent years, the digital economy market and related industries have continued to develop and are increasingly becoming the main form of economic development in China.

In 2020, the scale of digital economy in China reached 39.2 trillion yuan, accounting for 38.6% of GDP. The growth rate of the digital economy was more than three times of the GDP growth rate, which means digital economy had become a key driving force for stable economic growth.

2021 is the first year of the “14th Five-Year Plan”. Standing at a new historical starting point, the digital economy will further promote economic transformation and upgrading and the transformation of growth patterns, enhance the resilience of China’s economic development, and provide strong momentum for economic and social development.

In order to accelerate the digital transformation, vigorously promote the digital economy, further enhance the competitiveness of the core industries of the digital economy, and stimulate the leading and enabling role of economic and social development, the competition focuses on new trends and hotspots in the development of the digital economy, and is committed to building an international professional event platform in the field of digital economy.

Set a benchmark effect with support of the platform.

The theme of the 2021 Global Digital Economy Innovation Competition is “Technology New Empowerment · Digital New Benchmark”. Based on the development trend of the digital economy industry, focusing on digital life and health, digital culture, digital trade, advanced intelligent manufacturing and other fields, the Competition has started project recruitment in the form of online and offline.

As one of the characteristic activities of the 2021 Global Digital Economy Conference, the competition is committed to solving the problem of inter-communications among digital economy enterprises by building a platform for communication and resource sharing between government, enterprises, enterprises and investors. The platform will also help introducing the strong support and high-quality policies of innovative projects and high-end talents in the place where the competition is held.

It is worth mentioning that Daxing District, Beijing, where the 2021 Global Digital Economy Innovation Competition is located, has unique policy advantages as a “policy highland for reform and opening up”-this is the only region in the country that has two provinces and cities free trade zone policies at the same time. Daxing also enjoys many major policies such as building the comprehensive demonstration zone, comprehensive bonded zone, and Zhongguancun National Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone.

Daxing District is sitting on new opportunities of “two districts” construction, “dual free trade” policy and international innovation cooperation construction. Multiple benefits will maximize the platform effect of the competition, and ultimately help the transformation of outstanding innovation results and cutting-edge technology. More outstanding innovative projects, professional scientific and technological talents will be reserved to build a benchmark city for the global digital economy.

Create influence with authoritative endorsement.

The competition will invite partners and executives of leading investment institutions to serve as roadshow judges. At the roadshow site, investors representing the focus of the capital market, will provide comprehensive guidance and review on the development direction, development skills, and marketing of the participating companies’ projects standing at the forefront of research perspectives as well as deep industry insights.

There will also be a number of industry experts, partners of various fields, executives of innovative companies, media representatives and other guests to participate in order to ensure the high level of evaluation and fairness of the competition, and jointly witness the future star of the digital economy industry.

All-round empowerment with abundant resources.

The competition is recruiting projects in four fields of life and health, digital culture, digital trade, and advanced manufacturing. Excellent projects are given priority so the scope can be expanded to Internet or technology-related companies. In order to gather and attract outstanding teams, the organizing committee has specially set up generous bonus prizes and abundant supporting activities for participating companies.

In this competition, there will be 1 champion, 2 runners-up, and 3 third-winners. These three kinds of winners will receive RMB 500,000, 300,000, and 200,000 respectively. At the same time, the competition will also set up a number of outstanding innovation awards, who will be given exclusive trophies and certificates.

What’s more, all participating projects will be listed as key projects in the field of digital economy in Daxing District. While enjoying the digital economy development policies of China and Beijing, in accordance with the 1+N industrial policy of Daxing District, priority will be given to the award-winning teams’ talent settlement, rent reduction, scientific research and innovation, fund investment, and special industrial policy support for the landing projects.

In order to maximize the impact, the competition will also launch an overall and all-round publicity activity combined with the global digital economy conference cooperative media platform, the digital new country gate (Daxing) branch venue media platform, and the competition-related media resources and platforms.

For participating companies, these are real “empowerment”. With multiple strong supports, the competition brings together new directions and new developments in the industry, which will effectively stimulate the innovative vitality and development potential of participating companies, and ultimately actively promote the sustainable construction and development of the digital economy industry.

Not Understanding Overseas Employees’ Needs Costs Time, Money, and Staff

Employers who fail to understand the needs of their overseas employees risk wasting time and money on irrelevant benefits, seeing increased absence levels, and even losing staff. Towergate Health & Protection looks at why it is important to understand overseas employees’ needs, and how this can be achieved.

Why it is important to understand overseas employees’ needs

There are many ways in which a business will benefit from fully understanding the needs of its overseas employees. A comprehensive understanding will allow the employer to remain in control of budgets, manage absence, and improve recruitment and retention of staff.

Sarah Dennis, head of international at Towergate Health and Protection comments: “Ultimately, knowing what makes your global employees tick will be a major step in the effective management of the business.”

Managing budgets
There are lots of different options for what to include in health and wellbeing packages for employees working abroad, and lots of potential to spend either unwisely or wisely. Some benefits will be costly but not necessary, others will be vital. For example, maternity care, dental treatment, and GP visits can be very expensive and not necessarily relevant for every demographic, in every region. For others, however, they may be essential. It is important to understand what is included within international health and wellbeing benefits, and what is needed.

Absence management
Absence management will be particularly important for companies where employees work remotely around the world, as days off may be less visible or easy to manage. It is important that employers make sure they implement the right health and wellbeing benefits – incorporating support for prevention and early intervention – ensure they are utilised, and drive access to medical treatment, as this can help eliminate high absences. Having adequate health and wellbeing cover is also a mandatory visa requirement in many countries.

Recruitment and retention
Replacing experienced overseas employees is expensive, and recruiting them is highly competitive. The right health and wellbeing package will help as a pull for new employees, but it will also assist in keeping valued staff in place.

How to understand overseas employees’ needs

Once the business is aware of the importance of understanding the needs of its employees who are working abroad, the next step is to gain the relevant knowledge.

Employee engagement surveys
One of the best options is to run employee engagement surveys. These should occur regularly to keep up with changes. Once measures have been implemented in response, the survey should be run again to see how things have improved.

Consider geographical differences
An employer must bear in mind that needs may change regularly and that they are likely to vary across different regions and countries. The culture and environment in which an employee is living and working may be an influence. For example, in a country like New Zealand, where an outdoors lifestyle is prevalent, employees may be more interested in support for fitness. As other countries are still struggling with Covid, access to a virtual GP may be the most important benefit to employees. Those in countries with less sophisticated medical facilities may want to know they can access medical care in neighbouring regions. 

Consider demographic differences
Employers must also understand what is important to different demographics among their employees. Caring for the family may be the main requirement for those with dependants, while those newer to working overseas may need more support for their mental wellbeing in adjusting to different cultures. Others may need help readjusting and returning to the UK.

Benefiting both

Understanding employees’ needs will have positive outcomes for both employers and employees. The employees will receive better benefits that are more carefully tailored to their needs. The business will gain from happier, healthier, more productive and engaged employees. 

APAC Insider Magazine Announces the South East Asia Business Awards 2021 Winners

United Kingdom, 2021- APAC Insider Magazine has announced winners of the 2021 South East Asia Business Awards.

South East Asia has undoubtedly become a dominant force on the business landscape across a number of significant industries. Whilst other markets have stagnated in light of difficulties over the last couple of years, the region has ploughed on, finding strength and momentum as it capitalises on opportunities. There can be no doubt, then, that the businesses in South East Asia are defined by an entrepreneurial spirit and a need to be greater. Better. More innovative. Those values are the cornerstone of business in the region, and look set to define its future.

Awards Co-ordinator Holly Morris commented on the success of the deserving winners: “I offer a sincere congratulations to all of those recognised in the South East Asia Business Awards programme. It has been a pleasure and a delight to run this year’s edition and recognise those businesses that deserve to be elevated above their peers and acknowledged for their expertise.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated professionals selected for them, please visit https://www.apac-insider.com/ where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.

ENDS

Notes to editors.

About APAC Insider

Published quarterly, APAC Insider endeavours to bring you the latest need-to-know business content and updates from across the Asia Pacific Region

Keeping pace with a vast array of ever-changing sectors thanks to regular contributions from some of the region’s foremost corporate professionals, APAC Insider is home to the very best news, features and comment from the people and institutions in the know.

Real Estate Investing for Beginners: 8 Helpful Tips

Investing in real estate is an excellent way to build a solid financial foundation for the future. However, operating in a competitive housing market is not a straightforward task. On the contrary, it requires tons of patience, extended knowledge of trends, and some luck. Moreover, real estate investment requires dedication and careful planning, as every slip-up can cost you a lot of money.

If you feel overwhelmed with all these things, do not worry. It is a perfectly normal reaction. Instead of giving up your dream of becoming a real estate expert, let us help you. Below, you will find a list of tips that will help you make the first steps in the housing market, including inspecting the property you want to buy, checking out the area around it, and using LLC to protect yourself. Here is what every beginner real estate investor should know:

There Are Many Ways to Buy a Property

Buying a home is a complicated procedure that requires a lot of work. Even if you have enough money to purchase it, there are many things you need to do to make the deal official. Usually, there are several methods available to you. The most common ones are:

  • Cash deals without using an attorney.
  • Using an attorney and paying for all types of fees, including title search, title insurance, property surveys, transfer taxes, etc.
  • Negotiating with the seller and buying the property “as-is,” which means paying only the purchase price.

Not every buyer is good at negotiating, so some of them prefer paying for everything upfront. It might seem like a good idea, but you will need to make sure the seller is not hiding any problems that might cost you a lot of money later.

To avoid that, make sure to inspect the house for damage before buying: take a look at the roof, ensure that there aren’t any pipe leaks, check garage door seals, and do anything else that can show you the real state of the property. It is also helpful to hire an experienced real estate agent that knows how to negotiate and can help you with any problems you might encounter.

Know Your Finances Before Buying a Property

Many beginners have one major problem when it comes to real estate investment – they invest in properties they cannot afford. If you have no doubt that an investment will pay off in the future, it does not mean that your money is unlimited. Before starting negotiations with a seller, you must know your budget and financial limits. Otherwise, you can lose a lot of money before earning anything from your investment.

Learn as Much as You Can About Real Estate Investing

There is much information about real estate investing available on the Internet, so it is easy to get lost in all the numbers and statistics. However, you should not focus on only one source of information. Instead, try to learn as much as possible about different strategies for buying and selling properties and figure out what works best for you.

Do Not Be Afraid to Negotiate with the Seller

Housing prices fluctuate depending on the location and condition of the property. This means that even if you have found the perfect place, you do not necessarily have to buy it right now. Instead, wait for a while and check out other properties. It is also highly recommended that you negotiate with the seller and try to lower the price as much as possible.

If you cannot reach an agreement, do not worry. You can always pay your maximum possible price if you are sure you can afford to maintain the property, and your investment will pay off. Alternatively, you can buy a property with someone else and split the expenses and profits afterward.

Do Not Make Any Extra Payments

If you are buying a property using an attorney, there will always be some fees you will need to pay upfront. However, you should make sure that you do not overpay. Your attorney will provide you with a list of all fees, including closing costs, recording fees, attorney fees, etc. When you get this list, check everything carefully and ask your attorney questions if you have any doubts or concerns. You often don’t have to make any extra payments.

Know the Area

Most of the time, you will be buying a property in a certain area, which means that you need to make sure that it is a good place to invest your money. To figure out if the area is worth investing in, check the crime statistics, find out if there are any local businesses that might raise the value of your property, and check out the schools in the area. If everything seems fine, you can start looking for a home.

Use an Entity to Protect Yourself

When you invest in real estate, your personal finances are often at stake. To protect yourself, you should use an entity to buy the property instead of doing everything yourself. An LLC or corporation will ensure that your personal assets are not at risk if any problems occur.

Think About Your Exit Strategy

Every investment requires an exit strategy; otherwise, you will never sell the property and make money from it. However, it is not always easy to determine what kind of exit strategy suits your needs best.

As such, think about your options before starting investing in properties: you might want to sell it once it is fully renovated or rent it for a couple of years until you decide how to handle it. Figure out which exit strategy works best for you before finalizing any deals.

Conclusion

Real estate investing has a lot of benefits, but it is not suited for everyone. There are many things you need to take into account, including the area where the property is located, the best buying and exit strategies, extra payments, negotiation possibilities, and ways to protect your money. If you are a beginner investor, you may want to hire a real estate agent to help you until you gain the necessary experience.

The key thing you need to remember is to weigh your options and think about your future goals before making any decisions. We hope that his article was helpful and that your real estate investments pay off. Good luck!

Quirky Career Paths for Unconventional People

There are so many unique and exciting ways to make a living in today’s world. So many people are rejecting the traditional ways to earn their keep in favour of careers that enrich their lives, pique their interests and keep them on their toes. 

Whether you’re fresh out of school, looking for something exciting to make money with, or a career changer tired of the daily grind, here are some of the strangest and coolest ways that you could make money. 

Ethical Hacker

In the digital world, it seems like every week there is a new news story about hackers targeting organisations or individuals and playing havoc with their finances or operations. The role of an ethical hacker is a relatively new one, but it is becoming increasingly vital for businesses to help shore up their digital defences. 

A company or agency will often employ an ethical hacker to test its defences. To do this job well, you will need to be handy with a computer and have the skills to know how an illegal hacker might try to break into a business’s computer systems. You will then provide a report with recommendations on how they can improve their security. 

Park Ranger

This is a fantastic career choice for anyone that likes being out in nature and spending their days on their feet. There are plenty of parks across the UK that are hiring, and you will often find this kind of role involves a mix of solitary work and interaction with visitors. 

You will need good people skills, as you will often be required to guide or aid visitors. You may also be required to survey and recommend repairs to structures on the grounds and be responsible for the upkeep of equipment. 

Chef

If you have a love for creating culinary masterpieces, then the role of chef could be ideal. You will need some experience to get the best jobs, and it may help to take a course in culinary skills. The best chefs can make an excellent living, though the hours can be long and challenging. 

Sommelier

A fine dining establishment employs a sommelier to provide recommendations on wine pairings for meals. You will need an excellent working knowledge of different wines and what they go well with to be successful in this career. You will also need excellent customer service skills and the ability to make and hold a conversation. 

If this sounds like the perfect career for you, you could consider going on a course that will help you hone and polish your existing skills. 

Cryptocurrency Collector

Cryptocurrency is seen by many as the future of finance. Crypto is a decentralised currency that allows users to make quick, cheap transactions without the bureaucratic red tape that often comes with traditional banking. As a result, many investors and collectors of cryptocurrency have made a significant living investing in crypto. However, you should try and work out which ones will provide you with the best return on investment or are the most stress-free.

The first thought when everyone thinks of collecting cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. However, there are many alternatives to Bitcoin which provide a similar return but can also be considered to be safer, or less volatile. So how many alternatives are there out there to Bitcoin? Is it quite easy to choose which one? The answers to all these questions can be found in articles like this article from Traders of Crypto on the alternatives to Bitcoin. Interestingly, they also plenty of other free resources for anyone looking to begin their journey into investing in crypto, with tips and advice on making some good money. It’s a good place to start if you are looking to make this one of your career paths.

Video Game Tester

A video games tester is the dream job for many gamers. It involves you playing a video game that is in development and reporting any bugs or glitches that you encounter. It is important to note that the job will require you to play the same level or section of a game multiple times to ensure that you have not missed anything, which may get tedious over time. 

You can often get into this kind of role with an apprenticeship or take a course at college or sixth form.

Equine Therapist

Equine therapy is a form of therapy that incorporates the care of horses with traditional therapy methods. This can include feeding, grooming and leading a horse under the guidance of a professional therapist and horse handler

To succeed in this role, you will need to be a qualified therapist and be comfortable and confident around horses. It is an excellent role for anyone who loves animals and helping others. It can be challenging, both physically and emotionally, but it can be a gratifying career. 

Professional Bridesmaid

One of the odder jobs on offer, there is actually a growing market for people offering professional bridesmaids services. A professional bridesmaid will be there for the bride on the day of the wedding to help with practicalities and provide emotional support. 

They are not the same thing as a wedding planner. Instead, their role is to focus on helping the bride enjoy her day. For example, the bridesmaid might help resolve any disputes between family members, help a bride overcome cold feet or any other emotional labour that might be needed to support the bride. 

China Biopharma Firms Eye Partnerships with Western Counterparts to Promote Indigenous Drugs, Says GlobalData

Chinese biopharma companies are eyeing strategic collaborations with western counterparts to leverage their extensive networks and commercial capabilities to promote indigenously developed drugs in China, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. 

China-based Luye Pharma Group’s holding subsidiary Boan Biotech signed an agreement with AstraZeneca China in May 2021 regarding the promotion rights to the anticancer drug Boyounuo (biosimilar of Roche’s Bevacizumab Injection), under which Boan will grant exclusive promotion rights to AstraZeneca across 21 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions of China.

Earlier this year, Shanghai-based Junshi Biosciences entered into exclusive agreement with AstraZeneca China for the promotion rights of toripalimab in mainland China for urothelial carcinoma.

Ms. Bhavani Nelavelly, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “China has the largest number of cancer patients globally and the country’s policy reforms foster innovative oncology drug development. However, domestic companies lack experience in marketing the branded drugs because of historical experience in marketing generic drugs. The strategic collaborations with western companies will enable them in using their strong commercial capabilities in promoting and establishing the China indigenous medicines.”

In recent times, there is an increase in collaboration between western companies and innovative domestic Chinese players in all areas including R&D, commercialization, co-promotions. Along with the government policies driving the innovative drug development, promotion agreements with western companies will help in leveraging their leadership position. It will be another positive step in making indigenous drugs available to patients and doctors in China. 

Chinese products have strong advantage in terms of pricing as the local products are promoted through the NRDL in China, which is in turn driving the R&D investment and subsequently leading to innovative drug development.

According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, currently the oncology pipeline for innovative drugs developed by Chinese companies includes 580 drugs across pre-registration, Phases III, II, I stages.

Ms. Nelavelly concludes: “Collaborating with western companies and channelizing their commercial capabilities will facilitate better penetration of indigenous drugs. Currently there are a smaller number of deals for the promotion of indigenous drugs, but this is expected to grow significantly with increase in development of innovative oncology drugs in China.

“It appears that Chinese companies are preferring to partner with western companies over local Chinese companies where the western company will get the marketing permit in the key markets. AstraZeneca has a long history of marketing in China, and this makes a win-win partnership, which leads to volume growth in the country.”

Why Is Fleet Management Tracking Important?

If you’re the owner-operator of a company that revolves around a fleet of commercial vehicles, you may be wondering what management options are out there for you to take advantage of. When playing a high-intensity car racing game, for example, you may not have time to anticipate each and every obstacle – whether locational, weather-based or vehicular – that may affect your goal of reaching your target destination. In a game, you may not mind facing some unexpected hurdles along the way, as they could potentially add to the entertainment. Reality, however, is a different matter altogether.  

When attempting to efficiently run a business, these factors are much better anticipated, monitored and tracked in order to avoid any unwanted delays. Finding a structured management system to aid not only you but also your drivers/employees should, therefore, be a top priority. While there may be other viable options available, using fleet management tracking technology is considered to offer users several benefits. This type of tracking is also important in order to successfully grow and manage your company. 

What is fleet management? 

In order to better understand why fleet management tracking is important, it’s vital to firstly comprehend what ‘fleet management’ is. In simple terms, fleet management is the process of organising and overseeing the activities and functions of your fleet of commercial vehicles, as well as other assets such as work equipment. 

This form of management is considered important as it can help boost employee productivity, ensure business functions run smoothly, confirm legislation compliance, and also avoid/mitigate risks while focussing on improving driver’s safety. 

It’s also key to note that while you may picture dozens of white vans perfectly lined up ready to begin their work day, fleets can be made up of all sorts of vehicles. 

Business vehicles may include: 

  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Trailers 
  • Forklifts
  • Specialist vehicles. 

What is fleet management tracking software? 

When aiming to achieve the aforementioned management goals, many companies recommend using some kind of tracking software. These technologies aid you in monitoring several features of your fleet, such as their location. Vehicle location tracking isn’t, however, the only component offered. Reporting data on fuel consumption as well as driver’s behaviour, for example, may be included as well as other features and applications whose sole purpose is to make your life easier.

The tracking software works through GPS signalling and your chosen method of data transmission – depending upon your location, strength of signal, risk of electromagnetic interference – and collects performance metrics associated with your vehicle in order to improve operations. 

Why is it important? 

Fleet management tracking is important for several reasons, some of which have been touched on above. Owner-operators and managers won’t generally adopt new technologies if they fail to offer the company significant benefits – in regards to finances, customer satisfaction, employee experience and overall operational efficiency. Fleet management solutions shouldn’t, therefore, be overlooked, as according to Markets and Markets, the fleet management industry is expected to grow to USD$34 billion by 2025 – which should theoretically only increase the technology’s capabilities.

If not convinced yet, consider the following benefits and reasons it’s important to consider: 

Enhanced safety 

Through the use of internet-based tracking solutions, managers are able to monitor (in near real time) any unfortunate road incidents or mishaps that may occur, and act accordingly to rectify them in a timely manner. Ensuring that the driver’s safety isn’t compromised alongside customer satisfaction – if deliveries were to be delayed or goods damaged – are generally high company priorities. Vehicle tracking is, therefore, an important factor for businesses managing large vehicle fleets and strict deadlines. 

Road obstacles aren’t, however, the only form of threat posed to fleet companies. Driver behaviour on the road, as well as the conditions of the vehicles themselves may also be key areas of concern – areas which can also be managed through tracking. If, for example, certain drivers are caught leaving their vehicles idle for too long (wasting fuel) or operating their vehicles in an unsafe manner, managers may choose to implement further training programs and/or other courses of action to avoid these problems. Performance implications may include jarring braking, fast turns and unsafe speeds – all of which can be tracked with fleet management technologies, and then rectified.

The same can be said about the functionality of the vehicle, which will be further explored below. 

Cost-efficiency 

The ability to track fuel consumption, mileage and other key vehicle functions, allows users to determine cost-saving solutions if maintenance and/or fuel requirements aren’t being met and ultimately wasting company revenue. 

Enhanced customer satisfaction 

Customers will also be able to track things from their side of the operation more easily. Bookings, reminders and status updates are all included, which many will vouch for over cut-off phone calls and misplaced email communications in this day and age. The smoother the communications, the more likely you are to see an increase in customer satisfaction

Confirmed compliance

Confirming that your employees are all properly certified is an important step that shouldn’t be overlooked. If failing to legally comply, they, as well as your business, could face severe consequences. Tracking software can help with this, and can therefore help you to manage a safer fleet. 

This can be achieved through the use of the following features: 

  • Certification collection and maintenance 
  • Discrepancy warnings 
  • Drivers licence checks.

Saves time 

Fleet tracking software enables users to undergo the following time-saving processes: 

  • Map out the most effective routes in order to avoid traffic jams. 
  • Easily communicate with drivers and deliver important and/or altered instructions. 
  • Arrange ordering, delivery and payment processes in one place (cut down on administrative task time). 
  • Track working hours and productivity. 

Optimized reporting 

Management tracking also allows for a wide and clear view of company KPIs and budgeting. Keeping on top of such tasks can be overwhelming, however, with the help of this advanced software, reviewing your progress as well as achieving target goals should be much simpler. 

Final thoughts 

Fleet management tracking is important for the purpose of optimizing workplace productivity, safety and compliance. It’s not, however, only the employers and employees who may benefit from the applications offered, but also those receiving services from the latter. Enhanced reporting capabilities and the promotion of cost-effective, time-saving strategies are a few of the perks offered by tracking software. 

