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.



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 where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.


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.


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. 


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. 


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. 


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.


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 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, 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 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:

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.   


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.



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 where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.


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 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

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

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
where you can view the award supplement and full winners list.


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 If you are interested in learning more about our radar solution offerings, please visit

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

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 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.


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. 


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.



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.

APAC Insider Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2020 Business Awards

United Kingdom, 2021 – APAC Insider Magazine has announced the winners of the 2020 APAC Business Awards programme.

Now in its fifth year, the APAC Business Awards aim to celebrate the success of companies of all sizes across the APAC region, regardless of industry. This last year, more than any other, success has been far from guaranteed. Even long-established firms were met with uncertainty and challenges, with start-ups and newcomers facing a baptism of fire, the likes of which hadn’t been seen for decades. With all of this in mind, we launch the 2020 programme with a slight shift in ethos – we wanted to offer a counterpoint to the challenges of the year by focusing on those that have, in whatever small or large way, achieved success over the last 12 months.

All in all, the heart of the programme remains the same: we want to represent and recognise these achievements and to showcase those companies who can truly be described as paragons on the greater professional landscape. Speaking at the announcement of the awards, Awards Co-ordinator Katherine Benton said: “I offer a sincere and heartfelt congratulations to all of those recognised in the 2020 Business Awards. I hope you all have a wonderful 2021 ahead.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated professionals selected for them, please visit where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.


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.

The Three Big Mistakes That Salespeople Make and How To Avoid Them

There’s always some level of uncertainty in the world of sales but external changes can make it challenging to know where to focus, what to do and what not to do. Neil Rackham, author of SPIN® Selling, consultant, academic and founder of Huthwaite International, discusses the three big mistakes that salespeople make when times are hard and how to avoid them.

Too much unfocused sales activity

As businesses attempt to return to output levels before the pandemic, sales people in particular may find themselves feeling out of sorts. It’s easy to panic during a turbulent time and believe you’re not doing your role as a sales person as well as you should.

When business is hard and the economy is bad, people tend to chase after everything that moves. More sales calls are made, more contacts are connected with and your initial thought may be that this seems like the correct behaviour – after all more calls and more connections should result in more sales, right? Wrong.

You may be thinking; activity brings results so why be wary of increased activity? Here’s something a lot of sales people don’t necessarily think of – by pushing yourself or your teams for more activity, they will start to focus on the smaller, easier sales that will appear as more activity, resulting in more sales. However, focusing on the small wins often results in the more strategic and profitable sales falling by the wayside. If you look at how the most successful companies handle sales in difficult times, they’re very selective and focus on the best opportunities.

A good rule of thumb is; if you wouldn’t chase a piece of business in good times, don’t chase it in bad. Put more resources into the leads you want and it will pay off in the long-term.

Negotiating when you should be selling

You may see this tactic a lot in inexperienced sales people, when the going gets tough and pressure is coming in, people resort to compromise. It’s essential to remember that negotiating and selling are two very different things. Selling is being persuasive or reaching an agreement without varying the terms, whereas negotiating is reaching agreement through varying terms or making concessions. If you make concessions too soon in the sales process, you’re much more likely to give away too much. Afterall, concessions create an appetite for concessions.

In hard times, most salespeople start negotiating too soon. They erode their margins and reduce their chances of winning the business. In doing so, you can seem anxious or pushy and customers won’t trust you. Those who negotiate as late as possible in the sales process maintain better margins than those who negotiate early. This gives you time to build the relationship and take the customer through the buying process. When the time comes to negotiate, you will have already built trust with the customer meaning little negotiation is required.

Believing all decisions are made based on price

In sales, there is often too much focus on keeping costs low and undercutting competitors. It’s easy to believe that the be all and end all of a business decision is cost, but that isn’t necessarily the case. More often than not, businesses will not go for the cheapest option – the cheapest option can raise alarm bells. Customers want to know that someone is going to be around and they want to believe that they can feel safe in your hands.

In hard times like those many businesses have faced this year, people are more likely to be looking for safety over price. Be aware that the customer’s buying cycle may have shifted due to the uncertain scenario the world is facing and tailor your approach accordingly. The resolution of concerns and minimisation of risk is going to be more important than ever before. The priority is to make customers feel safe. You need to deeply understand them and their needs, the more you can do this, the more comfort and safety you create.

For more information on Huthwaite International and mastering sales, negotiation and communication skills, visit

Turning Spare Space Into Revenue on the ‘Alternative Market’

By Clare Snaith, Head of Business Development at Bis Henderson Space

Any company with underutilised warehouse space is ignoring a potentially significant, effort-free, revenue stream. Here’s why.

It’s an acknowledged truth that the United Kingdom is ‘under-warehoused’. And the supply pipeline of new units is significantly constricted.

According to the latest figures from estate agents, Savills, in the 100,000 sq. ft plus range (which is not very large by today’s standards) there is just 6.9 million sq. ft currently under construction – barely half of last year’s figure. A market with less than two years of supply on offer is considered undersupplied, yet currently the ‘void time’ for space, the time a unit stands empty before being let or re-let, is two months into negative territory as customers lease space ‘off plan’.

But, while supply stalls, demand booms. Lettings this year will top 50 M sq. ft, a new record. The inexorable shift to online retail is a major driver, accounting for 37% of lettings, however, while Amazon alone accounts for 29.6%, Savills observe that 2020 would still have been a record year even without Amazon.

ECommerce isn’t the only factor. COVID-19 has increased the need for storage of PPE and other medical supplies, while the new vaccination campaign also creates demand and not just in the cold chain – vaccine deliveries have to be repacked, and packaging materials have to go somewhere.

In other news, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers are stockpiling, not only against Brexit, but in response to out-of-kilter global trade flows creating logjams at ports. Tesco, for example, is actively stockpiling non-perishable foods.

Retailers have naturally been building stocks for Christmas but there is a real risk that seasonal supplies may not clear Felixstowe or other ports until the New Year, extending the space demand peak, and adding to stocks lying unsold because businesses have not been allowed to open their outlets. Major retail failures mean that some stock will not be leaving the warehouse any time soon. In fact, supplies still on the high seas may join it.

However, manufacturers and retailers are not the only space buyers. There is active competition for ‘shed space’ from data centres, film studios, ‘dark kitchen’ operations, and others. The supply situation in the conventional market is extremely tight.

And yet we are discovering a surprising amount of modern, well-appointed and well serviced space, often in prime locations, that could be made available in an ‘alternative market’.

Many companies, in manufacturing and in retail, find themselves in possession of owned or leased space in excess of their current needs. Retailers who have migrated to a largely eCommerce model find that, temporarily or permanently, they don’t need the facilities that were replenishing their physical estate. Manufacturers may have reduced their activities to focus on core product lines, or may have outsourced aspects of the production process, or may have pivoted to a ‘make to order’ rather than ‘make to stock’ model, meaning that space formerly needed for raw materials, intermediate or finished goods is now underused.

In some cases, products have simply become smaller and take less space. And sadly, administrators and receivers of failed businesses will, once the stock in hand has been sold off on the grey market, be in possession of empty sheds.

Even companies that are urgently looking for new space may simultaneously have underutilised warehouse assets – because they are of the wrong type, or in the wrong location, for the new business conditions.

All this space is on the balance sheet and being paid for. It could instead be earning revenue, if the owners could offer it to other users without being burdened with management issues that are probably outside their core competences. This is where an experienced space broker can support you.


Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your warehouse space and throughput capability usually underutilised?
  • Do your operations see regular or seasonal peaks and troughs?
  • Are changing product specifications or business models likely to require less space in future?
  • Are you using costly internal teams (or external agents) to try to market this surplus capacity, and with what success?


Now, how about these:

  • Would you like to benefit from a new revenue stream at no cost?
  • Would you welcome another user to spread the fixed and on-costs of warehousing?
  • Would better utilisation enable you to create additional services, benefitting you and your new tenants?
  • Would higher usage, and income, help you justify the warehouse automation you know would improve operations?
  • Would increased activity enable you to offer warehouse staff a more fulfilling and secure working experience?

And finally:

  • Would you like to realise these benefits with zero or minimal investment, with no increase in your operational costs, with no requirement for distracting management attention on your part – a new revenue stream, fully managed, without effort, cost or risk?

If you are saying ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, we strongly suggest that you talk to an independent broker.

We have for a long time worked with a variety of companies across many sectors to match up their space surpluses with other business’ requirements, over shorter or longer time periods, and then to manage the relationship.

For example, we have been working with a leading IT and technology supplier, who own a dedicated, substantially automated warehouse. This is currently about two thirds underused, in part because of changing business models but also because IT has shrunk – the warehouse was originally scoped in the days when PCs were desk-sized towers and monitors had cathode ray tubes. Mobile devices just don’t take that much space. We have been able to offer a six-month deal on 120,000 sq. ft of space in a prime Midlands location, raising income for the shed owner.

There is a similar situation with a well-known office supplies company, also in the Midlands. Again, the nature of the goods, and the way they are supplied, has changed and although the company has diversified its activities they still have significant warehouse space lying idle.

These sites have helped satisfy the need of one of our clients in the power tools sector. This company knows it needs its own dedicated UK warehouse, but in the current turmoil isn’t in a position to commit. In the meantime, ‘borrowing’ other companies’ spare space is an effective interim solution.

A third opportunity we are presently handling is that of a fashion brand, formerly focused on the High Street, but which has slimmed down and restructured after administration to be mostly on-line, leaving its highly capable distribution centre half-empty and potentially available.

So, it isn’t quite true that there is no suitable space available in the UK. There is, but the ‘suppliers’ of this space aren’t the traditional warehouse-keepers and 3PLs – they are companies that haven’t yet realised the revenue potential of idle assets.

Through our extensive contacts across all sectors, Bis Henderson Space uncovers these opportunities and helps space owners earn new revenue streams, essentially for free, while solving warehousing headaches for other hard-pressed companies.

The arrangements we set up can usually be put in place with little or no investment in IT or other development – we use standard or manual processes where possible. We do the work of finding the clients, helping negotiate equitable contracts, over-seeing implementation and providing day-to-day running support, over contract periods that can be as long or short as suit both parties. Before a contract ends, we can work together to seek out your next partner, aware of any changes in what you have to offer, so that there is a secure revenue stream to support your future plans.

And, for you the space supplier, all this resource and support is free.

If you have spare warehousing or storage space, of any size or over any period, start a discussion with Bis Henderson Space. Let us turn your empty space into a full balance sheet.


Clare Snaith is Head of Business Development at Bis Henderson Space.

Contact Steve at: [email protected] or visit

Why Has India Turned Against Bitcoin? Is It a Warning Sign for Crypto?

As Bitcoin adoption continues to skyrocket, the cryptocurrency is coming under increasing regulatory scrutiny particularly in India. What do Modi’s government’s moves against BTC mean for the future of crypto?

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are gaining mainstream acceptance. It’s long been possible to trade Bitcoin on individual exchanges and through brokers via mobile apps. And now we are seeing institutional investors coming on board. But these trends come with increased scrutiny. While many countries are mulling over how to approach crypto regulations, few have taken such a bellicose tone as the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The government has made numerous attempts to ban Bitcoin and it looks set to continue on that course. This has raised concerns among the cryptocurrency community, but few outside India understand the real reasons that Modi’s government is pushing back against Bitcoin.

India Is Still Grappling With a Corruption Epidemic

One of the biggest challenges India has faced over the past two decades is corruption, specifically tax evasion. Just 2.5% of the population pay income tax and hiding income in cash is a major problem for the Indian government. Additionally a cash-reliant society provided criminals and corrupt officials an easy way to hide their activities from the government.

In 2016, Modi’s government took decisive action. Under great secrecy, it enacted a bill that took 86% of its cash out of circulation. Indian citizens were given just 50 days to cash in their large banknotes, or they would become worthless. The government reasoned that this could push Indians into using bank accounts — making it easier to track finances.

The gamble damaged the Indian economy and was only partially successful. But it does explain the government’s animosity towards digital currency. They have been doing everything in their power to make it harder to avoid government scrutiny, and mass Bitcoin adoption in India could undo all of their efforts.

The Indian Government Has Been Trying to Control BTC Since 2017

In the wake of Modi’s demonetization efforts, a number of high net-worth individuals in India sought alternative ways to protect their assets. The government issued notices to around 500,000 individuals who were suspected of trading on uncontrolled exchanges.

This was followed by a ban from the Indian Central Bank on cryptocurrency trading in 2018, which was struck down by India’s top court in March of 2020.

In the wake of this court ruling, the government has been working to build a legal framework under which it could ban cryptocurrency, and avoid interference from the courts. Details about this framework are unclear but the Indian crypto industry is hopeful that it will not be a blanket ban on trading. It is also likely that any proposed law would face stiff opposition.

The Crypto Industry May Be Growing Too Rapidly to Ban

Much to the Indian government’s frustration, all their ban achieved was temporarily suppressing ability to trade cryptocurrency in India. It did not affect demand. Once the ban was lifted, trading rates skyrocketed from ₹2 crore per day to about ₹50 crore. This increase in trading volume also saw the price of Bitcoin in rupees more than double in a short period of time.

In addition to increased trading rates, a huge number of crypto companies have taken advantage of the thaw. For example, CoinDCX was able to raise $5.5 million in two rounds in March and May following the court ruling.

This growth has garnered the attention of India’s powerful tech sector. The National Association of Software and Service Companies has already stated its opposition to a wholesale ban. The organization, like many others in India’s tech sector, is instead arguing that a risk-based framework to regulate the industry is a more sensible approach.

And the business sector is following. Big Indian companies like Tata Consultancy Services are jumping on the cryptocurrency train. In July, the company announced the TCS Crypto Service Solution. This solution is designed to make it easier for banks and investment firms to diversify into cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.

A Middle Way Is Possible

Given that a blanket ban has already been struck down and would meet stiff opposition, the government is likely to settle for strict regulation. While it is still unclear what form that regulation would take, India will probably follow Russia’s lead and define cryptocurrency as a taxable asset, instead of a currency.

This approach would enable the Indian crypto sector to exist, and pay tax, while also ensuring that the Indian government remains in control. Indeed, it may be the only option that prevents Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies becoming another tool for wealthy Indians to avoid the taxman.

If Modi’s government is able to find agreement for this kind of bill, it will likely have a positive effect on the wider crypto markets. Regulation makes the cryptocurrency market stronger in the long term and it would enable millions of Indians to adopt cryptocurrency, injecting a new burst of liquidity into the market.

Investors Piling into China’s Stocks are Urged to Remember Investment Fundamentals

Investors will “pile into Chinese equities” in 2021 as the country’s impressive economic recovery picks up more momentum, but this should not overshadow the critical need for global diversification.

This is the warning from the CEO and founder of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations as China equities climb 1.9% on Monday, putting them on track for the highest close since 2008.

Nigel Green, the chief executive of deVere Group, which has $12bn under advisement, says: “China’s benchmark index the CSI 300, which tracks shares on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges, jumped nearly 2% as investors around the world rush for exposure to the People’s Republic’s economic recovery from the Covid pandemic.

“These fresh impressive gains for Chinese equities come after an incredible year in 2020 in which the index added more than 27%.”

