Singapore, 18th August 2017: The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award 2017 honoured fifteen prominent entrepreneurs and business leaders from Singapore in a grand gala dinner at Sands Expo & Convention Center, Singapore.
The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards, better known as APEA, is a regional recognition program organized by Enterprise Asia, the region’s foremost association and think-tank for entrepreneurship. The Awards are presented to a handful of entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific each year, with award ceremonies held in thirteen countries every year.
The Awards is often compared to the Olympics for the stringent entry criteria and highly competitive judging parameters. The nomination is by-invitation only with each nominee subjected to a rigorous judging process, including financial verification by an appointed audit firm and mandatory physical site audit and interview, culminating in a confidential balloting process by Enterprise Asia’s committee. This year, the award received close to eighty nominees from Singapore and fifteen winners across ten industry categories were selected.
RECIPIENT LIST OF ASIA PACIFIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS 2017 SINGAPORE
Special Category – Lifetime Achievement Award
Mr Kwek Leng Beng, Executive Chairman of Hong Leong Group
Entrepreneur of The Year
for Electrical & Electronics Industry
Mr Albert Phuay, Founder & Chairman of Excelpoint Technology Ltd
for Trading & Wholesaling Industry
Mr Cheam Hing Lee, CEO of Rhodium Resources Pte Ltd
APEA Winners 2017 Singapore
Mr Scott D Smith, CEO of Beyonics International Pte Ltd
Dr Terence O’Çonnor, Group CEO of Courts Asia Ltd
Mr Ronald Goh Wee Huat, Managing Director of Electronics & Engineering Pte Ltd
Ms Danielle Warner, Founder & CEO of Expat Insurance Pte Ltd
Mr Ori Leshem, CEO of Genesis Retail Pte Ltd
Mr Adam Simkins, Director of Getz Bros. & CO. (Singapore) Pte Ltd
Mr David Kim, Managing Director SEA -ANZ of Tmax Singapore Pte Ltd
Ms Chin Wei Jia, Group CEO of Health Management International Ltd
Mr Low Cheong Kee, Managing Director & Founder of Home-Fix D.I.Y Pte Ltd
Mr Suneet Goenka, Founder & Group Managing Director of Red Apple Travel (S) Pvt. Ltd
Mr Tan Poo Seng, Founder & Managing Director of TopZone E&C Pte. Ltd
Ms Doris Wee Hui Cheen, Director of Wendell Trading Company
Co-authored by Mr. Ku Swee Yong, Co-founder of HugProperty with Janice Chin Li Ping, undergraduate from the Department of Real Estate, National University of Singapore.
In today’s competitive services market, real estate agents are not only caught in the strife of industry competition, they also have to grapple with being made redundant by technology. To say that there are many real estate agents in Singapore is an understatement — there are more than 28,000 licensed agents or about 1 agent serving every 140 residents; and this is probably the principal cause of the stiff competition in the industry. The competition is exacerbated by the growing number of buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants who opt for self-service through web applications. We are concerned that some agents have compromised their integrity and their “duty of care” for their clients in order to trump the competition.
So, buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants: beware! We want to highlight to you that many of the listings on property portals and websites are not real. Those seemingly attractive and enticing deals may just be potholes for you to step into. We have encountered several of these unfortunate events ourselves, and in this article, we highlight some red flags that you should keep a lookout for. It is vital that you take precaution to ensure that you do not fall into the traps created by a few crafty agents.
Scenario A — Fake news and listings are increasingly common: The agent you call does not havean actual listing of the property you saw online.
A property listing is an advertisement of a property that is put up for sale or for lease. Listings may appear on property portals or in traditional print media, such as the classified ads in the newspapers. Sellers and landlords may appoint one or more licensed real estate agents to list the properties to attract buyers and tenants. Conversely, buyers and tenants may also engage real estate agents to source for suitable properties that meet their budgets and needs.
To think that all listings of properties are genuine and available at any point in time is to picture a world of sunshine and rainbows. The sad truth is: there are many cases of fake listings put up to bait direct buyers and tenants.
We term these fake listings “imitations”. Why so? They look almost identical to other real listings, but upon careful inspection, something may be amiss. These imitations sometimes use photos or descriptive information copied from listed properties posted by other property agents. Sometimes, even after a property has been sold, unscrupulous agents might copy the property’s photos for use in their fake listings. We have experienced several of such cases and we have highlighted these imitations to the owners of the apartments. These agents would quickly remove the imitations after the owners have called to inquire if the agents were given the permission to represent them for sale or for rent.