5 Industries That Are Worth Investing In

There are many people out there who are always keen on making smart investments, and it should come as no surprise. Who would pass up an opportunity for doubling their money? It is not that hard, either. There are quite a few industries out there that appear to be extremely promising for investors.

Do you want to know what they are? If your answer is yes, then you are in the right place. In this article, you will find a list of a few industries that are worth investing in, including the courier industry, the real estate industry, the technology industry, the healthcare industry, and the energy utilities industry. Check it out!

1. Courier Industry

Anywhere from providing information about different products and services to delivering an urgent package to someone in need of it, all of these can only be done using a courier service.

As a matter of fact, most of the time, it is up to the courier service provider – such as Packlink – to get the job done and to do it in the most efficient way possible. This is made possible by the fact that the courier industry is always trying to improve its services in order to make life easier for people all around the world.

As a result, you should definitely consider investing in this industry. It is more than likely that it will be able to bring you a great return on your investments, especially if you invest in a courier company that is already well known for its services. Of course, you do not have to invest in just one company; you can spread your investments around so that you can have a better chance of securing a profit.

2. Real Estate Industry

Real estate has been a popular industry for centuries now, and it’s not going to fall out of favor. People are always on the lookout for housing, office buildings, or any other type of real property – which means that there is always demand and a possibility to earn some money.

There are three ways you can earn money when investing in real estate: selling the property when the prices go up (for example, to a person who is willing to pay cash for home); rent it; or gain profit from a business activity held in the building. Choose something you like, do some research to figure out how to maximize your profit, and find out why exactly real estate investments are so popular.

3. Technology Industry

The technology sphere is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. People all over the world simply cannot live without technology, and as a result, they are always looking for new devices and services to integrate into their lives. The thing is, technology is constantly improving, and as a result, it has become a very lucrative industry for investors who are looking to diversify their portfolios.

Nowadays, technology is present in practically everything, including cars, TVs, cell phones, airplanes, food preparation appliances, and even clothing and shoes. This means that there is always going to be a demand for new technology. And of course, the demand indicates that there is a huge market out there just waiting for you.

However, you may not want to just invest in any company that has something to do with technology. In order to get optimal results from your investments, you should try to find companies that have already established themselves as leaders in their specific technology niche. This way, you will avoid investing in companies that may not be able to deliver outstanding results because they simply do not have what it takes to get the job done.

4. Healthcare Industry

There are many reasons why you should consider investing in the healthcare industry. First of all, there are many opportunities that are present in this sphere due to people’s desire to live longer and healthier lives. With this in mind, there will always be a demand for new medical technologies and products that can help people achieve their goals.

Of course, the healthcare industry requires lots of money and resources in order to thrive and grow at a healthy rate. Since there are plenty of companies out there competing for this market share, it should come as no surprise that it is one of the most profitable industries out there. Not only that but also healthcare investment opportunities are quite abundant nowadays.

5. Energy Utilities Industry

The energy utilities industry is responsible for providing people with the electricity that they need on a daily basis in order to power up their homes and offices. This makes it an essential necessity for people all over the world.

Of course, you should not expect your investment in this industry to pay off right away. After all, this sphere needs lots of time and money before it can show signs of growth and progress. However, if you are patient and can wait long enough, then this may be your best choice.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are several industries out there that you may want to invest in. Whether it’s healthcare, technology, or energy utilities, you can definitely find the share of the market that suits your investing needs perfectly.

However, it is important to keep in mind that not every industry will have the same amount of potential for profit. It is up to you to choose those spheres that you feel will be able to provide you with a great return on your investments. Make sure to do your homework beforehand – and good luck.

Singapore-UK Team to Develop a Novel Device to Reduce Chemotherapy Side-Effects

Highly-efficient and miniaturised cooling-compression technology aims to prevent/reduce pain and sensitivity in hands and feet due to chemotherapy

A team of clinicians and scientists from the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) at the National University Hospital (NUH) and the N.1 Institute for Health at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has partnered Paxman Coolers Ltd (UK) (Paxman) to develop a device that may prevent or reduce numbness and pain caused by certain types of anti-cancer therapy¹. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a severe side-effect of chemotherapy drugs called taxanes, which are used to treat common cancers such as breast, lung, ovarian and stomach cancer. CIPN affects about 1.4 million cancer patients globally every year.

CIPN causes progressive and often irreversible pain or sensitivity in the hands and feet of patients undergoing chemotherapy leading to delays and discontinuation of treatment. It contributes to long-term poor patient well-being and significantly increases economic burden in terms of healthcare costs. The condition also leads to loss in work productivity, as affected patients are unable to return to work quickly.

Unmet clinical need

Few to no prevention and treatment strategies exist for CIPN. Recently, cryotherapy (or cooling) of the limbs during chemotherapy has demonstrated a protective effect by preventing/reducing CIPN severity. However, the currently used frozen gloves or ice packs are not user-friendly, deliver unstable cooling and can cause severe frostbite. There is a need for a medical device developed for patients’ use in a chemo suite and which can deliver stable cooling, tolerable over the entire duration of the chemotherapy.

A novel solution for CIPN

In collaboration with Paxman, the Singapore research team from NUHS comprising clinicians and researchers from the Department of Haematology-Oncology at NCIS and NUH, and the N.1 Institute for Health at NUS are developing a portable limb cryocompression device specifically targeting prevention of CIPN in cancer patients. The team has studied various proof of concept aspects of the cryocompression technology, over the past eight years³, previously supported by the National Health Innovation Centre Singapore (NHIC) through its Innovation to Develop grant. Working together as a team since 2019, Paxman, global leaders in scalp cooling for prevention of chemo-induced hair loss, was identified as the ideal commercialisation partner for the project.

The research team has been awarded a translational grant from the National Research Foundation (NRF) Central Gap Fund in May 2021, which will be administered by NHIC. Pilot studies will commence in Q2 2022 to investigate the device in healthy volunteers, and cancer patients undergoing CIPN-causing chemotherapy. The efficacy of prevention will be monitored using various clinical and patient-reported outcomes.

Principal Investigator Assistant Professor Raghav Sundar, Consultant at the Department of Haematology-Oncology at the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) and Investigator at The N.1 Institute for Health at NUS, said, “This collaboration will have a significant and broad impact. By preventing or reducing CIPN, the overall health and quality of life of cancer patients will be significantly enhanced, during and after chemotherapy. The treatment of CIPN is an unmet and increasingly urgent clinical need, and a preventative solution will hopefully improve patient quality-of-life.”

Co-Principal Investigator Dr Aishwarya Bandla, Head of Translational Tx Core at The NUS N.1 Institute for Health, added, “This international multidisciplinary collaboration brings together complementary cross-sector expertise from the hospital, academia, and industry. The overall product-development process will utilise a patient-centered approach, placing the patients’ safety and efficacy at the heart of the design process.”

“This funding is a testimony to the high impact the new product will have on the quality of life for cancer patients receiving taxane-based therapies, not only in Singapore, but throughout the world. It will allow our collaborative team, not only to crucially accelerate the research and development process but will also significantly de-risk the project from a commercial perspective,” commented Mr Richard Paxman, CEO of Paxman.

“Paxman is determined, not only to provide patient access to scalp cooling technology to prevent chemotherapy-induced hair loss globally, but now also to give patients the chance to reduce or prevent the debilitating side effect of peripheral neuropathy. We bring to this collaboration extensive expertise in design, development, manufacture, regulatory approval, along with experience of commercialising medical cooling devices. The company is perfectly placed to roll out this technology to its existing and growing customer base throughout the world.”

U.K. Starts Prep for India Trade Deal in Latest Post-Brexit Push

Although they could not meet in person; the British and Indian Prime Ministers have made some headway into the long-awaited Free Trade Agreement. Although this is likely to be months away rather than weeks, it is still considered a major priority by the British Government, and a key tenant of post-Brexit economic policy, as well as for the geopolitical power plays of the new “Global Britain”.

Full FTAs take a while to negotiate, but in the meantime, the two parties agreed to the ‘Roadmap 2030’. This will elevate bilateral ties to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership”, including an ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’ – which will bring Indian money into British businesses, and is an important step on the road to the full FTA, which many value at being worth between £50-100 billion. This is not just an important market for any economy looking to be better prepared for the inevitability of Asia’s economic dominance in the coming century, but for Britain specifically, now it has left the EU, its relationship with India will be a true test of post-Brexit ‘Global Britain’

Although this “Indo-Pacific Tilt”, as it has been called, is for both geopolitical and economic reasons, it is still indicative of the Asian Century to come, with the subcontinent at the heart of these shifting power structures. After all, the Silk Road has never stopped being a vital trade route, but, as China and India continue their rise to economic leadership and their growing middle-class diasporas grow in consumer power, it will only grow more important. Although today, it will not be the spice trade, or even mass-production of consumer goods alone that will grow India and China, but rather, modernised and digital products and digital services of their own.

It may come as a surprise to some, but India is not a third-world producer economy. Rather, it is an incredibly sophisticated market, with booming technology sectors and a well-educated and future-proof workforce (that happens to produce 25% of the world’s engineers). An RBSA report recently showed that India has seen a 60% increase in investments in the FinTech sector during the Pandemic. This makes it now the third biggest and fastest growing FinTech ecosystem in the world. 

To cater for the digitally connected but largely unbanked consumer population that are so hungry for these digital products, they have built whole cities from the ground up to solely produce FinTech products. It is these facts that are in the forefront of the minds of the British investment community. 

The size and sophistication of India’s life science sectors is another industry on the minds of investors and British politicians. India has been a key player in global medicines and drug production for many years. According to Global Business Reports, it is the largest provider of generic medicines in the world, contributing 40% of the United States’ demand and exporting to almost every nation. 

An EY-FICCI vision report has said that the industry has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of approximately 13% over the last two decades. Although in the last decade it has slowed to 8.5% and even 6.2% over the last five years, these are still growth figures that make for exciting reading for politicians and economists alike. Come 2030, many say it will be worth around $130 billion. 

The pharmaceutical sector is diverse and is comprised of many smaller businesses. Over 10,000 individual companies and producers make up the industry, and it is home to an ever-growing number of inventive startups ‘disrupting’ the life science sectors. This makes it perfect for venture capital: clever ideas in a diverse market looking to make it big and ‘disrupt’, and to do that, they need investors. 

Our research shows that British investors already know the importance of India, and are a decade ahead of the Government’s Roadmap 2030. Not only are they prioritising emerging markets like India, they are also prioritising green industries and sustainability, which is a vital area of investment, and one that can only become more important.

The detailed sector-split of JPIN VCATS’ investor index goes as follows: 13,799,000 people in the UK want to invest in emerging markets. Of these, 29% want to invest in fintech, over two-thirds (35%) want to invest in the biotech and pharmaceuticals sectors, and 19% (2,680,000) want to invest in start-ups more generally. 

India has the third largest startup ecosystem in the world according to Nasscom’s 2021 Strategic Review, with 1600 technology-focussed startups being officially added in 2020 alone. These have come in all shapes and sizes, and many have shown great promise; thirteen of them have become billion-dollar unicorns in 2021 so far – and it’s only June. Many more are expected, and again, many are looking for financial backers.

Emerging markets have always held incredible potential. Although India is just one of many flourishing economies, it is perhaps the most exciting market opportunity on the planet. This is not just due to the number of consumers, but also the economic development milestones already passed, which means any investment, particularly in tech, is not just being invested for some potential future. Rather, it is being invested to build on the development already made – to a population that needs new consumer products and tech now, rather than in 10, 20, or 50 years.  

Top Tips to Make Temporary Living a Breeze

If you ask anyone who has moved to a new house about what the process was like, the unanimous answer is that it is anything but seamless. There might be the occasional person who had a smooth transition process; however, moving into a new house rarely has no obstacles.

In almost all cases, moving is a complicated and occasionally messy process. For some, there may even be a length of time when the old home is sold and the new one is ready. Whilst there are various ways to help reduce stress when moving, most of these centre around packing in advance and asking for help. It is very rare to find help about living in temporary accommodation.

Moving into temporary living, whether it is with family or a short-term lease, can be a challenge to make it feel like home.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are in a temporary living, here are just a few ways to help make it a more bearable experience.

Move-in with Your Essentials

Deciding what to take with you can be challenging, especially if you are in limbo about how long you will be staying in the temporary accommodation. When packing for your move, put aside the things that you need and will use daily. With clothes, you might not need your entire wardrobe with you, so pack the items you know you will wear the most frequently and put the rest in storage boxes or suitcases.

With larger pieces of furniture and the items that you need in your new home but not in your temporary living space, place them in storage for the time being. Storing them in a garage at a friend or family member’s house is one option but hiring a storage unit is more likely the better option.

Investing in a storage unit, like the ones at Safestore, means you can keep your items safe and protected. With easy access available to your unit, you have the option of swapping items out when needed.

Utilise Removal Décor and Multifunctional Furniture

Since it is only temporary, you won’t be painting the walls or updating the flooring of your temporary living space. While it may not necessarily be to your taste, you can always add some pieces that are easily removable to make the place feel like home. For example, having a large photo frame filled with photos of friends and family. It is something that you would have in your own home and can easily be moved from your temporary location to your new house.

Consider bringing smaller pieces of furniture with you that you are planning to use in your new home when you move. Pieces such as vases, lamps, any decorative items are great ways to help warm up an environment and make it feel like it is your space.

Additionally, investing in some multifunctional furniture, such as an ottoman, helps to make your temporary home feel more like a home, whilst providing you with extra storage.

Personalise Your Temporary Home

Although it may not look like a home, you can make your temporary living space feel like a home. Add pieces that help to make the place feel a little more familiar, even if you are staying in the spare room of friends or family. Having a few photos around the room on shelves or units, throw pillows and cosy blankets on the bed, even your favourite candle burning can help to make spaces feel a little more homely.

Being in a temporary living space is not ideal but you must keep in mind it is temporary. It isn’t your permanent residence and before you know it, you will be moving into your dream home. For the time being, make small changes to help create a more comfortable space that feels more like home.

What if you are moving abroad?

Through no fault of your own you may be forced to relocate due to your work or personal reasons. Sometimes you may even be forced to travel over to the other side of the world. Temporary living often occurs if something significant has changed in your life and you are looking for alternatives.

Whilst we have so far covered what it is like to live in temporary living and where you can store all your stuff, it is also worth noting what life is like in Asia. The APAC region has often been described as exhilarating to live there. It is also affordable and can be as comfortable as temporary living can be. Whilst everybody wants a permanent home, if you have shifted your life halfway around the world, its worth being prepared for all occasions. You can still follow all the same rules you just have to adapt to the culture.

Where are the best places to live in the APAC region?

Whether it is by choice or out of your hands, living a nomadic lifestyle can be a breeze or it can be difficult. If you have followed the advice above of how to make temporary living a breeze, then you are halfway there. If your temporary home however is more than just a short-term place to vacation, then you will also want to make sure it is somewhere you feel safe. We’ve talked about the interior but if you have the choice, there are some great areas in the Asian Pacific region to set up your roots.

Hong Kong

You may have moved to Hong Kong for business or banking reasons. That is a common reason why people move over to this area of the world. It is a great place to live, and the friendly locals always do their best to help you. The business and banking culture also means it is a great city for entrepreneurs. A lot of people will also have the same outlook and view on business.

Bangkok

Bangkok is a lovely place to live for so many reasons. There are a lot of travellers and expats who are wowed by the city. A big and bustling city, the area has great transport links and enables you to move around to pretty much everywhere you want. It’s also great for international transport should your friends and family want to visit and experience the culture themselves. It is a modern-day city with plenty of beaches. What’s not to love?

Temporary living can be a breeze if you make your house a home. Consider where you are living, what you are putting into storage, and what decorations you need, and you are on to a winner.

Why Millionaire Indians Seek Citizenship by Investment Schemes

India’s recent changes to taxation legislation are accelerating its millionaire exodus.

“The number of high-net-worth Indian clients approaching us has risen exponentially in recent months as individuals grow increasing concerned about the pandemic and potentially facing a large tax bill,” says Huriya Private’s CEO John Hanafin.

The new tax regulations only affect non-resident Indians (NRIs) and not individuals of Indian origin who live abroad but hold foreign passports.

Huriya Private has been pioneering citizenship by investment schemes because they are a legitimate and cost-effective way for NRIs to avoid such legislation.

“NRIs can invest in the Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada, for example. This can also can lead to citizenship of Grenada, which is a cost-effective and lawful way of tax planning,” Hanafin says.

For an investment of $220,000, NRIs can obtain a share in Range Developments’ Six Senses development as well as citizenship of the Caribbean Island of Grenada, which Huriya Private can facilitate with its end-to-end services.

Additionally, this also presents investors with the opportunity to live and work in the United States via its E2 visa programme. A Grenadian passport also has visa-free travel advantages, offering access to countries such as the UK, Schengen, Russia and China.

To obtain a foreign citizenship, NRIs must first surrender their Indian passports; a process Huriya Private says takes around a few weeks. Although there is no taxation currently involved in the process, Huriya Private says that it is a distinct possibility in the future.

Huriya Private also says that NRIs’ tax status can differ from resident but not ordinary residents (RNORs). If you have an NRI residing in Dubai for example but you have foreign businesses interests, the onus will be on the individual to prove that they do not operate the business from India in order to be exempt from taxation.

According to Huriya Private’s research, NRIs need to be aware of their tax status regardless of where they reside. Any Indian citizen who is a resident of a country where they are not liable to tax would be deemed to be an Indian tax resident. However, this provision will be applicable only if such a person has a total income in India exceeding Rs 15 lakh/Rs 1.5 million. If such a person earns any income from a business controlled in or a profession set up in India then such income would be taxable in India.

There are other situations where an Indian can be classified as an RNOR, making them liable to taxation. Firstly, those who have been a non-resident in India in nine out of 10 preceding financial years or have

during the seven preceding financial years been in India for 729 days or less are classified as a resident. Accordingly, any person who fails to meet both the alternative tests would be treated as an ordinary resident. For instance, a person is a resident in 10 out of 10 preceding previous years and he has been staying in India for more than 730 days in the preceding seven financial years would be treated as an ordinary resident.

Secondly, an individual is deemed to be a tax resident on account of not being liable to tax in any country. For instance, residents of the UAE would fall within this category and would be treated as RNORs.

It is important to note, this catch all provision relates to tax levied (or absence there of) by virtue of an individual’s residency. Having tax deducted at source on a portion of one’s investment income does not provide a shield to this extra-territorial tax. Unfortunately, this is a common misconception. The relevant laws has been carefully drafted with a particular motivation.Taxation uncertainties.

Currently, the India-UAE Double Tax Avoidance Agreement means that an Indian can become a UAE resident by residing in the country for more than 183 days or more each year.

Most tax treaties which India has entered into have a provision for a tiebreaker test in case of individuals who become residents of two countries. A person can become a UAE Resident by living there for 183 days or more in a year and at the same time, they could also become an Indian resident by virtue of the deeming provisions.

The India-UAE Treaty provides that if an individual is a tax resident of both nations, then the tiebreaker test would determine his tax residency. However, relying on the tiebreaker test is not as simple as it sounds. If a person has equal interests in both nations or stronger ties in India, then it would become difficult to prove that he is a UAE Resident.

Huriya Private also reports that the distinction between being an OCI and an NRI is important. Only NRIs, or Indian passport holders residing abroad are covered. These deeming provisions do not cover overseas citizens of India (OCIs) or persons of Indian origin, who are residing abroad with foreign passports. For instance, citizens of Caribbean nations, such as, Grenada, who are residing in no tax jurisdictions, would not be within the scope of these provisions. As of 2020, there were six million OCIs; all of these would be outside this net.

Aside from taxation concerns, Huriya Private says that the other factors have also played a major role in wealthy Indians’ seeking foreign citizenship. “Citizenship by investment is no longer only about visa-free travel and access to markets such as the United States. Investors are also looking for better education and healthcare as they look to protect themselves and their families from the many uncertainties of the world,” adds Hanafin.

Detection Technology Unveils Aurora XS to Address Cost and Reliability Drivers of Urban Security Market

Detection Technology, a global leader in X-ray detector solutions, today unveiled the Aurora XS to address the cost efficiency and reliability requirements of the urban security screening market. The Aurora XS adapts to versatile X-ray imaging systems, which secure safety on train and metro stations, and in public buildings and event venues, for example. The Aurora XS is available as a complete subsystem that includes detectors, a control unit, and software libraries for rapid time-to-market of cost-effective X-ray systems.

“Almost everything is extra small in the Aurora XS, the newcomer to our Aurora product family. The abbreviation XS in the name stands for small bill of materials, small mechanics, small weight, small pixel size, small carbon footprint, and last but not least a smaller price, which is the most important enabler for succeeding in this price-driven segment. With the Aurora XS, small efforts and less risk-taking are required to introduce X-ray systems to entry-level non-aviation security systems that are known for their small form factors,” summarizes Jyrki Still, CTO at Detection Technology.

“What is not small in the Aurora XS is innovativeness and reliability. The Aurora XS is built on a novel detector platform that is boosted by unique algorithms and an application-optimized, single-chip ASIC. These smart features make reliable dual-energy imaging with a single-layer sensor possible. In our view, we are the first in the industry to introduce such a simplified detector structure to the security market. This is a good example of our aim to simplify hardware by rethinking detector designs.”

The Aurora XS has a durable structure with reliable mechanical and electrical interfaces, and a robust sensor for stringent radiation hardness requirements, and harsh imaging conditions such as humidity, mechanical stress, and temperature changes. With its robustness and simplified structure, the Aurora XS also enhances more environmental sound screening than conventional detector solutions in the segment. Furthermore, it supports safe and easy installation and maintenance.

The Aurora XS provides imaging performance that meets industry regulations and responds to urban security requirements, even at low X-ray flux. The low-noise Aurora XS features a fully digitalized data path. It is equipped with an application-optimized, single-chip ASIC, which effectively mitigates the impact of external electromagnetic interferences. The Aurora XS has a wide sensitivity range from 0.25 pF to 31.75 pF with 127 controllable gain-setting steps, which ensure adaptability for the entire range of the urban X-ray screening applications.

“The Aurora XS completes our offering to the security segment, as now our Aurora solutions cover all imaging needs from entry- to high-tier applications. The original Aurora detector series was introduced for mid-tier, and the Aurora CT for high-tier imaging, and now we have a perfect match for the entry level as well.”

Lean and Mean: Maximizing 5G Communications with an Energy-efficient Relay Network

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have developed a wirelessly powered relay network for 5G systems. The proposed battery-free communication addresses the challenges of flexible deployment of relay networks. This design is both economical and energy-efficient. Such advances in 5G communications will create tremendous opportunities for a wide range of sectors.

The ever-increasing demand for wireless data bandwidth shows no sign of slowing down in the near future. Millimeter wave, a short wavelength spectrum, has shown great potential in 5G communications and beyond. To leverage high-capacity millimeter-wave frequencies, phased-array antennas (antenna elements that work together to boost signal strength in a specific direction) are being adapted. However, the current use case is confined to line-of-sight propagation.

As a result, relay nodes are considered for non-line-of-sight communications. While relaying can provide improved bandwidth, coverage, and reliability, the flexible deployment of a relay network poses some challenges. The most significant challenge in relay networks is power supply.  A typical relay node has its own power supply unit or is connected to an external power source.

