Singapore Fund Raiser Shares Business Tips

I was once invited to Singapore Polytechnic to address a business class and talk about Corporate Finance. It was a talk that was supposed to show or demonstrate how companies raise money through public listings. I did sense that the topic was going dry and it was really a bunch of students who already knew what I was talking about. As such, I stopped the talk midway and asked if the students would prefer a Q and A and not see the rest of my slides. To my surprise, they all raised their hands and agreed to my suggestion. And the number one question on everyone’s lips – “How do you find deals?” And “How do you close them?”

It was a question I was a little unprepared for because I had no slides to support this question.

Indeed, I was caught a little flat footed but as I summoned my confidence to speak and it came out quite naturally.

I said it all boiled down to one word – Luck. Before someone accuses me of copying Doug Leonie from Sequoia Partners in his talk to the Stanford Business School graduating class, I made my talk more than 5 years ago. While I may not be able to hold a candle to Doug on his deal closing and fund-raising, I could hold my head and say the world is big enough for opportunities to come and in all shapes and sizes. But in an old cliché – luck favors the prepared and the ready. Ronaldo always knew that when he should stick his leg out, where the ball will go to better positioned himself to strike a goal. Be at the right place at the right time.

Getting prepared means you had to know your facts, your domain knowledge or at least know where and how to get it. Being widely read and widely connected were also components of being ready. Being a genius helps but if you’re not a genius (I certainly wasn’t) then it helps to know who the geniuses are and where they usually hang out. Go and connect with them. Nurturing your circle and practicing top EQ techniques in that circle will certainly give you an edge.

Looking for deals is about fishing in the right ocean. If you are looking for a Great White, then you’d probably want to be somewhere near the Great Barrier Reef. If you are looking for small fish and plenty of them then the Straits of Malacca will do but look out for pirates. Having identified your fishing spot, all you need is to equip yourself with knowledge and tools to do your fishing. (You can’t catch tuna without a proper fishing rod, right?) Hang out in the right places and be ready.

I am hard pressed to name the deals I have struck due to privacy and confidentiality concerns, but I have closed my fair share of deals. Debt or equity. PE or VC. Project or Specifics. Demand and Supply. Derivative or Structures. It’s a rich gamut.

Luck is all about being ready and sticking out your foot at the right time. Be thankful for education especially one that teaches you to read well and speak well and ultimately relate well.

To conclude, you only need to take home one thing and that will make your day or your deal – “Right place, right time, right words and right people”

About The Article Contributor 

Mr. Chiang Kwok Shong has a life-time experience in banking, private equity, FMCG and fund management. A coach certified by Marshall Goldsmith SCC, Kwok Shong brings a new skill to his people-centred and humorous style of supporting CEOs and corporate leaders to perform at their best. Kwok Shong is now an Executive Director for CYC Company, a famous tailor in Singapore. He received his Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Alberta in 1984 and recently received his certification with the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching in 2014.

A Continued Love Affair With BlackBerry KEY2

Author: Poisonvine.com

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a hardcore BlackBerry fan. Therefore, please expect this review to be biased in the favour of BlackBerry. If there’s something you don’t agree with, let’s just agree to disagree.

 

Despite the prevalence of full touch screen phones, and admittedly there are many very good options out there, there are still a bunch of us who are willing to sacrifice a 16:9 4K stereo sound movie experience on a giant phone for features which makes a phone more usable as, well, a phone.

 

For me, my phone is primarily a communications device – Telegram, WhatsApp and email. I am totally happy to use my tablet to watch movies and play games (I just got a Mi Pad 4 recently which is really good value-for-money and I have no complaints with it so far). As such, the typing experience on my phone is really important to me. I like to be able to type and walk at the same time and still be able to keep my eyes on the road. I like to be able to type confidently without having to check my phone for spelling errors (or worse, stupid autocorrects which can be potentially more embarrassing than some innocent spelling errors. If you have no clue on how serious or hilarious autocorrect mistakes can be, you can see them here).

BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is not the best by far in my memory but it is 80% there

This is where a keyboard comes in.

 

BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is not the best by far in my memory. That accolade still goes to the good old BlackBerry Bold 9900 (back then, they manufacture their own phone. Now TCL is the manufacturer of all BlackBerry phones) but I think KEY2 is 80% there. The KEY2 certainly made a few improvements over the KeyOne. The keys are angled in such a way that it matches how the thumb would “hit” the keyboard. What I didn’t like so much was that in order to keep a slim profile for the phone, the right “shift” and “alt” key had to go, which at times is a bother if I need to type numbers. For example, to input “7”, I have to hold down the “alt” key and press the “z” key at the same time which is really difficult. Luckily it is possible to lock the “alt” (or the “shift” key for that matter) by double-pressing the “alt” key, but I definitely still prefer to have the alt and shift key on both sides. It is possible to customise the currency key so that it works as “shift” key, but now I chose to use it as “ctrl” key so that I can use it to do my cut and paste easily.