Usually, imitations use very attractively low prices to entice buyers and tenants because they look like “good deals that should not be missed”. Then when direct clients call these agents to enquire, the usual responses are that the property is “sold” or “taken” or “no longer available”, and the agents will immediately ask, “May I show you another apartment in the same block?” If the agent received calls from other property agents who are representing buyers, they either do not pick up the calls or they do not return calls. This is commonly seen in districts 9, 10 and 11 where transaction values are higher and the probability of attracting unsuspecting foreign buyers and tenants is likewise higher. Higher value properties also translate to a higher quantum of the 1% agent fees, which is sufficiently rewarding for the agents to put in efforts to pull such tricks.
We estimate that up to 20% of the listings posted online are not genuine. The percentage could be higher for luxury developments. Buyers who receive such replies from agents should immediately congratulate the agent that the property is already sold or leased out, and then hang up the phone. To avoid being further prospected by that agent, buyers would do well to appoint a trustworthy agent to do their home search. Let your agent represent you and let him sieve out and deal with the numerous imitations in the property portals.
Scenario B — The agent has actual properties to list, but the information is misleading
Fake-lister agents deliberately post listings of properties with incredibly low prices to attract direct buyers and tenants. Unsuspecting buyers and tenants will then ring the agents up because they may reflect the lowest dollar per square foot price ($psf) or rental for that condominium unit. The $psf may give a different impression in different contexts. For example, if a buyer wishes to compare prices in the same district or perhaps properties with similar attributes but in different condominium blocks, $psf will be a key metric in measuring the relative value of the properties. Merely showing the buyers how cheap a property is based on $psf comparisons without describing much about the size and layout of the property does not reveal much about whether the property is really well-priced.
The buyer may see an advertisement for a 750 sqft apartment for sale at $980psf (i.e. $735,000) in a condominium where the average transacted prices in the last year were around $1,200 psf. It gives the impression of a $220 psf discount from the recent transacted average. However, only when the buyer views the apartment will he realise that the very “cheap” 750 sqft apartment is a shoebox unit with 450 sqft of built-in area, a 260 sqft patio and another 40 sqft air-conditioner ledge. Or it could be a “penthouse” unit with 400 sqft of built-in area, a 300 sqft roof terrace and a 50 sqft stairwell. The low $psf price is deliberately highlighted to create the impression that the property is a great buy. Buyers and tenants, do take note! Many other variations of the same pattern exist. Most times, information that is not revealed is more important than information that is highlighted.
While some agents withhold information, other agents offer a lot of information about the properties to show how knowledgeable they are about a particular condominium or district. They would purposely post many listings in a particular district they claim to be active in, to impress upon prospective buyers and tenants that they “specialise” in that neighbourhood. Unsuspecting clients may be dazzled by these agents, but tell-tale signs could be seen from their overenthusiasm. For example, in a listing for a condominium in Sentosa Cove, the agent included a description “near HarbourFront MRT Station”. An agent who understands the needs of the residents in Sentosa Cove will not highlight the MRT station, and will certainly not say that HarbourFront Station is near.
While we would love to believe that some agents are really familiar with certain districts or market segments, we need to be mindful that many of them just want to create that impression so that they have a higher chance of being contacted by prospective clients.
We have merely touched on a handful of examples of the many patterns we have encountered. To discuss all the cases we regularly see will require too many pages. The ultimate aim of these agents is simple: to cut out other agents in order to get direct clients to call them, to swing these clients to their own actual listings or to get the clients to appoint them as a buyer’s representative.
Unfortunately, in trying to outwit the competition, they create misinformation in the market.
In the speech on Budget 2017, the Minister of State for National Development Dr Koh Poh Koon spoke about how “it may be more important for property agents now to hone their skills in servicing clients and building up their credentials rather than just competing on marketing and closing transactions.” We wish that more agents will adopt this attitude and compete on service, rather than conjuring smoke and mirrors.
We at HugProperty are deeply concerned about the clients’ interest and we wrote this piece to raise awareness about the patterns displayed by dodgy agents to fend off competition. We recommend clients to carefully select an agent that they feel comfortable with and to appoint the agent exclusively to represent them, whether it is for a property search (for purchase or rent), or to list a property (for sale or let). The appointed agent will be fully motivated to represent the clients’ best interests and diligently assist clients in marketing or searching for properties.