Fortunately, a team of scientists from Tokyo Tech, led by Prof. Kenichi Okada, have proposed a wirelessly-powered 28-GHz phased-array relay transceiver for the 5G network. Their work is scheduled for presentation in the 2021 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits, an international conference where emerging trends and novel concepts on semiconductor technology and circuits are explored.

A vector-summing backscattering technique is used to realize the proposed design. The transmitter works as a backscatter with 24GHz local oscillator (LO) and 4GHz intermediate frequency (IF) signals. Okada elaborates, “Backscatter communication makes it possible to harvest energy from incident signals and reflects back parts of the same signals while modulating the data. In this design, backscatter up-converts the 5G New Radio (5G NR) spectrum at 4GHz and transmits at 28GHz.” The transmitter also acts as a phase shifter, allowing it to alter the phase of an incoming signal. The backscattering and phase-shifting capabilities of the transmitter facilitate beamforming, wherein an array of antennas can be controlled to transmit signals in a specific direction.  As a result, information is transferred more efficiently with less interference.

The receiver and rectifier operation is another critical feature of the transceiver. Passive phase shifters and power combiners (which combine power fed at multiple ports) are used to boost the received signal power for wireless power transfer (WPT). The proposed rectifier acts as a self-heterodyne mixer. In other words, the rectifier splits and recombines an incoming beam with a modulated version of itself. It also works as a full-wave rectifier with the 24 GHz WPT signal.

The entire phased-array relay transceiver is configured in an area as small as 1.8 mm2. In the receive mode, the wirelessly powered 4×8 array module produces 3.1 mW of power. In the transmit mode, it produces -2.2 dBm of saturated Equivalent Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP), which is the output power radiated from an antenna in a single direction. The vector-summing backscatter covers a 360° phase range with 7-bit phase resolution while consuming just 0.03 mW in both transmit and receive mode.

Okada excitedly concludes, “The proposed battery-free transceiver enhances 5G connectivity by serving as a repeater between indoor and outdoor environments. This, in turn, will improve user experiences and create new opportunities for operational efficiency in internet-of-things, industrial automation, and new communication services.”

The Hopeful CIO: A Study from Lemongrass Finds that Enterprise IT Leaders Are Aggressively Moving Their Legacy Business Systems to the Cloud Despite Various Challenges

Cost, People and Process Concerns Exist, But the Benefits of Moving to the Cloud, Such as Easier and More Secure Data Access, Are Too Good for Most Enterprises to Pass Up

 

Lemongrass, the leader in helping enterprises migrate and run their SAP systems on Amazon Web Services (AWS), has completed a study on the goals and challenges of enterprise IT leaders who have moved legacy systems onto cloud infrastructure.

A key takeaway from the survey, which was completed in January by 150+ IT Directors or above in companies with IT budgets of at least $1 million annually, is that enterprises are anxious to achieve the many business, technical and financial benefits of moving legacy systems to the cloud. However, the road to migrating and running legacy systems on cloud infrastructure can be rough for companies that fail to plan ahead.

According to a 2019 report from ResearchAndMarket.com, the global application transformation market is expected to grow from $9.7 billion in 2019 to $16.8 billion by 2024. Per the report, the market is being driven by the need companies have for “a robust and agile environment to increase scalability and efficiency in the existing business landscape, (the) high maintenance cost of existing legacy applications and leveraging emerging technologies and increasing efficiencies of existing applications.”

The ResearchAndMarkets.com report aligns with the findings of Lemongrass’s study. Following are the primary themes and data points of the Lemongrass 2021 Legacy-to-Cloud survey:

Data Access, Security & Cost Savings Motivate Cloud Migrations

A combined 77% of IT leaders responding to Lemongrass’s survey said their primary motivation for migrating legacy systems to cloud infrastructure was either a desire to secure data, maintain data access or save money. Optimizing storage resources and accelerating digital transformation were other top reasons given. Meanwhile, 78% of respondents said that IT management systems were the most likely legacy applications to move to the cloud, while 46% said security and 39% said ecommerce.

Security, People, Process & Cost Complicate Cloud Migrations

Considering the importance of data security, it’s no surprise that security and compliance were listed by 59% of IT leaders as the top challenge facing enterprises when moving legacy systems to the cloud. Meanwhile, 43% of respondents said migrations took too long, 38% said costs were too high, and 33% said a lack of in-house skills was the top complicating factor.

Regarding cost, 69% of respondents said the typical legacy-t0-cloud migration cost between $100,000 and $250,000, and 57% of respondents said that somewhat or very rarely do these projects come in under budget. In terms of job skills, database integration experience was cited by 21% of respondents as the top skill required for performing legacy migrations, followed by experience with the chosen cloud platform (15%), previous migration experience (12%) and testing validation (also 12%). 68% of respondents said it was very or somewhat hard to find people with these skills, and 40% said migrations took at least seven months to complete.

Employee Training & Data Security Are the Top Operating Challenges Facing Enterprises Once Legacy Systems Have Been Migrated to Cloud Infrastructure

42% of survey respondents said that difficulty training end users was the top challenge to using legacy systems now running on cloud infrastructure. 40% said the top challenge was that security concerns had not been adequately addressed, 34% said the cloud platforms they had chosen did not work as expected, and another 34% said the top challenge to running legacy systems in the cloud was a lack of in-house skills. Meanwhile 50% said the top skill was database management, and 48% said programming. 71% of respondents said it was hard or somewhat hard to find these people.

Lessons Learned: Migrating & Running Legacy Systems in Cloud

The top three lessons learned when migrating legacy systems to the cloud were 1) allow for sufficient time (54%); 2) dedicate sufficient financial and people resources (52%); and 3) ensure you have the correct people/skills in-house (52%). The top three lessons learned when running legacy systems on cloud infrastructure were 1) allow for sufficient time to manage the application (53%); 2) ensure you have the correct people/skills in-house (52%); and 3) ensure you achieve the outlined business goals (46%).

“The survey findings are very consistent with feedback we receive from our customers,” said Vince Lubsey, CTO at Lemongrass. “Enterprises are anxious to reap the benefits of moving legacy systems to the cloud. They understand there are challenges but the benefits far outweigh the obstacles. The key to success is following best practices, proper training and time management. It also helps to have the guidance of an experienced partner to create the required cloud operating model.”

Additional survey background: The Lemongrass study was performed by Upwave. Of the 150+ IT leaders who responded to the Lemongrass survey, 92% are based in the United States and 68% are from companies with at least $100 million in annual sales. Respondents were spread across major industries, with the majority (43%) working for Technology companies. The complete Lemongrass 2021 Legacy-to-Cloud survey results are here.

Supply of Computer Science Skills Still Isn’t Meeting Demand in the ‘Swelling Tech Sector’

The number of young women sitting computer science courses has risen, but still remains low – experts believe engaging more female students is key to the industry’s continual growth. 

  • Just 1.4% of GCSE students sat the ‘Computer Science’ course in 2020.
  • More than three times as many young men (61,500) sat the ‘Computer Science’ GCSE in 2020 than young women (16,919).
  • More female students are achieving higher grades in the Computer Science GCSE, and many other STEM subjects.
  • UCAS accepted applications for Computer Science undergraduate courses have risen 49% in the last decade, but the number of female students still remains low (16%).
  • The average advertised salary for the top ten Computer Science careers is 19% higher than the average for all other roles.
  • For more information from OKdo’s Computer Science in The Classroom report, please visit: https://www.okdo.com/computer-science-in-the-classroom-report/

More than four in every 100 advertised jobs in the UK require computer science skills, but experts warn that supply is currently failing to meet demand in this surging sector and there are still not enough young adults choosing this as a career at school or university. 

The new ‘computer science in the classroom’ report by OKdo, the global technology company from Electrocomponents plc, highlights that while progress has been made in the last decade to engage students this subject at school, more work is needed to ensure the thriving tech sector can continue to grow in the UK. 

Through analysis of GCSE results data from the Joint Council for Qualifications, OKdo discovered that the number of students taking the Computer Science course in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has steadily increased since it was launched: 16,773 sat the examinations and were awarded a grade in 2014 versus 78,459 in 2020 (up 367%). However, this still only represents 1.4% of all students. 

It is also a subject that continues to be dominated by male students, despite female students typically achieving higher grades. Three times as many young men (61,520 – 2.2% of all male students) sat the course in 2020 than young women (16,919 – 0.6%) with 32% of the male students being awarded a grade 7 or above – equivalent to an A or A* in the previous grading system. In comparison, 41% of the female students were awarded a grade of 7+.  

This pattern of high performance amongst female students has been consistent since 2014 and is reflected across other STEM subjects too: in the last decade, the only STEM subject where more male students have consistently earned higher GCSE grades was Mathematics. 

Regionally, Ofqual data revealed that the highest number of Computer Science students have been based in Greater London, Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire. 

Looking at undergraduate UCAS accepted applications for Computer Science courses, OKdo also saw that this figure has continued to rise over time – from 13,405 in 2011 to 20,035 in 2020 (up 49%). However, again there are still very few female students – just 3,200 (16%) in 2020 – and overall, just 4.14% of students are being accepted onto computer science courses. 

Looking at the future prospects of those considering a career in computer science, there are currently more than 40,000 jobs across the UK that require relevant skills and qualifications – representing 4.21% of all ‘open’ roles (956,049). The majority of these are based in the South East and London. 

According to jobs data from Adzuna, the number of advertised roles did drop at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, but this is already back up to pre-Covid levels and in some instances, recruitment is at near-record level. 

Salary prospects are also good – the current average salary of a graduate software engineer is £48,787 – over £20k more than a marketing graduate (£26,454), Paralegal (£22,803) or teaching assistant (£19,802). Across the ten most common computer science careers, the average salary was £42,023, while the average salary for advertised roles in the UK currently stands at £35,444.  

Salaries in the ten most common computer sciences careers have been consistently above the UK average since 2014. 

But a high salary alone may not be enough to tempt female talent. In a recent Kaspersky report on Women in Tech, 42% of women said that better marketing on the positive impacts that IT or technical skills can have within society was the most important measure to attract them into the industry. Just one in three (33%) women in a tech role were encouraged to learn IT skills at their school, college or university. 

Andrew Hunter, Co-Founder of job search engine Adzuna, comments:  

“The last few months have seen a surge in hiring for Tech and Digital roles, with the sector taking on staff at near-record volumes. Software Developers are in particular demand, accounting for over 1 in 100 of all the job ads currently on offer within the UK. There are also over five thousand Web Designer and Data Analyst roles lying open. The tough ask for employers is finding the skilled talent to meet this growing need. We urgently need to focus on upskilling and retraining the workforce into Computer Science-related roles to serve the swelling Tech sector and support even more future job creation.” 

Nicki Young, President of OKdo added:  

“Our research highlights just how important it is that the number of students studying computer science at GCSE and beyond – and choosing this as a career – continues to gain momentum. The tech industry has been reliably growing, and there is high demand for talented people with this specific skillset.   

“I hold a computer science degree and know from experience that even at an entry level, those coming into computer science roles are required to have a solid foundation of knowledge and expertise that is typically acquired through education. This in turn is reflected in the high entry level salaries. Getting more young students engaged in this subject early on will be key to enabling this industry’s continued growth, alongside the retraining of people looking for a fresh challenge in a thriving sector.   

“Progress has been made, but there is more work to do to really engage the tech talent of tomorrow. A Data Analyst, a Software Developer, a Web Designer – these should be aspired careers. This is particularly important amongst female students who are still studying STEM subjects in low numbers but have proven themselves to be highly capable; typically achieving higher grades than male students. I have led a large technology outfit with 100s of members, as a result I have been fortunate to have worked with some incredible women in tech, but there are still too few, and it is something I have always been passionate about addressing. We all have a responsibility to do more to showcase role model women in Technology, and all areas of STEM, to inspire the next generation.” 

What Is The Modern Face Of Communications In 2021?

As the year 2021 unfolds, you can bear witness to the fact that, among all fields in the present society, there’s been remarkable advancement in the communication field. A decade ago, communication was different from what you can see today. Such changes have not only influenced the way you do life as an individual, but also the way you conduct communication in business.  

Therefore, you must be adept with modern communications to be able to evolve and adapt to the fast-changing communication world. This ought to be the mentality of all forward-thinking business enterprises as well.  

To remain relevant and cope with the competition, you may have no choice but to embrace and evolve with the changing times. You can expect that the future of communication will be more advanced compared to now, so keep in phase with the modern face of communications.  

To have a clear understanding of the modern face of communication, study the examples listed below. You can also incorporate them into your business or personal life.  

Seamless Application Integrations 

More businesses are seeing the purpose to interconnect applications and productivity tools. For instance, you may do this by integrating communications with different office applications. Such integrations permit cloud-based applications to exchange data. Commonly used software are those used in marketing, customer support, and sales.  

In case you have a platform that allows you to have direct mail automation, you can email your business contacts using the mail program’s window with a single click. In this case, your corporate email account and business communications system are integrated.  

Consolidating your CRM (customer relationship management) service with your phone system offers convenience. You can easily display customer information on the CRM’s browser window anytime you have an incoming call.  

Collaborative Digital Workspaces 

Growing enterprises appreciate that group work is key for their success. Collaborative digital work areas have replaced traditional workstations. These digital workspaces allow you to incorporate social components for interaction and innovation. Such a move has been catalyzed by the demand to create good work processes, a sense of community, and diversity of thought.  

Modern digital work areas allow you to support relatively small group interactions in a more or less formal atmosphere. Big spaces may make small groups feel uncomfortable which may limit internal communication effectiveness. Embracing small digital work areas, your workers can create and share content comfortably as well as conduct meaningful consultations.  

Video Calling And Conferencing 

You may be aware that video conferencing has been around since the 1980s. However, a more focused use is emerging. Traditional boardroom video conferencing is being replaced with mobile phones or tablets that are video-enabled. This allows management and employees to call from anywhere.  

Video conferencing tools have simplified how colleagues can meet in virtual rooms, which enhances collaboration efforts. Many video conferencing platforms have embedded collaboration tools like text chat, screen sharing, and document sharing.  

Cloud-Based Applications 

Leveraging cloud technology continues to increase as you may notice that more services are moving in that direction. Many cloud technology providers have fair prices, especially those that target medium and small businesses as they can’t buy fully integrated systems to use in daily business activities.  

Today, you can access cloud-based apps and services on your mobile phone. This brings convenience in team collaboration while working on projects and facilitating group communication. You can make use of the sharing options and editing capabilities that cloud computing offers.   

Chat Platforms 

This long-time technology is still in use, though, it’s now revamped. These platforms have advanced and include other media types like video calling and conferencing. This enables you and your team to speedily update one another whenever necessary.  

You may use social intranet software that incorporates chat options and other communication tools. Several organizations are now using local intranet chat tools to facilitate communication across teams and departments. You can use chat services for real-time communication which is appealing to many.  

Video Messaging  

The use of video is widely in use on the Web. With improved bandwidth, you may expect that many people may opt for the use of video within an organization or beyond. This is an appropriate means of communication in the digital workplace; it’s engaging and has better information retention.  

You can record videos to train your staff, pass important company management announcements, or explain some processes.  

Images And Infographics  

People are visual and tend to respond to visual information better than text, which has made images and infographics widely used. Modern communication technologies provide online tools that you can use to design engaging visual imagery and pass information more effectively.  

Infographics are an effective way to explain a process to your employees. Using the designing tools and apps is relatively cheap.  

Advanced Mobile Devices 

One of the outstanding innovations you’ll notice today in communication is the powerful mobile devices available. They’ve entirely transformed how business is being done for the better as in the introduction of desktop computers in the 1980s.  

Modern smartphones have improved performance compared with what computers could do a decade ago. For instance, using mobile intranet software allows you to log into your company account using a tablet or smartphone and not necessarily a computer. You can then update information accordingly and inform your colleagues of your progress. Your employees can work using personal gadgets at the company premises as efficiently as possible.   

Conclusion 

The modern face of communication has brought cutting-edge technology that enables team collaboration, mobility, tech integrations, and video messaging. Customers’ needs are growing each day, and the need to travel has skyrocketed. Thus, communication technology has allowed work to be done while you’re away from your business offices.  

The modern face of communication enables you to stay in touch with your business partners 24/7. Future trends may see these types of communication change, at the same time, some of them may be around for many years to come. As a business person, you may consider using the above modern communication means to stay competitive and sustain your business in today’s evolving communication technologies.

Cybercrime Thrives During Pandemic: Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report

  • Report analyses 29,207 quality incidents, of which 5,258 were confirmed breaches
  • Phishing attacks increased by 11 percent, while attacks using ransomware rose by 6 percent
  • 85 percent of breaches involved a human element, while over 80 percent of breaches were discovered by external parties
  • Breach simulations found the median financial impact of a breach is $21,659, with 95 percent of incidents falling between $826 and $653,587

The Verizon Business 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (2021 DBIR) examines more breaches than ever before, and sheds light on how the most common forms of cyber-attacks affected the international security landscape during the global pandemic. This year’s report saw 5,258 breaches from 83 contributors across the globe, a third more breaches analyzed than last year.

With an unprecedented number of people working remotely, phishing and ransomware attacks increased by 11 percent and 6 percent respectively, with instances of Misrepresentation increasing by 15 times compared to last year. Additionally, breach data showed that 61 percent of breaches involved credential data (95 percent of organizations suffering credential stuffing attacks had between 637 and 3.3 billion malicious login attempts through the year).

The report also highlighted the challenges facing businesses as they move more of their business functions to the cloud – with attacks on web applications representing 39% of all breaches.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on many of the security challenges organizations are currently facing,” said Tami Erwin, CEO, Verizon Business. “As the number of companies switching business-critical functions to the cloud increases, the potential threat to their operations may become more pronounced, as malicious actors look to exploit human vulnerabilities and leverage an increased dependency on digital infrastructures”.

This year, the Incident Classification Patterns the DBIR report team uses to classify security threats have also been improved and refreshed. The updated report patterns explain 95.8 percent of analyzed breaches and 99.7 percent of analyzed incidents over all time, and should provide customers with a better understanding of the threats that exist, and how their organizations can best avoid them. 

Industries under the spotlight

The 2021 DBIR includes detailed analysis of 12 industries, and shows that, while security remains a challenge across the board, there are significant differences across verticals. For example, in Financial and Insurance industries, 83 percent of data compromised in breaches was personal data, whilst in Professional, Scientific and Technical services only 49 percent was personal. Further highlights include:

  • Financial and Insurance – Misdelivery represented 55 percent of Financial sector errors. The Financial sector frequently faces credential and Ransomware attacks from External actors.
  • Healthcare – Basic human error continues to beset this industry as it has for the past several years. The most common Error continues to be Misdelivery (36 percent), whether electronic or of paper documents.
  • Public Administration – By far the biggest threat in this industry is the social engineer. Actors who can craft a credible phishing email are absconding with Credentials data at an alarming rate in this sector.
  • Retail Trade – The Retail industry continues to be a target for Financially motivated criminals looking to cash in on the combination of Payment cards and Personal information this sector is known for. Social tactics include Pretexting and Phishing, with the former commonly resulting in fraudulent money transfers.

Regional trends

The 83 contributors involved with the 2021 DBIR have provided the report with specific insights into regional cyber-trends highlighting key similarities and differences between them.

  • Asia Pacific (APAC) – Many of breaches that took place in APAC were caused by Financially motivated attackers Phishing employees for creds, and then using those stolen creds to gain access to mail accounts and web application servers.
  • Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) – EMEA continues to be beset by Basic Web Application Attacks, System Intrusion, and Social Engineering.
  • Northern America (NA) – NA is often the target of Financially motivated actors searching for money or easily monetizable data. Social Engineering, Hacking and Malware continue to be the favored tools utilized by actors in this region.

Alex Pinto, Lead Author of the DBIR, comments, “When you read the contents of the report, it is tempting to think that a vast array of threats demands a sweeping and revolutionary solution. However, the reality is far more straightforward. The truth is that, whilst organizations should prepare to deal with exceptional circumstances, the foundation of their defences should be built on strong fundamentals – addressing and mitigating the threats most pertinent to them.”

ACommerce’s BRANDIQ Reveals the Top 100 Fastest Growing E-commerce Categories After Covid-19 Outbreak

ACommerce, Southeast Asia’s leading End-to-End Ecommerce Platform and Solutions provider, reveals the BrandIQ Flash Insights report on the Top 100 fastest growing Ecommerce categories after the COVID-19 outbreak. The company launched BrandIQ in 2018 to help brands understand online shopper trends and apply data analytics to increase Ecommerce sales.

BrandIQ is the first SaaS solution that assists retailers and brands in consolidating product and channel information and getting granular views on Seller’s activities, Brand’s Share of Shelf, Share of Categories, and Market Share comparison. The company calls the report Flash Insights as it provides a quick overview of trends that are growing in the Thai Ecommerce landscape.

Because of the restrictions and COVID-19 preventive measures, Thai people have been avoiding visiting offline stores. They stay home and order goods from stores and retailers to fulfil their needs. This “new normal” way of living persuaded brands to start investing in online marketplaces to drive store visits, and BrandIQ’s Flash Insights reports confirm that Digital Vouchers saw a growth of +1,237% since last year in Thailand. In addition to driving sales, voucher programs present a solution for brands to optimize their inventory amid the COVID-19 crisis. Another trend that surged during the pandemic was cooking at home. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause disruptions, many Thais have settled into a routine that involves a lot more home cooking, increasing the demand for refrigerators and cookware. Online groceries also surged with Dairy & Chilled products growing 2,637% including Dry & Package goods growing 389% and breakfast cereals & Spreads growing 271%. This shift in behaviour is not only because consumers working from home no longer stop for breakfast or coffee on their commute, but also because they feel unsafe going to restaurants. Last year’s report revealed a surge in the food supplement and furniture categories, and with many people in the country still working from home this year, the trend has continued. The pandemic highlighted the need for comfortable and productive spaces during quarantine whilst creating a growing demand for supplements as consumers prioritized wellness and health. Finally, the report also shows a significant increase in demand for Arts & Crafts for kids. This category includes activities and products which enable kids to learn while they are at home studying.

BrandIQ explains the overall increase across these categories due to the restrictions on out of home activities on the one hand, and retailers’ needs to sell their products on the other. As a result, the businesses had to adjust their strategies, and the changes in consumer behaviour has accelerated the speed with which companies have to undergo a digital and ecommerce transformation.

“Granular data and analytics of your e-commerce business is important for brands, but getting access to real-time data on your competitors’ sales, promotions, and orders is a game-changer,” said Paul Srivorakul, Group CEO of aCommerce. “Providing brands with end-to-end data is important in optimizing their e-commerce business and automating processes that help save costs and grow sales. For example when a particular brand or product starts selling well, our system immediately alerts marketing to increase advertising spend, then triggers customer service to increase support, then contacts the supplier to place a larger order and alerts logistics to prepare for increase in orders.”, he added.

ACommerce’s vision has always been to enable brands and retailers to innovate and successfully execute their e-commerce vision for Southeast Asia. The company has also added regional platforms such as Shopee and Lazada, including local marketplaces such as Tokopedia in Indonesia, Qoo10 in Singapore, and soon Sendo and Tiki in Vietnam. 

Forging New Paths for Green Infrastructure in Asia

As the world shifts toward sustainability, business owners must reevaluate their practices. Corporations have larger carbon footprints than any other commercial or residential sector. Customer values are changing, and businesses must adopt sustainable practices to remain competitive in their field.

The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement established the track for companies to follow, developing sustainable solutions. Limiting global temperature increases below two degrees Celsius is its goal. Society must significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the purpose of the agreement.