 

Another feature I like about BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is that it is possible to create a multi-language keyboard which gives predictive words for up to 3 compatible languages (read: similar writing systems). This could be useful if you regularly communicate using different languages (or better yet, a mix of them). Instead of having to change the input language all the time, you can now simply type away. That said, switching languages on the keyboard (say, English to Chinese) is super easy. Just hold “alt” and press “enter” to toggle between the available languages.

One of my favourite features on legacy BlackBerry devices was the global search feature. Instead of having to go into the contacts app to start looking for someone, I can simply type the person’s name and the phone will show me search results related to the person, including contact details, email conversations with the person, or social media stuff.

 

This feature is still available on the KEY2, but the setting is difficult to find. To enable the global search, tap the centre button (BlackBerry launcher), and click the “Settings” button on the top right hand corner, then “Typing action”, then select “Start a search”.

I have found this feature to be useful, unfortunately it is slow. I really hope that this will be improved going forward.

 

An important thing to note is that when this feature is switched on, in order to use the apps shortcut, you have to hold the bottom right key (the one with nine dots) in order to activate the shortcuts. Some may also notice that the options for creating “short press” shortcut is gone, which effectively reduces the available keys for creating shortcuts by half (long press vs short press). However, there is a workaround. If you create the “short press” shortcuts first, then switch to “Start a search”, the “short press” shortcuts will still work. So currently, I use a short press “T” for Telegram and a long press “T” for Twitter and still have the global search enabled.

 

The battery life on the phone is quite impressive. The battery easily last over a day with normal usage on the phone. That is despite the phone’s battery being only 3500 mAh. I am not sure, but I think it is because the processor Snapdragon 660 is a very power efficient processor.

 

But this brings me to my next point, while I will buy the phone, the price point vs the hardware specs makes it hard for me to recommend this phone to others. For Snapdragon 660, 6 GB RAM and 64 GB memory, BlackBerry KEY2 has a recommended retail price of SGD 899. It is currently possible to buy the Oneplus 6T at SGD 898 which has Snapdragon 845, 6 GB RAM and 128 GB memory. ( If you want to know how good the OnePlus phone is, read my review here)

 

I loved BlackBerry legacy devices, but the user experience on the android versions of BlackBerry hasn’t been quite as smooth so far. I still miss being able to swipe up and right from anywhere, any app to access the BlackBerry hub. That said, the KEY2 has proven to me that there is a future for BlackBerry in android, but admittedly it’s not for everybody.

 

Now I just gotta find the best discount I can get for this phone…

 

p.s. If you are keen to know more about my love for BlackBerry, read my older article on BlackBerry Passport here)

SINGAPORE NAMED AS HOT INVESTMENT DESTINATIONS; MORE CONSOLIDATION AMONG REITS

Singapore CBD

Singapore is ranked as second top real estate investment city in Asia Pacific right behind Melbourne according to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific® 2019, a real estate forecast jointly published by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC.

The cyclical rebound for Singapore is mainly driven by the revival of office rental market. This year, co-working or shared office space operators is the major contributor for the Singapore real estate sectors.

The revival of the Singapore office is observed in the number of deals for the past 12 months. One notable deal is the sales of OUE Downtown office components for SGD 908 million. However, during the survey done by ULI, one fund manager active in the market notes, “It is possible the market is overly bullish towards the office sector, as 2019 could be a challenging year for the Singapore economy and new supply is expected in 2020 and 2021”

The report also shows that the residential market in Singapore continues to be resilient, despite cooling measures in place for several years. Meanwhile, solid economic growth and high visitor numbers have supported rents and yields for prime retail space in 2018, following years of poor performance as Singapore landlords struggle to adapt to new models of retailing. Meanwhile, the logistics market remains plagued by oversupply. This has suppressed rents, although there are signs excess space is now being taken up, with rents are predicted to improve slightly in 2019.

The Singapore REIT market, on the other hand, has exhibited relatively weaker performance in 2018. In the first 9 months, S&P REITS lost 1.2% in local currency terms. Although annual returns were still positive at approx. 6%, it is relatively lower when benchmarked to the broader Singapore’s STI index which returned 10% in the same period.

