ConnecTechAsia Returns in 2019 – “Shaping Future Societies”

According to the 2019 Gartner CIO Agenda survey, 47% of enterprises in Asia Pacific have already changed their business models in response to evolving consumer demands. With global spending on IT set to swell to $1.97 trillion in 2022, the stage is set for exponential technological growth across mature and emerging sectors. However, many businesses in the region still find themselves behind the curve in terms of adoption.

As such, ConnecTechAsia returns this year with the theme: ‘Shaping Future Societies’, to explore the new era of business reinvention alongside emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), automation, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, 5G and more. The three-day exhibition happening from 18 – 20 June 2019 at Marina Bay Sands, will bring together some of the world’s most notable companies, and will feature a slew of keynotes, panel discussions, workshops and seminar discussions helmed by over 120 senior executives. Featuring prolific industry leaders and opening with a keynote by IBM Asia Pacific’s CEO and Chairman, Harriet Green, ConnecTechAsia will be at the forefront of tech advances for enterprises and the community.

IBM’s Harriet Green will highlight how emerging technologies will reshape businesses as digital transformation initiatives unfurl across Asia.

“A new era of business reinvention is dawning. Organisations are facing an unprecedented convergence of technological, social and regulatory forces. Not only is there a clear need for any organisation to be fully digital in itself; these organisations also need to be able to accommodate high expectations from clients and deal with pervasive interconnectivity. How can organisations deliver on that? That’s key question every CEO and every leader in any organisation has started asking,” shares Harriet Green, CEO and Chairman, IBM Asia Pacific.

“There are three key drivers – people, process and data – that any organisation needs to align in order to move from random acts of digital to a real, tangible digital transformation. I am excited to contribute to the discussions at the ConnecTechAsia Summit and share some of the best practices and insights for all of us to think about.” 

Catch other industry leaders engage in discourse on other market trends at ConnecTechAsia2019 Summit:

  • Dr Min Sun, Chief Artificial Intelligence (AI) Scientist, Appier
  • Muhamed Zilkhairilishamuddin, Assistant Vice President, OTT Principal Engineer, Astro
  • Dr Keeratpal Singh, Chief Data Scientist, Axiata
  • Ong Geok Chwee, CEO, Bridge Alliance
  • Attilio Zailani, Executive Director, Facebook
  • Cheryl Goh, Group Vice President of Marketing, Grab
  • Dr David Soldani, CTO, Huawei Australia
  • Jason Little, Chief Information Officer – SEA, Manulife
  • Ian Yip, Chief Technology Officer, McAfee Asia Pacific
  • Gustavo Fuchs, General Manager – Cloud & Solutions (Asia), Microsoft 
  • Krishnan Rajagopalan, Director of Payments APAC, Netflix
  • Seizo Onoe, President of DOCOMO Technology and Chief Technology Architect, NTT DoCoMo

The three-day exhibition will be happening from 18 – 20 June 2019 at Marina Bay Sands

A Singapore-based Insurtech Wants To Eliminate Phone Screen Protector

Soon, you do not need to have a screen protector for your phone. If you break your screen, just get it replaced for free. Axinan, a Singapore-based insurtech firm is partnering with FWD Singapore to sell insurance that protects smartphone users from damage of phone screen. Today Axinan announces the launch of igloo, catering on-demand digital insurance solutions to the everyday lifestyle needs of today’s millennials. As one of its first offerings, igloo will be introducing customisable Phone Screen Protection (PSP) plans where consumers will be able to buy policies and make claims digitally and seamlessly on the igloo mobile app.

With PSP, customers will be able to get their phone screens replaced upon physical damage to the screens. Axinan has partnered with several phone repair service companies to provide repair services islandwide. Consumers will be able to get their PSP plan on-demand and through subscription (ranging from daily, monthly and yearly) – prices are determined by the model of their devices.

Announcing the launch of igloo, Wei Zhu, Founder and CEO, Axinan said, “Axinan is an insurtech firm with a focus on developing insurance products for millennials and hence has built products catering to their lifestyle centred around gadgets, travel, e-commerce – domains not covered by traditional insurers. With igloo, we aim to provide a comprehensive suite of coverage that will be made readily available with the everyday needs of millennials in Southeast Asia in mind.”