China and India are two of the three highest greenhouse gas emitting countries on the planet. Annually, China emits 10.06 metric gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere, and India emits 2.65 metric gigatons. Asia will meet the carbon-neutral goal by forging new paths for green infrastructure.

Green Transportation

Singapore developed a plan to incorporate electric city buses and taxi fleets in the coming decades. The government will phase out internal combustion engines, which run on fossil fuels, by 2040. They will deploy nearly 60,000 electric vehicle charging ports by 2030 to support green transportation development.   

Japan is also incorporating sustainability into its transportation sector. The country holds the best urban railway system, and almost all their trains are electric. Their emission rates are less than half of America’s, partly due to this advanced transportation structure.

If Asian companies invested in expanding this technology, they would experience an immediate return on investment. Advancements in electric transportation could increase businesses’ accessibility to talented potential employees outside of the city. Suburban residing individuals would have easy access to urban regions with this expansion.

Sustainable Water Waste Management

Wastewater poses adverse effects on the environment. When inadequately disposed of, contaminated water may run into rivers and the ocean, affecting marine life and drinking water. Asian countries can reuse this water to avoid runoff and preserve natural resources.

Japan is developing a wastewater filtration plant that sustains itself. The system removes organic matter from water, transforming it into biogas to power the facility. An energy-neutral wastewater plant could help Japan reach its target of utilizing 30% biomass energy.

Renewable Energy Grid

The most significant environmental issue in Asia is the air pollution generated from dirty energy sources. Eastern countries are developing a clean energy grid with little to no greenhouse gas emissions. They will source this energy from floating solar farms.

Singapore began utilizing this technology on the Johor Strait. It anchored 13,000 solar panels to the seabed, absorbing enough energy to power 1,500 flats every year. Southeast Asia is employing similar technology in the Tengeh Reservoir.

Later in the year, scientists plan to place 122,000 floating solar panels on the reservoir. This will be the largest solar farm in Southeast Asia. Companies can source their power from these sources to increase the sustainability of their practices and shrink their carbon footprint. 

Lead by Example

As green infrastructure advances in Asia, we can expect to see an increase in global conservation efforts. American universities have already begun developing floating solar panels to cover the California canals, generate energy and protect significant water sources. Eco-friendly advancements can help society meet our global greenhouse gas reduction goals.  

HITC and Kaohsiung City Announce Taiwan’s First Field of 5G Standalone Private Network Open to the Public

HTC’s enterprise-class private 5G network services bring “Asia New Bay Area 5G AIoT Innovation Park” to the next level 

HTC, a leading innovator in 5G, smartphones and virtual reality, today jointly announced with the Kaohsiung City Government the official launch 5G Standalone Architecture Private Network and Edge Cloud VR Solution, setting a new standard for global 5G private networks. Installed in Kaohsiung’s ‘KOSMOSPOT x VIVELAND’ development zone, the first field of 5G private network that is now open to Taiwan consumers and enterprises. 

HTC is committed to establish an industrial ecosystem for 5G, and has developed industry-leading 5G Standalone Architecture Network technology, as well as advanced and complete end-to-end enterprise private network solutions for 5G delivery. Today’s successful launch will drive the digital transformation of domestic hardware and software industries, and assist the Kaohsiung City Government achieve its vision of “Transforming Kaohsiung City Into a 5G AIoT Technology Smart City and Asia’s New Bay Area.” 

Kaohsiung City Government, which won an IDC Smart Cities Asia Pacific Award last year, has made every effort to promote the development of 5G AIoT. The Mayor of Kaohsiung City, Chen Chi-Mai, who is committed to accelerating the transformation of the Kaohsiung economy, commented: “Kaohsiung is the only main city designated by the Central Government to promote the somatosensory technology industry. We are committed to transforming Kaohsiung into a 5G AIoT technology smart city and Asia’s New Bay Area. Today, we are very happy to announce that we have established a field that is Taiwan’s first open to the pubic “5G Standalone Architecture Private Network and Edge Cloud VR Solution” in Kaohsiung, creating an epoch-making 5G milestone.” 

Mayor Chen added: “Kaohsiung is making progress. The launch of Taiwan’s first open to the public 5G Standalone Architecture Private Network field confirms that Kaohsiung is ready to provide a safe, stable and high-speed 5G environment for the industry, and provide companies with a field that can improve operational efficiency. In the future, we will work with partners in the Asia New Bay Area ‘Kaohsiung Multi-Functional Economic and Trade Park’ to drive nearly NTD 30 billion in investment and NTD 120 billion in output value. The development project is critical to the transformation and development of Kaohsiung, where the next generation of industries will converge in the south of Taiwan, in Kaohsiung, and drive domestic manufacturers to look outwards to the world.” 

Chen Wen-Chi, Company Director of HTC, said: “5G brings breakthrough innovations and changes, allowing unprecedented new technologies to enter our lives and business applications. For a long time, HTC has been committed to integrating cutting-edge technologies such as 5G, XR, AI, and Blockchain together. HTC creates extraordinary value and rich and profound experiences for people and businesses, realizing a better life, and a safer, more efficient and smarter environment. HTC is honored to work together with the Kaohsiung City Government to accelerate 5G adoption and the development of smart applications in Kaohsiung City. The implementation of the Smart 5G Standalone Architecture Private Network Field going public in the Asia New Bay 5G AIoT Innovation Park will jointly drive Kaohsiung’s transformation into a technology and smart city, and set a new benchmark for global 5G private networking.” 

The 5G private network that supports complete terminal applications needing large bandwidth, such as real-time video monitoring, multi-player connection, XR, 4K, 8K video and audio application scenarios 

The 5G Private Network Field operated by HTC and the Kaohsiung City Government is based on HTC’s enterprise-class 5G Standalone Architecture Network (SA) technology and advanced and complete end-to-end enterprise private network solutions. These were combined with HTC’s remote streaming software platform and management services, edge computing technology, 5G networking software that meets open architecture standards, a full set of highly secure network protection mechanisms, and an extensive range of XR service solutions that can achieve high transmission, low latency and wide connectivity of 5G private network environment. 

HTC’s 5G Standalone Architecture private network and Edge Cloud VR solutions can clear the bottleneck encountered by enterprise applications in the past, and provides enterprises with a complete 5G solution with low build cost, minimal space requirements, and a high degree of vertical integration and modular services. Additionally, it can support various bandwidth-hungry terminal applications, such as real-time video monitoring, multi-player connection, XR, 4K, 8K video and audio applications. This allows companies to rapidly build up a high-speed, stable and safe 5G corporate environment to improve operational performance and the safety of employees, such as factory education simulation training, VR multi-player education, implementation and collaborative cloud management education systems, and more. 

Promoting innovative applications of 5G and XR in Kaohsiung, and encouraging digital transformation of domestic manufacturers 

HTC has been working with the Kaohsiung City Government since 2018 to jointly promote the innovative application of somatosensory technology, and carry out programs such as talent cultivation, business matching, international cooperation, and front stores with industry integration planning. In 2021, HTC and Kaohsiung City Government worked together to promote 5G and XR-related applications, which will drive new changes in the digital and technology industry in Kaohsiung, and open up more new business opportunities in the 5G innovative smart application market. Looking forward, HTC will also assist the city government to keep enterprises and talents in Kaohsiung to establish robust domestic development in Taiwan and promote an outward-looking environment. 

HTC and Kaohsiung City Government jointly established the 5G Standalone Architecture Private Network and Edge Cloud VR Solution in cooperation with the domestic manufacturers Quanta Cloud Technology (QCT), Ufispace, TransNet, and the Institute for Information Industry (III), working together for domestic 5G proliferation, and contributing to the future development of the 5G hardware and software industry in Taiwan. 

7ECO – Harnessing Digital Transformation for Vietnam’s Agriculture Growth

In the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is critical to undertake research in order to grow and technologize the agricultural product processing industry.

As a leading developer in this process, 7ECO is striving for an technological revolution aiming to take Vietnamese agriculture to a whole new level.

7ECO is integrating digital transformation into Vietnam’s agriculture sector

7ECO is a UK-based company investing in and developing smart agricultural projects. With a vision towards developing clean and sustainable agriculture in Vietnam, 7ECO is employing technologies in agriculture to improve productivity and optimize land use potential. Currently, 7ECO has invested in multiple smart agricultural projects in many countries around the world such as Vietnam, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Brazil, etc.

With the goal of developing an agriculture industry in line with the orientations of the Vietnamese government in 2021-2025, 7ECO Vietnam is currently using capital from both domestic and foreign investment funds with a focus on developing organic agriculture and providing output commitments to farmers while connecting and promoting exports to highly potential agricultural markets such as Europe, the Middle East, China, Australia, the United States, etc.

7ECO, in particular, pledges to synchronously integrate science and technologies to every single project, from soil treatment, planting, growing, harvesting, processing, quality verification to distribution. Smart agricultural production is going to be monitored in real-time. Production is going to be conducted on pre-programmed systems and linked to agricultural machinery and systems through digital means. The application of digital transformation in agriculture promises to bring about many positive changes to the growth of Vietnam’s economy.

7ECO Company is launching a number of significant projects in Vietnam in 2021

With multiple important projects to be launched in 2021 to transform Vietnam’s agriculture, 7ECO Vietnam has officially cooperated with a number of key strategic partners. This is a major turning point marking the revolution of the agriculture sector of Vietnam.

In view of that, on April 20, 2021, the signing ceremony of the investment and cooperation agreements between 7ECO Vietnam Company and various key strategic partners has taken place at the Grand Hall of Saigon, thereby strongly promoting the multilateral relations in harnessing modern technologies for agricultural production sectors in the future.

At the event, 7ECO has introduced the 7ECO – “For A Green Future” project as a comprehensive digital solution for resources, finance, administration, and human resources problems in Vietnam. That has opened up many opportunities for cooperation between individuals, businesses, and partners interested in agricultural solutions who wish to apply data digitalization technology into advanced agricultural models.

With the objective of integrating technology into agriculture to improve production efficiency, optimize land use potential, and develop clean and sustainable agriculture, 7ECO Vietnam commits to constantly strive to increase the agriculture values to a whole new level.

7ECO is an initiative of new heights aiming towards the sustainable development of the agriculture sector in Vietnam and other countries in the world. The 7ECO project confidently initiates and pioneers with strong financial resources from big corporations along with well-known investment funds such as Head Capital, VNC Capital, Aptus Capital, etc, in parallel is a talented leadership team with many years of experience in managing, investing, and developing many large projects, domestic and foreign.

Various leading experts have committed to accompanying the project, such as Professor – Doctor Vo Tong Xuan, a leading figure in the agriculture sector of Vietnam, Doctor Tran Nguyen Chi – Director of the Sustainable Farm Sinh Loc, Doctor Nguyen Van Hieu, etc.

With a solid financial foundation, modern digital technologies, and a team of foremost experts and operators, 7ECO will undoubtedly create a breakthrough for the growth of Vietnam’s agriculture in the near future.

The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd (MCB) Provides USD 60m Funding to Fuel Senegal’s National Electrification and LNG-use Ambitions

MCB is facilitating Senegal’s endeavour to improve its national electrification rate through its USD 60 million participation in the syndicated project finance facility of USD 140 million to Karpowership.  MCB was not only a co-mandated lead arranger but provided the highest loan commitment.  The project finance facility is enabling Karpowership to operate its 235 MW Powership alongside the shores of Dakar since August 2019.

The Powership is contributing to around 15% of Senegal’s electricity supply.  According to Africa Energy Outlook 2019, Senegal’s electrification rate was 69% in 2018, with a 92% rate in urban areas and only 42% in rural areas. As per the Government’s Plan Sénégal Emergent, a national roadmap adopted back in 2014, the state ambitions to increase its electrification rate to 100% by 2025, whilst focusing on lowering electricity generation costs by reducing its dependence on imported liquid fuels and increasing electricity access to rural areas. Providing electricity to places outside the ambit of urban areas is directly in line with Sustainability Development Goal (“SDG”) n° 7 of the United Nation’s charter on Sustainable Development.

The Powership will soon shift from the use of heavy fuel oil to gas.  This fuel switch-over will generate material reduction in Senegal’s fuel bill with positive spill-over effect on electricity costs in line with the Plan Sénégal Emergent.  Being the first power generation plant fueled by gas, the Powership is laying the foundation stone of Senegal’s plan to diversify its energy mix.  Moreover the use of gas will enable Senegal to cut its carbon emission in furtherance of SDG n°13 on Climate Change.  Senegal ambitions to shift primarily to natural gas for its power production by 2035, thereby reducing further the national grid’s emissions factor.

The Powership’s fuel transition is being facilitated by a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (“FSRU”).  Following successful sea trials, the FSRU has departed Singapore and is expected in Senegal in the coming weeks.  The FSRU is a KARMOL’s enterprise – KARMOL is a joint venture between Karpowership and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.

Commenting on the Powership’s syndicated project finance facility and on MCB’s strong involvement in the project, Zaahir Sulliman, Head of Specialised Finance, MCB, said: “We are proud to be contributing towards Senegal’s universal electrification goal and its transition from reliance on heavy fuel oil to LNG for its electricity production. This commitment is in line with Success Beyond Numbers, the Group’s corporate sustainability strategy, which aims at aligning business development, socioeconomic progress and profitability with the notion of sustainability over time”.

Mr. Sulliman also stressed out: “MCB is aware of its responsibility in the face of the climatic emergency and committed by 2022, to stop financing new coal power-plants and discontinue the trade financing of both thermal and metallurgical coal. Financing Karpowership in Senegal is a first step in the right direction and we are looking forward to increase our participation in projects that foster energy production whilst promoting both climatic and environment friendliness in an endeavor to increase living standards”.

How is China’s Stock Market Doing?

It’s a misnomer to call the Chinese stock exchange a market, because markets by definition are places where buyers and sellers freely meet and exchange things of monetary value. The People’s Republic of China, one of the two nations called China, (the other being the sovereign nation of Taiwan, off the mainland) is a centrally-planned economy. That means every aspect of the nation’s economic life is directed by the Communist party. Still, the nation’s leaders, in an effort to appear as free and open as other developed countries, operate a stock exchange in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

The main index that’s based on the top companies in the exchange is called the China A50 index, which is made up of the 50 largest companies on the two main exchanges. Only one generation ago, the country was a member of the emerging nations group. Today, even as a centrally-planned economy, it has grown to be one of the world’s economic giants and is watched closely by economists, politicians, and individual investors. As a long-term investment vehicle, the A50 is susceptible to the political whims of the nation’s one-party government and can be subject to non-economic factors. Even so, it’s instructive to take a peek at Communist China’s stock market, if only to figure out what the nation’s leaders are planning and to surmise the state of the Chinese economy.

 

COVID Impact

The Chinese city of Wuhan, being the place of origin of the deadly COVID virus, was directly affected by the pandemic. Like most other economies, Chinese companies were hard hit in the early half of 2020, when the A50 decreased. Then, bouncing back faster than other indices, the A50 roared back to life from April 2020 until February 2021, when it backed off its long run-up and fell back from the above 20,000 point to just under the 18,000 mark, where it stands today. It’s difficult to tell whether the Chinese market will suffer another downturn or not, but based on how it performed since the pandemic hit, things look good for the major index and the economy as a whole. Consider that only about seven percent of the Chinese people own any stock at all, and it’s easy to understand why the nation’s stock exchange is not a good measure of how the nation’s economy is performing.

 

Human Rights

Unlike every other major world economy, China suffers from the ups and downs of economic sanctions. The EU, Canada, the U.S. and other free nations have recently imposed various economic sanctions on China, and the result has been a major sell-off of the country’s mutual funds, index funds, and individual stocks. The nation’s record as an abuser of basic human rights makes many individuals and institutions worry about the overall stability of the region. And they’re right to do so. In early 2021, as several nations were readying sanctions on China, the country seemed to double-down on its bad luck by tightening restrictions on local firms.

 

Restrictions

An example of the above noted restrictions is in the nation’s burgeoning electronic cigarette industry. As recently as last year, the e-cigarette companies were flying high, taking advantage of a global switchover from tobacco to less harmful alternatives. China was leading the world in the manufacture of these sleek new devices when, all of a sudden, the Communist party-led government decided to crack down on the successful industry with harsh new economic regulations. Now, predictably, profits are way down and the e-cig makers are just another group of companies that wonders when the next shoe will drop. The lesson is not lost on foreign investors, who see the government’s heavy-handedness as an unpredictable factor that can turn even the best of situations bad. Those e-cig corporations saw profits fall nearly 40 percent due to the new laws.

 

Watch the Terminology

One thing every investor should make note of is the terminology in financial media. You’ll often see writers refer to the Asian markets as doing quite well. Be careful not to assume that China is the sole or even the major playing in that grouping. For example, in the world of finance, Asia includes Australia, Taiwan (the other China), Japan, Korea, and the People’s Republic (the mainland, Communist nation). Note that every one of those economies, with one exception, is not centrally-planned. Some investors who like to buy into regional index funds and ETFs (exchange traded funds) that cover Asia are careful to opt out of Chinese stocks due to the volatility factor and the uncertainty of government actions. Unfortunately, non-democratic societies and stock markets don’t mix very well.

Enabling Employers to Make the Right Hiring Decision

By Lars Pedersen, CEO, Questionmark

Employment in Australia has now returned to pre-Covid levels. Full-time jobs accounted for all of the increase in employment. But, in the rush to hire, employers must ensure that the successful candidate has what it takes to hit the ground running and boost productivity.

Employers can easily use tests to measure the skills of candidates before deciding to hire them.  By measuring a candidate’s skills with such assessments, employers can make a more informed decision about who to employ and who not to.

Australian employment is on the up

Australia’s jobless rate has tumbled recently as increasing confidence from the vaccine rollout combined with government stimulus has accelerated the recovery. 

As Australia’s recovery boosts confidence and spending, firms will continue to hire to meet increased demand.

But when hiring, employers need to be aware that classic recruitment techniques may not be up to the task of identifying candidates with the skills they need.

Some 85% of candidates admit to lying on their CV. Interviews can be vulnerable to unconscious bias, where interviewers may be influenced by unconscious views they may hold about certain groups or types of people.

This makes it hard to identify and recruit the best people to maximize performance.  Failed hires can cost organizations up to 30% of an employee’s first year’s earning.

Three critical questions

So, before making a final decision on who to hire, employers should ask three critical questions.

First, do candidates have the skills they claim?

Nearly 78% of applicants admit to lying during the recruitment process. When scaling up for a busy period, recruits must be able to do what they say they can. 

Second, do applicants have skills fit for the future?

Across all industries, the skills workers need are changing.  For instance, workers across many sectors need to be able to use, manage and apply new digital technologies. 

Employers should ensure that new starters have crucial skills that may be missing from the existing workforce. 

Third, do potential recruits have the right attitude? 

Recruits must be able to quickly become part of the team.  Certain characteristics will indicate whether they are likely to contribute positively to the culture.  If employers are regulated, will recruits have the right mindset to meet compliance requirements and protect the firm?

 

How assessments help

By measuring the skills of candidates before making the final hiring decision, employers can make the right choice.

Assessments indicate whether potential recruits can do what they say they can and if they are likely to have the right attitude for the job. 

After implementing assessments, 76% of corporates have seen an increase in the quality of hire.

Online assessment provider Questionmark enables employers and their people to unlock potential to deliver better performance and safely meet compliance requirements.

It does this by enabling employers to make more informed people decisions, based on accurate and reliable information from robust assessments of those people.

It’s why one in six US Fortune 100 companies use its enterprise-grade assessment platform.

Making informed decisions now

As the economy begins to recover, Australian employers will need to scale up quickly. 

The quality of the people employers bring into the team will help determine whether they can ride the wave of recovery and take advantage of the new opportunities it presents.   

Now more than ever, employers must be confident in the recruitment decisions they are making. 

Assessing staff before they are hired can help identify applicants with the potential to make an immediate and lasting impact.

Q2 2021

Welcome to the Q2 edition of APAC Insider Magazine, your quarterly source for all of the latest news and updates from across the Asia Pacific region.

We started the year with our Q1 edition saying that we wanted 2021 to be the year of change and innovation following 2020 acting very much as the catalyst for that change. Three months on, and we are certainly seeing the benefits of change and innovation across the Asia Pacific region. One of the biggest pieces of technological innovation has actually been growing over the last five years since a firm called Confinity Solutions was established back in 2016.

Featured both here and in our sister publication, Corporate Vision Magazine, Confinity Solutions is changing the game for financial technology, particularly regarding the ever-evolving world of low-latency messaging. Financial services require lightning fast technology to keep up with the split-second decisions being made every day. Confinity Solutions offers this, and so much more, and these pages hold the story behind the firm’s success from the CEO’s own mouth.

It is hard to believe that we are a third of the way through 2021 already, and so much success has been achieved. As we look forward to another two quarterly publications that will surely feature bigger and better things than ever before, we are more excited than ever to showcase the brilliant business taking place across the Asia Pacific region. Until next time, stay safe and well, and we look forward to welcoming you back for our Q3 edition.

APAC Insider Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2021 Australian Enterprise Awards

United Kingdom, 2021– APAC Insider Magazine has announced the winners of the 2021 Australian Enterprise Awards.

Now in its fifth year, the Australian Enterprise Awards seek to acknowledge the incredible achievements of businesses and individuals across the country. To say it’s been a tumultuous and challenging twelve months would be a gross understatement, yet the strength of Australia’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit has helped companies of all sizes to weather the upheaval. We launched this year’s edition with that context firmly in mind and endeavoured to spotlight those that have both belied the uncertainty to attain growth or found new ways to thrive.

Awards Co-ordinator Steve Simpson commented on the success of the deserving winners at the launch of the supplement: “Australia continues to be a leading light on the world stage when it comes to business innovation and growth. As part of this awards programme, we wanted to reward all businesses -whether a start-up or an established behemoth on the market. With the events of 2020 mostly behind us, I offer my sincere congratulations to all of our winners, and I hope you have a fantastic 2021 ahead.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated professionals selected for them, please visit https://www.apac-insider.com/ where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.

ENDS

Notes to Editors.

About APAC Insider

Here at APAC Insider, our approach reflects the innovative, dedicated and results-focused culture that has seen the Asia Pacific region become home to some of the most prominent industry-leading businesses in the world.

Playing host to more than one third of the world’s biggest businesses and boasting more Global 2000 members – among them worldwide brands such as Toyota, Samsung and Bank of China – than anywhere else on Earth, we are rapidly becoming the region to watch for those seeking the corporate world’s next big thing.

Exploring everything from business strategy and analysis to emerging trends and growth opportunities, APAC Insider is an invaluable resource for more than 160,000 leaders and decision makers looking to be kept fully informed of all the major developments in this most vibrant of business arenas.

We can see the great success of our platform with over 255,322 page views in the last 12 months averaging at 21,200 page views per month we can see our magazine is loved by many. The unique users average at an incredible 6,830 per month and we can’t thank our readers enough for the amazing support they give us to bring this content to you.

Spark NZ Selects Calabrio as Part of Unified Front Line Initiative

Cloud-first workforce engagement management platform chosen to enable market-leading Digital Services company to flow workforce across contact centres, retail stores and at-home visits to be where their customers are

Calabrio, the customer experience intelligence company, has been selected by Spark, New Zealand’s largest telecommunications and digital services company, to supply a cloud-based workforce management (WFM) solution as part of its Unified Front Line initiative. The initiative is a new way of working at Spark where employees are cross-skilled across multiple customer touchpoints and are part of an end to end “homebase”. Resources will flow to where the customer is: contact centres, retail stores and at-home customer visits as demand requires.