More importantly, your exclusive agent will be able to ward off the dodgy agents with colourful patterns.
P.S: While we were researching and preparing this article, the Council for Estate Agencies published a disciplinary case in their 02/2017 newsletter titled “Cost of misleading and false ads – $17,500”. The CEA highlighted several cautionary points arising from the errant property agent’s actions: placing fake or dummy advertisements, placing advertisements without property owners’ consent and omitting mandatory details in advertisements. Readers who are keen to know more about the case may refer to the online newsletter here: https://www.cea.gov.sg/docs/default-source/module/newsletter/2-2017/website/cost-ofmisleading-and-false-ads.html
Australian and Former Western Union Business leader Kerry Agiasotis to take senior leadership role
Singapore – August 11 2017 – Sage, the market leader for integrated cloud accounting, payroll and payment systems, has announced the appointment of Kerry Agiasotis into the role of Executive Vice President for Sage Asia Pacific.
Starting at Sage on 11th September, Agiasotis will report to President Blair Crump and take responsibility for ensuring Sage’s continued growth and success in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region as well as resume responsibilities for the Australia business. Agiasotis will maintain Sage’s focus on providing customers with newly-launched global cloud technologies and support, new customer acquisition and ensure a loyal following for local payroll, payment and accounting solutions, all of which contribute to quality growth.
Agiasotis joins from Western Union Business Solutions, where he had been President of Western Union’s global Business Solutions division since October 2013. Previously, he led the company’s Sales function and held the position of Regional Managing Director for the APAC region. He also spent time in leadership roles Oracle’s sales business and at Siebel Systems.
Kerry has more than 20 years’ experience in business management, sales and consulting gained primarily in the Financial Services and IT Industries and has a deep understanding of business builders, having had his own business consultancy practice serving SMEs in the past.
Kerry Agiasotis added: “Sage has taken great strides across the APAC region to support businesses – the engine room of the economy – with emerging cloud technologies that help them grow and thrive. I’m excited to work with colleagues to build on this success and serve customers with the transformative power of Sage’s software solutions.”
The Australian-born Mr. Agiasotis holds an Executive MBA degree from the Australian Graduate School of Management and will be based in Sydney, Australia.
Agiasotis steps into the leadership role after Alan Osrin, Managing Director, Sage Australia announced his impending retirement a few months ago.
Origami Labs, a maker of connected devices, wants to shake the world with its latest smart ring – ORII. The company claims that it is the world’s first voice-powered ring that allows users to make calls, send messages, or command a voice assistant, such as Siri or Google Assistant, by simply placing their fingertip to their ear.
It uses a technology called “bone conduction” – one that is used in the medical field to create devices for the hearing impaired. ORII uses this technology that could transmit sound through the finger to enable on-the- go voice communication.
The product is currently listed in the Kickstarter and it is fully funded within 7 hours.
This company is also recognised by Hong Kong Business Magazine as one of Hong Kong’s top 10 Hottest Startups in 2017.
REA Group (Stock Quote – ASX:REA) today announced a new Asian community partnership program through a three-year commitment with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
As part of the partnership, REA Group will provide financial and in-kind support to regional projects and local Red Cross/Red Crescent societies. REA Group which owns and operates the iProperty Group will support the Singapore Red Cross, in the form of matched employee donations and volunteering.
“We’re incredibly pleased to be bringing our community partnership program to Asia for the first time and having the opportunity to work alongside the ICRC to improve the lives of others across the region.
“The ICRC is the largest humanitarian network in the world and we feel humbled to be able to play a role in supporting the incredibly important work they do,” Mr Ruiz said.
Arnaud De Baecque, ICRC’s Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific welcomed REA’s three year commitment, and commented: “Expressions of solidarity like this one from REA Group and its employees makes it possible for the ICRC to continue our work in some of the most difficult areas in support of those most affected by conflict and violence.”
Established in 1863, the ICRC is an impartial, neutral and independent organisation whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and other violence. In 2016, the ICRC provided food to 14.8 million people, delivered curative medical consultations to over 3.8 million people, and helped repair, build or upgrade water-supply, sanitation and other infrastructure benefitting 28.4 million people. The ICRC also helped 910 people, mostly minors, reunited with their families.
SINGAPORE,July 14, 2017—Logitech International(SIX: LOGN)(Nasdaq: LOGI) today announced that it has agreed to acquire ASTRO Gaming, a leading console gaming brand with a history of producing award-winning headsets for professional gamers and enthusiasts. Logitech and ASTRO, together, is the number one maker of headsets, mice, keyboards and streaming webcams for PC and console gamers.