Elaborating on this partnership with FWD Singapore, Wei Zhu added, “We are extremely excited to have FWD Singapore as our insurance partner. This streamlines a concerted passion for both parties in providing affordable lifestyle insurance to the ever-changing consumer market using technology as a key enabler.

Abhishek Bhatia, CEO, FWD Singapore, added, “As a brand that has continuously leveraged on technology to create real value and convenience in the insurance industry, FWD is delighted to work with Axinan on the Phone Screen Protection plans. We believe digital innovation will play a key role in fulfilling consumer demands today, and this partnership is a demonstration of how by focusing on what customers need, companies can provide real value-added digital services.

“FWD is happy to collaborate with like-minded partners like Axinan to contribute to a vibrant marketplace, which can only be beneficial for the entire digital insurance ecosystem,” he concluded.


According to a global study released by SquareTrade in November 2018, more than 50 million smartphones screens are broken every year. Smartphone owners accidentally broke more than 50 million phone screens last year (that’s nearly two every second), and replacing those screens cost them US$3.4 billion. The study found that 66% of smartphone owners damaged their phones in the past year, with cracked screens leading the way as the most common type of damage (29%). Scratched screens (27%) and non-working batteries (22%) took second and third place respectively, with touchscreen issues and chipped corners/sides tied at 16% each.

Press Release – Huawei Launches HUAWEI Mate X, the World’s Fastest 5G Foldable Phone

BARCELONA, Spain—February 24, 2019—At Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019, Huawei Consumer Business Group (CBG) unveiled the the World’s Fastest 5G Foldable Phone, HUAWEI Mate X, redefining smartphone design with a foldable form factor. Reflecting the innovative DNA of the HUAWEI Mate Series, the HUAWEI Mate X features the Falcon Wing Mechanical Hinge, 7nm multi-mode modem chipset Balong 5000, a high-capacity 4500mAh battery supporting the world’s fastest 55W HUAWEI SuperCharge and the brand new Interstellar Blue finish. When folded, the device is a huge display smartphone with a 6.6-inch screen, and when opened, it turns into a slim tablet with an 8-inch screen. The new multi-form factor revolutionizes both productivity and entertainment experiences on a mobile device. 

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei CBG, said, “The HUAWEI Mate X’s revolutionary form factor is achieved by Huawei’s relentless effort in R&D. It represents a voyage into the uncharted. As a new breed of smartphones, HUAWEI Mate X combines 5G, foldable screen, AI and an all-new mode of interfacing to provide consumers with an unprecedented user experience. The HUAWEI Mate X will be the first key for consumers to open the door to 5G smart living.”

Falcon Wing Mechanical Hinge Strikes a Balance Between Technology and Aesthetics

A result of Huawei’s bold testing with novel smartphone form factors, the 2-in-1 smartphone and tablet HUAWEI Mate X features a high strength flexible OLED panel and a falcon wing mechanical hinge. 

The 6.6-inch dual display panel equipped on the HUAWEI Mate X is a true FullView display. When unfolded, it transforms into an 8-inch tablet only 5.4mm thick. Images are displayed with great clarity and detail, and the panel itself is safe, durable and features outstanding cooling performance. As light as it is appealing, the foldable smartphone comes in a new Interstellar Blue that epitomizes the beauty of technology and sets a higher bar for future smartphones.

With an exemplary design that blends style with technology, the revolutionary Falcon Wing Mechanical Hinge supports movement, balancing between the overall aesthetics and technology. When unfolded, the screen is a perfectly flat surface; and when folded, the two halves of the screen fit snugly to the frame. The two modes—smartphone and tablet modes—transition seamlessly from one to another. 

5G Smart Living with a Bigger Screen

HUAWEI Mate X is a multi-form factor that unlocks a new page of 5G interfacing era to reinvent productivity and entertainment. The innovative flexible OLED foldable FullView display, unique falcon wing mechanical hinge and the industry’s best  5G modem chipset Balong 5000 combine to deliver a new mode of interfacing, in which the large-screen experience and portability co-exist in harmony.