He continues: “This trend of piling into Chinese stocks can be expected to continue throughout 2021 as investors seek growth.

“China’s rebound is quite remarkable, compared to other major economies, many of which are once again rolling out stricter restrictions to stop the spread of Covid amid a tsunami of new cases.

“The country has just reported increased industrial output and retail sales towards the end of 2020, bolstering expectations of further robust growth in 2021, adding fuel to the nation’s stock markets and currency as well as those economies that get a boost from domestic spending within China.

“Of course, all of this will not go unnoticed by investors looking for yield.”

However, the deVere CEO also has a warning for investors.

“China’s already impressive economic recovery is likely to pick up momentum and this will be extremely attractive.  

“But as 2020 showed us with perhaps too much clarity, things can change quickly and so-called ‘certainties’ can shift overnight.  

“Therefore, as ever, it is essential that investors have a truly diversified portfolio. This includes across geographical regions, assets classes, sectors and currencies.

“A good fund manager that can secure global exposure and actively seek out opportunities in Asia, especially in China, will best position investors to reap rewards in 2021.”

Mr Green concludes: “China, but also Asia in general, has massive potential and will likely outperform the rest of the world in 2021.  However, investors must not get giddy and forget about the importance of diversification – the investor’s best tool to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate risks.”

New Zealand Black Currant Supplement – CurranZ Helps to Significantly Improve Tissue Re-oxygenation in Muscles

A new study, using some of the best elite climbers in Britain, has found that New Zealand blackcurrant extract, CurraNZ can significantly improve tissue re-oxygenation in muscle. The finding reveals one mechanism responsible for the berry’s effect on performance and recovery in athletes.

The study measured muscle oxygenation in the forearm, a key determinant of rock-climbing performance. The scientists found that blackcurrant enabled the muscle to extract more oxygen from the blood and recover faster than the placebo trial.

Twelve male advanced and elite rock climbers took 600mg CurraNZ® blackcurrant extract or a placebo daily, for seven days. Climbers were tested using an exhaustive exercise protocol which required them to conduct intermittent contractions at 60% of their maximal volitional contraction until failure. The findings showed:

  • 37% improvement in forearm oxidative capacity, suggesting the muscles utilized more oxygen with blackcurrant extract. 
  • Re-oxygenation of the forearm muscle improved by 5.3 seconds, meaning the muscle replenished oxygen stores faster after exercise compared to a placebo.
  • The muscle extracted 9% more oxygen from the muscle tissues, indicating more oxygen was made available.
  • Blackcurrant extract had no effect on isolated forearm performance, but has the potential to be of benefit during exhaustive ascents. 

CurraNZ® extract is rich in blackcurrant anthocyanins, which have been shown to improve circulation and blood vessel function. As forearm muscle oxygenation is an important factor in rock-climbing performance, blackcurrant is of significant interest as an ergogenic aid in this sport.

Dr Simon Fryer, of the University of Gloucestershire, led the study in a pioneering collaboration of scientists. The exercise physiologist and climbing specialist describes the outcomes in elite athletes as an important piece of the mechanistic puzzle that explains blackcurrant’s performance-enhancing effect.

A leader in the field of non-invasive assessments of vascular function, Dr Fryer says: “One of the exciting findings about this study is that we found blackcurrant significantly increased the rate of perfusion and oxidative capacity in these high-level athletes – some of the participants are well up there amongst the UK’s best climbers.”

Climbing is both an aerobic and anaerobic exercise, with the vast majority of muscle contractions being isometric interspersed with short breaks for recovery. Dr Fryer believes that the finding may be relatable to a range of sports with an endurance element.

The authors speculatively suggest that using blackcurrant could be the difference between winning and losing a medal at top-level competition. A one-second decrease in tissue reoxygenation is considered enough to improve performance by 0.7 on the International Rock Climbing Research Association (IRCA) scale. With just 0.4 separating the top four at the 2015 International Federation Sport Climbing World Cup, a blackcurrant-induced change of 5.3 seconds could represent a significant advantage. Previous studies have shown that blackcurrant extract can improve running and cycling performance by up to 11%. However, given the complexity of climbing and its greater reliance on skill and technique, the margin for performance improvement is much smaller.

Dr Fryer says: “We know that the forearm and delivery of oxygen within the muscle is extremely important for performance. Therefore, it’s highly likely, particularly in a competitive environment, that based on these findings, we would see an increase in performance with blackcurrant. This study reveals good mechanistic information and provides justification for doing a whole-body climbing study looking at a range of different ascents.”

While this study found no effect for performance, Dr Fryer was keen to point out that the isolated limb exercise model was unlikely to show an outcome and it was more about determining potential physiological mechanisms. He explains: “While the forearm is one of the most important muscle groups for this sport, we’re looking for tiny changes in a single muscle.

“Having shown a physiological stimulus and mechanism at the isolated level of the forearm muscle, it is highly unlikely that you’ll see a performance response unless it is through a whole-body exercise using much greater muscle mass, such as an exhaustive ascent in climbing.”

Co-author Mark Willems, Professor of Exercise Physiology at the University of Chichester, and the most-published author on blackcurrant for sports performance regards these findings in elite athletes as an important step forward.

He says: “This paper is pointing to blackcurrant helping individuals better deal with internal fatigue mechanisms because of improved oxygenation, it’s almost like blackcurrant is refueling muscle cells. That’s a good thing for the recovery of metabolic processes and fatigue mechanisms.”

“To show improved recovery in highly trained elite climbers during a particular performance task is very good. I wasn’t expecting this finding, I’ve always thought that as soon as we move into elites, we’ll see less and less without the plasticity in the system anymore. But it doesn’t seem to matter. It shows that elite individuals who don’t get the specific anthocyanin intake from their diets could benefit from blackcurrant, which is why we’re probably seeing these effects.”

Travel with Security in a Post-Pandemic World

With the need to follow infection spreading and monitor the pandemic, different methods of tracking people were introduced. Whether you have to register online to eat at a restaurant or write your name and address details on paper when entering a bar, you hand your personal data to unknown people. Even though the only reason is for medical professionals to access such data and use it when infections are detected to fight further spreading, we’ve seen unauthorized access to such data by, say, police forces or staff of the location. Unavoidable tracking of physical location poses a huge threat to privacy, one that has not been solved. In fact, criminals may be able to access such data and use it to further attacks like phishing, spam or malware attacks like ransomware.

What’s more, some countries demand from travelers not only medical tests, but also that they share extensive amounts of private information, perhaps by forcing them to install Tracking Apps, which enable permanent, targeted surveillance. It is hard to foresee how long such policies are in place, but it may be here to stay in some countries.

Tracking apps can introduce a vast amount of functionalities; they can acquire not only real-time location data, but also access to the local data on your smartphone. So far it’s unpredictable for how long such Apps will be used and how their future will look like even once the pandemic subsides. There may be other future demands for such kind of tracking, like criminals or new health crises. The Apps and data are here to stay, and we have to monitor how this will be used later on.

Oddly enough, the pandemic and the subsequent restrictions put in place could actually increase privacy in other respects. Last year we conducted a study on “visual and audible hacking” (aka “shoulder surfing”), a common problem while traveling. With enforced policies on distance between humans still active in many countries and different transportation 

methods used at the moment, several aspects of such information snooping will be harder and therefore may increase the level of physical security and privacy issues in this specific area to a certain degree. Of course, if social distancing restrictions are relaxed, travelers will once again need to take precaution to avoid “shoulder surfing”. 

Of course, digitization of the travel industry didn’t just begin as a result of the pandemic, nor is it relegated to the world of tracking COVID infections. From buying tickets to the equipment in your hotel room, travel is becoming more and more digital—and introducing more and more risks. Here are some other important considerations to keep in mind when leaving your home: 

Your place – not your home

You probably know the phrase “feels like home,” which hotels and other accommodation providers commonly use. To be honest, you should realize that it’s not your home! With the increase of smart technologies, you may be lost in all the technology you already have at home, but at places you don’t own, you have no control over the IoT-devices around you at all. Is there a smart TV with a camera in your room? What about smart air-controls, voice assistants, entertainment offerings and all the other small helpers integrated in modern accommodation rooms? All of them can be a threat to your privacy or cause a security problem if you connect your own devices to them. Even a power outlet with a USB port to charge your phone may be a risk either in terms of security or the physical health of your device. Hotels and event locations are also using the current period where there are few tourists to renovate and upgrade their venues, which means we may see more of such technologies integrated in the near future.

Home is where your phone automatically connects to WiFi

You may travel with several devices, such as smartphones, tablets, notebooks, ebook readers and the like. Isn’t it comfortable to use local WiFi in hotels, restaurants or other locations? You may get decent connection speed, and you don’t have to worry about money even when outside of your local or roaming network. But did you ever think about who controls the network you are connected to? What type of data you share or which websites you are opening? It doesn’t have to be the operator, but criminals may snoop on your traffic, collect sensitive data or may even try to attack your devices. Encryption, not only your local device, but also on remote connections, is as essential as your ticket while flying.

Self-service concierge

Not everyone likes digital tickets or sometimes a printed boarding pass is inevitable. Nowadays, hotels and locations offer publicly accessible self-service kiosks – usually tablets or a computer. The idea is simple: you log in to your email account or wherever you may have stored your ticket, you open it, and print. This process may take a few minutes – but didn’t you forget anything? “Logout” and “Clear browsing data” may be forgotten due to stress while checking out. However, I’ve experienced many such devices that still retain full access to all data, like emails, documents, and your calendar, when you’re using accounts  of certain global service providers with a huge portfolio. This is not only a threat to your data, but also puts you at risk of your data being abused by criminals. They can send out spam or phishing emails to your contacts and social network.

Who is sitting next to you?

As a result of  COVID-19, many services, especially ticket sales and reservations, went from offline to online. Even before the pandemic, ensuring that you’re “talking” to the right person in the digital world was difficult, and in many cases phishers and other criminals abused this problem. People became even more vulnerable in 2020. Such criminals jumped on the pandemic topic and are trying to make a profit using social engineering to trick people. There have been cases of fake e-mails regarding cancelled flight refunds, fake messages from government entities and even those trying to sell fake equipment like masks. 


While the physical and digital world continue to merge further, security becomes more important than ever before. The pandemic forced the introduction of new restrictions and digital processes to protect citizens’  health, and this, in turn, has shaped the future of travel, either for business or holidays. The effects of 2020’s transformation on travel will last far beyond the end of the pandemic. This means that improving your own security becomes a necessity and your protection in the physical and digital worlds are your most important  assets when stepping out of your home. The most fundamental precaution to take is to be aware of the risks and be cautious about your data and behavior.

Volvo Cars Imagines the Future of Autonomous Drive by Tapping Into Origins of Human Communication

Volvo Cars has established itself as one of the leaders in autonomous drive development, following its announcement earlier this year that its next generation of cars will be available as hardware ready for the technology from production start.

At the same time, the company is also looking further into the future, considering how autonomous cars will communicate with other road users in a driverless world. This research looks beyond current Highway Pilot plans, which aims to have cars drive safely on their own on chosen areas of highway that Volvo has verified as safe. To design this future, however, Volvo’s experts are seeking inspiration from the past.

“We make no secret about the fact that we see autonomous drive as the real long-term solution to avoid car accidents and to achieve traffic safety,” says Mats Moberg, Senior Vice President of R&D at Volvo Cars. However, as is always the case at Volvo Cars, safety is the first concern.

The Volvo 360c autonomous concept car, unveiled in 2018, provides one possible avenue of future development. It explores the type of safety-focused communication Volvo Cars believes will be essential to cars of the future when it comes to sharing the road with other road users, including other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. The design for the 360c explores a combination of external sounds, lights, and even subtle movements to communicate the vehicle’s intentions to other road users.

While the Highway Pilot will only be available on highways verified safe, when future autonomous cars eventually enter environments shared with pedestrians, cyclists and other road users, the vehicles will need to navigate all these complexities on their own. Although the communication is intended for highly advanced cars that won’t be realised for years to come, the inspiration behind it is simple and age-old: the human body language.

“What we’re really after is to give the self-driving car a type of body language that everyone understands,” says Mikael Ljung Aust, Senior Technical Leader for Collision Avoidance Functions at the Volvo Cars Safety Centre.

“If you want to set up a global standard for communication, there are some basic ground rules you need to follow. One, you need to speak a language that everybody understands, otherwise it isn’t global. Two, it needs to be fairly quick. You can’t have any uncertainties in traffic situations.”

Inspired by aspects of such universal human communication, Volvo is investigating sounds which aim to indicate an autonomous car’s intentions to other road users.

“What we really need is three or four key sounds that tell you what the car is going to do,” says Ljung Aust. “One of these sounds is informing the driver or the pedestrians around the car what its intentions are, for example: ‘I do not intend to move’.”

“For this, we use a low frequency sound, one we as humans naturally associate with something big. It’s a pulse, oscillating very slowly, which indicates the car is standing still.”

This intuitive approach has also inspired the acceleration and deceleration sounds being proposed by the 360c, which consist of a soft ticking that gradually increases and decreases in frequency respectively.

For a sound that warns a pedestrian of an oncoming car, Volvo was inspired by a technology used in submarines. The company is researching a new technology that uses ultrasounds via parametric speakers to “ping” pedestrians and cyclists with a noise only they can hear, similar to a submarine’s sonar.

However, as with most human communication, sound is most effective when accompanied by a synchronized visual display. Volvo Cars thus is looking into the possibilities of replacing the eye-to-eye acknowledgement of driver and other road users using contextual lights on the car.

On the 360c concept car, this is visualised by a light band wrapped around the car’s sides. The band lights up to alert other road users that they have been “seen” by the car and are thus taken into account by its safety systems. The same light band synchronises with the car’s sounds to safely and clearly communicate its intentions.

“There is an almost behavioral or ancestral reflex in people that make them jump or at least alert themselves if things happen in two channels at the same time,” says Ljung Aust. “Thunder and lightning is an easy example.”

While this technology is in the developmental stages, it’s all part of Volvo Cars’ efforts to create the safest traffic situations possible. By tapping into a combination of movement, sounds and light – non-verbal communications that have been so deeply ingrained in humans for tens of thousands of years – Volvo Cars hopes to make the intentions of autonomous cars to be understood quickly, safely and universally in years to come. 

Lives in Developing Countries Can Be Extended By 9 Years if 5% More GDP Is Invested in Healthcare Systems, Says FII Institute

FII Institute CEO Richard Attias said:

“This study is dramatic in its findings. Put simply, if our governments make wise investment decisions, we can increase life expectancy and we can make our health services work better for people in every part of our planet.”

“This is a time to look forward, to embrace the possibilities that AI and other technologies offer. Our Impact report highlights the need for us to emerge from the pandemic with an imperative to reinvent the way we live, work and care for one another. This is our chance to embrace a Neo-Renaissance.”

FII Institute’s global healthcare study includes a global ranking of healthcare systems, based on the efficacy of their structures, processes, and most importantly, outcomes. The ranking was based on the Donabedian model, with additional correlation analyses conducted in order to identify performance drivers and recommendations.

The study will be repeated and expanded on an annual basis. For the first edition, FII Institute has focused on 35 countries, with representatives from every continent and a variety of development levels.