“ASTRO is the leading player for premium console headsets and is the preferred headset for console e-sports athletes,” said Ujesh Desai, Vice President and General Manager of Logitech G. “It’s a perfect complement to LogitechG’s focus on PC gaming and we couldn’t be more excited; we love the team, the brand and the products. Together, we want to make game play even more fun for gamers everywhere.”
Jordan Reiss, co-founder and president of ASTRO, added, “The whole team at ASTRO has always heldLogitech and Logitech G products in the highest regard, so I’m ecstatic we are joining forces. ASTRO’s brand strength combined with Logitech G’s unrivaled technology and global distribution network is going to bring our products to even more gamers around the world.”
ASTRO, is a pioneer in gaming audio and lifestyle products and has a strong leadership position in the premium end of the global console gaming headset market. ASTRO is best known for its iconic A40 and A50 headsets designed for pro gamers and core enthusiasts. ASTRO’s recently introduced A10 expands the company’s reach in the console headset market, offering the essence of what makes their headsets premium, but at a more broadly accessible price point.
Expected impact on financial results for Fiscal Year 2018
Logitech will purchase ASTRO for $85 million in cash, and the acquisition is expected to close in early August. With the addition of ASTRO, we’re investing in an adjacent gaming market — the console gaming market — to help accelerate the long-term growth of our gaming business. In FY 2018, we expect the acquisition of ASTRO to add approximately two points of growth to the top line, and to be slightly dilutive to the bottom line in the first year, as we integrate the business and invest to expand ASTRO internationally.
Singapore’s entrepreneurs gain access to Google for Entrepreneurs’ global programs
Singapore, 10 July 2017 – Singapore’s largest coworking and entrepreneur-building community, Impact Hub, announced its partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs today, becoming the company’s first tech hub partner in Southeast Asia. Impact Hub Singapore members can now take advantage of Google for Entrepreneurs’ global network and resources, spanning dozens of coworking spaces and community programs across 135 countries.
Impact Hub Singapore is home to a vibrant entrepreneurial community with a strong track record in supporting companies as they build and scale their businesses. Member startups have raised more than $180 million USD ($250 million SGD) since Impact Hub Singapore opened it’s doors. Impact Hub Singapore comprises more than 650 entrepreneurs, professionals and freelancers, and has partnerships with 50 corporate, university and government-linked organisations. The five year-old Impact Hub is home to Singapore’s largest community of creatives, entrepreneurs, and technologists. Impact Hub Singapore takes a holistic approach to encouraging startups by providing everything from co-working space to resources and tools early stage businesses need to grow.
At the launch, Grace Sai, CEO and Co-Founder, Impact Hub Singapore, said, “We are proud to be the first Google for Entrepreneurs tech hub partner in Southeast Asia, and we are looking forward to being the goto place for entrepreneurs, not only for local Singaporean companies, but also for startups from around the world that wish to build and scale their business in Singapore and Southeast Asia.”
Impact Hub Singapore’s range of services for startups include mentoring programmes, incubation, networking events, fundraising workshops, consultancy with experts, marketing support, and access to a global network of more than 100 Impact Hubs on five continents with over 20,000 Hubbers.
Bradley Horowitz, VP of Product Management, Google, who leads Google for Entrepreneurs globally, added, “We’re thrilled to expand our Google for Entrepreneurs Partner Network to Impact Hub Singapore. Grace and her team are indispensable members of the Singapore startup community, and Impact Hub is an innovation leader not only for Singapore, but across greater Southeast Asia. Google for Entrepreneurs is all about providing the best of Google’s resources to our global partner network. We can’t wait to collaborate with Impact Hub Singapore’s members.”
As members of the Google for Entrepreneurs network, Impact Hub Singapore and the greater Singapore startup community will have access to new resources including training and mentorship opportunities and access to Google programs and products including:
● Google for Entrepreneurs global programs: Hubbers can now apply to the incredible programs Google runs for entrepreneurs, including Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange, a series of weeklong, vertically-specific global immersion programs aimed at helping startups gain access into new markets and insights, and Google Demo Day an event that brings together a diverse group of startups from around the world to showcase their technology and meet top investors and mentors in Silicon Valley.