Smaller REITs in Singapore have been trading at substantial discounts to net asset value (NAV). Market observer has started to foresee more consolidation amongst the smaller REITS which what investors could be looking for – fewer sponsors equal to stronger sponsors.

The Emerging Trends report, which is being released at a series of events across Asia over the next several weeks, provides an outlook on Asia Pacific real estate investment and development trends, real estate finance and capital markets, and trends by property sector and metropolitan area. It is based on the opinions of 350 real estate professionals, including investors, developers, property company representatives, lenders, brokers and consultants.

 


The top five markets for investment and development in 2019:

• Melbourne (first in investment, first in development) – Melbourne has just managed to best Sydney this year. It offers a constrained office supply pipeline, a good yield spread over the cost of debt and sovereign bonds, a deep, liquid, core market and good prospects for rental growth.

• Singapore (second in investment, eighth in development) – An improvement in Singapore’s office market has caused the city to take second spot in investment rankings, as it continues to rebound from cyclical lows.

• Sydney (Third in investment, third in development) – Sydney remains near the top of the rankings for the same reasons as Melbourne. The city is a favourite of global investors due to relatively high returns and as a safe-haven play. Competition for assets has helped sustain pricing, while low vacancies and growing demand for space suggest rents will continue to rise.

• Tokyo (fourth in investment, fourth in development) – Tokyo’s move to fourth this year is somewhat surprising after last year’s drop, but probably reflects what has always made it a favourite for institutional buyers: cheap finance, attractive leverage, a good spread over interest rates, and a large stock of investment-grade assets.

• Osaka (fifth in investment, sixth in development) – The lack of reasonably priced core assets in Tokyo continues to push investors into regional Japan, where local economies are now increasingly mature and stable. With supply tight in both residential and office sectors, the city is now probably the top market outside the capital.

Leading buy/hold/sell ratings for the various asset classes are as follows:
• Office — buy Ho Chi Minh City and Tokyo, sell Taipei and Auckland.
• Residential — buy Ho Chi Minh City and Bangalore, sell Kuala Lumpur and Auckland.
• Retail — buy Ho Chi Min City and Mumbai, sell Taipei and Kuala Lumpur.
• Industrial/distribution — buy Bangalore and Mumbai, sell Taipei and Kuala Lumpur.
• Hotels – buy Tokyo and Ho Chi Minh City, sell Taipei and Beijing.

The full report is available here.

SINGAPORE-BASED TC ACOUSTIC LAUNCHES SONOS-ON-DEMAND SERVICE

Audio equipment business has always been perceived to be lacking innovation and personally, I think it is true at least to a certain extent – how much can you change when comes to sound which you can’t touch, see and feel. However, my perception is starting to change in recent years. The Singapore-based Creative Super X-Fi, for instance, has impressed me with their personalized sound map. Now, another Singapore company Tat Chuan Acoustic (TC Acoustic) is rolling up new services hoping to lure more customers in this highly competitive audio equipment.

 

TC Acoustic has announced the launch of Sonos-On-Demand, a unique online service that offers music lovers and their families a fifteen-day free trial1 of the new gamechanging smart speaker Sonos Beam (RRP S$699). Consumers can simply place a refundable deposit of S$99 for the Sonos Beam at South-east Asia’s leading e-commerce platform Lazada, with the option of completing or cancelling the purchase fifteen days from the date of delivery.

 

Marching to the Beat of an On-Demand Generation

Catering to a new generation of tech savvy consumers who are used to on-demand services such as Netflix and Spotify, Sonos-On-Demand is a creative way to provide the same kind of convenience and access, allowing them to test and buy a music system at a touch of a button, without ever setting foot out of the house.

 

Sonos Makes it Home 

Based on a study that surveyed 30,000 people across the world, Sonos discovered that when music is played out loud in the house, it transforms relationships. Families are 25% more inspired, have 50% more hang-out time, and say “I love you” 18% more. Truly, Sonos makes it home.

Sonos-On-Demand aspires to deliver this promise right to the doorsteps of homeowners, quite literally. The aim is to usher them into their first foray of filling their homes with music and what it can do for them – more warmth, love, bonding, creativity, conversations and connections – and enable them to create the best sonic culture and atmosphere in their own homes.

Delivering a rich, in-home sound experience, the Sonos Beam is designed for the unparalleled listening of virtually any streaming content, from movies and TV shows to music and podcasts. Touted as the world’s most versatile smart speaker, the Sonos Beam supports over 80 music services, multiple voice assistants and Apple AirPlay 2.