The wider Impact report – Health Equity: A Moral Imperative – explores the key challenges of healthcare systems, many of which have been brought to light during the pandemic. Interviews, features, and articles form a core call to action: that health is a fundamental human right, and that it is a shared responsibility to ensure global access.

The report discusses how much technology and innovation is already available that can extend healthy lifespan, increase global productivity and improve quality of life, raising the question: what is keeping humanity from embracing transformative change?

Academics, healthcare officials, and innovators from all over the world share their insights in the Impact report, including:

  • Professor Agnes Binagwaho, M.D., Ph.D., Rwanda’s former health minister and Vice Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity
  • Bertalan Meskó, Ph.D., The Medical Futurist
  • Rachel Dunscombe, CEO of the NHS Digital Academy
  • Walter Willett, M.D., Dr. P.H., Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University

“I have seen first-hand how lack of access to affordable healthcare can blight the lives of ordinary people,” says Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram M.D., Founder of Proximie, a platform that enables an expert surgeon to virtually transport themselves into any clinical setting.

Speaking of the reaction-based, rather than prevention-based approach of developed healthcare systems, Professor Walter Willett says, “Western health systems have been focused on dealing with the consequences of poor diets and inactivity. There are a few places that are moving towards a different model, but the kind of system we have is really irrational.”

“I have no doubt that digital health can finally bring healthcare into the 21st century,” says Dr. Meskó, the Medical Futurist.

In discussing the opportunity for Africa to bypass traditional healthcare solutions with new technology, Professor Binagwaho says, “If we see an opportunity to leapfrog, we go for it. We have done it with our HIV treatment and our vaccination program.”

The report also highlights “Call to Impact” points across several topics, including concrete recommendations for governments, healthcare officials, as well as the general public.

Health Equity: A Moral Imperative can be viewed here.

Rewarding Your Staff Even When Times Are Tough

There are many reasons why rewarding our staff at a time like this is more difficult, whether it’s a reduction in sales, which means we have fewer funds to spend, or because we are trying to revolutionise the way we run our business, and don’t have time. But if you want to have a workforce that is keen to work for you, and are going to help you with implementing the changes, then you need to consider rewarding your staff even though times are tough. Here are a few ideas on how you are able to do this and have a workforce behind you all the way.


Nothing beats some good old-fashioned recognition, and your team will be grateful for being rewarded for any extra hard work they have put in. It doesn’t have to be a huge bonus, but a small thank you here and there, or publicly recognising somebody’s achievements, can boost morale more than anything else.

This is something that should be done on a regular basis anyway, as it is a sure fire way to keep everybody motivated, but at this time of year, we tend to have ceremonies and “roundup“ events that highlight the year that has passed. Unfortunately, this year we have plenty of negatives that we could focus on, which is why it’s even more important to focus on the positives and the efforts of your theme.

Organising Events

We can’t all get together this year and socialise as we would like, and past Christmas events are obviously not going to be taking place, but there are some virtual Christmas party ideas that you can draw from, to reward your team for the hard work that they’ve put in this year. Creating virtual events, and adding as much fun into these as possible, can really lift the mood and help everybody feel a little bit brighter.

You can even incorporate some games into this, with prizes and lots of laughter along the way. Everybody can get involved as there is no need for a designated driver if all participants are home safe and sound already. The team spirit will be much more lively, and it is going to be an event that everybody will talk about for years to come.

Time Off

Rewarding your staff with a little more time off is always a great idea, of course, this will cost you in staff working hours, but if you manage it effectively, and make sure that everybody isn’t off at the same time, then you should be able to manage a little extra time here or there. Some businesses offer a “shopping day” around Christmas time, but it doesn’t have to be specific. This is always a good time to communicate with your team and find out exactly what day would prefer. Tailoring your rewards to the individual people within your organisation will show that you care and are trying your absolute best.


If we have to work on our birthday, then it is always nice to be shown a little bit of attention and receive a small gift from the team. Facilitating this and contributing to any gifts or experiences that have been purchased, is a lovely idea.

People always remember how they are treated on their birthday, and if you are particularly creative It can provide the perfect opportunity to make a team member feel special. We also don’t know how a person’s private life is going, and it may be one of the few gifts that they receive on their special day, so it always pays to be extra thoughtful

The Impact Of Remote Working On Companies

Plenty of workers have been advocating for more flexible, remote working for years now. However, it wasn’t until the pandemic forced millions of companies to work from home that many of them got what they’d been asking for.

Now, months after the virus started causing problems, businesses are moving ahead with different approaches. Some are eager to reopen their offices – or have done already – while others are planning to stay remote for good. The question is, what kind of impact is the latter going to have on companies and staff moving forward?

Initial Reports Suggest Efficiency

Companies didn’t have much time to work out how they were going to function in the pandemic before lockdown forced many of them to close their offices immediately. With employees suddenly having to work from home with little preparation, there were fears that performance would drop, and businesses would suffer more than they already had.

However, while there was an adjustment period, many companies saw positive results after the change. A survey of over 12,000 professionals found that roughly 75% were just as productive, if not more so, in the first few months of the pandemic. It likely helped that a lot of companies adopted cloud systems and kept in contact through video calls. Without these services, most businesses would have suffered without an office to work in.

Can This Be Sustained?

It’s easy to look at results like this and believe them to be a sign that remote working is the future. However, a few months is nowhere near enough time to make such significant judgments. That’s especially the case when you factor in the reason why people are remote working, as well as the fact that the experience is incredibly new for most employees.

There’s a significant possibility that the longer people work from home, the likelier they are to suffer drops in productivity. Distractions are everywhere outside of the office, and there’s little opportunity for employers to monitor staff behaviour. Although 70% of organisations believe remote working can sustain these gains in productivity, according to this report, achieving this will require effort and dedication on everyone’s part.

A Loss Of Company Culture

Even if productivity can be sustained through remote working, there’s more to a company than just how much work it produces. If that’s all a business values, then it can expect to see high turnover rates moving forward because employees need benefits to motivate them.

Obviously, having more flexible, remote working – where they can stay in their pyjamas all day and put the TV on in the background – is a benefit for some people. However, after a while, this can grow stale as they begin to miss one of the major advantages of office working – socialisation.

Being around others and forming relationships with colleagues is something that a lot of employees look forward to. However, when everyone works from home, you lose that experience. Weekly meetings over Zoom can’t replace the random conversations people often have in the office, and this leads to the destruction of company culture. Before long, people may view their fellow employees as strangers, and that can lead to feelings of isolation and a drop in productivity.

There Needs To Be A Compromise

It’s clear from what we’ve seen so far that remote working can improve productivity, which naturally benefits business. However, fully embracing this venture could hinder a company’s success in the long run.

The smartest thing to do is find a reliable middle ground where employees divide their time between the office and home. By doing this, staff are able to reap the benefits of remote working while still getting to satisfy their social requirements.

How soon this can be applied depends on the COVID-19 situation in each area. Unless the government have prohibited it, though, there’s no reason why companies can’t start bringing employees back in for several days a week. Workplaces will have to abide by certain regulations to be deemed safe, but they’re not hard to meet when you hire an expert in professional office cleaning. That’s Nexus Kleen for those in Perth who want a dedicated and thorough service that won’t break the bank.

The Future’s Still Uncertain

As much as we can try to predict what will work best for companies moving forward, it’s impossible to forecast anything with 100% accuracy. 2020 has proven that something can appear out of nowhere and throw everything off the rails. So, as much as we believe that a mixture of remote and office working is the right move, there’s a possibility that one could ultimately prove far more beneficial than the other.

For now, though, the best thing to do is test the waters and see what impact it has. Smaller businesses, where employees tend to be closer because there are less of them, may find that office working will become more valued moving forward. However, it all depends on what each member of staff prefers, and how the different styles of working affect their performance.

People spent years asking for greater flexibility at work, and now it seems their wish is finally getting granted. Hopefully, this will be to the benefit of both companies and their staff. However, only time will tell on that one.

5 Affordable CRM Solutions for Small Business

After your business establishes customer relationships, you have to maintain them for long term success. Storing this information may require a customer relationship management (CRM) system that keeps everything organized. Instead of storing customer information in a notebook full of hastily scribbled thoughts, you can use any of these five affordable CRM solutions for small businesses.

With the help of CRM software, you’ll keep your customers’ information and preferences in a centralized digital location. Your team can refer to this information to build consumer loyalty and welcome future business opportunities, all without requiring a big budget or IT knowledge.

1. Nimble CRM Program ($19/Month)

Establishing a social media presence is an instant way to connect with current and potential customers. They’ll find your website through a quick internet search and browse your profiles to see what your business does and if people have left positive reviews.

Nimble makes it easy to organize your contacts and talk with customers. Your team can access every social media profile you’ve created and operate them from the same place. It also integrates with Office 365 and G Suite, so every social media message from your followers goes directly to your inbox.

2. HubSpot Free CRM

HubSpot exists to make it easy for small business owners to operate everything through one program. Their free software compiles emails and meeting schedules while hosting a live chat with your customers. It’s suitable for new businesses because it introduces all the aspects of CRM that generate growth and new contacts.

3. Simple Sales Tracking ($15/Month)

New businesses can try Simple Sales Tracking with a free trial that grants access to every software feature. Your entire team can use it to track sales and make data portable so you can easily download information relevant to client calls or concerns. When you’re not using Simple Sales Tracking to assign and monitor sales, your business will benefit from the automatic data backup and 3rd party integrations.

4. Vtiger CRM Solution ($30/Month)

New small businesses and even those planning to become bigger can use Vtiger as their cloud-based CRM solution. The interface allows anyone to build emails and interact with customers through a personalized web portal. It scores leads and includes task management features, so your team consolidates their work and learns how to improve.

5. Zoho CRM Tool ($12/Month)

Zoho provides numerous customization options for small business owners who only want to pay for what they need. Their starting tier provides a document library and dashboards to review reports. You can send mass emails to clients and store up to 100,000 records. Play around with the custom views, page layouts and modules to improve your customer support and figure out what works best for your needs.

Reflect on Your Business

There are many affordable CRM solutions for small businesses that all offer something different. Reflect on your business to decide what it needs most. Whether you want to give clients a better way to communicate with your team or make your data portable, you’ll find a CRM solution that advances your operations.

Why You Should Consider Email Marketing for Your Business

If you are running a business, marketing is something that you will need to focus on a lot if you want your business to stand out and be successful. Marketing can give you the chance to reach new audiences, bring in more clients and much more so it is important to choose the right kind for you. Today, we are going to discuss why you should consider email marketing for your business so, make sure you keep reading this article to find out more.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is one of the most popular marketing strategies that can be used in a business. This type of marketing strategy can be used to share information, promotions, offers and much more to clients and customers through emails. When you have a new service, product or promotion that you want to share in your business, you might be wondering how you can do this and track insights.

 If this is the case, you should have a look at the email marketing options available to help you. You can share all information through emails and customise them with links as well as inset images to intrigue buyers or gain interest in what you have to offer.

Services Available

When it comes to email marketing you might think it will be difficult to create an email, add in the photos, text and links but, it is actually a lot easier than what you may think. This is because there are templates that you can follow and plenty of guides to get you started. If you are hoping to bring email marketing into your business but you need some help then it might be worth taking a look at an email marketing service. Make sure to find the right one for you and test out the features beforehand.


With marketing, you could spend a lot of money, however, you’ll find that a lot of the times it doesn’t need to be overly expensive. Email marketing is one of the most affordable yet effective techniques you can use to share information or promotions with your clients without having to break the bank which makes it worthwhile. You can send out as many emails to clients as you would like to with all the information that you need to share at a low cost compared to the other techniques.


Another reason why you should consider email marketing for your business is because it is very reliable. Email marketing can provide you with insights so you can track the email and how well it was received by the recipients. You can check how many clients showed an interest in your email, opened it and closed it immediately. This is information which can be used as feedback to work out what needs to change and what has been successful for future campaigns.

Reach More People  

When you run a business, the more you grow your client base, the more successful it can be. Not only is it good to expand your client base but, it is also good to make sure you have the right interest and that you reach the right audience. With email marketing, there are options that allow people to sign up and can receive benefits which can grow your business more. If you are hoping to reach more people, email marketing should be your first priority.

Try Email Marketing Today

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why you should consider email marketing for your business and we have covered just a few. Email marketing can allow you to reach all clients, send out promotions and much more so make sure to give it a try today.

Will Europe adopt innovative approach to parcel sortation?

‘Mini Yellow’ robots deliver the right package

In 2019 China’s express parcels market was valued at US$100 billion. Driven by the growth of e-commerce across the country, this figure was up by more than 8 per cent on the previous 12 months and the sector is expected to sustain double-digit increases for the foreseeable future.

To put these numbers into some kind of perspective, a staggering 74 billion packages will be delivered across China this year – that equates to 52 deliveries for every man, woman and child living in this vast territory.

To keep pace with this rapidly expanding sector, a number of China’s most significant internet retailers and logistics operators have embarked upon extensive modernisation programmes at their most strategically significant hubs that have seen traditional sortation methods replaced by ‘Mini Yellow’ autonomous mobile robot (AMR) technology designed and supplied by LiBiao.

LiBiao’s ‘Mini Yellow’ range was developed as a cost-efficient and flexible alternative to the high CapEx fixed tilt-tray and cross-belt conveyor-based sortation systems that have traditionally been used within many busy parcel and e-commerce operations.

The ‘Mini Yellow’ system is a fraction of the cost of a typical cross-belt or tilt tray conveyor and because ‘Mini Yellow’ robots are more compact than other AMRs currently on the market, they require less space within which to operate – a sortation system can be set up in one-fifth of the floor area needed by a conveyor to achieve the same parcel throughput statistics. The time needed to complete an installation is also notably shorter than what is necessary when building conveyor-based sorting solutions.

Furthermore, with no fixed infrastructure requirements, the modular ‘Mini Yellow’ system is scalable and offers complete flexibility: additional robots can be introduced as and when they are needed and the technology is fully portable – meaning systems can be switched between sites if required. – one of two massive internet retailers that dominate China’s online shopping market by both transaction volume and revenue ­– rolled out LiBiao’s ‘Mini Yellow’ system at its MaChong sorting centre in 2016. In an area of just 1084 square metres, a fleet of 200 robots can sort some 9,000 parcels every hour at the MaChong hub.

STO Express is another Chinese logistics businesses benefiting from ‘Mini Yellow’ robots. Based in Shanghai, STO is one of China’s leading courier companies and provides domestic and international express delivery solutions to a diverse group of customers. At STO’s facility in Tianjin there are approaching 500 ‘Mini Yellows’ in operation. The ‘bots deliver a sorting capacity of 22,000 parcels per hour and occupy a floor area measuring slightly over 2,350 square metres.

And one of the world’s biggest postal companies is also using LiBiao’s AMR technology to boost its operational efficiency. Ranked 101st in Fortune Magazine’s Global 500 list of the largest international corporations in 2019, China Post Group Corporation (China Post) handles over one billion parcels each year. The organization has installed the ‘Mini Yellow’ system at five of its busiest sortation hubs, including its site at Hangzhou.

The city of Hangzhou is located around two hours’ driving time south west of Shanghai and China Post’s operation there serves an area covering over 10,000 square miles within which lives a population in excess of 10 million potential online shoppers.