The expansive viewing area lends well to both productivity and entertainment scenarios—everything from editing a document to reading feels better on a larger screen. In addition, consumers are able to drag images from their photo gallery to their emails in split-screen mode. The larger screen allows consumers to do more with their time. 

Huawei’s flagship smartphones have always come with powerful cameras, and the HUAWEI Mate X is no different. Inside the smartphone’s slim body is the latest Leica cameras, supporting the most advanced imaging features to date. The foldable design makes it possible for the camera system to play the role of both front and rear cameras. When folded, the HUAWEI Mate X shows a view finder on both sides, so even the subjects in the frame can contribute to the creative process. 

Moreover, the HUAWEI Mate X comes with an integrated Fingerprint Power Button that enables users to power up the device with one tap, offering a secure and convenient experience.

Powered by Next-Generation 5G Modem Chipset

Equipped with the world’s first 7nm 5G multi-mode modem chipset Balong 5000, the chipset has unprecedented 5G download speeds, at 4.6Gps on the Sub-6GHz band (theoretical). Balong 5000 is also the world’s first chipset to support both SA and NSA architectures, users will not need a device upgrade to continue enjoying 5G connectivity. The HUAWEI Mate X’s dual SIM feature supports both 4G and 5G. 

Massive Battery Supporting HUAWEI SuperCharge

A new, purpose-designed 4,500mAh battery is packed in HUAWEI Mate X’s 5.4mm-thick body, combined with the AI smart power saving technology, fulfilling the demand for greater battery performance in the 5G era. 55W HUAWEI SuperCharge tops the battery up quickly to minimize downtime for those who prefer a fast-paced lifestyle. In just 30 minutes, HUAWEI SuperCharge is able to charge the battery back to 85 percent.

At MWC 2019, Huawei launched a series of new products, including the an updated HUAWEI MateBook X Pro, new mainstream notebook PCs HUAWEI MateBook 13 and HUAWEI MateBook 14, as well as the HUAWEI 5G CPE Pro. At the advent of the 5G era, Huawei is committed to delivering new all-scenario smart living experiences to consumers.

Source: Huawei Singapore

D-Link Launches McAfee-Secured AC2600 Router (DIR-2680) in Singapore

By 2020, Gartner estimates there will be 20 billion connected things, and their role and influence is set to dramatically increase over the next 10 years. They’ve also raised a new crop of security issues, as Internet of Things (IoT) devices are subject to attacks just like any other connected device like a PC or smartphone. The new D-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Router Powered by McAfee helps secure all connected devices at the network level in a home, including non-display IoT devices, providing an additional layer of protection from potential hackers and for members of the home using devices and accessing online content.

D-Link Dir-2680 Security Router

As the number of connected devices in homes continues to grow, consumers are increasingly concerned about online security threats. D-Link teamed up with McAfee and Intel to address these concerns with a powerful, easy to manage, all-in-one solution.

The D-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Security Router Powered by McAfee (DIR-2680) automatically increases security for devices on the home network and delivers on both companies’ vision to address the pressing need for online security as people’s lives become increasingly connected. The comprehensive solution includes D-Link’s high-performance dual-band 802.11ac router with MU-MIMO technology that enhances network capacity and efficiency for users, McAfee Secure Home Platform that automatically protects all devices connected to the network, and the Intel® Home Wi-Fi Chipset WAV500 Series to deliver robust Wi-Fi connectivity to numerous connected devices at the same time, running a range of high-bandwidth applications.

McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence features adaptable machine learning that protects by preventing, detecting, and correcting malicious malware and attacks, which enables a safer internet browsing experience for consumers. Designed for families and smart home owners looking for the ultimate home networking without sacrificing privacy and security, the DIR-2680 keeps connected devices safer from unwanted intrusions and thefts. Additionally, comprehensive parental control features provide customized protection for children in the household. The DIR-2680 is easily set up with the D-Link Wi-Fi app and can be managed from anywhere with D-fend app. DIR-2680 comes with a FREE 2-year bundle of unlimited licences for McAfee LiveSafe, providing on-the-go protection when the users are away from home.