“As technology continues to push the boundaries of how we live, work and play; a seamless customer journey means ensuring that consumers get what they want, when they want it. Through Sonos-OnDemand we’re giving our consumers complete control to create the perfect listening environment, whenever the desire takes hold”, said Christian Honegger, Chief Executive Officer of TC Acoustic, the official distributor of Sonos in Singapore.

 

About TC Acoustic 

The exclusive regional distributor for Sonos and Klipsch, TC Acoustic has been the leading player in audio distribution since 1966. It underwent a change of management and strategic restructuring in 2010 and has since become one of the fastest-growing and highly innovative lifestyle technology distributors in Singapore and rest of Asia. Currently TC Acoustic has close to 500 distribution points across the region. Under its new management, its key brands have also garnered several awards from major tech media.

 

 

Lazada Pledges to Cultivate Eight Million eCommerce Entrepreneurs and SMEs by 2030

“Our vision is to help small businesses globally.”

Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba

Lazada Group, an South-East Asia based e-commerce company that Alibaba acquired, has pledged to support eight million eCommerce entrepreneurs and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia to grow and thrive by 2030. The company also announced its commitment to create an inclusive and sustainable eCommerce ecosystem in the region and champion opportunities in technology and logistics infrastructure to benefit its ecosystem of sellers, consumers and local communities.


At the opening speech of a panel discussion hosted by Lazada on the state of eCommerce in Southeast Asia, Lucy Peng, Executive Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer, Lazada Group, said: “Having overcome the early challenges of building up the business and industry in a nascent landscape, we now want to lead our ecosystem through the era of robust digital transformation. Our focus is on creating a trusted platform connecting sellers to the Southeast Asian consumers. By enabling sellers with our technology and logistics capabilities, we want to help sellers flourish, to become sustainable businesses that will contribute to Southeast Asia economic growth in the long run.”

 

Building entrepreneurs into thriving businesses in the digital economy 

 

As the region’s leading online shopping and selling platform, Lazada is committed to establishing eCommerce as a prolific facet of the evolving digital economy. Healthy and flourishing SMEs are key components of a thriving eCommerce ecosystem – their existence helps unlock the full potential of Southeast Asian nations, allowing the region to digitize.

 

An area that came under spotlight during the panel discussion was SMEs’ eCommerce knowhow and access to local consumers. To help sellers reach more customers, Lazada has developed various initiatives, comprehensive tools and dedicated trainings that enable sellers of all sizes to attract, engage and convert more consumers into sales.

 

That being said, Lazada continues to aspire to do more. “New generation of sellers no longer view eCommerce as a good-to-have, but a necessity in order to drive success. And eCommerce players like Lazada can be strategic partners to sellers who are committed to their professional and business growth.

 

 

On cross-border trade, another common challenge faced by SMEs raised at the panel, Simon Baptist, Global Chief Economist and Managing Director, Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) in Asia, said, “Singapore has led the way in actively pursuing an agenda for open trade borders. However, there are still challenges for SMEs, especially in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, due to a lack of access to financial and support services, as well as a need to develop capacity in e-payments and eCommerce.”

 

Supporting digital consumer growth with improved infrastructure

 

Faced with limited fulfilment players, a small and fragmented transportation sector, as well as vastly different infrastructure landscapes, logistics remains a huge challenge for eCommerce players big and small across Southeast Asia.

 

“Our research showed that logistics is a challenge, particularly in archipelagos like Indonesia and the Philippines. Road networks, as well as the retail and distribution network, came up as higher-risk areas for eCommerce firms,” said Baptist.

 

On customer experience, data and technology are the two key factors that will dynamically evolve the experience for online shoppers, due to Southeast Asia’s heterogeneity.

 

eCommerce businesses that can leverage data to navigate specific local consumer tastes and direct consumers to take desired actions are well-poised to succeed.

 

 

Singapore-based Speedoc Wants To Disrupt House Call Services

A House Call is a visit to the patient’s home by a doctor and this practice used to be very popular in the early 20th century. However, betterment in transportation and more availability of medical services have led to a decline for the needs of such service in recent years. Ironically, this has not deterred a Singapore-based startup to bring this practice back.

 

Prided itself as a health-tech company, Speedoc aims to build a complete end-to-end system for doctors and patients, so that house call doctor services can be provided with ease and minimal burden to people in the community.

How it works

The Speedoc mobile app brings a house call doctor directly to the location of

A standard medical tool kit issued by Speedoc which GP will bring along during a house call.

your choice, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Doctors can be requested via the app, or by calling the patient support line. Speedoc offers a full suite of affiliated patient care services, including fast access to Farrer Park Hospital’s (FPH) Emergency Clinic and immediate consult with their specialists. Users can benefit from online, synced patient medical records for all visits, trustworthy home medical care when it is inconvenient to visit a GP clinic or hospital, and priority access to partner clinics.