The new Calabrio WFM, with embedded Data Explorer reporting, replaces an on-premises platform and will manage the workload of frontline staff to accommodate peaks and troughs in customer demand across omni-channel touchpoints including voice, digital and in-person. The Calabrio ONE platform covers some 1500 Spark employees in over 80 different locations including the company’s contact centres, retail stores and those working from home. Calabrio WFM enables the company to manage parallel demand by forecasting, scheduling, and dynamically moving capacity between channels and sites. Customers receive a consistent response and high level of service whichever channel they select, and employees have the opportunity to become multi-skilled by working in different environments.

With employee experience a key priority for Spark, the Calabrio self-service mobile app, MyTime, will provide advanced employee engagement options by empowering agents with schedule and performance information direct to their smartphones. Employees have the ability to enter shift preferences, shift swap and process automatic holiday/leave requests, as well as easily move their own lunches and breaks via self-scheduling automation. This self-service functionality gives staff more control of their work/life balance. Additionally, WFM reporting capabilities will provide team leaders with up-to-the-minute key performance metrics to their mobile devices, providing real-time visibility of the workforce and supporting better decision making.

Daniel Cooper, Digital Lead – Consumer Channels from Spark commented, “The Unified Front Line (UFL) is a new way of working at Spark, based on simplification, mobility and flexibility. Using Calabrio workforce engagement management (WEM) software enables powerful multi-channel agility to meet customer demand. Investing in the right tools is an important part of improving both the customer journey, and the employee experience. Calabrio’s unique industry experience of delivering unified workforce management functionality across an organisation’s entire frontline was a key reason we selected this solution.”

Peter Farnsworth, Regional Director – APAC, Calabrio concluded, “More often than not, when companies look to replace or upgrade their WFM they focus on replicating processes that worked yesterday not what is best for tomorrow, or even today. Spark are adopting a new and innovative approach focusing on balancing customer and employee experience. It is a concept we have been advocating for years, and to have the opportunity to work with an organization that shares the same beliefs as us is very exciting.”

Calabrio recently unveiled the new Calabrio ONE for the new era, with the integrated WFM solution at its heart that combines the “best of the best” from Teleopti WFM and Calabrio WFM, enabling organisations to better empower, educate and lead today’s workforce.

Pandemic Drives Demand For More Efficient Steam Technology in 2021

  • 68% of industrial steam users are now more likely to invest in greener steam technology following Covid-19
  • Competitiveness, rising energy bills and equipment strain from pandemic demand are top drivers for more efficient technology
  • Business uncertainty, lack of capex and lack of personnel are hindering green investments
  • 59% think it is difficult to hire staff with the skills required to operate or maintain a steam boiler because of the impact of covid-19


The ability to adapt and recover sustainably and productively will drive business’s demand for more efficient steam technology in 2021. That is the headline finding from Aggreko’s latest industry research, which surveyed over 200 organisations across the public and private sector.

The research, which was commissioned in part to determine how the global pandemic has reshaped business priorities, looked to establish how different factors are influencing uptake in the steam boiler market. Those interviewed included energy and production managers in manufacturing and petrochemical refineries, as well as facilities managers in hospitals and government departments.

After the disruption that took place in 2020, it would be fair to assume most businesses are reluctant to ear-mark budget for upgrades. Yet 68% of respondents said they were now more likely to invest in greener technology or new equipment to improve energy efficiency and emissions since the emergence of COVID-19. However, a number of businesses found the extra expense difficult to justify as the economic impact of the virus becomes clear. Just under 20% said they were now less likely to invest in new technology, with business uncertainty being the determining factor.

Other results only further highlight the desire for businesses to invest, not just as a means to navigate adverse market conditions but also to keep pace with rival organisations. Some 63% of the sample identified ‘competitiveness’ as the main reason why they would now spend money on a new steam boiler, with rising energy bills and strain on current assets also scoring high at 53% and 52% respectively.

While these results give cause for optimism in 2021, there are still a number of issues that may impede business’s recovery. An overwhelming majority said it had become harder to find people with the necessary skills to operate and fix steam boilers since the pandemic. In addition to the skills gap, over half identified an increase in maintenance costs as another key issue. These problems appear to explain why almost 85% said they would now consider hiring equipment as a way to bridge a gap in demand and minimise the threat of an existing boiler breaking down.

These findings come as Aggreko is set to launch some new steam boilers into its European fleet. The two and five tonne models have a number of benefits, including rapid steam production from cold start, higher energy efficiency ratings and low carbon emissions. The company believes it will not only help meet a surge in demand across various end-user industries, such as power generation and chemical processing, but also help to navigate uncertainties following COVID-19 and the UK’s departure from EU in January.

Graeme Cunningham has been appointed by Aggreko as Sector Development Manager to grow the company’s share of the steam boiler market. He said: “It’s encouraging to see businesses willing to invest despite the difficulties experienced throughout 2020. Steam boilers form a central part of many different production processes, so it was important for Aggreko to gauge how conditions have changed and what will drive uptake of more efficient equipment in the years ahead. There are clearly concerns, particularly around supply of skilled labour and a heavier demand on existing assets, so it’s vital there are options available to mitigate these issues. We believe our two new models will bridge gaps in demand and help to stimulate economic recovery in 2021.”

Dada Group Installs Digital Growth Engines For Electronics Stores

Dada Group, China’s leading local on-demand delivery and retail platform, is pleased to announce that JD Daojia (“JDDJ”), the on-demand retail platform of Dada, has expanded its partnership with authorized phone resellers and accelerated their digitalization process to deliver products within one hour. As of March 2021, 670 authorized phone reseller stores have launched their services on JDDJ, covering hundreds of cities and counties in China, and had the access to JD’s online channels through the Omni-channel Fulfillment Program.

In October 2020, dozens of authorized resellers across China have established their partnership with JDDJ with a focus on omni-channel operation and digitalization. As offline brick-and-mortar stores, authorized stores take advantage of supply chain and brand resources, while JDDJ empowers the offline stores in online traffic, efficiency improvement and user operations. The partnership also creates the micro e-commerce consumption scenarios featuring one-hour delivery service in electronic products, and speeds up the online and offline retail integration. Both sides aim to offer stellar products with affordable prices and tailored services.

Once users place orders on JDDJ’s platform, a nearby authorized stores prepare the products and Dada Now, the local on-demand delivery platform of Dada Group, deliver the digital products to the users within one-hour.

In 2020, JDDJ and JD began their strategic partnership and created Omni-channel Fulfillment Program, which enables users place an order on JD.com to receive the product from nearby off-line stores on JDDJ’s platform and enjoy Dada Now’s home delivery service. Through this program, authorized reseller stores have the access to JD’s nearly 470 million users and promote the systematic upgrading of online channels.

According to JDDJ’s 2020 White Paper on On-demand Consumption of Mobile Phones, more than 6,000 electronics stores have launched on JDDJ’s platform. Mobile phones have become the category with the most potential in the field of on-demand retail, besides fresh food and groceries.

“The era of micro e-commerce has arrived. One-hour delivery is no longer a need, but the consumer habits,” said Jianzhen Peng, Secretary General of China Chain Store & Franchise Association, China’s national representative for the retail and franchise industry. “JDDJ works closely with offline stores to promote digitalization, and has successively launched digital empowerment solutions including online traffic, products, users, marketing, and order fulfillment. This is a model of digitalization for electronics stores.”

“The micro e-commerce and on-demand retail for one-hour shopping, bring the great opportunity and a prevailing trend to build the omni-channel retail ecosystem in the mobile phone sector,” said Guangsen Mou, General Manager of Fashion and Digital Electronics Business Department at JDDJ. “The digitalization process would create a new growth engine for offline electronics stores. More consumers, especially young ones, demand a faster delivery service for mobile phones. The market education is emerging”

This year’s JDDJ 415 Anniversary Shopping Festival is launched from April 8 to 18. During the period, JDDJ partners with leading supermarket chains in China, including Walmart, Yonghui Supermarket, CR Vanguard, BBG Supermarket, Aeon, Jiajiayue, Lotus and famous brands, such as Yili, Mengniu, P&G, Unilever, Yihai KerryMars Wrigley, PepsiCo, Nestle, as well as over 100,000 merchant stores on the platform to create a “One-hour Shopping Carnival”. This provides consumers in nearly 1,400 counties and cities in China with “one-hour delivery” services for all categories of products, such as supermarket groceries, fresh meat and eggs, daily necessities, mobile phones and electronics, beauty and clothing.

Automation: Learning the Secrets of Uptime

Automation offers a route forward for hard-pressed e-fulfilment operations – particularly, when it comes to packaging processes. But how do you build in operational resilience? What are the secrets to maximising uptime? By Will Carder, Automation Sales Engineer at Quadient

The pandemic has turned the retail sector on its head. Online order volumes rocketed by 36% over 2020 and look set to remain high, pure-play fashion brands are buying up beleaguered high-street names and labour issues wrought by Brexit and stringent social distancing requirements have exposed the shortcomings of manual fulfilment operations.

Faced with these challenges, many pure-play and omni-channel retailers are, for the first time, turning to automation as a means to boosting performance within their fulfilment processes. Technologies being adopted may take the form of mobile robots, pick-to-light technology, cross-belt sorters and fast, automated packaging solutions. But, for those unfamiliar with automated systems, the prospect of relying on machines is daunting – what if they breakdown? How do you reduce exposure to risk?

Understanding how to maximise uptime is critical to the success of any automation project. It helps protect future operational performance and in addition, it’s an essential step to instilling confidence and attaining senior management endorsement. 

A sophisticated automated system can be a significant financial commitment, with a return on investment (ROI), even on a low CapEx project, typically running at around 18 months or so. Protecting that investment and ensuring a good early ROI depends on the efficiency of the applied technology, its durability/reliability and the competency of operators, technical staff and service support.

Businesses new to automation are unlikely to have resident maintenance engineers – and for a fairly modest level of automation an onsite engineer may not be necessary. But trained staff with some level of technical ability, backed up by good, responsive support from a systems vendor will be essential.

Looking specifically at advanced automated packaging solutions, there are highly sophisticated packaging systems available that can tailor-make individual cardboard boxes to the exact optimum size of the ordered item(s) at a rate of up 1100 packages per hour. These machines use 3D imagery to scan and then calculate, cut, fold and seal a precisely made box every three seconds – along with weighing each package and applying a carrier label.

These sophisticated machines deliver huge advantages in terms of fast, efficient throughput, savings on cardboard and void fill, increased trailer density and fewer vehicles on the road. But, of course, reaping the full benefits of this technology comes down to ensuring that maximum uptime is achieved across the year and importantly, maintained during peak periods.

Even with highly sophisticated fit-to-size packaging systems, such as Quadient’s CVP Everest and CVP Impack, achieving an average uptime of around 97% should not be difficult if five key factors are adhered to:

1. Define responsibilities

At the outset it’s important to clearly define the responsibilities of the systems supplier and those of the customer. Much will depend upon the level of support a customer wishes to subscribe to, in terms of call-out response times and breadth of spare-parts to be held on site. Premium options reduce risk but must be balanced by available budget.

The supplier should ensure that the installation is executed efficiently and that high quality boxes are produced at the specified rate. Once commissioned, it’s important that operators are properly trained and that technical staff receive several hours of technical instruction.

2. Provide adequate training

Operators are non-technical employees, so they should only be trained to levels required to operate the machine and correct minor issues such as a product fall in mid-process or to replenish supplies, like a new reel of cardboard, tape or labels etc. Beyond a small easily rectified error an on-site technician should be engaged.

In most instances the customer should be able to solve the problem. It may simply be a piece of cardboard that is causing an obstruction, which can easily be removed, or perhaps a spare part is required and, if stocked on site, can be quickly replaced by an on-site technician.

3. Remote support

However, for more complex issues a remote support service should be called upon. Quadient offers a dial-up service where technicians offer expert advice and can remotely login to machines on a customer site to track faults and access data. All Quadient packaging systems have built-in sensors throughout and are equipped with video cameras strategically located at key points in the system. Analysis of logged data and captured images allow support engineers to pinpoint the cause of the problem, and in most instances, they can advise on-site technicians on how to resolve the issue.

4. Call-out service

If necessary, the issue can be escalated to a service call-out, where a Quadient service engineer is dispatched to the client site. It’s important to understand the level of service support provided by your supplier from the outset. Quadient offers a premium ‘rapid response’ service, within hours – including at weekends. However, most businesses find that a next-day am response is adequate for their needs. Similarly, spare parts can be supplied within 24 hours, so parts held on site can be kept to a minimum.

5. Scheduled maintenance

Of course, scheduled maintenance is of paramount importance and should be carried out by competent, fully qualified service engineers. Quadient insists that expert Quadient engineers carry out regular, scheduled preventative maintenance, which may be three times a year for a system producing 750,000 packages per annum.

However, the most critical factor relating to uptime is to make the right buying decision. Select a system that has proven reliability, which has been engineered to exacting standards, using only the most reliable ‘A’ grade components. In addition, look for a vendor that has invested in developing the technology and that has a track record for achieving excellence.

Confidence in maintaining the highest packaging performance depends on selecting a leader in packaging technology.

EIT InnoEnergy-backed EOLOS Eyes US and APAC Offshore Wind Expansion Following 30% Revenue Growth

On March 30th, EOLOS the Spanish turn-key provider of offshore wind and ocean data to the wind industry, backed by EIT InnoEnergy, announces 30% revenue growth as it lays out ambitious plans to expand its offering in the US and Asia Pacific burgeoning offshore wind markets.

The announcement follows EOLOS’ success over the last five years as it now has a fleet of 15 buoys deployed on projects around the world, including the Hesselø wind farm in Denmark, Moray West in the UK and off the coast of Ulsan in South Korea for Shell. Since inception EOLOS has been backed by EIT InnoEnergy, the world’s largest sustainable energy engine, which has provided funding, brokered partnerships and consulted on strategic decisions. Now, due to increased demand, EOLOS has doubled its current workshop capacity in Spain, tripled its workforce and formed strong alliances in both the US and the UK.

Rajai Aghabi, CEO of EOLOS said “To date we have tripled our workforce and we are grateful for all the support we have had from partners, suppliers and our specialist team to make this growth possible. In particular, without EIT InnoEnergy’s knowledge and contacts in the offshore wind market, its commercial support and years of expertise in providing counsel to energy entrepreneurs, we wouldn’t be accelerating at the pace we are today.

“The offshore wind sector is flourishing, and we see huge potential across the world for our solution! Floating offshore wind is going to thrive in the next twenty years and so wind developers will need a trusted solution that can provide data for these deeper water depths. It’s a very exciting time for our team and the industry.”

EOLOS provides its robust floating buoy that uses LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology to gather high-quality wind and ocean data from any offshore location. The solution provides developers with an accurate forecast of the wind energy potential for the wind farm, while minimising both CAPEX and OPEX of offshore wind measurement campaigns to reduce overall project cost.

Mikel Lasa, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy Spain, added: “EOLOS is a prime example of what EIT InnoEnergy sets out to do with its expertise and investments – take them from a start-up to a global business, ready to make an impact on how the energy transition rolls out. It’s impressive to see EOLOS grow so substantially from its roots in Spain to supplying its solution to wind projects all over the world. And this is only the beginning of their journey.”

Perfect Ward Signs First Customer in Australia

Perfect Ward has signed up its first Australian customer for the company’s digital healthcare quality improvement solution. Ability Options, one of the largest not-for-profit Disability Service Providers in New South Wales, is using Perfect Ward’s mobile app to run continuous safety and quality improvement measures across 66 of its sites. Since trialling the technology in early 2020, Ability Options has transformed its inspection process, offering significant time savings, while creating a detailed framework that puts both managers and staff in control of the quality agenda.

Michelle Hodge, Chief Practice and Outcomes Officer at Ability Options commented, “Introducing the Perfect Ward app has simplified our inspection process and increased staff engagement. Modern and invigorating, our support workers have embraced the technology, praising its ‘no hassle’ factor. As a mobile app, it is extremely easy to use, allowing them to support residents, on the move, using tablets or smartphones. Meanwhile, it’s a powerful staff engagement tool that increases accountability. Frontline staff can see how they are performing and have immediate feedback on how their inspections compare with other homes. They are beginning to truly understand the value they bring to maintaining quality standards and that’s going to create positive outcomes for the people we are supporting.”

Ability Options is utilising the highly customisable Perfect Ward solution to support the most common inspection areas, such as health and safety and documentation/record-keeping, while facilitating the introduction of new inspections to adapt to changing resident and business requirements. During the pilot, Ability Options saved 2.5 hours per week across each area. Once the solution is rolled out across the organisation it is expected to save valuable time that can be used to provide resident support.

Paul Woodward, Perfect Ward’s Regional Director, Australia and New Zealand commented, “Organisations like Ability Options have to strike a fine balance between supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the community while juggling multiple services and funding streams. By far the greatest benefit our technology brings, particularly for office-based managers, is a 360-degree view of quality activities across their entire care portfolio. They simply log into our mobile app to check if there are any inconsistencies or errors at any time, from anywhere. This heightened visibility gives them the assurance that the correct safety and quality procedures are in place and that any red flag issues are being addressed promptly, putting them in complete control of their quality environment.”

Since trialling the Perfect Ward solution in 2020, Ability Options has extended the original number of inspection types from five covering seven key areas to 15 inspection types that will shortly encompass all 95 areas of the organisation.

APAC Insider Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2021 Singapore Business Awards

United Kingdom, 2021
APAC Insider Magazine has announced the winners of the 2021 Singapore Business
Awards.

Singapore continues to be a business leviathan in the
Asia Pacific, delivering innovation, creativity and best in class services to worldwide
markets. Boasting one of the most advanced economies in the region, Singapore
remains a leading light on the global landscape, offering a haven for
excellence to thrive. It was this history of exceptional success that prompted
APAC Insider to launch the Singapore Business Awards, with the aim to spotlight
firms and individuals who are helping to dive the future of their industries
forward.

Awards Co-ordinator Kaven Cooper commented on the
success of the winners at the launch: “Our 2021 winners represent the very best
of an extraordinary region. Congratulations to everyone recognised in this
programme, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of the year ahead.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and
the dedicated professionals selected for them, please visit https://www.apac-insider.com/
where you can view the award supplement and full winners list.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

About APAC Insider

Published quarterly, APAC Insider endeavours to bring
you the latest need-to-know business content and updates from across the Asia
Pacific Region

Keeping pace with a vast array of ever-changing
sectors thanks to regular contributions from some of the region’s foremost
corporate professionals, APAC Insider is home to the very best news, features
and comment from the people and institutions in the know.

Refresh Your Memory: How To Make Sure Your Retail Store Is COVID-19 Secure Post-Lockdown

Since the roadmap out of lockdown was announced in the UK, you’ve probably begun to plan your business’ reopening. And while this may be the third time that retail stores have opened their doors after a lockdown, since it’s been quite a while since things were relatively normal, an update can help refresh your memory on the protocols that need to be followed.

Although a clear date hasn’t been given for retail stores to open, it’s expected that a reopening should happen around April 12th, providing that the vaccine is successfully reducing COVID cases and no new strains of the virus are causing any problems.

With less than a month to go, here’s a list of ways that you can make sure that your retail store is COVID-19 safe when it’s time to open up again:

Complete A COVID-19 Risk Assessment

Your job as an employer is to protect your staff form harm, and this now includes taking the necessary steps to help keep your employees and customers safe from COVID.

Your company’s risk assessment should now look at any activities at work that might cause the virus to be transmitted, a list of any vulnerable staff members or which job positions could be most at risk, and any acts that you are going to take to control the risk.

Use Signs And Stickers To Educate Customers

With so many different rules and regulations being introduced since the pandemic first began, you should expect customers to be confused from time to time. To help people have the most enjoyable shopping experience, you should use signs that clearly educate customers on the rules they should be following in your shop.

You can place post-mounted signs by the doorway of your shop so that it’s the first thing they read when they walk in. Another great idea is to use floor stickers which can serve to guide customers around the store (ideal for if you’re implementing a one-way system.)

You can easily get your sticker printing from Discount Displays, who use high tech latex eco-friendly printers to create stickers which are eye-catching and durable. They’re completely flexible with design so it’s completely up to you how creative you want to be.

Clean Frequently

No one enjoys cleaning, but since the virus can survive on surfaces anywhere from several hours to a few days, it’s important to keep areas sanitised at all times. With accessories like sunglasses, you may want to enforce a rule permitting anybody from trying them on, or perhaps leave a bucket for people to drop their used items into so you can clean them before they go back on display.

Provide Hand Sanitiser

Encourage customer hygiene by leaving hand sanitiser out in an obvious place where it can be easily seen. It’s a good idea to put a hand sanitising dispenser by your door so people have the option to use it when they first enter into your store.

Financial Tips for Launching Your Startup

You may have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t have the money in place to launch your startup and keep it going, it will be difficult for you to succeed. You need to get your financial situation in order and line up funding. You may want to talk to a financial professional and line up an accountant or a bookkeeper to work with, but the steps below can also help.

 

Organize Your Personal Finances

You’ll want to separate your personal and business finances, but you still need to have your personal finances in order. This is partly just because it will be easier to manage your business finances when your own money situation is not a mess, but it’s also because potential investors and lenders may look at your personal situation before deciding whether to give you more cash. You may want to work on reducing your debt.

Taking out a personal loan can help. This is one way to finance the funds you need to get your finances in order, paying off multiple high-interest debts with the loan. You should also have a budget and a good idea of what you need monthly at minimum to live on. Finally, you should put away several months of expenses in an emergency fund.

 

Keep Your Day Job

If it’s possible, you should keep working while you launch your new business. There are a few caveats. First, depending on the nature of your startup, you may need to be available during regular business hours. Second, your day job might have a rule against working a second job. Some companies will even claim ownership of intellectual property you create while you are employed, so you need to make sure that you are in the clear.

Third, trying to juggle your day job and your start up could make you look unprofessional to some potential investors. On the other hand, staying at your job can mean you don’t have to worry as much about money and you can give your startup longer to get off the ground before you need it to turn a profit. Consider your individual situation carefully as you decide what is best.

 

Get Funding

There are a number of different ways to fund your business. Some people use their own money. The advantage is that no one else has a claim to any part of your business. The disadvantage is that this may limit what you can accomplish. You might be able to take out business loans.

The best bet for many startups is investors. These may be venture capitalists or angel investors, who are often on the lookup for exciting new ideas in tech. However, if you don’t have the kind of business idea that will get these high-rolling investors excited, don’t despair. You may be able to attract more conventional investors in your network. Keep in mind as well that you don’t necessarily have to start with a lot of money. You can build your business up slowly, taking your time and gradually creating a solid financial base from which you will operate.

Why More Women are Choosing STEM Careers and Stereotypes Are Being Smashed

In recent years, girls and women are showing more interest in pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers than ever before. From GCSEs to university courses, we are seeing a gradual shift towards STEM subjects, and it is important to keep this momentum going. Historically, industries such as technology and engineering have been heavily-male dominated and unhealthy gender stereotypes have prevailed. The stigma attached to women pursuing STEM careers has meant that many women have been unable to reach their full potential in the field. Now, however, the stigma is being tackled and elements of STEM are finding their way into every industry. It’s becoming ever plainer that there is far more to STEM than outdated stereotypes and gender boundaries. 

So, what’s changed? 

Thankfully, we’ve seen some big changes when it comes to gender and STEM industries, but there’s still a long way to go. According to findings from UNESCO, less than 30 per cent of the world’s researchers are women. This is an underrepresentation that can be seen in every region of the world. It is also still apparent that boys are more likely to choose STEM subjects both in school and university.   