Like most postal sorting facilities in China the Hangzhou site had always been highly labour intensive. However, in an attempt to increase operational performance, China Post recently introduced cross-belt conveyor sortation technology that – initially at least – delivered the improvements the corporation had sought.

But, such has been the explosion in e-commerce that the number of parcels passing through the facility on a daily basis soon exceeded the capacity that could be reliably and accurately sorted by the conveyor system.

China Post needed a cost effective, agile and flexible sortation solution that could supplement – or replace – the existing conveyor technology with minimal disruption to the business during the installation process and, after a thorough review of operational procedures and a lengthy tender process, it was decided that the current and future needs of the Hangzhou site could be met by the introduction of ‘Mini Yellow’ autonomous mobile robot technology.

Some 700 ‘Mini Yellow’ AMRs operate continuously at China Post’s Hangzhou site and handle up to 30,000 parcels per hour in an area measuring just 3,200 square metres.

Incoming vehicles are unloaded and packages are delivered to a series of induction stations, which are located at the perimeter of the raised grid system on which the robots operate.

At each induction station a worker places a parcel – which can be up to one cubic metre in size and weigh as much as 5kg – onto a waiting robot at which point the package’s shipping label is automatically scanned and a destination chute is assigned based on the city to which the parcel is bound.

The LiBiao ‘Mini Yellow’ robot’s navigation system directs each ‘bot and its load to the assigned chute and, on arrival, the parcel is tipped via an opening in the grid into the allocated chute. The parcel slides in to a waiting mail sack on the level below.

The control system indicates when a sack is full and detailed delivery information is printed and attached to the mailbag before it is transferred to the dispatch area and into the waiting delivery vehicles.

Since the installation of ‘Mini Yellow’ robot technology at its Hangzhou site China Post has been able to reduce its labour costs significantly: where once 50 workers where required to carry out 15,000 sorts per hour, now just 10 are needed.

In addition, because the LiBiao robots use considerably less power than fixed cross-belt conveyors, energy costs at the site have dropped by 40 per cent. Each ‘bot automatically takes itself to the nearest battery charging point when topping-up is required and a five-minute charge is all that’s needed to achieve four-hours of operation. The ‘Mini Yellow’s’ green credentials are further enhanced by the fact that the maintenance-free battery lasts for five years.

100 per cent sorting accuracy is now being achieved and thanks to the fact that each robot can be replaced if required, the sorting solution does not suffer from the same downtime issues associated with conveyor systems – where a single point of failure can bring the entire sortation process to a halt.

Robots, chutes and induction stations can be added as China Post’s growth demands – providing the future-proof flexibility that fixed conveyor solutions lack.

LiBiao supplied the technology to China Post under a ‘Robots As A Service’ finance scheme, which means that the system is, effectively hired and monthly payment charges are based on the number of parcels processed.

LiBiao Robot founder and chief executive, Xia Huiling, comments: “LiBiao’s ‘Mini Yellow’ robots bring a high-tech, very cost-effective solution to the sortation market. As Chinese companies such as, STO Express and China Post and other organisations globally have found, the system has unrivalled flexibility compared with traditional sorting methods and truly deserves to be recognised as a ‘game changer.’”

So far more than 10,000 LiBiao autonomous mobile robots are in operation at ‘blue-chip’ client facilities worldwide – including Walmart in the US, Uniqlo in Japan and Kmart in Australia ­– and it is estimated that some two billion parcels a year are processed using LiBiao AMRs.

LiBiao Robot recently announced that two models from the ‘Mini Yellow’ range are now available in Europe – a 5kg tilt-tray robot and a 30kg cross-belt model. Both types have CE certification.

Xia Huiling, comments: “We believe that the European logistics market will benefit from our advanced mobile robot technology. The hardware, software and management system for the ‘Mini Yellow’ sorting system has been refined to the point where our clients usually recover the cost of their investment within one and a half to two years.”

Shanghai Electric and Siemens Energy to Establish Smart Energy Empowerment Centre

Shanghai Electric the world’s leading manufacturer and supplier of electric power generation equipment, industrial equipment and integration services, has reached another milestone and signed a collaboration agreement with Siemens Energy on smart energy empowerment center at the global China International Import Expo (CIIE) held in Shanghai.

The cooperation aims to build a smart energy empowerment center that can serve domestic and global energy industries. Based on continuously innovated industrial internet digital technology, the Shanghai Electric-Siemens Empower Center is establishing three high-tech business sectors, one virtual-real digital experience center and one industrial incubator cooperation platform. It will provide high quality industrial internet digital service for energy customers on the basis of the core high-end energy equipment industry of the parent company.

The Shanghai Electric and Siemens Energy collaboration marks another step forward for the overall upgrade of China’s energy industry. The two companies aim to integrate artificial intelligence, industrial IoT and the value chains of the industry, in a bid to further expand the Company’s business scope and advance the ecosystem of its smart energy business.

In addition to the agreement with Siemens Energy, the Company also inked deals at the CIIE with global top 500 enterprises. At the expo, it raked in import orders worth a total of nearly RMB 2.4 billion, about RMB 500 million more than last year.

Shanghai Electric is one of the largest manufacturers in China and operates businesses across various sectors. A leader in the fields of traditional thermal and renewable energy equipment manufacturing, the Company has long focused in the fields of energy and industrial equipment, and integration services. The Company also stands out in the wind power sector with its offshore wind power equipment taking up the majority of market shares.

Siemens Energy is one of the world’s leading energy technology companies. With its portfolio of products, solutions and services, Siemens Energy covers almost the entire energy value chain – from power generation and transmission to storage. The portfolio includes conventional and renewable energy technology, such as gas and steam turbines, hybrid power plants operated with hydrogen, and power generators and transformers.

Leading Specialists in IP Prosecution – India

In 2009, at the age of 28, Sagar Chandra established his own firm as a first-generation lawyer. Bringing Ishani Chandra on a year later, Sagar Chandra & Associates was a small, but hard-working team of three. Today, however, the firm has grown into a well-recognised organisation with a leading practice made up of twenty-five young experts, that has picked up awards and accolades and played a role in some of India’s landmark Intellectual Property cases.

A boutique IP firm serving national and international clients, Sagar Chandra & Associates provides creative, practical, ethical and business-oriented solutions for contentious and non-contentious matters in IP rights. Operating under the philosophy that ‘hard work is the only shortcut to success’, the firm works with clients closely and with honesty, transparency and a continuous devotion to the clients’ best interests and the growth of their business.

Providing services in Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, Designs, Geographical Indications, Domain Names, Trade Secrets and Confidential Information, Publicity and Privacy Rights and Unfair Competition and Media and Entertainment Laws, Sagar Chandra & Associates takes a holistic approach to providing solutions. Regardless of the scale of their clients’ businesses, Sagar Chandra & Associates strives to provide the best service by thinking creatively to obtain beneficial and long-lasting results, all for a reasonable cost. Sagar Chandra & Associates is dedicated to serving others, listening to them with open minds and empathy and considering all possible outcomes to create strategies and solutions that suit their needs over the firm’s.

Sagar Chandra & Associates is able to help individuals and organisations tackle a diverse range of business and legal challenges and are in the unique position of being able to perform pro bono work, whilst contributing to the development of IP law in India. The firm actively encourages artists and entrepreneurs to innovate and create, while collaborating with them to educate them on their rights and protect their IP. Sagar Chandra & Associates also works with associated organisations to spread awareness of how IP can be monetised to boost innovation across the country as part of the firm’s contribution to the Make in India initiative.

The firm was born through the two partners’ interest and aptitude for IP Rights that was revealed during their time at law school and curated during the beginning of their careers at one of India’s leading IP law firms. Sagar Chandra & Associates was set up so that they could make their own mark in the field of IP Rights and the firm has since been a part of landmark judgements in the establishment of IP law in India. The firm has also played an active role in topical and futuristic litigation’s which have been instrumental in creating an impact on existing IP laws in India. From a battle between FMCG giants of India concerning an infringement of trademarks and copyright to an important development with regard to the Trademarks Act of 1999, Sagar Chandra & Associates prides itself on its contribution to the legal system of India.

As the firm’s growing portfolio of work continues to be a testament to Sagar Chandra & Associates’ skills and expertise, their founding principles of integrity, excellence and a commitment to growth and learning have remained unchanged since inception. Constantly developing their unparalleled insights into the grey areas of IP Rights, Sagar Chandra & Associates are looking to the future, with ambitious plans for growth. These include making their legal services more accessible across India, creating community outreach programmes that will spread awareness of IP Law and incentivise innovation. Meanwhile, internally the firm is also looking to leverage technology in communications with clients, increasing productivity, efficiency and sustainable practices.

This digitisation has already begun during the company’s adaption to working from home as a result of the global pandemic. However, having encouraged flexibility and adaptability since the firm’s inception, the detrimental impact of Coronavirus has been practically non-existent for Sagar Chandra & Associates. Instead, the firm has continued to concentrate its efforts on providing the very best legal advice in IP Law for their clients, even in the midst of these unprecedented social climates.

For more information, contact: Ishani Chandra

Company: Sagar Chandra & Associates

Web Address:

Small IP prosecution firm grows into leading practice – India

In 2009, at the age of 28, Sagar Chandra established his own firm as a first-generation lawyer. Bringing Ishani Chandra on a year later, Sagar Chandra & Associates was a small, but hard-working team of three. Today, however, the firm has grown into a well-recognised organisation with a leading practice made up of twenty-five young experts, that has picked up awards and accolades and played a role in some of India’s landmark Intellectual Property cases.

A boutique IP firm serving national and international clients, Sagar Chandra & Associates provides creative, practical, ethical and business-oriented solutions for contentious and non-contentious matters in IP rights. Operating under the philosophy that ‘hard work is the only shortcut to success’, the firm works with clients closely and with honesty, transparency and a continuous devotion to the clients’ best interests and the growth of their business.

Providing services in Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, Designs, Geographical Indications, Domain Names, Trade Secrets and Confidential Information, Publicity and Privacy Rights and Unfair Competition and Media and Entertainment Laws, Sagar Chandra & Associates takes a holistic approach to providing solutions. Regardless of the scale of their clients’ businesses, Sagar Chandra & Associates strives to provide the best service by thinking creatively to obtain beneficial and long-lasting results, all for a reasonable cost. Sagar Chandra & Associates is dedicated to serving others, listening to them with open minds and empathy and considering all possible outcomes to create strategies and solutions that suit their needs over the firm’s.

Sagar Chandra & Associates is able to help individuals and organisations tackle a diverse range of business and legal challenges and are in the unique position of being able to perform pro bono work, whilst contributing to the development of IP law in India. The firm actively encourages artists and entrepreneurs to innovate and create, while collaborating with them to educate them on their rights and protect their IP. Sagar Chandra & Associates also works with associated organisations to spread awareness of how IP can be monetised to boost innovation across the country as part of the firm’s contribution to the Make in India initiative.

The firm was born through the two partners’ interest and aptitude for IP Rights that was revealed during their time at law school and curated during the beginning of their careers at one of India’s leading IP law firms. Sagar Chandra & Associates was set up so that they could make their own mark in the field of IP Rights and the firm has since been a part of landmark judgements in the establishment of IP law in India. The firm has also played an active role in topical and futuristic litigation’s which have been instrumental in creating an impact on existing IP laws in India. From a battle between FMCG giants of India concerning an infringement of trademarks and copyright to an important development with regard to the Trademarks Act of 1999, Sagar Chandra & Associates prides itself on its contribution to the legal system of India.

As the firm’s growing portfolio of work continues to be a testament to Sagar Chandra & Associates’ skills and expertise, their founding principles of integrity, excellence and a commitment to growth and learning have remained unchanged since inception. Constantly developing their unparalleled insights into the grey areas of IP Rights, Sagar Chandra & Associates are looking to the future, with ambitious plans for growth. These include making their legal services more accessible across India, creating community outreach programmes that will spread awareness of IP Law and incentivise innovation. Meanwhile, internally the firm is also looking to leverage technology in communications with clients, increasing productivity, efficiency and sustainable practices.

This digitisation has already begun during the company’s adaption to working from home as a result of the global pandemic. However, having encouraged flexibility and adaptability since the firm’s inception, the detrimental impact of Coronavirus has been practically non-existent for Sagar Chandra & Associates. Instead, the firm has continued to concentrate its efforts on providing the very best legal advice in IP Law for their clients, even in the midst of these unprecedented social climates.

For more information, contact: Ishani Chandra

Company: Sagar Chandra & Associates

Web Address:

Antipodean IP Law Firm of the Year 2020

Established in 1904, Griffith Hack has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest specialist Intellectual Property firms, operating in offices all across Australia. Providing commercial and client-centric services predominantly in Patents, Trademarks and IP Litigation as well as Copyright, Design Right, Trade Secrets and Plant Breeders Rights, Griffith Hack works with local, international and multinational companies including Sony, Asahi Beverages and Puma.

Since the company’s inception over a hundred years ago, Griffith Hack has continually adapted to the developments in the legal and commercial landscape of Australia, today offering holistic IP services that enable the team at Griffith Hack to advise on IP strategy whilst retaining the individual merits of each individual IP right.

Griffith Hack is built around their central philosophy, ‘IP Amplified’, encapsulating the company’s approach to patents, trademarks and designs as risks, opportunities and possibilities. Griffith Hack partners with its clients to build, protect and grow their businesses through IP, not only protecting what they already have but using their existing IP to create new potential and fresh perspectives on markets and brands. While the protection of a client’s IP is Griffith Hack’s priority, they go the extra mile in helping to make the most of their IP through smarter development, performance tracking and management.

After all, Griffith Hack would not exist without its clients. Working with a range of businesses that varies in size, industry, location and individual ambitions, Griffith Hack thrives on developing longstanding relationships whilst creating successful solutions in IP protection. Sharing in the commercial success of a client is a privilege for the team at Griffith Hack, who are invested in the outcome of each project. This devotion to providing the very best advice often means engaging in tricky conversations such as the abandonment of ‘passion projects’, but with a team of attorneys that are each lauded for their industry knowledge and commercial acumen, Griffith Hack is able to provide pragmatic advice, realistic risk assessments and open lines of communication to their attorneys at all times.

With a team of almost sixty IP specialists including Patent Attorneys, Trademark Attorneys and IP lawyers, Griffith Hack harbours an environment that encourages collaboration between experts of different legal specialities to provide solutions tailored to each client. Although offering a broad repertoire of services, Griffith Hack specialises in Patents, Trademarks and IP litigation.

Patents used to be the predominant feature of IP, yet over the years the details of what elements of IP should be patented have become more complex. Griffith Hack clients benefit from attorneys who are focused on commercial outcomes such as the definition of value propositions and the development of long-term businesses.

Meanwhile, trademarks are central to any brand, differentiating themselves within a crowded marketplace. Griffith Hack’s team of trademark specialists are dedicated to getting to know the essence of a brand and offering advice to maximise the protection of their assets.

Finally, IP Litigation is a daunting process for any business, and while Griffith Hack are often able to reach amicable agreements before resorting to major litigation, their lawyers also have a strong track record in protecting their client’s when matters proceed to trial. With over a hundred years of experience and expertise in any of these legal practices, Griffith Hack is able to produce the best service and outcomes for their clients every time.