 

During a patient call, patients are matched with a Speedoc doctor, an SMC registered medical practitioner, whose name and picture will appear on the app. Patients can contact the doctor through in-app messaging and calls, to communicate questions, concerns and relevant medical information. During a Speedoc house call, the doctor will diagnose a patient’s condition, and prescribe medication on the spot or provide a prescription to pick up at a pharmacy of choice.

 

Speedoc services are available island-wide in Singapore. Consultation fees are $150 from 8am-8pm, $200 from 8pm-12am, and $250 from 12am-8am. These prices exclude the cost of prescribed medication. There is also a $30 surcharge for house calls to locations like Jurong Island, Sentosa and Changi Airport.

 

Ever since its soft launch on1 Jan, 2018, the startup has seen 3,490 downloads, with 3,051 users, 671 consultations, and 524 unique patients, and sees an average of 8 patients per day.

The future of Speedoc

On September 11, Speedoc announced that it is now part of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) regulatory sandbox – Licensing Experimentation and Adaptation Programme (LEAP). As one of the first mobile medicine providers to participate in the regulatory sandbox, Speedoc will work closely with MOH to review workflows, understand service models, and work through risk identification and mitigation strategies in healthcare, while promoting innovation in Singapore’s healthcare landscape.

 

Under the regulatory sandbox, Speedoc patients and caregivers will benefit from early access to new healthcare models consistent with the regulatory ethos of MOH. Speedoc will also be able to introduce new healthcare models or evolve its current models in a safe manner, with early visibility over the eventual regulatory environment. This will also help them to meet patient safety and welfare requirements, and transition more seamlessly into the eventual regulatory framework.

 

“In the future, we want to make Speedoc into a medical super-app; besides being a platform for booking house calls, we are working to implement in-app follow ups, and have plans to open up a chat and video-call module by early 2019,” says Dr Shravan Verma, MD & Founder of Speedoc. “For now, our main priority is to grow our customer base through hospital and insurance partnerships, and to prepare to scale up our business when more customers come on board, as we plan to grow by two or three times by the middle of next year.”

SG Smartphone Tech Updates – Highly-Secured Google Pixel 3, 4-camera Samsung Galaxy A9 & Blockchain-powered XPhone

Singaporean love gadgets. In this small island-state with no more than 6 million people, we have one mega electronic fair in every 2 months approximately. It is also not surprising to know that we have one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world. On average, one Singaporean is carrying 1.5 smartphones; no wonder many international brands choose to launch their smartphones in this tiny red dot.

 

There were so many smartphones launches recently in Singapore last week and the consumers have been spoiled for choices. If you have yet to find time to read out all the press releases, this article serves as a summary to make sure you are in the know.

 

Google Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL

The Google Pixel 3 is probably the most high-profile launches recently. The Pixel UI has won praises in the market and a handful of tech reviewers has commented that the UI used in the Google Pixel line of phones are better than the “stock” android.

 

Besides improvements in the hardware from the earlier pixel phones, the biggest highlight of the Google Pixel 3 is the use of a new security chip called the Titan M. This is the same chip that Google used in their data centre which means that Google is bringing enterprise-level security technology to smartphones.

 

Google has also ditched 3.5mm port joining the likes of Apple to push for adopting new cable standard for our audio devices. For those who are still using the conventional headphones with the standard 3.5mm audio jack, the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL are shipped with USB-C 3.5mm audio jack adaptor. You could still use your old expensive headphones with Google Pixel 3.

 

iPhone users, listen up! Before you feel like converting, you may wish to look on the CNET video below for comparison.

Samsung Galaxy A9

The rise of budget phones in recent years has prompted Samsung to launch mid-range Galaxy A series. Consumers has certainly benefited from the intense competition among the smartphone brands. At a lower price-point, the Galaxy A9 is offering specifications that are very comparable to those so-called “flagship phones” are offering.

 

The Galaxy A9 has caught attention from the media of being the first smartphone in the world that has not 2, not 3 but 4 rear cameras! Every camera sensor has its own purpose – ability for better optical zoom (2x to be exact), able to take wider images, better depth of field and better image qualities under low-light conditions.

The rationale of having 4 camera sensors is to give flexibility to the users who could toggle across different camera sensors to suit the users’ requirement – for instance long shots or wide shots.

 

Blockchain-powered XPhone

Pundi X, a Singapore-based blockchain start-up, has announced their very own smartphone called XPhone that runs on their own Function X OS based off Android OS 9.0. Essentially, it is still an Android phone powered by their own Function X blockchain; that means the data transmitted via your phone i.e. apps, pictures, video, messages, calls or any types of file are being stored or distributed through a network of decentralized nodes.