Despite this, we are seeing some positive changes, and we’re clearly headed in the right direction. There has been a rise in the number of girls who choose to take STEM-related subjects in both school and university. For example, we have seen a 31 per cent increase in the number of girls taking STEM A-Levels in the UK (between 2010 and 2019) and a 50.1 per cent increase in the number of women accepted onto STEM-related undergraduate university courses in the UK between 2011 and 2020.   

Clearly, more women and girls are now seeing viable opportunities within the STEM sector. What’s more, the influx of women in the sector is set to change the industry forever. With a growing number of female so-named STEMtreupeners, we’re not only seeing the increasing number of women in the industry, but we’re also set to see greater innovations in the industry focussed on the needs of women.

Breaking the boundaries of STEM

As well as smashing the gender stereotypes we associate with STEM-related careers, the way we see STEM industries as a whole is changing. Traditionally, we may have mainly associated STEM with engineering and construction. However, the power of technology has since made its way into just about every sector. Because of this, students no longer have to face the decision between a career in something creative and a career in something technical. More and more, we are seeing the two areas crossover.

Think of a creative industry such as fashion, for example. STEM skills are more important in the fashion industry now than ever before. Today, companies everywhere are experimenting with innovative materials for more sustainable shoes and clothes as well as high-tech supply chains. The innovations in creative sectors such as fashion, the film industry, and other artistic fields, rely on STEM more than ever before. We are certainly seeing STEM skills become more and more relevant across every sector.   

As we see the boundaries of STEM expand, we are seeing a higher demand for people trained in these technical skills. Thanks to the continued breakdown of stereotypes, we’ll gradually see those important roles filled by a more diverse generation of employees. If we continue along the current trajectory, we’re set to see more women entering STEM workforces, in both traditional roles and roles that would have been unimaginable a mere few years ago. A greater number of women in STEM spells empowerment, innovation, and creativity in nearly every sector.

Takeda’s Growth and Emerging Markets Business Unit Aims to Deliver Double-Digit Revenue Growth Over Next Decade

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited today outlined its ambition for above-market, double-digit revenue growth of its Growth and Emerging Markets Business Unit (“GEM BU”). The revenue goal of JPY 1 trillion (approximately US$9 billion) by FY2030 represents more than doubling of current revenues in GEM BU. This potential growth will be primarily driven by a balanced geographical focus and targeted portfolio investments in the Company’s highly innovative 14 Global Brands and Wave 1 pipeline assets.

“Building upon Takeda’s global vision to bring long-term value to patients, society and shareholders, we have sharpened our regional strategy to deliver healthcare in geographies that include 85% of the world’s population. As a purpose-led, patient-centric and values-based company, our portfolio combines innovative therapies with the right degree of scale to be competitive. Together with attractive market fundamentals and an executive team equipped to deliver strong business performance, we are committed to delivering sustainable revenue growth while increasing patient access to our life-saving and life-transforming treatments,” said Ricardo Marek, President of Growth & Emerging Markets Business Unit at Takeda.

With 95%3 of GEM BU’s current revenues coming from innovative treatments aligned with the company’s five key business areas, GEM BU has an ambition to outpace forecasted market revenue growth for the region over the next ten years. As a vast geographic area with a combined population of 6.5 billion, the Emerging Markets region presents significant growth opportunities in unmet patient needs across key therapy areas, which we believe can be achieved by a globally-aligned ‘access-first’ strategy.

“Emerging Markets will be a key source of revenue and momentum for Takeda over the next decade, with a strategy aligned to our global innovation focus,” said Costa Saroukos, Takeda chief financial officer. “Through targeted investments in the portfolio and key markets, we expect growth of the GEM BU to outpace the market for specialized, innovative treatments, as we expand our 14 global brands and launch our Wave 1 pipeline assets in the region.”

Takeda’s GEM BU is targeting expansion in high growth markets such as Brazil, China and India. These markets are expected to provide strong platforms for continued growth of existing brands and upcoming launches of our Wave 1 pipeline assets across key therapeutic areas. China in particular is expected to be a significant growth driver for Takeda on a regional and global level, with the potential to deliver revenue growth at a compound annual growth rate of over 20% over the next five years.1

Takeda’s innovative R&D engine is also expected to add potentially transformative therapies to the GEM BU’s current portfolio. Among the Wave 1 pipeline assets, Takeda’s dengue vaccine candidate (TAK-003), developed to address the 390 million global dengue infections every year, is projected to be a significant growth driver for the region, with the majority of projected revenues coming from GEM BU.

For sustainable growth in Emerging Markets, Takeda is committed to ensuring that patients get continued access to innovative medicines. This includes strengthening local health systems and prioritizing sustainable approaches to commercial operations. The recently published 2021 Access to Medicine (AtM) Index has ranked Takeda first in Governance of Access, highlighting its work in the strengthening of health systems and compliance.

4 Ways to Help Your Business Survive COVID-19

As the world passes the one-year mark of COVID-19, businesses are continuing to struggle and adapt to today’s world to ensure that they can keep their doors open. Weathering the pandemic has been tough to say the least, and unfortunately far too many businesses haven’t been able to make it through. Now that vaccines are rolling out across the UK and around the world, there is that light at the end of the tunnel – it’s just a matter of making it there. With that said, we’ve got four tips to help your business survive COVID-19.

Adapt What You Sell or the Services You Offer

For many businesses, the key to surviving COVID-19 has been to adapt. You have to be willing to recognise the trends and demands of the current marketplace and then adapt in a timely manner. For example, this could mean selling different products, adding a delivery service or placing emphasis on specific items that are in demand at this moment. Once the pandemic has ended, it may be necessary to adapt again. As a business owner, you always need to be tuned in to what your market wants and what it dictates.

Deliver Goods Locally

If customers can’t come to you and shop in-person, then it’s time to adjust the playbook. Now, you have to go to them. Granted, this isn’t as easy as someone hopping into their car and simply driving to a customer’s house; it does take planning and organisation, and you’ll need to look into such things as goods in transit insurance to ensure you’ve got proper protection.

Just make sure that, before you sign on for any goods in transit insurance policy, you shop around online to get the best deal so that you are not spending more than you need to. Sites like Quotezone, for example, make it possible for you to compare cheap goods in transit insurance policies so that you don’t end up over-paying.

Ensure You are Offering a Safe Working Environment

If your business has remained open throughout the pandemic, you also have the responsibility of making sure you are creating a safe environment for both staff and customers. This means adhering to all the public health measures, and even going above and beyond. You can look at the public health guidelines as a starting point and then ask yourself what other layers of safety and protection you can add.

Boost Your Marketing and Advertising Efforts

This is also a good time to boost your marketing and advertising efforts, in particular your digital social network marketing campaign. You want to make sure you are getting the message out to people that you are open, and what it is you’re selling or offering. It can also be helpful to run discounts or promotional programs to spark some interest.

To call the COVID-19 pandemic a difficult road for businesses seems like an understatement. The good news is that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, so it’s time to buckle down and go into survival mode.

Online Data Shows Countries Are Sceptical About 5G

  • UK rank second, as there are 93,400 online searches a month by Brits concerning the possible negative implications of 5G technology
  • The United States is the most sceptical country in the world about 5G, with an average 374,700 tentative online searches about 5G per month
  • Australia (32,970), Canada (22,680) and Poland (20,510) are among the other countries where there are over 20,000 dubious online searches regarding 5G each month

5G is one of the pinnacle new technologies that is set to revolutionise everyday life. Driven by its core benefit of super-fast low latency internet, 5G has the strong potential to unlock the full capabilities of other advanced technologies like augmented reality and Internet of things (IoT). Despite these positive credentials, many are still cynical about 5G.

Interested in technology trends, Prolifics Testing utilised online analytics tool Ahrefs to discover which countries in the world are most sceptical about 5G based on their online searches in relation to 5G.

Prolifics Testing classified and grouped consistently recurring Google searches by individuals on 5G such as ‘is 5G dangerous?’, ‘is 5G safe?’, ‘is 5G harmful?’, ‘does 5G pose health risks?’ and ‘does 5G cause/spread coronavirus (Covid-19)?’ as sceptical online searches about 5G. 

Prolifics Testing found that that the United States is in the number one spot as Americans are the most hesitant about the emerging technology, with an astonishing 374,700 sceptical online searches regarding 5G each month – the equivalent of 1,027 sceptical online searches per day!

In second position is the United Kingdom, where there are 93,400 online searches a month by Brits doubting and questioning various aspects of 5G.

Australia is in third place, as there is an average of 32,970 dubious online queries about 5G per month by worried Australians.   

Canada (22,680) and Poland (20,510) are among the other countries in the world where there are more than 20,000 tentative online searches about 5G every month, respectively ranking fourth and fifth.

Interestingly in Africa, there are 13,780 online searches a month by South Africans (eighth place) and 6,850 online searches a month by Nigerians (thirteenth place) concerning the possible negative implications of 5G technology. 

At the other end in 20th place is Denmark, where there is an average of 1,410 sceptical online searches by Danes relating to 5G each month.

Power in People: Human Capital Will Determine Tech Success

According to the Economist, one of the most significant outcomes of the pandemic will be “the infusion of data-enabled services into ever more aspects of life.” We were already expecting a transition to digital transformation thanks to technological advancement, dubbed the “fourth industrial revolution”. However, following on from the pandemic which forced countless businesses to switch to remote working virtually overnight, we expect digital transformation to continue to be adopted on a larger and more rapid scale – becoming an even more prominent objective for organisations in the future.

Automation is something that concerns the layperson – the Financial Times reports that anxiety around automation in the workforce could increase because of the pandemic, as businesses push to automate more processes to boost productivity while many are jobless or furloughed. Not all digital transformation is detrimental to the workforce, however, and doesn’t mean that we have to compete with robots for our jobs.

Here, we take a look at how human talent will determine the success behind technology and business transformation.

The right talent

Contrary to popular belief, technology isn’t the main concern when it comes to digital transformation. It’s people and talent. Without the right people, technology won’t be used to its full potential. A business’ ability to adapt to a digital future depends on developing the next generation of skills, meeting the talent supply and demand, and protecting its potential from future changes.

Businesses are working to respond to the growing skills gap and are looking for the talent needed to fight on the frontline in terms of driving innovation to meet competitors. Without familiarising workers with new technology, further advances will not be much use. As our digital and physical worlds are united to offer entirely new processes and information, leaders will need to develop new approaches to equip the workforce with the skills they need to both succeed in and facilitate the digital age.

Working together

The main challenges are:

  • Changing the skills and talent needed in non-tech companies
  • Changing how employees do their jobs
  • Changing the recruiting landscape

This may seem strange for many people, but we’re seeing the beginnings of a fundamental change in how humans contribute value at work. Though technology is a driver behind digital transformation, technology isn’t the sole solution. Automation isn’t about replacing humans with machines, but about making tasks more efficient.

The best outcome is achieved when humans and robots work side by side to enhance capabilities – robots can perform transactional, data-intense, and repetitive, mundane tasks which allows people to focus on the innovative, creative, and strategic tasks. Forbes reported that recently, as part of an automation education program, they trained over 800 employees to build bots that can do their most mundane tasks. Using these new skills, almost 50 bots have been developed so far which complete a range of functions from finance to marketing to technical support. 

Research has estimated that up to 45 per cent of tasks currently carried out by humans could be automated using existing technology, freeing people to work on value-added tasks. Garter reported that automation is the fastest-growing software subsegment, seeing year-over-year growth of over 63 per cent in 2018.

New jobs will be created

Many new, productive, and rewarding roles are being created as part of the digital transformation journey. A century ago, a lot of the jobs today wouldn’t have existed. Digitalisation creates new jobs, for example, digital marketing, data analytics, social media managers, and Internet of Things architects. These roles help raise productivity via technology, lower prices, and help stimulate demand. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), four out of ten new jobs were created in digital-intensive industries and employment increased in these countries by around 30 million jobs. While some jobs will be made redundant, new ones will be created.

The importance of good leadership

The human talents of leadership and management level are important in the digital transformation process as well as integrating a culture with digital intertwined throughout. Research by McKinsey found that 84 per cent of CEOs are committed to transformational change.

Companies with leaders that communicate with employees are eight times more likely to achieve transformation success in comparison to those who don’t and this can be improved by transformational leadership developement. What is seen to drive success in terms of communication between management and the workforce is:

  • Clear communication on the objectives around transformation
  • CEOs and senior leaders visibly engaging with transformation
  • Access to information
  • Ability for frontline employees to see visible changes in daily roles

Empowering employees with the right knowledge and leadership can help them understand how their contribution and human value can help progress the transformation. This not only keeps them engaged in the process but keeps the technology functioning at optimum performance.

Technology is Enabling Surveillance, Inequality During the Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic set off a global quest to harness technology to keep us connected and curb the spread of the virus. Schools, offices and vital public services adapted to lockdowns by going online. Governments worldwide tried to chart the virus’ trajectory from broad swaths of personal data. In some respects, the pandemic affirmed technology’s indispensable role in our daily lives. But it also exposed and widened longstanding gaps in protecting human rights, both online and offline.

When the pandemic hit, a hit number of governments rolled out or extended surveillance programs of unprecedented scale and intrusiveness, in the belief, however misguided, that perpetual monitoring would help restrict people’s movements and therefore the spread of the virus. In Moscow, the government tapped the city’s vast network of facial recognition cameras and a “social monitoring” tracking app to enforce quarantine orders. In China, an app uses opaque algorithms to assess a user’s risk of contagion and restrict their movements. Bahrain’s “BeAware” app, mandatory for people in self-isolation or quarantine, sends location information to a central government server and alerts authorities if a person strays from their phone.

Elsewhere, the specter of mass surveillance sparked robust discussions about mitigating the most serious human rights risks of digital surveillance to slow the spread of Covid-19. Governments, companies, and some privacy advocates sought to develop “privacy preservingapproaches to digital contact tracing.

In April 2020, Google and Apple launched software to support mobiles apps that would attempt the track exposure to Covid-19 positive users through Bluetooth signals, drawing inspiration from an open-source protocol designed by a Europe-based collective of academics and technologists. Both companies pledged to provide robust protection for user privacy and security. Under their rules, contact tracing apps would only be approved if they are developed by a government entity or its agents, are voluntary, don’t collect location data, and keep most of the minimal data they do collect away from centralised databases. The fact that private companies were setting these terms underscored tech companies’ immense power.

But these design choices demonstrate a limited understanding of how marginalized groups use technology, and the threats they face online. The assumed logic of mobile tracking – that users are uniquely linked to their phones – is out of step with the experience of people who share devices, cannot afford regular connections, or suffer frequent internet outages, such as migrant workers or refugees. Activists and technologists in Bahrain and the Philippines also told Human Rights Watch that the promised privacy safeguards may not fully mitigate the security vulnerabilities on cheap mobile devices, particularly in countries with pervasive digital surveillance. 

Today, there is mixed evidence about the extent to which contact tracing apps may have significantly contributed to preventing the spread of Covid-19. In Australia, the government rolled out a Covid-19 tracking app that also relies on Bluetooth scanning, but with fewer privacy safeguards than what Apple and Google require. The government configured the app to provide some user data to public health agencies, reasoning that this was critical for contact tracing. Health officials have since admitted that the app, which cost US $12.4million to develop, is not as effective as they hoped in uncovering close contacts and stemming outbreaks. Lower-tech solutions, like handwritten records, have proven more useful.

In its first nine months, the app identified 17 close contacts in New South Wales that were not found through manual contact tracing and identified a further 544 contacts in an outbreak. Of these 544, two tested positive. The government has not published usage data, and denied a newspaper’s freedom of information request on the grounds that it would compromise public safety.

The rush to embrace digital contact tracing has also opened a Pandora’s box of privacy and security woes.

Nearly a third of the over seven million Australians who downloaded the country’s app are using older versions with bugs and security flaws. In Singapore, the government admitted that data collected through its “Trace Together” contact tracing app and Bluetooth token is also available to police for some criminal investigations, despite promising otherwise. The government later passed a new law to formalise the use of data from Trace Together for police investigations for certain criminal offenses. Other contact tracing technologies have left the sensitive personal data of people in Indonesia and the Philippines, including their location, exposed to the government and unauthorised users.

Government reliance on risky, intrusive, and unproven technologies has also threatened access to social protection measures. In a bid to prevent benefits fraud, 21 unemployment insurance agencies in the United States are reportedly using facial recognition software to screen applicants for unemployment insurance and other benefits to support people during the pandemic. This forces applicants to give up their right to privacy in exchange for lifesaving support. People have also complained on social media that difficulties in verifying their identity using the software are delaying their claims.

These setbacks are the latest in a string of technology-related problems marrying access to benefits in the US. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many people reported frequent website glitches and shutdowns, excessive wait times on state unemployment agency helplines, and password reset protocols that force them to wait for their login credentials by mail. Delays in obtaining benefits have forced families to cut back on food, fall behind on their bills, and skip essential medical care.

Migrating social protection systems online has also exacerbated the effects of the digital divide. The United Kingdom has 5.3 million adults that the government considers “internet non-users.” People on low income or living with disabilities, older people, women, and some ethnic minorities are less likely to have internet or smartphone access. Despite these stark inequalities, the government requires most people to apply online for Universal Credit, the country’s social security payment system, and offline alternatives are extremely limited. As a result, people without internet access or digital literacy skills are struggling to prove their eligibility online. 

The global effort to “build back better” includes calls to embrace technology and digitzation that are likely to grow louder. But without real reflection on the rights implications, there’s a real risk of deepening inequality and vesting considerable power to coerce and control people in governments and the private sector.

It’s important to ask when technology adds value, and for whom. If technology can indeed aid in pandemic response and recovery, it is essential to have open, inclusive, transparent, and honest public discussions on the appropriate type of public digital infrastructure people need to thrive. This will require a reset form viewing technology as a tool of coercion and control, and the pandemic as an opportunity to harvest copious amounts of people’s data. Any deployment of technology should be rooted in human rights standards, centered on enabling people to live a dignified life.

Global Economy to Rebound in 2021 with APAC to Lead Recovery, Says GlobalData

The Asia Pacific (APAC) region is set to become the fastest growing in terms of GDP growth in the world followed by the Americas, Europe and the Middle East & Africa (MEA) in 2021, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. Economic factors in this ranking that are aiding global regional recovery include the rollout of vaccines, revival of global demand, effectiveness of government spending, and oil prices gaining traction. Particular, the APAC region is seeing fewer lockdown restrictions, a rebound in domestic consumption and an uptick in export demand.

Gargi Rao, Economic Research Analyst at GlobalData, says: “The collapse of oil prices and increasing COVID-19 cases has hurt all global economies. Europe witnessed a steep contraction in real GDP growth by 7.16% in 2020 followed by the MEA region (-5.23%), and the Americas (-5.16%). The APAC region saw a slower contraction of -2.12% last year, with China witnessing positive growth amid the pandemic.”

Timely implementation of fiscal policies, along with the procurement and distribution of vaccines, are expected to be the main drivers of growth recovery in 2021. The Americas region is expected to rebound with 4.7% growth backed by rising oil prices, whereas Europe and the MEA will grow by 4.46% and 3.66%, respectively, during the year.

Rao noted: “The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing in the APAC region has witnessed an uptick since the closing months of 2020, which indicates a sharp recovery in business activities and production. The expected progressive rollout of COVID-19 vaccines will help countries contain the spread of the disease and economic activities to rebound in 2021. In addition, the rebound in growth of major APAC countries such as India and China will create further opportunities for trade and spur growth.”

Growth in manufacturing and an uptick in the service sector will also spur growth in the Americas region, with an increase expected in business activities and online retail trade. The monetary authorities in Latin American countries have maintained steady benchmark rates to ease liquidity constraints, while the huge fiscal stimulus by the US Government will have favourable spill over effects to the region in 2021.

Ms Rao continues: “Growth in Europe is expected to be bolstered by the NextGenerationEU framework and political agreements on recovery and resilience funding. Meanwhile, the MEA and Americas regions will be benefitted by the rise in crude oil prices bringing in more demand opportunities and leading to higher growth rates in the coming years. The recent signing of RCEP agreement will boost trade in the APAC region by lowering tariffs and expanding intraregional trade in services and e-commerce.

“The outlook for all regions remains clouded by geopolitical tensions, resurgence of COVID-19 cases and volatility in oil prices. However, the strength of the recovery varies across regions as it depends on effectiveness of vaccine rollouts, implementation of fiscal stimulus packages, exposure to cross-country spill overs, and structural characteristics of the countries. The policy actions need to provide effective support to revive the global demand and tap export opportunities to spur growth in 2021 and beyond.”

South Korean Startup Bitsensing Partners with Infineon Technologies to Introduce Innovative In-Cabin Sensing Solution

Bitsensing, a South Korean imaging radar technology startup, has announced a partnership with world leader in semiconductor solutions Infineon Technologies to revolutionize the in-cabin experience with the launch of the 60GHz MOD620 radar. The MOD620 was designed by bitsensing and enabled by Infineon to provide a powerful safety monitoring solution that drivers can trust.

According to the Heatstroke Deaths of Children in Vehicles, Jan Null, San Jose State University, since the 1990s, 54% of children dying in hot cars was because they were forgotten by their caregivers. The MOD620 prevents this type of casualty by efficiently detecting the presence and vital signs of in-cabin occupants and sending the driver alerts if a child is left unattended inside a car. Designed by bitsensing engineers and enabled by Infineon, the MOD620 comprehensive monitoring solution matches the specific in-cabin requirements for any vehicle offering continuous and limitless detection, regardless of clothes or blankets.

“Our partnership with Infineon demonstrates the significant progress we are making towards building safer smart cities and elevating connected living by designing radar solutions for all. This is an important moment in our company’s history as we have dedicated the last three years to strategically engineering advanced radar technology that can utilize existing top tier chipsets to address this need in the market,” said Dr. Jae-Eun Lee, CEO of bitsensing. “bitsensing is the first and only Korean startup that can deliver all aspects of auto grade radar solutions, in-house. Our world-class engineers designed the MOD620 with the Infineon Chipset to offer a new level of confidence in safety for an industry that demands excellence, reliability, and unmatched intelligence.”

To build the premier in-cabin sensing radar, bitsensing rearranged the hardware configuration and redesigned the antenna. Powerful computing is achieved through the MCU making it possible for radar data to be signal-processed and calculated. The MMIC transmits and receives signals through electro-magnetic waves for detection while the antenna is integrated with RF energy from the radar transmission line into the propagation medium and vice versa. These components work together seamlessly for an advanced caliber of radar performance.

“The engineers of bitsensing have years of experience in optimizing chipsets. Working with Infineon’s state of the art radar offering, this allowed them to strategically and systematically arrange components for the MOD620’s best-in-class radar performance,” says Mr. How Cheen Ng, Director, Partnership Management & Digital Marketing Communication, Infineon Asia Pacific. “Leading in innovation and committing to meaningful partnerships to develop cutting-edge technologies is at the core of what we do at Infineon. This powerful partnership produced a solution that truly transcends safety and creates a better quality of life for all.”

Versatile Single Radar Solution Featuring Safety Performance

The MOD620 reliably detects in-car passenger presence and location. It can also detect in real-time the presence of a child left in a car, even when the car is shut down and locked as well as monitor the vital signs of occupants and send an alert if there are any abnormalities. bitsensing’s in-house specialists partnered with various labs from top universities to obtain the most accurate data to produce this radar that can accurately detect. The MOD620 offers a safe monitoring solution that is necessary for the optimal autonomous driving experience.