As Covid-19 affects not only the legal industry but businesses all over the world, many of Griffith Hack’s clients are taking steps to protect themselves and the firm is taking pragmatic but innovative approaches to help them do so. Internally, Griffith and Hack has also adapted its offering to continue ensuring their clients succeed despite the challenging social climates, including producing virtual seminars and publishing several articles and webinars offering advice to businesses.

While operating in the midst of global pandemic presents challenges when looking ahead, Griffith Hack has been working hard to develop their proposition in better alignment with their clients’ needs. As well-known innovators in IP, Principals Sinclair and Hughes have been providing 360 IP perspective to help clients strategise the next step in the evolution of their businesses. Although the future is uncertain, there is no doubt that the services of Griffith Hack will remain vital to Australia’s business landscape.

For more inofrmation, contact:

Dominic Bosher

Company: Griffith Hack

Web Address:

One of Australia’s largest IP law firm’s thrives during the pandemic

Established in 1904, Griffith Hack has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest specialist Intellectual Property firms, operating in offices all across Australia. Providing commercial and client-centric services predominantly in Patents, Trademarks and IP Litigation as well as Copyright, Design Right, Trade Secrets and Plant Breeders Rights, Griffith Hack works with local, international and multinational companies including Sony, Asahi Beverages and Puma.

Since the company’s inception over a hundred years ago, Griffith Hack has continually adapted to the developments in the legal and commercial landscape of Australia, today offering holistic IP services that enable the team at Griffith Hack to advise on IP strategy whilst retaining the individual merits of each individual IP right.

Griffith Hack is built around their central philosophy, ‘IP Amplified’, encapsulating the company’s approach to patents, trademarks and designs as risks, opportunities and possibilities. Griffith Hack partners with its clients to build, protect and grow their businesses through IP, not only protecting what they already have but using their existing IP to create new potential and fresh perspectives on markets and brands. While the protection of a client’s IP is Griffith Hack’s priority, they go the extra mile in helping to make the most of their IP through smarter development, performance tracking and management.

After all, Griffith Hack would not exist without its clients. Working with a range of businesses that varies in size, industry, location and individual ambitions, Griffith Hack thrives on developing longstanding relationships whilst creating successful solutions in IP protection. Sharing in the commercial success of a client is a privilege for the team at Griffith Hack, who are invested in the outcome of each project. This devotion to providing the very best advice often means engaging in tricky conversations such as the abandonment of ‘passion projects’, but with a team of attorneys that are each lauded for their industry knowledge and commercial acumen, Griffith Hack is able to provide pragmatic advice, realistic risk assessments and open lines of communication to their attorneys at all times.

With a team of almost sixty IP specialists including Patent Attorneys, Trademark Attorneys and IP lawyers, Griffith Hack harbours an environment that encourages collaboration between experts of different legal specialities to provide solutions tailored to each client. Although offering a broad repertoire of services, Griffith Hack specialises in Patents, Trademarks and IP litigation.

Patents used to be the predominant feature of IP, yet over the years the details of what elements of IP should be patented have become more complex. Griffith Hack clients benefit from attorneys who are focused on commercial outcomes such as the definition of value propositions and the development of long-term businesses.

Meanwhile, trademarks are central to any brand, differentiating themselves within a crowded marketplace. Griffith Hack’s team of trademark specialists are dedicated to getting to know the essence of a brand and offering advice to maximise the protection of their assets.

Finally, IP Litigation is a daunting process for any business, and while Griffith Hack are often able to reach amicable agreements before resorting to major litigation, their lawyers also have a strong track record in protecting their client’s when matters proceed to trial. With over a hundred years of experience and expertise in any of these legal practices, Griffith Hack is able to produce the best service and outcomes for their clients every time.

As Covid-19 affects not only the legal industry but businesses all over the world, many of Griffith Hack’s clients are taking steps to protect themselves and the firm is taking pragmatic but innovative approaches to help them do so. Internally, Griffith and Hack has also adapted its offering to continue ensuring their clients succeed despite the challenging social climates, including producing virtual seminars and publishing several articles and webinars offering advice to businesses.

While operating in the midst of global pandemic presents challenges when looking ahead, Griffith Hack has been working hard to develop their proposition in better alignment with their clients’ needs. As well-known innovators in IP, Principals Sinclair and Hughes have been providing 360 IP perspective to help clients strategise the next step in the evolution of their businesses. Although the future is uncertain, there is no doubt that the services of Griffith Hack will remain vital to Australia’s business landscape.

For more inofrmation, contact:

Dominic Bosher

Company: Griffith Hack

Web Address:

GPS Accounting and GPS Legal first companies in Thailand to join Alliott Global Alliance

GPS Accounting and GPS Legal, part of the GPS Professional Services Group, have each been accepted as the exclusive Thailand members of Alliott Global Alliance (AGA), a leading international alliance of independent professional services firms. 

Providing full-service accounting, tax, and legal advisory services to resident and overseas individuals, local and regional SMEs, and global multinationals in Thailand, the two sister firms join a growing alliance comprising 185 member firms in 225 cities across 80 countries.

“Affiliating with Alliott Global Alliance will increase our global exposure and facilitate business into and out of Thailand. Being recognised by such a respected group as AGA confirms the quality of our services,” said Steve Harrop, Managing Partner of GPS Accounting.

Lawrence Chaney, the Managing Partner of GPS Legal, continued, “We are extremely honoured and delighted to have our two firms appointed as the Thailand law and accounting members for Alliott Global Alliance. A modern practice group with traditional values, we look forward to this exciting next step in providing access to high calibre legal counsel and accountancy services through our extensive and expanded networks, strong personal relationships, and local know-how.” 

“Alliott Global Alliance is undergoing fast organic growth in Southeast Asia and around the world and has been targeting strong independent law and accounting firms capable of meeting the high standards required to represent the alliance in Thailand,” commented Alliott Global Alliance COO Giles Brake.  “High levels of responsiveness, technical excellence, business acumen, and international orientation are all attributes we have found in abundance in both GPS Legal and GPS Accounting. Together, the two firms are able to coordinate the complex, multidisciplinary needs of foreign clients operating in Thailand and now with the expanded support of their AGA colleagues, in a further 225 cities in 80 countries across the globe. We extend a warm welcome to our friends and colleagues at GPS.”

How to Avoid COVID-19 Business Scams

COVID-19 has left the world in disarray. With fluctuating cases and schools and businesses reopening just to shut down again, the future is uncertain. These transitions, though, have put an emphasis on using technology. Whether it’s working from home or shopping online, people need the internet more than ever.

As more and more people turn to tech, scams are on the rise. Business scams, especially, are necessary to identify and avoid. For the duration of the pandemic, these scams are likely to stick around.


The Types of Scams

The first step in avoiding COVID-19 business scams is being able to identify the types of scams that you may encounter. From stay-at-home orders to quarantines, people are turning to telehealth, unemployment sites and better cybersecurity systems. Each of these areas is a potential spot for a cyber attack.

Phishing is one of the most common business scams. These often come in the form of an email that asks employees for private information — passwords or social security numbers, for instance. The contents of the email could ask for private data on the business, too. Employees might not question it if the sender appears to be a supervisor or coworker.

Charity and donation scams are going around as well. These will likely ask for money or a contribution to their cause, masking themselves as a legitimate organization.

Conversely, around 70% of small businesses applied for loans within the first few weeks of the pandemic hitting the United States. In doing so, COVID-19 business loan scams increased, attempting to take advantage of vulnerable companies during this time.

Inside a company, too, scams can occur. IT departments are where experts fight off attacks, but also where the company can be vulnerable. The time is now to act and take preventative measures.


How to Avoid COVID-19 Business Scams

After understanding the various types of scams your business may see, you can move on to these actionable steps.

First, make everyone at the company, and in your life in general, aware of how many scams are out there. For instance, at the beginning of the pandemic, people were in need of information about the spread of the virus and what to do. Scammers came forward pretending to be official organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), offering false information.

Proper training is imperative. Use resources that help you identify scams to perfect your knack for weeding them out. Then, you and your coworkers will have an easier time avoiding them.

Identifying and verifying email addresses is critical as well. Make sure emails belong to the right person. The difference could be as subtle as “.com” instead of “.org.” If something looks off, consult someone else before doing anything.

Clicking on links, for instance, is something to avoid unless you’re certain about the sender’s identity. Otherwise, you could be feeding into a phishing scam.

To set up a preventative measure for everything, though, a business should have the best cybersecurity protection. These systems can filter out many scams and keep attacks at bay.


Protection During Uncertain Times

Navigating technology can be difficult. As the pandemic lasts for an indefinite amount of time, people are turning to tech and the internet more than ever. It’s imperative to follow the above steps for the best protection against scams, using tech wisely.

New Report Says COVID-19 is Fuelling Growth in Enterprise Blockchain and Asia is taking a global lead

A new report from Global Digital Finance (GDF), the cryptoassets and digital finance industry membership body, says the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a surge in interest and activity around Enterprise or private Blockchain, and Asia – in particular China – has taken a significant lead on the global stage in terms of its development and implementation.

On a sector basis, it says the financial services industry is the most receptive to blockchain technology and has some of the most advanced systems in this area.

The report, entitled ‘Financial Services Leads the development of Enterprise Blockchain’, also makes several predictions relating to Enterprise Blockchain.  This includes business networks becoming more decentralised, the rise of semi-public ‘super networks’, and advances in technology enabling new paradigms.  

Enterprise blockchain generally refers to a set of technologies, tools, and methods to build, deploy, and maintain shared business networks that are jointly operated by identifiable participants.


Lawrence Wintermyer, Executive Co-Chair GDF said: “A new uptick in interest and activity has been registered in the industry since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Proof of Concepts (PoCs) seem to have fallen out of favour as enterprises are eyeing the deployment of real production systems. Existing projects are accelerated, when contributing to the overall digitisation strategy. The ecosystem is moving to a greater stage of usage and adoption by institutions and governments alike.”

Keith Bear, Associate Partner, Elixirr, and Michel Rauchs, Managing Director of Paradigma wrote the report.


Keith Bear said: “Somewhat overshadowed by events in the Western world, Enterprise Blockchain developments in Asia are advancing at breath-taking speed. China is leading the way in terms of network deployments and ecosystem growth, receiving an additional boost after the official endorsement by the government pursuing a strategy that establishes blockchain as a national priority. While projects in the East and West currently mainly develop in parallel, we expect a rapprochement and growing interaction between projects in the future.”

Michel Rauchs said: “Over the last two years, a growing number of business networks have made the transition from proof-of-concept or pilot into production in relation to their blockchain projects, going live with multi-party systems that have often been silently in the making for several years. 

“However, not all sectors across the economy have been equally involved: besides healthcare and food/agriculture, networks built around financial services appear to particularly stand out.  This may be due to financial services as an industry carrying an excessive burden of reconciliation costs due to the nature of value chains with multiple participants, extensive regulatory obligations, and historical market conventions. All these factors can add up to effective business cases focused on mutualised cost reduction in the first instance, often followed by incremental revenue generation through new business models in a second instance.”


Looking ahead – key trends to watch

The report highlights the following trends that will impact on Enterprise Blockchain.


Business networks becoming more decentralised, one step at a time

The report says a growing number of network participants are moving node management in-house, following increased demand of platform clients since 2019 for the option of hosting instances in private company clouds. This development adds to the overall robustness of networks by providing a more distributed topology based

on diverse deployment options. The report says it expects this trend to continue and pave the way for the gradual distribution of control among members at the governance level as well – a further step towards the ultimate Enterprise Blockchain promise of jointly-owned and collectively-operated market infrastructure. 

Increased focus on the application layer

As with any institutional technology, the core foundation first needs to be laid before end user applications can be deployed. With a fully-developed protocol layer and an increasingly mature business network layer (further expansion and growth towards critical mass), the report says the focus in the Enterprise Blockchain ecosystem is now ready to shift to the application layer, which is home to the actual front-end solutions that create real business value to end users.

Monolithic networks gradually giving way to modular arrangements

As a result of the above, the report says it foresees that application-agnostic business networks will increasingly replace or supersede monolithic networks whose initial focus was limited to a narrow application. Opening up the network to multiple use cases – possibly beyond industry boundaries – provides an attractive venue for application developers and operators to deploy their solutions, creating incentives for additional applications to emerge on the same network that participants and end users can choose to run in a modular fashion. In a similar vein, the report says network-agnostic applications that can be deployed across multiple business networks will proliferate: in a first stage, these will likely be made available via generic marketplaces for specific DLT protocols (e.g. see the R3’s CordApp marketplace).

The report says a key value driver, as already demonstrated by public and permission less cryptoasset networks such as Ethereum, is composability, i.e. the ability to combine different building blocks (modular applications) in various ways with little friction.


The rise of semi-public “super networks”

The emergence and growth of large industry agnostic business networks with open access policies is a trend that will accelerate over the coming quarters. These networks are permissioned yet enable any organisation to join if eligibility criteria are met (hence “semi-public”), with the aim of creating a bottom connectivity layer between enterprises that reduces the need to join multiple networks  at once. Examples include private-sector initiatives such as The Corda Network, a “network of networks” governed by an independent foundation that dissolves the boundaries between smaller Corda-based sub-networks. Similar initiatives also exist at

the country level (e.g. Alastria in Spain, BSN in China) and the regional level (e.g. EBSI in the European Union) with the aim of building a (supra)national Enterprise Blockchain infrastructure that prevails over a fragmented landscape of many closed, siloed systems.


Increasing connectivity between networks via middleware tools and the application layer

Middleware tools such as Digital Asset’s network-agnostic smart contract language

DAML enable developers to abstract away the underlying networks – and even protocols – and focus on business applications. Similarly, identity and token standards are becoming an increasingly important driver facilitating the flow of data between different networks and applications. Standardisation at the application layer will allow enterprises to transcend the natural boundaries of networks by enabling near-frictionless value exchange across the entire ecosystem. Among many

others, the Token Taxonomy Initiative spearheaded by the member-driven non-profit

InterWork Alliance is a prominent example of cross-industry collaboration to promote the development of standards.

Private and public networks are approaching

There is a growing trend of convergence between permissioned business networks and public and permission less networks as these systems as enterprises come to realise the benefits of open, readily available infrastructure. For instance, new tools such as Baseline use public networks (e.g. Ethereum main net) as a common frame of reference to orchestrate the synchronisation and reconciliation between disparate enterprise systems and applications. Other enterprise projects use public networks altogether as the technical foundation for issuing, managing, and transferring digital securities, as illustrated by recent bond issuances by international banks Société Générale, Santander, and BBVA, as well as tokenisation platforms such as Tokeny or Stokr.

Advances in research enabling new paradigms

The excitement around blockchain as a technology has brought renewed interest into academic sub-disciplines such as distributed systems and cryptography. For example, advances in distributed systems research have led to the design of more scalable and performant systems that face fewer decentralisation trade-offs than older implementations. In particular, significant breakthroughs in cryptographic techniques such as zero-knowledge proofs enable the development of verifiable computation, opening up a whole new avenue of promising privacy-preserving applications whose use extends way beyond the — admittedly still limited — universe of Enterprise Blockchain.