 

Traditionally, phone users go through the centralized mobile carrier to make a call via a number that is unique to every phone user. With Pundi X’s proprietary FXTP, users could by-pass the conventional internet protocol (http) completely to transmit data to another device. To put it simply, X Phone could potentially work independently at places without mobile signal. You should look at their product demo here.

The idea of X Phone is revolutionary. However, Pundi X comments the viability of its blockchain infrastructure depends largely on the spread of nodes (in this case, number of XPhone users).

Super X-Fi is cool! But What’s Next For Creative?

This is the follow-up post on the article I have written in March (If you have yet to read the article, you could access it from here). The Creative stock (stock quote: C71.SI) has sky-rocketed since then. In Oct 2018, the first Super X-Fi Amp launches exclusively in Singapore. The market response is overwhelming. 600 units sold within the first 20 minutes. This is a huge success for Creative considering this is only the sales number from the small Singapore market. Given the amount of press coverage on this product, I believe this product could also sell well in the region. Now, the next multi-billion-dollar question is,” How is Creative going to unlock the value of Super X-Fi technology?”

 

Super X-Fi AMP – A Good Head Start

3D immersive sound is not something new in the headphones market. In fact, a lot of brands has jumped into the bandwagon but after so many years, we didn’t see a clear market leader in this space. Creative manages to rejuvenate the market interest with their Super X-Fi technology. Tapping on the success of the Super X-Fi Amp, I believe the upcoming Super X-Fi Air wireless headphone which is targeting at the Apple users will be doing well too. In the short term, I am rather confident to see a minor positive impact on the Creative’s financial.

 

 

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I was not entirely correct when I said Super X-Fi Amp works only with Android Device. If your computer supports USB Type C, it should work as well! Once plugged in, your PC will recognize it as speakers automatically. For early adopters, you could get Super X-Fi certified #Aurvana SE Headphones worth SGD99 for free!! While stock lasts…. Access through my referral link, you will get $20 off from the purchase price! Now you only need to pay SGD199!!! My referral link http://sxfi.refr.cc/weewun Upon check out, you should see promocode FRIEND-RH6L72K applied. If not, you could apply manually. #instagadget #Singapore #instatech #sgtech #creativetechnology #promocode #audiophile #instamusic #instaaudio #headphones🎧 #headphones #sgx

A post shared by Neo Wee Wu 梁威武 (@weewu) on

That’s the juicy business story of Creative in the short term. On the flip side, the big boys are not going to sit there and do nothing. They are going to response as well. Selling a Super X-Fi branded headphones is the way to go? Personally, I don’t think so.

 

Audio is not a product. It is an experience!

Most consumers won’t have any idea of what a good sound is, and they are largely dependent on what has been marketed to them by the brands. That’s the reality of mass production. What sets Super X-Fi apart from others? It is giving control to user to do personalization for their headphones. At present, none in the market could personalize sound profile like Creative. The Super X-Fi App maps the structure of the user’s ears and head and the information is then transmitted to the Super X-Fi Chip that is embedded in the product (Headphone or Amp). In another words, the product is personalized to you and to you only. That’s the kind of experience other brands cannot offer but on the flip side, how does Creative going to stay ahead in the market before other brands do the same?

Mapping on Super X-Fi App

Focus A Specific Group of Users and Build a Community

Super X-Fi has aroused the market and the media coverage has brought Creative stock back into the radar of the investors. It is a good start but here comes the real challenge for Creative. Once the product is out, it is as good as opening door to your competitors to see what’s inside your house. This is unavoidable and now, the best thing Creative could do is to place focus on specific group of customers – the early adopters.

 

The early adopters are usually the one who are technically inclined and to some extent, they are what the market called “audiophile”. These are also advance users who demanded the most and because of that very reason, they are also very willing to provide feedbacks on how the product could be further improved. Engaging these users and keeping them interested in the community will help to build a strong brand attachment towards Super X-Fi. These are also influencers that could help to sell the products. It may not come as the surprise that the most powerful salesperson comes from this community.

 

I am pretty sure Creative has thought of this before. The launch of Super X-Fi Amp is well-planned with meeting sessions to educate the consumers who have just bought the product. That level of engagement should continue.

 

Super X-Fi App is More Than Just An App

The core of Super X-Fi lies on the data and that’s the only barrier Creative has against their competitors. The strategy that Creative has adopted is to make the Super X-Fi App available to all; that helps Creative gather a wider spectrum of database which could further enhance Super X-Fi experience in the future update. Unfortunately, I have yet to see any benefits of keeping the app installed in my phone after I have set up my Super X-Fi Amp.