DIR-2680 Additional Features and Benefits:

  • Comprehensive Security Made Simple
  • Easy set up and instant protection for all devices with full control from anywhere
  • End-to-end protection designed to help prevent, detect and correct potential threats
  • HD video streaming and lightning-fast downloads with dual-band 802.11ac with MU-MIMO performance
  • Intel Home Wi-Fi Chipset supports for up to 128 simultaneously connected devices
  • Connected Home Protection
  • Real-time monitoring for a safer browsing experience and powerful security for IoT device protection
  • Comprehensive Parental Controls
  • Customized protection for every child, including personalized content filters and screen time controls
  • Cloud Based Machine Learning
  • McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence provides an adaptable solution that blocks malware, and malicious websites
  • Serious Protection Needs Serious Power
  • The wireless traffic is fully offloaded to the Intel Home Wi-Fi Chipset, so that the Intel® AnyWAN™ SoC – the primary computing engine in the router – is freed up for software and security functions.

D-Link International has yet to announce the official price and the availability of the product for Singapore market. Based on other sources, the product could be selling from USD 250 (approx. SGD 338) onwards.

Don’t Wait for The OnePlus 5G, OnePlus 6T is The Phone

We all know that 5G is coming soon and I am sure every OnePlus fan is as excited as I am. OnePlus has already announced their next phone that is 5G-Ready and all the OnePlus fans can’t wait to own the phone. Wait a second, are we saying that 5G is going to happen soon? Personally, I don’t see the full roll-out of 5G infrastructure happening in 2019 (at the very least, not in Singapore). Even it does roll out this year, I foresee the price of the 5G service is going to be expensive. The switching cost from 4G to a better-latency and faster 5G may not be worthwhile. Then, what’s the point of waiting for OnePlus 5G?

Back of OnePlus 6T

Those who have read our article on the OnePlus 6 knows we have very good impression of the phone. OnePlus 6 has almost all the ticks in our checklists but not quite there yet. Now, the OnePlus 6T is even better than its predecessors.

Better Battery Life

OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T are run on the latest Android Pie version. (Note: The OnePlus 6 does not ship with the latest Android ver. 9 installed but OnePlus has been known for keeping up with the OS update much faster than other brands. The phone got updated shortly after the OnePlus 6T was launched). User interface and graphic performance are similar on both phones given that they are running on the same OS version and Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor.

The notable improvement is the battery life. OnePlus 6T is shipped with 3700 mAh battery capacity giving 10% more battery life than OnePlus 6. After a month of heavy usage, I have observed that the phone could last slightly more than a day. I have never once used a power bank to charge the OnePlus 6T while I am on the move.

Better OTG/USB Type C Experience

Given that the OnePlus 6T has no 3.5mm audio port, the OTG will automatically activated once a Type C device is inserted. This is another improvement from the OnePlus 6 where you need to manually activate the OTG each time you inserted.

OnePlus has removed the 3.5mm audio port.

When you insert the Type C port for the first time, the OnePlus 6T will automatically activated the “Earphone mode”, a popular feature among OnePlus fans. In this mode, you could activate a “Speak Caller ID” feature when connected with the headphones. This feature will read out to you the incoming call number and if the incoming call happens to be in your phonebook, it will read out the contact name.

Other customization such as “Auto Play” to resume music playback and “Smart Answer for Bluetooth” to connect to Bluetooth audio to answer incoming call are also found in the “Earphone mode”.

In-display Fingerprint Sensor

OnePlus 6T has shifted the finger print sensor from the back to the front and replace it with a in-screen one. To some of you out there, the technology may seem redundant but if you think deeper, this could give us a quick glimpse on how we could better secure the phone in future. Imagine the technology gets better in years to come, the fingerprint sensor may not be at fixed location and it could be anywhere on the screen or at the back of the phone. Instead of single fingerprint, the phone could be equipped with multiple fingerprints or a palm-print sensor just like the Judge Dredd’s “Lawgiver”. How cool is that?!

Currently, OnePlus 6T is one of the few Android phones in the market equipped with this feature. I can see that more phones maker will follow suit to add this technology as part of their product offerings. Sidetrack – It is rumored that Apple will not add in-display fingerprint sensors in their phones. So, that is something OnePlus 6T owners could brag about to their iPhone friends.  