The practical implementation of these otherwise mostly theoretical concepts into production systems will offer new paradigms for global cross-entity collaboration in full confidentiality with high degrees of individual control.



Inverse relationship between degree of maturity and future growth potential of layers

The further up you move the Enterprise Blockchain stack, the less mature the layers are: protocols and platforms have evolved over years into robust and stable offerings, whereas business networks – and applications in particular – are in a more nascent stage. Conversely, the future growth potential for a layer is increasing up the stack: hundreds, if not thousands, of new business networks are scheduled to see the light, potentially attracting tens of thousands of applications that are yet to be conceived.

Simon Taylor, Co-Chair GDF said: “It has been some time since the hype of Enterprise Blockchain we experienced in 2015. Then, large corporates enthusiastically grappled with the technology and not the cryptocurrency, there

were few viable use cases, and the market was awash with great intentions. Since then the hype has largely dissipated and the community has rolled up its sleeves and got working.”

Lawrence Wintermyer “The last five years show technology stacks that can solve real problems, like supply chain traceability, real time global cross border payments, and improved capital efficiency have arrived. The advent of Libra and the arrival of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) have moved DLT up the agenda of global policy makers, regulators, and financial services executives.

“The big question for the financial services sector, and in fact for all sectors, is where to look in the enterprise blockchain landscape to deliver solutions to help solve some of the “wicked problems” we face in industry over the next business cycle.”

Fast Growth Aussie Tech Company Enters the UK Market to Empower Small Businesses with ‘Total Employment Care’

HR and people management platform Employment Hero has announced its expansion into the UK market, following impressive growth and success in its home market. Looking to empower small businesses and their employees as they transition into a new way of post-COVID working, the company has also announced its expansion into Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand.

Celebrated as one of LinkedIn’s Top Australian Startups for 2020, and listed in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 in 2019, Employment Hero has gone from strength to strength over the past year and has revealed ambitious plans for the UK and the other key international markets. 

Founded in 2014, Employment Hero is an end-to-end people management OS (Operating System) that enables smaller businesses to recruit, hire, onboard, engage, develop and align their teams remotely. This is particularly relevant now, as employers’ increased responsibility of the care for their employees extends from the traditional workplace to homes, from company drinks to lunchtime livestream PT sessions, and the expectations of ‘Total Employment Care’ becomes a reality.

Similar technology is commonly supplied using multiple vendors to larger businesses, but not available, affordable or accessible to smaller ones, until now.

Due to the pressure and change COVID has put on SMEs’ HR function, Employment Hero has seen a 56% increase in sales since the start of the pandemic, which has led to a 44% increase in staff for the Sydney-based company.  With the HR function on overload and an increasing demand for ‘Total Employment Care’, despite dwindling teams and budgets, the company believes that now is the right time to expand into new markets and offer a solution.

More than 5,000 small to medium-sized businesses are currently running Employment Hero’s OS, collectively managing over 200,000 employees, with automated solutions for employee management, payroll, workforce management and employee benefits. It was created to take the hard work out of people management so employers can grow their teams and businesses with confidence.

Ben Thompson, CEO and co-founder of Employment Hero, said: “Our mission is to help make life easier and better for SMEs and so they can compete with bigger organisations. With COVID-19 globally impacting millions of small businesses and also setting up new opportunities for SMEs, we feel that there has never been a better time to launch our offering in the UK.” 


Employment Hero’s Australian business users report an 80% reduction of time spent on people management and a 60% reduction of time spent on payroll processing.  

Earlier in the year, Employment Hero also conducted a Remote Work Survey and found that 92 percent of employees would continue to work from home regularly if given the opportunity. Hybrid working models are the way of the remote-first work future, and small businesses cannot afford to be left behind. The Employment Hero platform will empower SMEs to future-proof their workforce and understand this new way of working without sacrificing the feel of a small business culture.

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, SMEs make up 99.9 percent of total businesses in the UK and over 80 per cent have been affected by the pandemic crisis. “Similar to how we pivoted to help more Australian SMEs get through the COVID-19 crisis, we want to offer UK small businesses the same kind of support,” Thompson added. 

Thompson continued: “Of the 99.9 percent of mentioned businesses, these largely don’t have access to the right tools to make that process easy or offer more meaningful benefits to their staff, let alone prepare for the remote-first work future. Employment Hero offers these tools and levels the playing field for all businesses to compete.”

Q4 2020

 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 the final months of 2020 draw to a close, many businesses are taking the time to reflect on the unique challenges and opportunities that this year has presented due to unexpected pandemic. For many, this year has unfortunately resulted in the end of their business, which they have poured so much time and dedication into creating. Whilst for others, 2020 has been a booming success, despite the uncertainty.

In this issue, we take a closer look at those businesses which have excelled this year, going above and beyond to ensure that they are able to continue operating, safely and to the same exceptional level of service they are renowned for.

For instance, Rainbow Station Early Education Centre adapts individualised learning programs to cater to each child’s needs, interests and abilities. This is just one of the various qualities which makes the team and their services truly unique. However, Covid-19 forced the team to discover new ways of safely delivering their systems of education and care for those self-isolating at home. Incorporating technology into their approach, Rainbow Station Early Education Centre quickly adapted to this new way of living and it has proven to be an almighty success.

This success story is just one of the many featured within the pages of this Q4 edition. For now, we hope that you stay safe and that the final months of 2020 are wonderful!

How Your Customers Can Help You For Business Expansion

Marketing trends come and go. Customer preferences and shopping behavior change all the time. Marketers come up with new and innovative campaigns every now and then. Businesses seek ways of standing out from the crowd and resonate with target audiences. The world of business doesn’t seem to take a break- ever! But maybe you should pause a little and instead of chasing new trends and new customers, focus more on your own existing customers. Studies show that making your name within your current customer base can help you secure new leads and expand your business. How is that?

For starters, word of mouth advertising is one of the oldest and still among the most effective marketing techniques in the world. If your customers are happy, they will advertise your business for free within their social circles through word-of-mouth referrals. Those who use social media and other online platforms will post positive reviews about your brand online, giving you a solid base to launch your online campaigns. Besides, customer feedback is invaluable when it comes to addressing your pain points and positioning your company for success. When they aren’t helping you generate new leads and improve your services or products, they are there offering you room for growth within their shopping culture.

In a nutshell, ensuring that your current fan base is satisfied gives you upsell and cross-sell opportunities. All you need to do in order to leverage your customers for expansion is to mobilize all the needed resources and to be psychologically ready to lead your company to greater heights. Speaking of resources, you need to prepare your human resource and motivate them to grow with the company. That means better terms of the contract and better leadership on your part. When expanding overseas, it is best that you source help from an international PEO, such as NH Global Partners,  instead of managing foreign employees on your own. You already have a lot on your plate- handling HR issues might derail your expansion process.

So, are you ready for expansion? Here are 3 pointers to leveraging customers for business expansion:

1. Referral marketing

This is a type of marketing whereby you reward your customers for referring friends and family to your brand. It is arguably one of the cheapest and most effective ways of growing your customer base. You start by creating a strong rapport with customers through calls to action in emails, direct messages on social media, and calling them in person. You make them feel like an integral part of your brand story. That is the rapport that you then leverage to grow your audience and market your products for almost nothing. You can give the customers some sort of affiliate links which when new customers click and then buy something from your website, the customer who made the referral earns points. These points can then be redeemed at your store, probably in the form of discounts. The marketing ROI for this form of marketing is insanely high.

2. Testimonials and case studies

 Don’t wait for customers to share reviews online. Influence those reviews by asking them to send you testimonials. In this era of social media and visual consumerism, you can influence sales leads by sharing videos of customers using and/reviewing your products. Ensure that the customers you post are authentic and the products they claim to have bought from you are verifiable. If you post ghost customers and inauthentic products, someone will catch you in the lie and shame you online. Case studies are as powerful as testimonials in attracting new clients. They tell potential clients that you have solved problems like theirs before and that you are the best among all available options to solve their prevailing problem.

3. Growing with the existing customer base

In this case, you don’t expand by reaching out to new markets. You grow by leveraging the room for growth that your customers create as their shopping behaviors change. Read their reviews and suggestions and see where their needs are shifting to, and then invest in that direction. Maybe they need new products and/or services for new problems in their lives. Or maybe their income has grown and they now need more luxurious products and services for the same problem you have been solving for them. Whichever the case, don’t allow competitors to poach them from you. Step up and expand your product offering!


It is evident that how you relate to customers can influence the financial health of your brand. So, in everything you do, if at all you wish to grow through your existing customers, every strategy must be directed to improving customer experience.

How Software Can Improve Retail Business Efficiency

As a retailer, you should be able to smoothly process payments both in-store and online. This is a must nowadays when more and more people shop online.

After all, if consumers can shop seamlessly in brick-and-mortar stores, why shouldn’t they be able to do that online too?

A good payment processing software solution allows a business to process debit cards, credit cards, and other payment methods to facilitate transactions, allowing them to process quickly and securely. It lets customers enter their payment details and protects them by connecting with financial institutions.

The software creates greater credibility for your business and helps improve overall security by minimizing fraud. On top of that, invoices get processed faster, which only minimizes costs further by reducing the need for a billing and invoicing department.

This is why every serious business that plans to expand needs payment processing software. Operating online and handling cashless payments is something you cannot do without these software tools.


ERP software

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a platform that integrates various processes and functions across the company. This software can combine, manage, and analyze data from different tasks by allowing the user to see it in one place. Thanks to its dynamic nature, it can be used across multiple industries.

The global ERP software market is already huge and it’s only going to grow even more. That, alone, is a clear signal of how important it already is to many businesses. Many clothing businesses, healthcare institutions, and even retailers are already capitalizing on this type of software.

The most important benefit of using ERP is the centralized database. The database provides employees with all the important documents and customer information. In return, it improves efficiency and reduces errors thanks to automation.


Final thoughts

Thanks to various technological advancements, businesses all around the globe are getting a chance to improve their operations and processes. Some novelties even allow entrepreneurs to reinvent their businesses from the ground up.

All in all, if your business can be improved with the help of the mentioned software tools, do not hesitate to implement them. The results will be there and you will feel them.

APAC Insider Announces the Winners of the 2020 Legal Awards

United Kingdom, 2020- APAC Insider Magazine has announced the winners of the 2020 Legal Awards.

The legal landscape is peppered with extraordinary practitioners and paragons – indeed, success simply demands a dedication to excellence and an ability to meet a client’s very individual needs. Regardless of where you are in the world, there will be legal experts that work to redefine industry best practice. The Asia Pacific is certainly no different.

Awards Co-ordinator Chloe Smart took a moment to discuss the success of this year’s awards programme: “As a leader of business innovation, the Asia Pacific region is home to some of the world’s leading law firms. As always, the 2020 Legal Awards have spotlighted those that are constantly looking to drive the region’s reputation to new heights. It has been an honour to recognise the individuals, teams and firms in this year’s edition.”

As an independent awarding body, business size or reach are not deciding factors for our nominations. Rather, we focus on the quality and dedication of work and services, feedback from existing and current clients and an endeavour to stay ahead in one of the world’s most ambitious business sectors.

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated professionals selected for them, please visit where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.


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.

Is Indonesia a Good Place to Do Business?

While Indonesia has been getting some interest from foreign investors over the last few years, it is still not the easiest country in the APAC to do business. Starting a business here can be tough, as is reflected in the country’s World Bank Doing Business rankings. There are many obstacles to running a business here and a lot of red tape. You also have to deal with a significantly different job and business climate in general. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges of conducting business in Indonesia and how to surmount them.

Starting a Business

Indonesia ranked 166th on the World Bank’s rankings, and this can be attributed to a few reasons. One of the main ones is the multiple loops you have to go through before being able to lawfully operate a business in the country. The average number of procedures needed to start a business in other countries of the OECD is 5. The number is 9 in Indonesia.

This is why you won’t be able to start or run a business in Indonesia without someone who has a solid understanding of the local system, especially when it comes to employment. You should start looking for an Indonesia PEO right now if you ever intend to set up shop in the country. A PEO like New Horizons Global Partners will handle all recruitment and employment responsibilities for you. They will be able to help you draft employee contracts and benefits. And they’ll do all of this without you having to go through the arduous process of establishing a second entity in the country.

Construction Permits

If you were thinking of building a facility for your business in Indonesia or getting in the development business, good luck. First of all, development is largely inaccessible to foreigners, and building permits take a lot of time in the country. As a matter of fact, getting a construction permit in the country can take over 150 days and a grand total of 13 procedures.


Basic Amenities

Another thing that will surprise many investors is how much it costs to have certain amenities installed, like electricity for instance. The cost of having electricity installed is way higher than in other countries of the OECD. You first need to get a Guaranteed Electrical Installation Certificate, then a Certificate of Operation Worthiness from the National Electrical Contractors Association. This is not even counting the extra costs for manual labor.

Benefits of Doing Business in the Country

However, there are a few benefits to doing business in the country. First, it has a great geographical location that places it right in the middle of the APAC, which gives it direct access to the Chinese, Southeast Asian, South Asian, and Australian markets. It also has one of the strongest investor protections in the world, which makes it a good option if you were intending to enter into a partnership with a local.

Starting a business in Indonesia is not for the faint of heart, but is still a country that offers tons of opportunities for savvy investors with a plan. Make sure that you speak with someone with boots on the ground first and take the steps necessary to get prepared for the reality of doing business in the country.

Spoon Guru Secures Series A Funding with W23, The Venture Capital Arm of Leading Australian Retailer, Woolworths Group

Spoon Guru, the London-based AI powered food search and discovery technology start-up,  has announced that it has secured a Series A funding round with W23, the Venture Capital arm of Australia’s largest retailer, Woolworths Group. The multi-million dollar investment will be used to expand Spoon Guru’s footprint with retailers across APAC, North America and Europe, at a time when governments are putting a greater focus on the importance of food and health to boost national health. 

Co-founded in 2015 by Markus Stripf, Tim Allen and Simon O’Regan, Spoon Guru successfully launched into the UK with a game-changing Tesco partnership supporting shoppers with individual dietary preferences, and has been growing its international presence year on year. In 2018, Spoon Guru partnered with Woolworths Group’s to support its health ambitions in Australia and New Zealand and since then has secured further heavyweight retail partnerships in the Netherlands and the US. Spoon Guru plans to use the investment to continue expansion across the US, Europe and further afield.

Spoon Guru will also use the funds to fuel product innovation instore and online. Through the combination of AI and machine learning with nutritional expertise, Spoon Guru enables food retailers to deliver highly personalised experiences tailored to each customer, based on their distinct and unique dietary, health, and wellness needs. Recent product launches include the Immunity Support TAG in response to the pandemic and beyond as well as a ground-breaking health and wellness suite of products which together help shoppers to make better choices and improve outcomes. 

Markus Stripf, Co-founder of Spoon Guru, comments: “With governments worldwide launching campaigns to tackle obesity and related lifestyle diseases, consumers are now thinking about how food impacts their health and wellness. There is a desire from shoppers for healthier choices and with a significant swing to online shopping, grocery retailers have the opportunity to use technologies like Spoon Guru to drive and scale healthier baskets. It is our mission to provide retailers with the tools they need to ensure healthier food discovery, thereby improving basket sizes and values and in turn driving customer loyalty and growth for our partners. The funding will ensure we can further develop our product suite and expertise in driving towards this goal.”