 

It is a pity. I believe the Super X-Fi App could do much more than just setting up my device. First, it could be a way for community to discuss about their experience with the products. Second, the app could equip with advance features that targets specifically at audiophile. Back to the earlier part of the article, I have mentioned that those early adopters are probably audiophile. They would love to explore more about the product and Super X-Fi App could be the channel for them to do so. For instance, Super X-Fi app could also be a tool to fine-tune their sound profile after the mapping process. It may sound counter-intuitive but giving the control back to user may not be necessary a bad thing. These data could be valuable and form an important customers’ insights that could further be used in future product development.

 

Build a Brand Around Super X-Fi

During my interview with Nikkei Asian Review, I said, “Creative as a brand is not selling very well. It is seen as value for money rather than a name for high tech equipment”. Although the Super X-Fi Amp is selling well, my view on Creative’s branding strategy remains unchanged since then. I believe it is important to run SXFI Pte Ltd like a startup and dissociate it from any Creative’s branding strategies.

 

Things look positive for Super X-Fi. There is no need to tag along Creative’s brand and worse, it might backfire Super X-Fi’s branding strategies in the future.

 

Making Frienemy is the Way to Go

The goal is to make Super X-Fi a standard in the headphone market. In general, consumers switch brands because they just love to have choices. Keeping Super X-Fi proprietary to only Creative’s products won’t stop consumers from switching; instead, forming partnership with other headphone makers to bring Super X-Fi’s experience to the mass makes make more commercial sense for Creative.

 

The idea is to establish new standard in the audio product market. Once that is established, Creative can spread its tentacles to even wider spectrum of industries be it music, movie or gaming.

 

Key Takeaway – Users’ Experience and Data

Data is the only way for Creative to fend off competition in the headphone market. Imagine a use case of an XXX brand headphone that is Super X-Fi certified and it must be activated by Super X-Fi app on the phone.

 

Community-based marketing builds brand value through interaction with the users. This interaction provides data of what customer wants. Engage, Entice & Empower users in the community is the only long-term branding strategies for Super X-Fi.

 

 

 

OPPO Singapore Launches R17 Series

Teardrop Front Camera of OPPO R17 Series

OPPO Singapore announced the launch of two new R series products – OPPO R17 and R17 Pro in Singapore. Singapore is the first market globally to launch the R17 series following the Shanghai launch earlier this year.

 

The R17 series adopts Corning® Gorilla® Glass 6 for the first time, with a 91.5% screen-to-body ratio and Hidden Fingerprint Unlock for the R17 Pro. The Corning® Gorilla® Glass 6 is able to withstand a drop from a one-meter height to a rough surface for an average 15 times, doubled that of the Gorilla Glass 5 performance.

Although OPPO R17 Pro Sports 12MP f/1.5-f/2.4) +20MP (f/2.6) + TOF 3D Camera, no finger print sensor at the back of the phone

The R17 Pro also carries SuperVOOC flash charging technology, allowing users to enjoy the safest and most efficient charging technology in the industry. The R17 Pro also support NFC wireless payment, making the transition to mobile payments easy and convenient.

 

The R17 is equipped with a 6GB DDR4 RAM, with octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 mobile platform. It can perform multiple tasks seamlessly such as HD video playing or online mobile games. With 128GB storage space, users have ample space to store all their files.

 

The TOF Camera of OPPO R17 Pro is capable of capturing face image in 3D

The R17 comes with a 25MP front camera and a Sony IMX576 sensor with f/2.0 aperture equipped with real-time HDR support. The R17 series is able to provide up to 8 million different beautification schemes to intelligently match different users across the globe. Additionally, the customised beauty mode can now identify up to four people in the frame and enables users to adjust the facial features and preview the effects in real time. The rear cameras of the R17 series can intelligently recognise 23 photography modes and as many as 864 scenario combinations to ensure every shot taken is the best shot possible.

 

 

The R17 Pro is equipped with a variable smart aperture of f1.5/f2.4 which can automatically adjust to the lighting conditions making images sharper and clearer in both bright and low light situations. The R17 Pro has OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation), which can stabilise images and guarantee a longer exposure time to brighten night-time photography, especially with a 7P lens module. The combination of these two features further heightens precision in night-time photography.

 

Furthermore, with regards to sensors, the R17 Pro uses a Sony IMX362 as its main camera, which has 12 MP with dual-pixel for quick and accurate focusing, and 1.4micron pixels size and 1/2.55 sensor size, for brighter night shots and lower noise level. Overall, the whole hardware system of the OPPO R17 Pro is designed for night photography.