Top Price vs Value

You have read many reviews about the many similarities of OnePlus 6T against OnePlus 6. From the hardware perspectives, I agree (at least most of them). Both the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T use the same chip and camera sensors. But I am not agreeing to the fact that you should buy the cheaper OnePlus 6 over the OnePlus 6T.

Don’t get me wrong. Both OnePlus 6 and 6T offer top specifications in the market and they are selling at very reasonable price. A quick check across the key e commerce sites in Singapore – OnePlus 6 (8GB Ram/128GB ROM) is selling at SGD 699 and the OnePlus 6T (8GB RAM/128GB ROM) is SGD738. Note that the OnePlus 6T is selling at only about 5% more expensive than the OnePlus 6 in the Singapore market.

First, the battery life of OnePlus 6T is more than 10% of OnePlus 6’s. That itself justified the 5% premium over the OnePlus 6.

Second, the display of OnePlus 6T is made up of Gorilla Glass 6, an upgrade from the OnePlus 6’s Gorilla Glass 5. In terms of scratch resistance, both Glass 5 and Glass 6 are equivalent. The main difference is that Glass 6 is designed to withstand multiply drops from greater heights. In other words, the OnePlus 6T is supposedly tougher than OnePlus 6. That’s a plus point for clumsy phone users (like me).

Third, there are several software enhancements that may or may not relevant to phone users. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning if you are considering buying the OnePlus 6 or the OnePlus 6T. For instance, OnePlus claims that they use new algorithm in the 6T to better optimize photo setting even though it is using the same camera sensors as the OnePlus 6’s.  

Conclusion

If you are one of those who are still holding to your old OnePlus 5T or older, you should consider upgrading to the OnePlus 6T. No doubt the OnePlus 6 is cheaper and gives similar performance. The small price premium justified the added features against the OnePlus 6 based on the latest price comparison.  

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.

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 ISP – SpaceRoam Partners 7-Eleven To Offer 59 Collection Points For Pocket Wi-Fi Rental Island Wide

Wednesday, 21 November 2018 – Internet service provider Spaceroam Pte Ltd (“Spaceroam”) and 7-Eleven, the leading convenience store in Singapore, will be partnering to make travel more convenient for all travellers residing in Singapore. With Pocket Wi-Fi devices becoming an essential to stay connected 24/7 anywhere and anytime when travelling, convenient travel starts when the Wi-Fi devices can be picked up and dropped off conveniently.

SpaceRoam Pocket Wi-Fi is packed in a water-proofed bag that contains the charger and instruction

 

 

This will be made possible by the end of the year when Spaceroam partners 7-Eleven to place Wi-Fi devices in 59 7-Eleven outlets. This partnership marks the widest distribution network and largest number of collection and return points for rented pocket Wi-Fi devices in Singapore.

 

Aside from the 7-Eleven partnership, Spaceroam has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with telecommunications operator M1 Limited today, the latest in a string of partnerships in Spaceroam’s bid to bring better Wi-Fi services to Singaporeans. This partnership will see M1 Limited becoming the preferred local data provider for all of Spaceroam’s Wi-Fi rental devices. This means that majority of the users of Spaceroam’s Wi-Fi devices or services in Singapore will be connected via the M1 local data network.

About Spaceroam Pte Ltd

Spaceroam Pte Ltd was established in 2010 to provide internet services and telecommunication support to local events and concerts. Since then, Spaceroam Pte Ltd has expanded its range of services to include providing corporate internet services and launching an international mobile Wi-Fi rental service.

 

Spaceroam has provided its IT services to over 20 events in Singapore, and has also worked with MNCs and Government Organizations and help install the infrastructure for Wi-Fi at factories and worker dormitories.

 

Previously known as Simply Unique Pte Ltd, Spaceroam’s Wi-Fi rental arm, Y5Buddy Singapore, started out with 15 Wi-Fi devices that served internet connectivity for seven Asian countries. To date, Spaceroam’s devices now provide travellers with Wi-Fi coverage at over 130 countries around the world. Today, Spaceroam’s Wi-Fi rental serves over 50,000 customers and over 80 companies, and the company seeks to expand and become the top global data and application company in Singapore.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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).