W23, was established by the Woolworths Group in 2019 to partner with innovative start ups as part of the Group’s retail ecosystem strategy. With a particular focus on next-generation consumer products and disruptive services, to date W23 has partnered with a range of businesses from meal-kit deliveries, through to crowd sourced fulfilment, digital health, cutting-edge consumer goods and AI powered SEO and SEM.

Ingrid Maes, Managing Director of W23, said; “Our investment in Spoon Guru fits perfectly into our portfolio of strategic partnerships with game-changing startups that are helping to shape the future of online retail.

“Spoon Guru’s specialist algorithms are already meeting the health goals and dietary requirements of millions of Woolworths’ customers. Our partnership model will give the team at Spoon Guru the freedom to continue doing what they do best, while also helping Woolworths differentiate its offer and accelerate the Group’s ability to meet the changing health needs of customers. We look forward to being part of Spoon Guru’s next growth phase.”

Co-Founder of Spoon Guru, Tim Allen adds; “W23 is recognised as the go-to Venture Capital fund for disruptors within the food and health-tech space. Having the retail and grocery expertise of Woolworths Group will be a significant asset to our efforts as we scale rapidly across APAC, North America and Europe.”

The Spoon Guru Board is headed by Chairman and Ex Asda CEO, Andy Clarke.

Yanmar Launches All-New C50R-5A Tracked Carrier

Yanmar Compact Equipment EMEA has unveiled a new addition to its class-leading tracked carrier portfolio. The next-generation C50R-5A combines compact dimensions, impressive power and unrivalled durability with a unique undercarriage that excels in even the most challenging conditions.

Featuring Yanmar’s Stage V-compliant 111hp (83.2kW) 4TNV94FHT direct-injection engine, the C50R-5A delivers 410Nm of torque at 1700rpm. Fitted with a common rail system and full electronic engine control, power is delivered precisely when needed. The carrier can achieve travel speeds of up to 9.5km/h, while its 121-litre fuel tank ensures fewer refuelling stops.

The engine utilises Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) to reduce NOX, alongside a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology to ensure minimal environmental impact. The Diesel Oxidation Catalyst within the DPF is maintenance-free, which helps the C50R-5A to achieve 500-hour service intervals.

The robust carrier is available in two different configurations, a standard three-sided model (C50R-5A) and a turning vessel (C50R-5ATV). The standard model can open each side separately (left, right, rear), boasts 658mm ground clearance and dumps at a 65 degree angle. On the C50R-5ATV, the entire vessel is mounted on a turning frame that can pivot 90 degrees to the left or right. This allows the carrier to precisely dump material while moving alongside a trench.

The C50R-5A can transport up to 3,800kg (standard) and 3,500kg (turning vessel). This, combined with its total width of 2.2 meters, length of 4.54 meters and ability to turn 360 degrees on the spot in seven seconds, perfectly demonstrates the carrier’s class-leading performance.

This capability is, in part, thanks to Yanmar’s all-new HST transmission. Automatic hydraulic pressure adjustments allows the C50R-5A to turn smoothly without stalling the engine, making it easier and faster to operate.

The C50R-5A’s undercarriage uses a hydraulic tensioning system that significantly reduces downtime by eliminating the need to perform track tensioning, helping to reduce the total cost of ownership. Each roller is mounted on free moving bogeys to allow for better shock absorption, extending undercarriage service life and delivering a more comfortable ride. Its 450mm wide tracks also help to evenly distribute the carrier’s weight – even fully loaded, the C50R-5A has a ground pressure as low as 32.4kPA.

With world-leading experience in designing the market’s most reliable tracked carriers, Yanmar knows how to make a machine that is straightforward and intuitive to operate. Servo-assisted travel levers are easy to use, while their length offers impressive precision, reduces fatigue and improves productivity. An LCD digital interface provides the operator with essential machine information regarding status, errors, warnings and DPF maintenance alerts.

Another highlight of the C50R-5A is its reversible suspension seat console. Not only does this mean that the operator can always face the direction of travel, but it significantly increases on-site safety. Space and legroom within the cabin are ample and all switches are located close to the LCD screen to improve visibility and ease of operation.

As with all Yanmar equipment, safety was a key priority in the design of the C50R-5A. The cabin structure meets ROPS (Roll-Over Protective Structure) certification and FOPS (Falling Object Protection Structure) Level 1, while the load-facing side is further protected by a steel grid. To maximise on-site safety, all maintenance items can be reached from ground level, with safety treads and a railing for engine compartment access.

How To Become a Hospitality Manager

When you go out to eat, stay at a hotel or enjoy time away from home, you enter the hospitality world. You wouldn’t have a relaxing hotel spa day or a fun cruise trip without the hardworking employees and managers who oversee them. They ensure that every customer has a great time, all while operating under the supervision of an experienced, efficient manager.

Hospitality managers are essential for any business that serves customers. They must lead their team, maintain a positive attitude and love working with the people around them. It’s a fulfilling career that you might find intriguing, but how can you get started on this potential career path?

Check out this guide to learn how to become a hospitality manager. With a little time and effort, you can experience this rewarding profession and work for some of the world’s best companies.

1. Work in Customer Service

Hospitality managers must understand their customers’ current and future needs. You have to anticipate what they want and how to make that happen while supervising your budget and staff members. The best way to hone this crucial hospitality instinct is to work in customer service.

As you begin your journey with jobs like waiting tables, operating a drive-through or working in retail, you’ll build essential communication and team-building skills. You’ll learn how to handle a customer’s complaints or needs while maintaining a level head and a positive attitude. With time, you may even become a team leader, which is a steppingstone to management positions because it gives you leadership experience on a smaller level.

2. Earn Your Degree

You should also plan to earn a degree to learn the basics of management. Depending on your preferences, you can choose from an array of degrees for this field, like a general hospitality business or hotel administration degree. It depends on where you want to take your skills, which requires a little research.

3. Decide on an Industry

One of the best benefits of hospitality management is that there are many industries to consider. You can lead a team of hotel employees, a catering crew or staff members on a cruise ship. There are five-star restaurants waiting for your leadership skills and general management positions you could fill. You might want an upbeat environment and work in a casino or travel the world as the head of a cabin crew in an airplane.

Some people switch industries as their career goes on, which is always an option if you must move or want to use your skills differently. It all depends on where you want to live, what you want to do and what prospects most excite you.

4. Explore Training Programs

Training programs give people experience in the field without the weight of total responsibility. Most programs require a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management or a related profession. You may also need to have relevant work experience and pass an exam before entering the program. Some training experiences only take six months, while others can go for over a year.

Even though you earned a degree, you’ll receive essential training in revenue management, front office procedures, finance, human resources and other areas. You could also rotate through different departments to get a feel for various management styles. Real-life training outside the classroom will influence how you view your career options and give you better insight into where you want to work.

5. Consider Professional Certifications

After you enter the field, you can always earn professional hospitality certifications that advance your career. Certificates are an example of prestigious, accomplished work that award individuals with more career paths and better pay. Potential employers may choose you over other applicants because the certifications prove your hard work and dedication.

The specialized study provided by these training courses also fine-tune your education. After earning a general management or business degree, your certifications could give you exceptional leadership, revenue management, or employee training skills.

6. Form a Plan

No amount of experience or education will advance your career if you don’t have a plan to follow. Think about how the industries you want to explore and research companies you might work for. Aim to work for companies that offer room to grow, so you never stop advancing your career. If you know where you can take your skills, you’ll form a solid plan to get there.

Devote Your Time and Energy

You can become a hospitality manager if you devote your time and energy to advancing your career. Complete your education, get experience and research the industries that most interest you to watch your dedication result in an incredible career.

LiBiao’s ‘Mini Yellow’ mobile robots bring a game-changing sorting solution to Europe

LiBiao Robot – the automated robot-based parcel sortation solutions specialist – has announced that it is entering the European market with its ‘Mini Yellow’ range of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). And, in line with the company’s overall global strategy, LiBiao is seeking strategic alliances with distribution partners in the UK, Germany, Spain, France and Italy.

LiBiao’s ‘Mini Yellow’ range has been specifically developed as a game-changing, extremely cost-efficient and flexible alternative to the high CapEx fixed tilt-tray and cross-belt conveyor-based sortation systems that have traditionally been used within many busy parcel and e-commerce operations. Initially, two models will be offered to the European market – a 5kg tilt-tray robot and a 30kg cross-belt model. Both types have CE certification.

As the name suggests, ‘Mini Yellow’ robots are more compact than other AMRs currently on the market, which means they require less space within which to operate: 350 ‘Mini Yellow’ AMRs can cover 1,300 square metres and handle 20,000 items per hour.

LiBiao’s control software navigates the robots safely and efficiently and ensures the optimum route is taken. The software is compatible with all popular European warehouse management systems.

‘Mini Yellow’ robots are quick and easy to install and require minimal maintenance. Because it requires no fixed infrastructure, the modular system is scalable and offers complete flexibility: additional robots can be introduced as they are needed and the technology is fully portable – meaning systems can be switched between sites if required.

A significant product differentiator is that they can operate within cold store environments down to a temperature of minus 30 degrees centigrade.

So far more than 10,000 LiBiao autonomous mobile robots are in operation across China, Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asia and the USA. The technology has been deployed at a number of ‘blue-chip’ client facilities worldwide – including Walmart in the US, Uniqlo in Japan and China Post in China – and it is estimated that some two billion parcels a year are processed using LiBiao AMRs.

LiBiao Robot’s founder and chief executive, Xia Huiling, comments: “Demand for more efficient and smarter warehouse management is strong in Europe, where online shopping has been growing at a

tremendous pace and driving up the number of parcels handled, so we believe that the market will benefit from our advanced mobile robot technology.”

Xia Huiling adds: “The hardware, software and management system for the ‘Mini Yellow’ sorting system has been refined to the point where our clients usually recover the cost of their investment within one and a half to two years. And, such are the high levels of customer satisfaction with ‘Mini Yellow’ technology, that some 70 per cent of the businesses that have introduced the system so far have become repeat customers.”

Established in 2016, LiBiao Robot has its manufacturing and commercial headquarters in Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province, which is located some 170km south-west of Shanghai. The company employs some 150 people and last year had an annual turnover in excess of $US 10 million.

Potential distribution partners interested in finding out more about the opportunities to work with LiBiao Robot in Europe should visit:

Cosmose AI Expands Connected Retail Technology to Southeast Asia through Partnership with ADA, Part of Axiata Group

Cosmose AI (“Cosmose” or “the Company”), the platform that predicts and influences how 1 billion people shop offline, has announced a strategic partnership with ADA, a data and artificial intelligence company that designs and executes integrated digital, analytics, and marketing solutions. The new partnership will help Cosmose expand its presence in Southeast Asia and provide ADA with rights to market Cosmose’s platform.

Cosmose AI’s data technology uses anonymous mobile user IDs and high-precision location
information to empower some of the world’s most prominent companies including LVMH, Richemont, Walmart, L’Oreal and Samsung. The Company’s platform will provide ADA’s customers in Southeast Asia with a much more granular level of customer insights and complement ADA’s existing offering to a variety of industries such as retail, shopping malls, quick service restaurants (QSR), and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).

ADA will be launching three products, powered by Cosmose AI’s platform, as part of the partnership, combining the best of ADA’s online data with the best of Cosmose’s offline technology. These are:

  •  ADA Media Planning powered by Cosmose – to help retailers recover traffic after the pandemic;
  • ADA Location Analytics powered by Cosmose – to provide anonymised data on consumer
  • Offline SDK powered by Cosmose – to create a seamless shopping experience for retailers
    looking to integrate their mobile apps with offline stores.

Working with the combined expertise and reach of ADA, this marks Cosmose’s first entry into the key market of Southeast Asia. This builds on Cosmose’s existing success in Greater China and Japan and marks a key step towards delivering its strategy of becoming a pan-Asian platform.

Partnering with ADA is a key milestone for Cosmose’s goal of becoming an operating system for the
physical world. Cosmose currently gathers insights from over 360,000 stores. With this partnership,
Cosmose is significantly expanding its capacity, with a goal of covering 100,000 stores in Malaysia by
2021. By 2022, the Company aims to expand its ecosystem to over 2 billion smartphones and 10 million stores across Asia. Cosmose also plans to launch its service in other countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and India.

Miron Mironiuk, CEO and Founder of Cosmose AI, said: “We’re really excited to be working with
such powerhouse partners as ADA. We have big goals to expand our presence in Southeast Asia, and
ADA’s leadership in the region will help us achieve our ambitious targets. We’ve really enjoyed
collaborating with the team at ADA to develop products that bring the best of Cosmose AI’s technology to empower local retailers.”

Srinivas Gattemneni, CEO, ADA, said: “This partnership with Cosmose is not only exciting, but truly
complements our deep data and AI capabilities and their in-depth offline behavioural analysis. Together, we are able to offer our clients in nine markets across South and Southeast Asia enhanced digital and offline offerings, whilst helping Cosmose to reach its expansion goals.”

Vittorio Furlan, Head of Business Insights, ADA, said: “We are thrilled over this partnership with
Cosmose and the new offerings we can jointly bring to our clients. With brick and mortar going through radical changes – eCommerce first, and now COVID-19 lockdowns – customers still want to have the best in-store experience. Cosmose combined with ADA’s Retail suite of products, is the natural response to retailers and brands.”

Piano-Playing Perfection

Formed with the mission of instilling a passionate love for making music into every student that studies there, the European Piano Academy affords people of all ages to chance to enjoy the artistry that is playing the piano. Helping the students, and those people closest to them, enjoy the beauty making music with the piano, the European Piano Academy offers professional lessons to people of all ages and backgrounds, implementing European and Russian teaching techniques. As well as bringing people and communities much closer together through its big family atmosphere and ethos, the school aims to progress the quality of each its students’ piano playing to the highest possible level.

Each student that chooses to study at the European Piano Academy often does so in pursuit of various goals and achievements. To ensure that that every student can strike the perfect balance between making quality progress and enjoying the process while getting there, the staff always strive to use individualised approaches. With more people than ever before becoming interesting in the performing arts, such as playing the piano, the demand for lessons at the European Piano Academy has seen a gradual increase. In order to cater for this increased demand, the school has been making full use of technology such as video calling to stay ahead of these emerging developments, operating effectively, efficiently and without losing the individualised service that makes lessons such a high quality.

Though impossible to foresee, the recent global outbreak of Covid-19 has meant that the decision to invest in technology for use at the European Piano Academy was a truly prudent one indeed. Now, whilst other businesses are having to close doors and postpone services, the school can continue to offer Skype lessons to many of its students, as well as using various software tools to improve note recognition, aural, concentration, focus, and memory skills. Each teacher and staff member is a piano playing professional, delivering lessons of the highest quality to ensure that every student gets the best knowledge and techniques when it comes to mastering the keys.