Limitless Detection

Bitsensing’s MOD620 captures all rear-seat space maintaining the top quality for in-cabin solutions. The 120-degree field of view combined with the customizable detection range up to 2.5m provides an increased level of performance. Privacy concerns are also eliminated with the MOD620 as it does not rely on cameras for presence detection.

Customizable Antenna Design

The rearrangeable antenna in the MOD620 allows for customization in channel length compensation, Field of View, and matching circuits for transmitters and receivers. bitsensing’s unique expertise in customizable antenna design allows for a quick and efficient process in matching specific in-cabin requirements for any vehicle. The MOD620 is a customizable cost-efficient radar that works in high-speed cars, day or night, with no interference to seatbelts.

To view the MOD620 informational product video, please visit https://youtu.be/hGI7vuXEzNI. If you are interested in learning more about our radar solution offerings, please visit www.bitsensing.com.

KUDO’s Expansion in APAC region Continues with New Partners in Hong Kong and Indonesia

KUDO Inc., the leading Language-as-a-Service platform for multilingual online meetings, has announced two new partnerships in the APAC region with Expro Services and CMM.

KUDO’s recent team additions, Duy Ngo (Head of Sales APAC) and Aryeh Sternberg (Enterprise Account Executive APAC), marked their continuing expansion in the APAC region. This expansion has been a long-term goal for KUDO as the APAC is home to global economic heavyweights like Japan, China, Australia, Singapore and South Korea, broadening their global footprint, and breaking even more language barriers in the process. Most recently, KUDO’s ever-growing network of global partners expands to now include Expro Services in Hong Kong and Indonesia’s based CMM.

“We are very much excited about our two newest partners CMM and Expro Services. These new collaborations come at a crucial time in KUDO’s global expansion” said Fardad Zabetian, CEO and Co-Founder of KUDO.

Established in 2008, Expro Services has a wide portfolio of clients across a range of world premier class conferences and exhibitions in Hong Kong, China, and Macau. They pride themselves on their expert event talents, technicians, and interpreters who pay close attention to detail, something they think is most important to make a successful event through teamwork.

In reference to the new partnership, Cynthia Cheung, CEO Expro Services said: “Heading to 2021, we remain in the distance, but with life-changing technologies of seamless communication, we are ahead of the field as we’ll be working with KUDO to enable meetings go live”.

Partnering with KUDO gives Expro Services access to a new set of SI professionals and gives them the opportunity to get more work done without language barrier. The KUDO platform enables Expro Services to take a crucial first step to sustained success for their company.

“ExPro Services is a key partner for KUDO as we are convinced that the Asian market offers significant future revenue potential for us, as software developers; and for ExPro Services, as a well-known interpretation and event management provider.” said Michelle Cartín-Storey, Head of Global Partnerships at KUDO. “We are working very closely with the outstanding Ocumension team on both of these programs, and in the future on NCX 4251, and we believe they are well positioned to maximize the value of our assets in the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.”

CMM was established in July of 2015 and provides reliable and professional language and conference services both locally within Indonesia and internationally. Their portfolio includes the Indonesian government, IHI, World Bank, OJK, The Linde Group, and other local and international associations.

“I look forward to working with CMM Translation and bringing KUDO to the Indonesian market.” said Michelle Cartín-Storey. “CMM Translation has an impeccable trajectory and their team has been exceeding clients’ expectations for over 15 years now. I am confident that with the combination of their experience and KUDO’s cutting-edge software, CMM will be agile to the demands of the new ways of working; particularly as we face the challenges of these uncertain times.”

Supported by vetted experts and high-quality equipment, CMM is excited to partner with KUDO to engage in more regional and international events, using the KUDO platform to provide the best language and conference solutions:

“It’s such a great opportunity for us to be partnered with KUDO” said Rika Agusmelda, Managing Director of CMM Translation. “As a LaaS platform, we assure that together with KUDO we will be able to grow and innovate further to reach, connect, and service our clients better. At the same time, we are ready and excited to grow further together with KUDO. We can’t wait and are delighted to experience great things going forward.

Companies interested in becoming a KUDO business partner and learning about the possibilities of becoming a studio owner, can contact KUDO

Achieving Sustainable Growth

Headquartered in Adelaide, Magnetic Alliance provide business growth and improvement services to entrepreneurs who wish to overcome the challenges and risks commonly experienced by growing companies. Following the firm’s success in the APAC Excellence Awards 2020, we got in touch with Mark Lim to find out more about one of Australia’s leaders in business growth and development

Established in 2011, the aim of Magnetic Alliance is to empower people both personally and professionally, helping them conquer challenges and live life’s journey with fun and fulfilment. To start, Mark provides a brief overview of the firm and offers more insight into its clientele.

“Naturally, we work with businesses in an integrated way and put very systematic steps in place to help their business grow. Filling the gaps in the professional services market, we help business owners connect the dots in the areas they find most difficult. By providing end-to-end solutions that help piece the puzzle together, we help business owners achieve tangible results. From the point they start up, to the point they exit their business, we help create systems and succession plans for future continuity. Over the long-term, we have helped many businesses achieve sustainable growth, while boosting their revenue, profits, and ROI.

“Serving a wide variety of clients, we have dealt with businesses from over 120 industries in total. Typically, we deal with private and commercial enterprises who are still growing providing a range of services including strategic consulting, systems and automation solutions, central processing, staffing, sales, and marketing. Most of our clients are referred (80%) in total and the rest are people our team members meet during events, seminars or online.”

Leading the way in business growth and development, one of the most telling factors behind the firm’s success has been its client-focused approach, as Mark explains further.

“Helping our clients achieve results rather than just providing the services desired is perhaps our biggest strength. Beginning with the account managers, we adopt a personal approach to each client and support them in whatever way possible.”

As a people-centred business, the staff members at Magnetic Alliance have played a crucial role in the firm’s success.

“The staff here are brilliant, and they truly mean everything to us.” Mark highlights. “With a great culture in place, we have a team who we can trust and be proud of. To further support our people, we invest a huge amount of time in training, developing them to be at their very best so career paths taking them all the way to Co-Owners of the business can take shape.”

Bringing the interview to a close, Mark reflects on some of the challenges the firm have recently faced, before revealing some of the exciting plans which lie in the pipeline for the years to come.

“Right now, there is a lot of uncertainty and chaos with lockdowns, travel restrictions and whether businesses can operate or not due to COVID-19. There are many potential good businesses that are affected by these and could ultimately close. To counter this, we have been working vigilantly with growing industries, helping those who can grow to grow, while boosting the economy in any way we can with our assistance and influence. Over the last eight years, our average compound annual growth rate has been 80.1% by running two businesses of our own. During the 2020 period since the COVID lockdowns started in March, we acquired or partnered with four new businesses within a six-month period. Naturally, this indicated to us how robust our platform is, particularly for a small private enterprise which can run completely online.

“In 2021, we plan to grow these businesses we own, and at least double our current growth and build our portfolio further by creating an investment company or fund to further acquire or start another four-five businesses. This will be the first time we have opened up for investment for capital partners, which we believe will boost our growth even further.”

For further information, please contact Mark Lim at www.magneticalliance.com.au

Businesses Get Creative to Survive During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic turned the business world upside down with no warning. Many people had to shut down their shops temporarily, while others never reopened. Some companies continue to set examples and inspire others to adapt on the fly. These are a few of the most popular ways businesses get creative to survive during the pandemic.

They Learned to Livestream

Companies from all different industries rely on live events to pull in new and returning customers. Some business owners found ways to move smaller events outdoors with socially distanced seating, but the general public still shies away from mass gatherings. That’s when the world of livestreaming opened for people beyond influencers, vloggers and gamers.

Popular livestream platforms work with small businesses and large corporations to create an online platform for all kinds of events. People can stream performances and even auctions to continue their usual services without encouraging public gatherings.

They Converted Production Lines

The pandemic spiked unemployment to nearly 15% in April of 2020. Consumers stopped spending like they used to and prioritized the essentials. It led to a shortage of things like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, which inspired businesses to get creative in new ways.

Distilleries and brewing companies began making hand sanitizer with whatever alcohol wasn’t in their main product lines. It gave people access to what would keep them healthy when traditional stores were out. The ingenuity opened new possibilities for existing companies and kept them open during the most challenging times of the early pandemic months.

They Added Curbside Pickup

Other businesses added contactless curbside pickup to keep the lights on. Although people ordered retail products, restaurants mainly benefited from this new service. It’s something that’s likely going to stick around after vaccines provide herd immunity because people enjoy the convenience of getting whatever they want on the fly.

They Installed Plexiglass Barriers

Masks are still an entry requirement, but business owners listened to the experts to protect their staff and clients even further. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended plastic sneeze guard installation in high contact areas. These plexiglass barriers shield everyone from particles that escape masks so there’s less risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Places like banks, grocery stores and office spaces benefit from this extra precaution. Finding ways to install them for long-term use requires a little of that creativity that helps businesses survive during the pandemic.

They Reinvisioned Their Cleaning Routines

Cleaning routines became more crucial than ever after the pandemic began. They remain the first line of defense even today. Many businesses opened earlier and closed later to give employees time for more extensive cleaning standards. Adjusted hours make it easier to pay close attention to high-contact areas and ensure a sanitized environment that keeps everyone safe.

Creative Business Moves Pay Off

Businesses have to get creative to survive during the pandemic, but these strategies have proven successful in numerous industries. Putting sanitation first and finding new ways to perform services while keeping distanced make it easier to navigate the world while COVID-19 remains a threat.

Are You in Hong Kong? Here’s why You Need An Offshore Bank Account

Home to many financial institutions, Hong Kong has long been recognised as a prime location for financial services. But amid the anti-government protests in 2019, there has been concern regarding the growth of the city’s economy, slumping Hong Kong into a long recession. While optimists believe the turbulence will subside and banks will recover, others see key growth pillars including finance, trade and tourism weakening further. This has been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing people indoors as well as the closure of shops and restaurants, sending retail sales in a downward spiral. 

Essentially, there is concern that the city is losing stability, business and consumer confidence. And with the prospect of more unrest, many top investors are either reducing their Hong Kong exposure or taking steps to ensure they can withdraw their assets in an instant. Another option for Hong Kong residents to secure their assets is by transferring funds out of the city and into an offshore bank account.

OFFSHORE BANKING

Offshore banking involves opening an account in a foreign jurisdiction to the one in which you reside. They can be held in a variety of currencies and tend to feature everything you would get from a standard current account, including online and mobile banking. Furthermore, offshore banks offer debit cards to access your funds from any ATM in the world, and you can transact in multiple currencies, which is particularly beneficial for those wanting to avoid costly exchange rate charges.

THE BENEFITS

As well as better banking stability, an offshore bank account could provide Hong Kong residents with favourable tax advantages and higher interest earnings. Even if you do not wish to transfer your funds from your existing account, you could open one up alongside your existing bank account. This will diversify your assets and minimise your risk of tax reforms, depending on your chosen jurisdiction and bank.  

Ultimately, the benefits of offshore banking will vary depending on individual circumstance. So be sure to do your research and seek professional advice to find the right jurisdiction for your bespoke needs. 

HERE TO HELP

Whether you require a single personal Offshore Bank Account or Corporate Offshore banking for your business, Turner Little can help you arrange an offshore account regardless of where you call home. For trusted advice tailored to you and your, speak to a member of our experienced team today. 

China Post Global Outlines Positive Outlook For China and Most Appealing Sectors For Investors

  • Structural changes in China have a bigger impact on Chinese equities than the macro outlook
  • The consumer discretionary sector is the top pick

Investment Manager China Post Global, which promotes a family of innovative Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) providing access to commodities and emerging markets through its brand Market Access, remains positive in its outlook for China.

Zhixiao Wu, Chief Economist at China Post Global said: “Various data confirms that China’s growth momentum is being sustained on both the production and demand side, and global growth momentum is expected to pick up after the introduction of a Covid-19 vaccine.

“One key indicator that policy makers watch is the growth of fixed asset investment in the higher-end manufacturing sector, whose recovery was interrupted by the pandemic, but whose subsequent growth has been quite rapid. Another key indicator, employment, has overshot the policy target as well.

“China Post Global says structural development matters more than the macro-outlook for Chinese equities and potential changes here could provide a real boost.”

It says Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) names are still favoured by Chinese government policy, but their share performance may come under pressure if economic growth is not as remarkable as their stretched valuations suggest.

It believes the Healthcare sector is likely to remain expensive, and warns electric vehicle and semiconductor companies, many of which are still favoured by both market and policy, have expensive valuations, even when considering the distortion from the pandemic.

It says Consumer Staples are seeing strong momentum again, as the market prefers certainty.

China Post Global believe growth, as well as earnings, will remain upbeat in the coming quarters. However, the PBoC’s monetary policy will not be as supportive as before, thus market volatility may elevate as a result. The combination of buoyant growth expectation and gradually tightening monetary policy stance suggest a low volatility portfolio of China A shares is advisable for 21Q1.

5 Tips to Figure Out If A Tech Company on the Stock Market Is An Ethical Investment

These days people trading on the stock market want more than just a strong financial return. They’re increasingly opting for investments that will also have a positive societal impact.

The coronavirus pandemic showed us even established tech companies can suffer downturns in the short term. Apple, a tech behemoth, was left reeling with Chinese manufacturing hubs were temporarily shut down last year.

In the longer term, however, technology stocks remain a first choice for many investors. Historically, they’ve dominated global stock markets and continue to grow a remarkable area.

Even during the downward spiral of the pandemic, tech stocks such as Zoom and Microsoft soared in value as an influx of people started working from home. The question for many investors now is: how can one find profitable investments without supporting unethical activity?

Growth of tech stocks

According to investment advisers Morningstar, technology stocks account for 24.2% of the top 500 stocks in the United States. Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet (which owns Google) dominate the market, with a combined value of more than US $4 trillion

Tech stocks also take centre stage in Australia. We’ve seen the rapid rise of “buy now, pay later” companies such as Australian-owned Afterpay and Zip.

At the same time, we’ve seen an increase in the number of Australians moving to ethical superannuation funds and ethically- managed investment schemes. The latter lets investors contribute money (to be managed by professionals fund managers) which is pooled for investment to produce collective gain.

It’s estimated indirect investment through these schemes has increased by 79% over the past six years.

What is ethical investing?

While ethical investing is a broad concept, it can be understood simply as putting your money towards something that helps improve the world. This can range from companies that advocate for animal rights, to those aiming to limit the societal prevalence of gambling, alcohol or tobacco.

Although there is no strict definition of ethical investment in Australia, many managed funds seek accreditation by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia. The “ethical” aspect can be grouped into three broad categories:

  1. Environmental – such as developing clean technology or engaging in carbon-neutral manufacturing
  2. Social – such as supporting innovative technology, reducing social harms such as poverty or gambling, boosting  gender equality, protecting human and consumer rights or supporting animal welfare.
  3. Corporate governance – such as being anti-corruption, promoting healthy employee relations or institutional transparency.

As investors we must be very careful about the fine print of the companies we invest in. For example, accreditation guidelines dictate that a managed investment fund excluding companies with “significant” ties to fossil fuels could still include one that earns up to a certain amount of revenue from fossil fuels.

So while investment manager AMP Capital is accredited, it can still include companies from earning up to 10% of their revenue from fossil fuel distribution and services.

The terms ‘ethical’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘green’ are sometimes used interchangeably when referring to environmentally-responsible investing.

5 tips for ethical tech investment

Many technology stocks are well place for ethical investment and you can choose to invest on your own, or indirectly via a managed investment fund. In either case, you should do some basic homework first.

1. Monitor the fund or company to ensure standards are maintained 

For a company to be listed with Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) it has to be publicly listed. It is therefore required to submit an annual audit report (audited by third-party auditors) to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), as per the Corporations Act 2001.

You can also contact the ASIC for further information about a company listed on the ASX. The equivalent body for American companies is the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

If a company backtracks on the very ethical standards that prompted your initial investing, you should consider withdrawing your investment.

2. Stay updated on reported ethical breaches

Reputable news reports are useful on this front. Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet are recurring names in reports about unethical practices in the tech sector.

While you can access plenty information about a tech company from its own website and distribution channels, this is usually embellished and/or handpicked by the company itself. Make sure your information comes from diverse sources.

3. Consider how employees rate the company and why

Keep in mind a technology company might be environmentally ethical but still fall down on other issues, such as gender pay parity, for instance. It’s important to listen to employees’ claims about a company’s internal workings as such insight may otherwise be unavailable

There are a number of independent sites reporting on corporate culture ratings, including Glassdoor.

4. Assess the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) score

One benefit of investing in large to medium-sized tech companies is the ability to analyse their ESG score, issued by agencies such as Refinitiv. This score reflects how well the company adheres to ethical practice across environmental, social and corporate governance-related matters.

5. Watch out for buzzwords

If you’re looking to invest in clean technology, watch out for buzzwords used in company reports. These are terms which at face value may seem to align with your own ethical investment values, without actually delivering.

For instance, “carbon net zero” and “carbon neutral” are not the same thing. This is an important distinction to consider if you’re wanting to make environmentally-responsible investments. 

5G Will Change the Internet for Everyone

5G internet networks, which were launched in Israel in September and should be widespread here in 2-4 years, will accelerate the digital transformations that are shaping the global economy, said Alon Berman, General Manager of Ericsson Israel.

5G refers to the latest (5th) generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks, launched less than two years ago.

The technology will dramatically increase internet speed and latency (the time between a user action and the response), as well as improved reliability and network security that will enable a whole new generation of consumer and commercial possibilities.

Globally, there are now some 200 million 5G users in 50 countries around the world, Berman said. The United States, China and South Korea are the most advanced, with adoption growing in Europe now as well. Some 300 mobiles devices, notably the iPhone 12, are currently equipped to connect to a 5G network, he said.

5G download speeds can range from two to ten times as fast as on the 4G networks that most people currently use, depending on how the network is deployed. Market studies in South Korea have shown that this leads users to consume twice as much data, Berman said.

Improved latency means that interactive activities like online gaming, flying drones, or operating machinery will respond much more smoothly, as the time it takes for data to travel will be less than half of current norms. Greater performance will also open up consumer experiences like virtual reality and interactive engagement in live events.

Industries across the spectrum will benefit from enhanced connectivity, as well, as 5G will provide the backbone for full interactivity between different machines. Berman gave the examples of automotive assembly line where augmented reality can test products and manufacturing equipment can receive preventative maintenance automatically. In shipping ports, incoming containers will be directed to the right storage facilities automatically.

In hospitals, 5G will allow patient data to be shared throughout devices without the security concerns of WiFi networks. and consumer devices will communicate with each other through an internet of things that could eventually see a million devices per square kilometre connected.   

In Israel, the ~Communications Ministry officially launched 5G in September, with the three major networks – Pelephone, Partner and Hot – each deploying about 250 5G antennae around the country, in addition to the 2000-2500 4G antennae each one has. Berman noted that 4G networks were also upgraded in the past year as well, so many smartphone users have noticed improved speeds on their 4G devices as well.

“5G is just in its initial phases,” Berman said. “The Communications Ministry has set out a 5-year plan for full deployment, and it will probably be 2-4 years until we see adoption start to mature here.”

That can’t come soon enough, because the Startup Nation’s internet speeds currently rank poorly by global standards. Even after the 4G improvements, mobile download speeds are currently about 30 Megabytes per second (Mbps), while the global average is about 50 Mbps, Berman said. That ranks Israel number 73 in the world. For broadband internet speeds, Israel ranks 30th in the world.

Israel actually has the cheapest mobile internet service in the world, thanks to reforms implemented a decade ago to increase competition in the field. However, the high competition is now one of the factors holding the country’s development back.

“With internet packages costing as little as NIS 30  a month and cutthroat competition, providers are financially challenged, and it is harder for them to invest heavily in upgrading networks, even if the Communications Ministry incentivizes them heavily. While Cellcom was allowed to acquire Golan Telecom last summer, a merger offer between Hot and Partner was rejected for fear of harming competition in the field. “It would be wise for the Communications Ministry to allow another merger,” Berman said. “The more internet infrastructure is developed in a country, the more it develops the economy as a whole.”

Currently, Partner and Hot offer 5G packages starting at NIS 60, and Pelephone offers a NIS 50 plan, with about 4-5 different 5G-supported devices available for sale. Berman noted market research showing that about half of global consumers were willing to pay about 10% more for 5G services. Some networks around the world are offering 5G for the same price as 4G, while others are making it available with premium packages only. 

“Covid has made it even more clear that internet is a necessity for everyone, and that speed is really important,” Berman said. “5G will provide a giant leap for consumers and businesses in all industries, allowing huge improvements in data delivery that will change the way business is done.” 

 

Can Global Innovation Competitions Help Unearth the Next Sustainability Solution?

Smoke rises between the houses from fuels being burned for cooking, threatening both the environment and human health through carbon dioxide emissions and indoor air pollution. Meanwhile, diapers that have not been properly disposed of are polluting waterways and sewage systems and become a potential source of disease. What do these two seemingly distinct problems have to do with one another? For starters, they are two of many hazards that the residents of Kibera – an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, and one of the largest settlements in Africa – have to live with everyday. But both also were seen as an opportunity by the founders of a Nairobi start-up called LeafyLife that aims to recycle used diapers to produce a cheap, sustainable and clean fuel.

Dennis Muguta, Melvin Kizito and Peter Gachanja, the founders of LeafyLife, had to overcome many challenged when bringing their invention to life. As in many other low- and middle-income countries, training, funding and support for budding entrepreneurs is not easily accessible. According to the latest report of the Global Innovation Index, with the exception of China, every one of the 30 countries leading in innovation is a high-income economy. In response to this need, large players in the worlds of economic and innovation, including the World Economic Forum and the European Union’s European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), have started initiatives to make innovation more diverse and support sustainability entrepreneurs, like LeafyLife, worldwide.

Global Sustainability Solutions

The ClimateLaunchPad competition, organised annually by EIT Climate-KIC, a public-private partnership funded by EIT, is one such initiative. Participants receive extensive coaching in entrepreneurship while the top 16 finalists also gain access to a business school for cleantech entrepreneurs, and developing start-ups receive mentorship, training and access to investors who help them turn into fully fledged cleantech businesses.

The founders of LeafyLife saw an opportunity for innovation in two hazards that the residents of Kibera face.

After winning the competition in 2019, the entrepreneurs at LeafyLife were able to secure funds, partners and collaborators to help them advance their invention. Diapers are complex waste, says Muguta – to be able to to produce a clean-burning fuel, they have to be cleaned and deconstructed into their building blocks, some of which can then be turned into a fuel gel. Chemists by trade, Muguta, Kizito and Gachanja welcomed the engineering help they received from their newly acquired collaborators.
“I would say all the partners that we have at this moment, is because of Climate Launchpad,” says Muguta. “The acceleration program that Climate Launchpad has been taking us through has equipped us with quite a lot of knowledge.”

Another initiative, UpLink, is a global platform aiming to discover breakthrough sustainability ideas. Hosted by the World Economic Forum, the platform crowdsources innovations by bringing together innovators, experts, investors and decision makers with the aim of working toward the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. UpLink launches challenges on different themes, such as ocean health and reforestation. After review by an expert committee, finalists receive mentoring, considertaion for investment opportunities and exposure on World Economic Forum platforms.