 

The R17 Pro also features TOF 3D camera, upgrading the camera from 2D to 3D and featuring users’ functions like 3D photos, somatosensory games, AR ruler and more.

The OPPO R17 6GB+128GB will be available in Singapore on 6th October at $699.

The R17 Pro 8GB+128GB with SuperVOOC is priced at $999. Pre-order will begin on 3rd November 2018 and it will be available from 10th November 2018.

PwC Marks 21 Years of Uninterrupted Revenue Growth; Hits More Than USD $40B For the First Time

Singapore, 2 October 2018–  For the year ending 30 June 2018, PwC firms around the world earned total gross revenues of US$41.3 billion. Topping US$40 billion for the first time – and marking 21 years of uninterrupted revenue growth. In local currency revenues grew by 7% and in US dollars by 10%.

Sustainable Growth

For the 12 months ending 30 June 2018, PwC’s revenues were US$41.3 billion – up 7% – while investing and repositioning our portfolio – marking 21 years of growth. Revenues were up across all PwC’s operations, boosted by continued significant investments in quality, new technologies, services and talent.

In the Americas, revenues grew by 4% with a particularly strong performance from operations in the United States. Growth in Western Europe was stronger than the previous year, up by over 6% in FY18, and remained very buoyant in Central and Eastern Europe where revenues were up 10%. Revenue growth from the Middle East and Africa was impressive at 12%.

Across Australasia and the Pacific, revenue growth was 7% while PwC’s strongest growth was in Asia where revenues were up 15%.

 

Assurance: PwC’s Assurance operations have continued to grow; up 4% to US$17.1 billion which is very impressive given the intensely competitive nature of the assurance market around the world.

Our audit business has grown in all our major markets including those impacted by mandatory audit firm rotation. The market has been attracted to our market-leading audit technology.

The increasing complexity of business, the emergence of new technologies, the regulatory environment and increasing stakeholder interest have driven demand for our broader assurance services, particularly in areas such as cyber security and privacy, advanced data analytics, as well as enterprise systems solutions. Companies are seeking broader digital solutions and insights to address governance, risk and compliance.

With 107,000 people in our practice, PwC is the largest audit and accounting network in the world.

Advisory: PwC’s Advisory business grew 10% to US$13.8 billion in FY18; a very strong result on the back of high growth in FY17. We saw particularly strong growth across our Deals businesses and our Strategy, Management and Technology consulting practices which demonstrates our success in providing value to clients across strategy-through-execution.

Building on our traditional strengths across business and technology, digital services in Advisory were accelerated in the past year with a focus on creating an engaging customer experience to drive innovative solutions and outcomes. We’re embedding this new Business, eXperience & Technology (BXT) methodology across our Advisory operations to help clients solve the needs of tomorrow’s customers. And the market is paying attention. Advertising Age now ranks PwC Digital Services as one of the largest digital networks in the world and the analyst community that reviews professional services has awarded 40 new ‘Leader’ ratings to PwC Advisory in the past year alone.

While PwC works across all sectors, we experienced particularly strong demand for our Advisory services in financial services, consumer markets, private equity, technology, media and telecoms.

Tax & Legal: PwC’s Tax & Legal revenues grew by 8% to US$10.4billion, driven by the scale and complexity of change in many domestic and international tax systems, including the impact of US tax reform.

This change and complexity has driven demand across the whole range of our services from domestic compliance advice to international tax and transfer pricing. We have experienced particularly strong demand for indirect tax advice such as value added tax and customs, underpinned by our new suite of cutting edge technologies in this area. In addition, our deals tax business experienced very strong growth, driven by our market leading position for M&A advice around the world.

Revenues from our global Legal Services business continue to grow as our reach and capabilities in this area expand. We now have over 3,500lawyers serving clients in over 90 countries. In the last few weeks we have also announced an alliance with leading immigration lawyers, which will augment the breadth and depth of our capabilities.

Demand for our services on HR transformation and labour mobility also grew strongly across the world with over 10,000 people now working in our People and Organisation network.

With over 50,000 professionals – who are enabled with the latest technologies – PwC has the largest tax and legal network in the world, focused on advising our clients in line with our Global Tax Code of Conduct and contributing to the dialogues about much needed change to tax systems locally and globally.

 

Source: https://press.pwc.com/News-releases/pwc-revenues-rise-to-record-us-41.3-billion/s/830ebd88-ab4a-49bc-aa93-ae3c60a358cc