The European Piano Academy also boasts a course that has been designed specifically for teachers who work with the school, covering the foundation of European and Russian teaching methods that will be utilised in lessons. Always on the lookout for new professional teacher, the European Piano Academy is all about motivating the students to love not just playing the piano itself, but the art of playing the piano in the long run. Complete with a professional educational background within the field, each of the teachers is the embodiment of passion and works tirelessly to imbue that same passion into the students across every single lesson.

Looking to the future, the European Piano Academy is currently in the process of adding new areas in which it can offer piano lessons to students, predominantly around the areas of metropolitan Sydney and Melbourne. Having already conquered the market in the eastern states of Australia, focusing in on the cities is the next logical step. With the excellence of its services, there is little doubt that those in search of true quality will turn to the European Piano Academy for lessons that are the pinnacle of piano-playing.

Striking the perfect chord with students all over the eastern states of Australia, the European Piano Academy beautifully captures both an undying love for the piano, and a desire to see that love extended into new students from all walks of life. As music continues to be such an integral part of so many people’s lives, the European Piano Academy continues to prove itself a maestro of that music, bringing joy to each and every one of its students.

Mastercard and MDEC Ink MoU To Drive Electronic Payments and Accelerate Financial Inclusion

Private and public collaboration to focus on using digitalisation to address a range of economic, commercial, and social issues.

Mastercard today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), an agency under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia (KKMM) to advance the digitalization of Malaysia’s economy, and support digital initiatives outlined in the government’s new PENJANA economic recovery plan. The partnership will focus on enabling e-commerce for micro, small-and-medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); foster financial inclusion for unbanked and underbanked populations in rural communities; and drive adoption of digital disbursement solutions.

“The MoU between Mastercard and MDEC, the lead agency in driving the nation’s digital economy initiatives, brings a truly dynamic synergy that will see the sharing of best practices and knowledge-sharing between both parties to enable the economy’s digital transformation and fuel business growth in Malaysia. It is KKMM’s and MDEC’s aspiration to firmly establish Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN and reinforce its regional digital powerhouse role that engages global champions, such as Mastercard, by ensuring the digital economy will drive shared prosperity for all Malaysians as well as the region,” said YB Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin, Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia.

Under the collaboration, Mastercard will work together with MDEC to support industry partners to facilitate the rollout of Mastercard payments and business technologies, such as Mastercard Payment Gateway Services, Kionect microcredit platform (which helps agents of FMCG sector) and Mastercard Tap-on-Phone Contactless Technology and Simplify Commerce—a platform which gives small businesses much of the ready-made infrastructure they need to engage in e-commerce. The expansion of digital payments technologies will in part be geared towards helping create smarter, more sustainable and inclusive communities for residents and local businesses. By leveraging in-depth industry insights and expertise, Mastercard will provide a comprehensive suite of smart digital solutions covering transit, lifestyle, health, and education to empower the country, enhance efficiency and productivity and improve quality of life.

“The challenges faced by the businesses this year have demonstrated to us that to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, it requires a proactive public-private sector collaboration for trade and commerce to continue to flourish in the global scene. Moreover, digitalization is key and will continue to be a major factor for Malaysians to embrace living and working in an era that engages the 4th Industry Revolution (IR4.0) that propels forward shared prosperity for all,” said YBhg. Datuk Wira Dr. Hj. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff, Chairman of MDEC.

“By working with Mastercard and drawing on their expertise in developing vast electronic payment infrastructure, we look forward to tackling a range of pressing economic and social issues through technologies that better connect individuals, communities, and businesses to become digitally-skilled Malaysians and digitally-powered businesses of all sizes across the country,” said Pn. Surina Shukri, Chief Executive Officer of MDEC.

As part of the MoU, both partners will also leverage on each other’s programs such as Mastercard’s global mentorship programs and signature Girls4Tech STEM curriculum to promote digital and financial literacy for vulnerable groups, such as underprivileged women and girls, and women-led enterprises. These are areas that are also being championed by MDEC through its various existing programs such as digital talent development, empowering women in cyber risk management, online eCommerce services with Perkhidmatan e-dagang setempat (PeDas), eUsahawan (entrepreneurship) and eRezeki (sustenance) initiatives.  Moreover, MDEC will now be a corporate member of StartPath, Mastercard’s global initiative that supports innovative early stage companies, to enable Malaysian Islamic fintechs to grow and expand.

Helping MSMEs transition to the digital economy is a particularly pressing issue in Malaysia, where such operations represent 98 percent of all business establishments[1]—but have also been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic. While there had been an increasing migration to e-commerce prior to the pandemic, 25 percent of businesses still lacked the necessary infrastructure to take advantage of the growth in online shopping[2].

The inking of the MoU follows the release of research conducted by Mastercard that showed an uptick in the use and need of cashless payments in Malaysia in March and April of this year. In fact, Malaysia’s reported use of cashless payments was higher than in other Southeast Asia markets surveyed: for instance, in April, more than 18 percent of Malaysian respondents indicated they’d increased their use of cashless payments, while during the same period, the figures in Thailand were 15 percent, 15.75 percent in Singapore, and 16.9 percent in the Philippines[3].

“The work with MDEC really gets to the heart of what Mastercard does as a company—using advances in digital technologies to create opportunity, expand inclusivity, and drive profitable entrepreneurship,” said Perry Ong, Country Manager for Malaysia and Brunei, Mastercard. “The Malaysian government has laid out ambitious goals for moving the country forward and create a smart, informed community—both out of the pandemic and beyond—and Mastercard is incredibly excited to be supporting this pursuit of progress and look forward to working with the MDEC to deploy the most secure, efficient, and versatile payment technologies in the world.”

Mastercard has been in Malaysia for more than 20 years, during which time it has worked to support the development of Malaysia’s electronic payments ecosystem and the government’s vision of a cashless society and digital economy. Mastercard has developed partnerships with stakeholders in the payments ecosystem from the government, banks, issuers, merchants, and associations to offer digital payment solutions, and increase card and cashless acceptance. In 2017, Mastercard partnered with Cyberview Sdn Bhd and the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) to transform Cyberjaya as a Smart City with a focus on cashless initiatives and now look forward to continuing this digital innovation endeavor through MDEC on a nationwide scale.

Children Are The Future

Every child is unique, finding different ways to learn, grow and develop. The fully qualified Early Childhood Teachers, and Early Childhood Educators at Rainbow Station do their best to adapt individualised learning program to each child’s needs, interests and abilities. This approach is one of the many things that makes Rainbow Station thoroughly unique.

With an approach that is intrinsically individualistic, the environment is one of equal opportunity for all. Learners of all different kinds, whether kinaesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, mathematical, linguistic, auditory or spatial are given the essential tools that they need to thrive.

The educators are trained to base learning and development techniques off a child’s interest at the time. This means that the children are consulted in their everyday activities and routine, documenting them in a floorbook. Children are then able to revisit topics and ideas. This gives the children a sense of agency, responsibility and control.

The results have been extremely positive. Everyone, from teachers, to children to parents know that their input is valued, and that their cultures,
beliefs and values are shared and promoted throughout our centre. It is a melting pot of different ideas, ripe for young minds to explore and learn more about.

Examples of this would include participating in the walk for autism each year and celebrating the international day for people with disabilities. Accepting and normalising both of these is just one way in which children can be introduced to an inclusive environment that explores what different families can look like.

COVID-19 has placed unusual challenges on the team at Rainbow Station, forcing them to innovate and find new ways of delivering their systems of education and care for those self-isolating at home. Videos of learning programs have seen sent home, with resources available on the centre’s app. It is just one of the ways in which the team have tried to give support to families while at home.

This approach sums up Rainbow Station, never daunted by a challenge and always looking to support families. It is how the team have achieved such incredible success.

A Practical Guide to Setting Up a UK Office During the Pandemic

As the US President Donald Trump creates a hostile corporate environment for Asian companies by banning transactions with major Asian brands and taking other divisive actions, many companies are exploring new options.

Despite Brexit, the UK remains a viable opportunity for Asian companies, as it has a diverse corporate landscape and quality distribution channels. The country also offers businesses the chance to branch out geographically.

For Asian businesses looking to open a UK branch, the pandemic has made things difficult. There are now more factors to consider and challenges to overcome, but we’re here to help. Read our guide to opening a UK office during the pandemic.

Hire A UK-Based Team

As the travel market has been thrown into disarray by the pandemic, the best way to open a UK office quickly and efficiently is to hire a team in the UK. Work with a reliable staffing agency to find the team members that you need to get your new office up and running. Try to train your new staff remotely to save on travel costs and keep your team safe. If necessary, consider sending over one team member to manage the office.

Find A Reliable Office Cleaning Company

Keep your new and existing employees safe from the virus by hiring a professional cleaning team to ensure that your office space is clean. Ideal Cleaning has experience cleaning a wide variety of offices and keeping them free from germs and particles. This expert team of professional cleaners also offer decontamination services, so that you can have your new office deep cleaned before your staff arrive.


Keep Staff Apart In The Office

Keep your staff separate by making sure that desks are at least 2 metres away from each other on all sides. It would help if you also considered laying out social distancing markers on the floor, to show staff where to stand to stay safe. If you’re renting a shared office or a co-working space, make sure that you ask the property manager what measures they are taking to keep your team staff. Inform your staff about any procedures that might affect them, so that they can abide by them and stay as safe as possible.

Add Touch-Free Technology

Touching surfaces such as door handles, lift buttons, and even soap dispensers can help spread the virus, as they harbour bacteria. As such, you should try to install as many touch-free solutions as possible in your new UK office. Try to add as much technology as you can or communicate with the property manager to see what they plan to add to make your team, and everyone else in the building, safe from the virus.

Encourage Good Hand Hygiene

As well as touch-free solutions, you should also encourage your staff to keep their hands clean. This approach will reduce the chances of a potentially disastrous outbreak in your office. Consider providing your team with hand sanitizer and hand wipes to keep their hands clean. Offer them a dedicated break room so that they do not eat at their desks and spread dirt around their workspace.

Microsoft Announces First Major Customer for New Zealand Datacenter

Five-year digital transformation partnership signed with dairy co-operative Fonterra

Microsoft New Zealand has announced the signing of a new strategic partnership with Fonterra that will see the dairy co-operative migrate many mission-critical operations to Microsoft Azure to support its global growth plans. Once Microsoft’s New Zealand datacenter region is launched, Fonterra will also benefit from real-time business intelligence and exponentially greater capacity to innovate with cutting-edge technologies.

Fonterra is a New Zealand dairy co-operative, which exports products to over 140 countries.

“To meet our strategic goals, which are enabled by efficiency, innovation and sustainability, we look to build strong partnerships with great companies to drive enhanced productivity and efficiency across the business. Microsoft is one of our key partners in helping us deliver our digital transformation, said Piers Shore, Fonterra’s Chief Information Officer.

“The Microsoft Partnership forms part of a wider set of strategic partnerships between Fonterra, Microsoft, EY, SAP, and HCL focused on fundamentally reshaping how Fonterra delivers IT. The cost savings and investment in Fonterra from our strategic partners are a major benefit to Fonterra, but the deep relationships between our organisations are the real win here.”

Transferring data from on-site datacenters to Microsoft’s virtually unlimited Azure cloud platform will vastly increase the amount of data Fonterra can gather and analyse in real time, using everything from IoT sensors on farm milk vats to smart machines in its factories to help optimise its operations. Already, Fonterra is trialling machine learning to detect improperly sealed or faulty bags of powdered milk in its factories, so all products arrive at stores in perfect condition without wastage.

“The new platform aims to bring together all parts of Fonterra and build a culture around data. By capturing and integrating data across the organisation, this will create a foundation for actionable insight and enable Fonterra to deepen our relationships with farmers and customers, optimise our supply chain and manufacturing operations and deliver better products and services,” Shore said.

Fonterra’s Chief Operating Officer, Fraser Whineray, said Fonterra’s strong sustainability focus was an important part of the move to Microsoft’s cloud platform.

“By shifting to a technology platform that will enable Fonterra to maximise its efficiency while using renewable resources, we’re also building on our sustainability commitments. Microsoft’s pledge to use only renewable energy in its datacenters aligns with our own long-term goals and provided another benefit to the partnership.”

Vanessa Sorenson, Managing Director of Microsoft New Zealand, said the faster pace of innovation, greater sustainability and cost savings enabled by cloud technologies are just a fraction of the significant benefits our agrifood sector is poised to gain from digital investment.

“Watch this space. This is the first customer signing of many. When we disclosed the launch of the New Zealand datacenter region, we knew there would be an appetite for the scope and solutions that it would provide to unlock innovation across so many industries.

And it’s such a privilege to have Fonterra as our first major anchor tenant customer. By helping Fonterra connect better with customers and partners globally, this partnership is not just a tremendous step forward for Fonterra and Microsoft, it also helps build and cement our country’s ongoing success on the world stage. We’re not only excited at the opportunity to support Fonterra to grow and achieve more as a business, but at how this will demonstrate how we can achieve greater efficiency, innovation and sustainability across New Zealand’s entire agrifood network.”

Fonterra’s employee experience and business resilience are also set to benefit from the five-year partnership. Even before the recent COVID-19 disruption, organisations have recognised the need to become modern workplaces, enabling mobile, flexible working and remote service delivery. Under the agreement, Microsoft Surface devices will be provided to key Fonterra staff across Australia and New Zealand to support business continuity and collaboration across its diverse network of 19,000 staff and 10,000 farmers.

APAC Insider Magazine Announces the South East Asia Business Awards 2020 Winners

United Kingdom, 2020 APAC Insider Magazine has announced winners of the 2020 South East Asia Business Awards.

South East Asia has swiftly 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, South East Asia has ploughed on, stronger than it was the year before. Even today, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, we can see the shining starts of the region evolve and adapt to the unique challenges the virus has bought about. 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.

Awards Co-ordinator Katherine Benton 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 truly deserve to be elevated above their peers.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated professionals selected for them, please visit where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.


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.

6 Costly Business Expenses You Might Be Forgetting to Account For

Whether you’re starting a new business or trying to get your current operation off the ground, it’s essential to look at your expenses and create a budget. There are the obvious costs to consider — employee salaries, rent, utilities. However, what are some of the less-obvious expenses to keep in mind?


1. Employee Training

In 2016, organizations spent an average of $1,252 on each employee for training and development purposes. Much of this money goes toward outsourced or external activities, while some businesses choose to incorporate instructor-led classroom education.

It’s essential to consider training costs when you configure your budget. The more employees you have, the more you will spend on development. Likewise, if you have a high turnover rate, your costs in this area will skyrocket.


2. Permits and Licenses

Most businesses will need a combination of state and federal permits and licenses to operate — paperwork you will need to renew, and pay for, regularly. The fees will vary based on your business type, location and government regulations.

You should also factor in the dues for any professional or networking associations you’re a part of. Participation in groups of this nature can offer better exposure, access to well-reviewed vendors and knowledge of the latest industry news and updates. However, annual memberships can easily cost hundreds of dollars.


3. Insurance Policies

As a business, you’ll need to maintain several types of insurance. For starters, you’ll want some liability insurance, which provides legal defense and covers damages if a customer sues. These types of policies typically take care of the destruction of property and bodily harm.

If you own a building, you’ll want property insurance to protect against fires, theft, vandalism and other types of loss. If you have any business vehicles, you’ll need to adopt a commercial auto policy. Plus, if you hi