“One of the big vision aspects of UpLink is that we can do more to support underrepresented markets, geographies, segments,” says John Dutton, the head of UpLink. Half of the finalists of the first Ocean Solutions challenge came from emerging markets, he says. The winner in the “tackling ocean plastic” category was a Myanmar-based company called RecyGlo, which aims to provide a sustainable recycling and waste management system for Southeast Asia that includes waste collection, waste awareness training, recycling and waste auditing services. Through representation on the World Economic Forum, the company was able to get an introduction to the government in Indonesia and has set up offices in Singapore and Malaysia.

Obstacles to Innovation

While such programs are a promising way to surface ideas that otherwise might be missed, Soumitra Dutta, the founding editor of the Global Innovation Index, cautions that they cannot solve all the challenges low- and middle-income countries face when it comes to innovation. “I think the challenge in emerging markets is not that people don’t have ideas. People have ideas,” Dutta says. The challenge is the country context, the institutional environment, the whole infrastructure, the whole political, regulatory environment. All these things are not supportive, often.”

Q1 2021

Welcome to the Q1 edition of APAC Insider Magazine, your quarterly source for all of the latest news and updates from across the Asia Pacific region.

We’ll say it here first: let this year be the year of change and innovation. While 2020 was a catalyst for change – the sort of change that is unexpected, swift and drastic – we now have the benefit of hindsight. To see the last twelve months for the chaos they were, and to better prepare for anything of the sort happening in the future. I’ve said it before, but change is necessary in business. Change is needed to grow, to adapt and to – eventually, thrive. We just prefer it to be on our own terms.

In the grand scheme of things, the APAC region has shown a remarkable perseverance and grit when it came to tackling the unique difficulties of the COVID pandemic. As other countries have struggled to establish a new equilibrium, the Asia-Pacific – in many cases- set the pace for returning to some semblance of normality. In this way, companies act as magnifiers of the very qualities that made this happen. Of excellent organisation, of adaptation and dynamism. It’s been impressive to witness.

It’s with all of this in mind that we published the Q1 issue of the magazine. Aware of the past difficulties, and optimistic of the future. With that, here’s to a better, more productive year ahead. See you in Q2!

Micro-fulfilment – A Game Changer For Online Grocery?

By Louisa Hosegood, Digital and Strategy Director at Bis Henderson Consulting

Online grocery may be booming, but keeping it profitable will be the challenge. Louisa Hosegood, Digital and Strategy Director at Bis Henderson Consulting, believes Micro-fulfilment could be the big game-changer.

The pandemic has advanced consumer engagement with online grocery by between 5 – 10 years, and although online orders still only account for about 10% of the overall mix, the phenomenal growth rates experienced by retailers over the past year are likely to tip the balance on the most widely adopted fulfilment model.

Since it’s strongly believed that over half of the current online behaviour will be maintained after the pandemic ends, retailers are scrambling to come up with faster modes of delivery and more efficient ways to fulfil orders.

Delivery timelines for online orders have been shrinking rapidly, ranging from a couple of days to just a few hours, leaving many grocers simply unable to compete with the retail juggernauts for the coveted super fast, premium delivery offers.

A number of grocers have invested heavily in huge automated warehouses, a few are using the strength of partnerships, while most retailers are relying on their existing store footprint to satisfy this massive surge in demand. 

In-store grocery fulfilment is by far the most widely adopted approach. It has the huge benefit of being close to the customer, which minimises delivery costs or eliminates those costs if the customer picks up. However, there are drawbacks that have only been exacerbated by the uptake in online order volumes, and now a tipping-point has been reached.

Unrelenting online demand is taking its toll on the in-store customer experience, with online pickers roaming the aisles competing with store customers for products on the shelves and large cumbersome picking trolleys causing congestion. What’s more, retail stores are designed and laid out for browsing shoppers, which is not the most efficient format for order picking. The result is that online fulfilment costs are going through the roof and customer service is being impacted on both channels.

A possible solution

However, there is an emerging solution. The concept of micro-fulfilment leverages the advantages of localised delivery, or pick-up, and combines them with the efficiency of a large, automated warehouse. These small-footprint, low investment, highly automated systems – typically occupying 3,000-10,000 sq. ft – can be built into the backroom or on the perimeter of existing stores, or may be deployed as a stand-alone facility to serve a cluster of local geographies.

The idea is starting to level the playing field for businesses competing in online grocery.

The technology makes picking much faster and more accurate, offering the capability to provide online grocery pickup in under an hour from placing an order, while saving on expensive manual labour and distancing picking operations from browsing customers. Most of an order is picked in the automated system and presented to staff for consolidation and delivery, supplemented by an element of manual picking for frozen, deli or loose weighed items.

A key advantage of the automation is that it maximises use of the cube, enabling a wide range of products to be stored densely and retrieved quickly, enhancing product choice, availability and customer service. And locating a Micro-fulfilment Centre (MFC) inside a store benefits from the site being an established replenishment point on the grocer’s main network, so no additional drops are required.

Importantly, MFCs are far less capital-intensive than large warehouses to set up and can be fully functional within just a few months – reducing risk, smoothing investment against volume growth, and providing opportunities to test and learn through modular implementation across a wider grocery network.

Sweating existing assets in this way enables creative property solutions in space-constrained locations, which not only helps to maximise returns on real estate commitments but enables a holy grail of retail to be achieved – proximity to the fast-growing urban eComm-shopping population.

Of course, micro-fulfilment is not limited to the grocery sector. The efficiency and cost-effectiveness of deploying such technology makes it appealing to many other eCommerce sectors, from consumer goods to healthcare. However, a standalone MFC run by a 3PL may well be more likely in these instances, where individual retailers share a larger facility with others, and where space can be flexed more easily in response to shifting demand.

Overall, micro-fulfilment has the potential to deliver substantial labour savings, faster order processing, enhanced value from property assets, a strong local connection with the customer and a significantly reduced cost-to-serve, which addresses the all-important profitability challenge.

Avoiding Common PayPal Merchant Account Pitfalls

With PayPal boasting over 20 million active merchant accounts, it’s clear many businesses are swayed by its global popularity, ease of use and secure payment gateways.

However, its attractive simplicity often sees PayPal become the default money transfer service for businesses who fail to research the market. Ultimately, they miss out on the rewards available by switching providers, including reduced fees and wider platform integration.

So, what are some of these main PayPal merchant account pitfalls which may be limiting business success?

Comparing fees

Like any money transfer provider, PayPal merchant accounts charge users gateway fees for receiving payments. Typically, these charges are a percentage amount of each transaction – however, they can often include additional variable fees for non-domestic cards and currency conversion back to the business’ base currency – so, they soon add up for businesses looking to grow their ecommerce offering.

That’s why market research is key to gaining the most value from a provider. The chosen service should reflect the business model. So, if the business only trades in five specific areas, it makes sense to work with a provider which offers the most attractive fees in those regions.

With many of PayPal’s competitors offering lower gateway percentage fees for both domestic and international payments, it’s worth comparing the leading providers to identify which makes the most sense for your markets.

Plus, PayPal merchant accounts do not lend themselves to lower-cost transactions. Many businesses – especially ecommerce traders – deal in high-volume, low-value transactions, like those for a few GBP or less. When considering the fixed fee of £0.30 for each domestic transaction, it represents a significant margin on these lower-sum conversions.

However, PayPal does offer a specialised ‘Micropayments’ rate for those who tend to raise transfers for £5 or less. Eligible businesses instead pay 5 percent of each transaction but a reduced fixed fee, of just 5 pence, on domestic transfers.

Chargeback fees should also be considered, especially among businesses whose services harbour the potential for disputes or have a high churn-rate with limited-time quality guarantees.

The cost of currency conversion

For international sellers, there is the added complication of consumers paying in their local currencies, as this balance ultimately needs to be converted into the business’ base currency.

While it’s simple to receive these payments in a PayPal account – by simply unblocking international payments in the account settings – the problem is in being forced to accept PayPal’s fees when it comes to converting the currency.

Currency conversions will always incur a fee, whether using an online money transfer service or going through a bank. However, by shopping around, businesses may be able to find a provider which offers attractively low fees for converting common currency pairs.

For example, while PayPal UK charges businesses 4.9 percent for international transactions where the buyer pays with a local, non-UK card, plus 2.5 percent to repatriate foreign currencies into GBP, other providers offer reduced fees. Stripe, for example, charges just 2 percent for currency conversion back to the base currency.

Another hurdle for businesses is that of adding an international bank account – outside of the business’ registration country – to their PayPal merchant account when it operates in a foreign currency.

PayPal are actively blocking by country business units by charging 3 percent payout fees for foreign denominated receiving bank accounts that differ from the account’s base currency. This is the same fee that they can charge for the currency conversion.

This is because PayPal acknowledges the fact international businesses are using multi-currency accounts to bypass their currency conversion fees. So, it’s now added set fees on withdrawals when paying out to international bank accounts.

However, not all providers have taken this step yet, so it’s worth comparing these fees when choosing a provider. For example, Stripe UK supports multiple payout currencies when a local currency account for each foreign settlement currency is added.

This allows Stripe UK users to attach multi-currency accounts to avoid the 2 percent currency conversion fee. However, Stripe admits that payouts to virtual – but local – multi-currency accounts can have a higher payout-failure rate.

 

Integration

Businesses demand more from their PayPal accounts than simple consumer PayPal profiles.

Those who can, opt to link their PayPal merchant profile to multi-currency specialised accounts – like WorldFirst’s ‘World Account’ or OFX’s ‘Global Account’ – and are also increasingly enjoying compatibility with other digital platforms, via tools like Zapier, to keep their workflow content conveniently in one place.

However, this isn’t without its challenges. Depending on the terms and conditions of the PayPal Business Unit in their registration country, businesses face additional fees to withdraw funds to international accounts.

While competing providers are seemingly acting to limit these withdrawals too – to protect their lucrative currency conversion fees – they make it simpler to avoid significant charges.

This may include allowing businesses to add a specialised currency account, like USD accounts, in their home country, to which they can withdraw funds in USD and simply convert it to their domestic currency later.

For example, Stripe and 2Checkout provide payout support in USD to Singapore registered businesses. A Singaporean e-commerce business can operate in the US market and enjoy USD payouts to their Singapore-located USD accounts. These businesses can then use specialist money transfer companies to convert USD, at a preferable rate, to their local SGD account.

These businesses will then obviously face fixed fees for converting currencies elsewhere, however, compared with PayPal’s percentage withdrawal charges, they represent significant savings for medium-to-large businesses.

Similarly, when it comes to integrating productivity tools and software, like Zapier, PayPal can prove tricker than its competitors.

Some services, like Stripe, are developed with more Zapier triggers, allowing them to integrate easily with third-party apps. PayPal, on the other hand, may require additional development work to achieve desired integration with this software.

Help at hand

Aside from the potential financial pitfalls of PayPal merchant accounts, for many businesses, customer service is just as important. Especially for SMEs, who often juggle many responsibilities with a skeleton staff and need to know any problems will be fixed quickly and smoothly.

While customer service can be inherently subjective, those comparing services may find verified review sites helpful as a starting point. For example, UK PayPal currently holds a generalised 1.2 rating out of a possible 5, on TrustPilot, with the website also letting users filter by keywords like ‘customer service’, for more detailed reviews.

Not only is a 1.2-rating unimpressive on the surface but it becomes more damning when compared to competitor ratings, like Stripe and 2Checkout, which both boast 3.6-ratings.

Those who overlook customer service when comparing providers risk losing out long-term in downtime because of delayed troubleshooting of issues, as well as costly disputes.

PayPal has a track record of suspending accounts when disputes are raised, even before any fault on behalf of the businesses has been found. It can take up to a few months for this to be resolved and the suspension to be reversed. However, within this time, the business cannot make or receive any payments and will pass this inconvenience on to the customer.

PayPal is a widely popular platform – especially with consumers and small businesses – however, for large international traders, comparing providers is key in achieving the most cost-effective and efficient service.

What Do You Need To Do To Get In Shape To Join The Military?

Traditionally speaking, this time of year isn’t great for anyone’s fitness personal bests. We are all moving a little slower, trying to shift from the holiday spirit into the shape we know we can be when we are working at our peak. But one thing January has got going for it is that this is the time when we start working towards our goals, towards making the big changes for the better in our lives. For many of us, that means living healthier, working harder and taking our fitness and health more seriously.

For others, the reason for getting into better shape lies with the fact that we are pursuing a bigger goal. The past year has shown just how important it is to step up and take responsibility, to be a part of something bigger, and that is why many young men and women are signing up to join the military. However, it is not just as simple as signing on the dotted line. You need to be in good shape both physically and mentally, so here are a few things you need to know.

The Fitness Test Is Not Impossible, But It Is A Test

If you’re interested in signing up to join the army, then it will be important to check and see what the fitness test requirements are. In the UK, for example, the exact nature of the test has recently changed (although they note that it is not harder exactly, just more finely tuned to meet the requirements of what you will actually be doing once you’ve passed). There will be details online of what you will be asked to do, which will include running (we all know about the famous beep test), the ball throw and the mid-thigh pull. If you’re serious about your physical fitness then these shouldn’t present too much of a challenge, but it is always important to be prepared.

You Will Need To Know Your Own Limits

Of course, it’s not just about one test. Signing up to the military means committing to a long regimen of training where your physical and mental endurance will be put to the test on a regular basis. This isn’t a charity fun run, this is a career you’re choosing. So, it is very important to know that your body and mind are up to the challenge. There are several different ways that you can assess your fitness, but one of the best ways to gauge it is with a test of your VO2max, the volume of oxygen that your body burns through while exercising. For more information on how to do a VO2max calculation and what the benefits are, Military Muscle has a great break-down on how, why and where.

Remember Your Mental Health

It’s not all about making sure that your body is in the best shape it can be. Joining the military is a test of your mind’s ability to handle incredible pressure as much as it is your body’s, so it’s important to make sure that you are in a strong place mentally before signing up. This past year has been hard on all of us and it is common knowledge that men are less likely to open up about mental health issues, so before you throw yourself into this: remember to work on your mental health while you work on your physical health too.

Tide Begins International Expansion with Launch in India

  • Leveraging its globally unified technology platform, Tide will launch its first international test offering in India in first quarter of 2021, before a broader roll-out later in the year
  • Tide India to be managed by an experienced team led by Gurjodhpal Singh, formerly an executive at leading Indian Payment Service Provider, PayU
  • Move follows a strong 2020 for Tide. Tide now serves over 5% of the UK business banking market, with almost 300,000 members, processing £10 billion in transactions

Tide, the UK’s leading business financial platform has today announced its first steps to expand internationally, as it plans to launch in India in the first quarter of 2021. An initial limited test launch of the platform will be followed by gradual roll-out of the service later in the year.

Having gained significant traction in the UK and developed the right approach and mix of services to meet the diverse and changing needs of small businesses, Tide believes this is the right time to expand. Tide’s platform model acts as the financial operating system for a small business and is ripe for international expansion. The basic needs of small businesses are universal. Tide’s agile structure and globally unified single code technology means that its business financial platform can be adapted and integrated with local product service partners to suit the specific needs of companies in each market.

Tide selected India as its first international market due to the considerable commercial opportunities available. Tide has a long-term ambition to operate in markets accounting for 25% of global SMEs.  With over 63 million SMEs in India – nearly one in 10 of all SMEs in the world – these digitally savvy companies are vital to the Indian economy but are underserved by the banks. Fintech has been thriving in India due to the combination of the Government’s digitisation efforts and high smartphone penetration.

Tide’s India business will be led by newly appointed CEO, Gurjodhpal Singh, formerly of India’s leading Payment Service Provider, PayU. Starting with an Alpha test product, based on Tide’s global technology stack, Tide India is set to go live in the first quarter of 2021. Tide already operates a technology centre in Hyderabad, India, and has a team approaching 100 people, predominantly software developers, working in the country. Gurjodhpal will work to expand this team to deliver the launch, supported by Tide CEO, Oliver Prill and CTO, Guy Duncan, who have both run international businesses with significant experience in India. Tide will adapt the structure of its senior leadership to accommodate this international expansion. With Gurjodhpal Singh as India CEO, Laurence Krieger, who has been integral to building Tide and is currently Chief Operating and Product Officer, will be stepping into the UK CEO role.

Oliver Prill, Tide CEO said: “India was selected as our first market outside the UK due to its vast SME population, and the entrepreneurial spirit that is so prevalent in the country.  As an aspiring global business financial platform operating in the largest SME market is a must.  

As a Company, we already know India well and we are confident that Tide can adapt to make business banking better for Indian SMEs. With investment and the expertise Tide already has in the country, we can help underserved SMEs thrive. We are delighted to have Gurjodhpal Singh lead the business in India. His considerable experience in supporting Indian SMEs over many years will be vital.

“Our move into India is another step in our strategy and builds on Tide’s established position. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, Tide continues to grow very strongly as we have always remained fully open for business and our digital-only experience is becoming ever more compelling for our customers. With almost 300,000 members, processing £10bn in transactions, we now have over 5% of the UK business banking market and our service is adding new functionality all the time. The UK market will remain a key focus for Tide, with a dedicated team building Tide India. As well as beginning our international journey, we expect 2021 to be another year of significant growth including  and one that marks the beginning of our international journey.”

Tide is not a bank, but a business financial platform and the leading digital challenger in business banking services. We believe that a platform approach is the future of business banking, allowing us to offer both financial and admin services to SMEs saving them time (and money) to allow them to focus on what they love: running their businesses.

Secure Your Child’s Future: 5 Tips for Building a Sizable College Fund

Some parents are fortunate enough to be in a financial position where they do not have to work too hard at growing and maintaining their child’s college fund. For the large majority of parents though, saving for their child’s higher education is a serious concern that they must always keep at the back of their minds.

It’s true that no one has seen the future, which is all the more reason to save up for our children, given the uncertain future that they might have to grow up in otherwise. Financial security should take precedence above all else, and that’s not easy to maintain without a professional education these days. Thankfully, nearly anyone can assure better education for their children, provided they start investing early and wisely. If you can relate to that idea, read on, as we elaborate on a few financial suggestions that could change the future of your children forever.

Open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) Account

Most of the readers are likely familiar with the term RESP, especially since we are addressing parents here. A Registered Education Savings Plan or RESP is a regulated account with unique tax advantages assigned to it by the Canadian government. As long as the funds in an RESP are used to pay for higher education, all investment gains made from those funds will be 100% exempt from taxation. As should be easy to imagine, this can be a huge advantage to have on your side when you are trying to build a fund that will be big enough to secure the future of your child’s education, even after keeping possible inflation rates in mind.

Funds from an RESP account can be invested and reinvested in various ways to maximize the tax advantage, but you will still need to have a clear and financially sound plan of action, in order to make it really count. Wealthsimple explains exactly how does an RESP work, what are the various types of RESPs, and most importantly, how to make the most out of those tax advantaged dollars. Being a financial company that prides itself on always putting the human element first, you will also find immediate guidance from one of their many financial experts, to help you with your specific queries regarding RESP accounts and other investments.

Make RESP Transfers Automatic

If you are thinking about what the point of doing so would be, then you might be surprised at how effective this little tip proves itself to be further down the line. Irrespective of our resolutions and immediate circumstances, we often end up making financial decisions that we come to regret later in life. By ensuring that at least some money is being added to the RESP account on a monthly basis, parents can reduce their chances of skipping out on saving money for their son or daughter’s future.

It may sound like an unlikely scenario to many parents, and it might very well be so, but situations change and even the most financially conscious people end up making momentary decisions that they should not, or rather would not make under normal circumstances. All you need to do is decide on the minimum amount that you can afford to put in the RESP account every month for the foreseeable future.

You can always add more every month, but even if you cannot transfer money to the RESP account for some months, the auto transfers will continue, ensuring the fund’s non-stop growth. This will also play a psychological role, helping parents who tend to overspend keep their expenses in check. The little transfers will act as a reminder of financial duties that they should be focusing on, instead of spending it all.

Make Small Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes are easy to suggest but much harder to carry out in real life, especially if those changes need to be quite drastic. This is precisely why we suggest not attempting to make drastic changes since people who take the drastic route usually end up back on their original path of overextending themselves financially, sooner or later. Therefore, if you wish to make lifestyle changes, they need to be small in the beginning and gradual with time. Don’t turn yourself into a hermit though, just cut back on unnecessary expenses as best you can.

Set Up a Trust Fund

Not always a viable option for the average Canadian, but certainly an option worth considering if you happen to be in possession of wealth at the moment. Of course, it won’t have the tax advantages of an RESP account and consequent investment gains from RESP funds, but for managing sizable fortunes, it is an option worth considering.

There are various types of trust funds and only a financial advisor can guide you with opening and managing a trust fund in the best possible way of securing the future education of your children. Trust funds can ensure that:

  • Even if the parents end up losing their wealthy status down the line, the money in that fund will stay protected for the future of their children
  • In case one or both parents perish, the future of the children’s education will stay secured, along with the trust fund
  • Strict stipulations can be added to trust funds, ensuring that the children will only receive the money, during and after completing the specified educational qualifications

Strict stipulations can also be added to make sure the children never receive their money directly until they have completed their specified education. At the same time, a trustee will make sure that the funds are used to facilitate the student in completing all the mentioned educational qualifications if they choose to do so. If you are worried that your children might be thinking about giving up on their education a bit too soon, or if they are ignoring the need to pursue higher education after school, trust funds are a proven way to keep them incentivized against doing so. Fortunes can be fleeting, especially when in the hand of young individuals without the proper knowledge or experience to handle them with the financial tact it needs.

Life Insurance: Preparing for the Worst

Life and wealth are similar in their unpredictability, but life insurance provides peace of mind to parents about situations beyond their own control. If one or both parents suffer an untimely death, life insurance money can make sure that their children’s futures are financially protected, even if they are not there to do so. Admittedly, this is not the most education-centric investment to make, as there is no guarantee that education is exactly what that money will be used for. Nevertheless, it does offer at least some degree of immediate financial security to children who have just lost one or both of their parents.

On the other hand, even life insurance policies can become somewhat more education-centric if there is more than just one policy. An additional policy could be taken, which will only mature and be available to the nominee after they reach their college age. Once again, there is no guarantee that the survivor will be using the funds for education, but it still has a better chance of being used for a professional degree at that point.

Under no circumstances are life insurance investments anywhere close to being as potent in ensuring your child’s higher education via RESP funds. Consider life insurance to be an additional precaution, rather than being the main strategy in this respect. Besides, life insurance policies can get very expensive down the line, making them a low-value proposition in any case.

Above all else and even before thinking about making investments in your children’s’ college education, it is important to make the necessary calculations first. For example, if you have a daughter who is only 2 now, have you considered how much it would cost to put her through a decent college 16 years in the future? While nothing is for certain, inflation rates can be estimated, and financial plans should only be made in accordance with such estimations in mind.

Not only will the price of higher education in most fields rise significantly after 16 years, the value of the Canadian dollar will also depreciate. For example, let’s consider a situation where a couple was determined to build a college fund worth CA$100,000 for their daughter’s college degree and expenses by 2020. However, if they started saving up for the college fund in 2005, then they would have had to target roughly CA$127,000 for the fund to be worth CA$100,000 in 2020. This is because the cumulative inflation rate for the Canadian dollar turned out to be 26.77% between 2005 and 2020.

Of course, they could not have predicted the future, and their calculations could not possibly have been as accurate as those we can make it in hindsight. Nevertheless, it was still possible for financial experts to make a predictive model for upcoming inflations, so as to provide them with close estimations. Today, however, such predictive models have become significantly more accurate, thanks to advancements made in predictive software resources, as well as having a much larger pool of data to base predictions on.