● A global network: Hubbers will join 50 other organizations with a global footprint in more than 135 countries, including six Campuses, which are Google-owned and operated spaces for entrepreneurs. Impact Hub members are now connected to the Google for Entrepreneurs Passport program, which allows members to access more than 20 Google partner spaces the world over, from Seoul to San Francisco.
● Google resources: Relevant startups will be eligible for Google product offers and have access to local and international mentorship from Google advisors.
In addition to all of these great offerings from Google for Entrepreneurs, Impact Hub Singapore, inspired by Google’s Campus’, will also start providing more opportunities for collaboration:
● 30 new coworking seats: From August onwards, Impact Hub Singapore will open 30 free coworking seats per day in the coworking area be even more inclusive and welcoming to the techcurious as well as to current and aspiring entrepreneurs.
SINGAPORE, 6 JULY 2017 – Guardian Health & Beauty entered partnership with MyDoc, a digital health tech start-up, trying to address the population health needs of Singaporeans. As Singapore’s demographics and healthcare demands continue to evolve, there is a growing need for better self-care solutions that are supported by technology to reduce healthcare costs. At the moment, the island nation is set to become the highest healthcare spender in Asia Pacific, projected to reach $66 billion annually by 2030. (Source: Elderly healthcare costs to rise tenfold by 2030 – Report by Marsh & McLennan Companies’ Asia Pacific Risk Centre)
This partnership aims to offer simple, easy-to-use and time-saving services for convenient and accessible healthcare to reduce the burden on the healthcare system. Consumers/Patient could access to pharmacists from Guardian and doctors through virtual health consultations via MyDoc’s messaging platform.
“As one of the leading pharmacies in the region, Guardian takes a great deal of responsibility for Singapore’s self-care needs,” saidSarah Boyd, CEO of Guardian Health & Beauty, Singapore and Cambodia. “To ensure that these needs are taken care of, it is not enough to merely provide reactive remedies for the population. We need to be proactive in our solutions and services. A generation of consumers that are more aware and informed of their options places an increasing importance on personalised care and patient experience. Healthcare services are moving away from a B2B model towards a consumer based system, placing us in an era of retailisation of healthcare. Guardian Health & Beauty is stepping up to this challenge and our partnership with MyDoc is a wonderful example of this.”
“MyDoc was born from the need to simplify access and delivery of healthcare solutions for both patients and doctors. As a company that brings together patients, healthcare providers and partners, MyDoc’s platform empowers Guardian consumers to effectively manage their health and wellness needs through communication with an expanded network of qualified Guardian pharmacists. Together with Guardian, MyDoc is making it easier to access and provide quality health to the whole of Singapore,” said Dr Snehal Patel, Co-Founder and CEO, MyDoc.
Will accelerate growth in emerging technology ecosystems, like IoT, to inform and ignite corporate growth
SINGAPORE, JUNE 27, 2017 – Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, today announced the launch of a corporate venture fund to explore emerging technology markets. With an initial investment of $100 million, this venture fund will allow Trend Micro to nurture a portfolio of startups that are incubating ideas and living at the epicenter of hyper growth markets, such as the Internet of Things (IoT).
According to Gartner estimates, 26 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020.1
Eva Chen, founder and chief executive officer for Trend Micro noted, “Trend Micro’s vision has always been to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. The explosion of devices is transforming how the world works, thinks and acts. It is clear that the ecosystem is still evolving and there is work to do to ensure organizations and individuals can operate and live safely in this new reality.”
Trend Micro’s venture will offer companies financial backing, access to its world-class global threat intelligence, strategic alliances, as well as its channel of more than 28,000 partners.
In return, working with these investments will uncover insights into emerging ecosystem opportunities, disruptive business models, market gaps and skillset shortages. These learnings will influence Trend Micro’s cybersecurity solution planning across the company.
“We have a 29-year history of successfully anticipating technology trends to secure all types of environments,” said Chen. “The first mega wave we caught was the growth of the PC marketplace; we committed early on to endpoint protection and remain a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms today2. The second mega wave was all about the cloud; we made a bet early on to securing the cloud and so far we have secured over two billion workload hours on Amazon Web Services (AWS) alone. Now, we believe the next wave has arrived with IoT; our fund will help us harness this opportunity.”
With a strong financial position and 72 quarters of consecutive profitability, Trend Micro is well positioned to invest funds to do research and make advancements consistent with its corporate strategy. The formation of this venture arm allows additional freedom to dive into new areas without disrupting core business resources.
Gartner, the Six Forces That Will Shape Business and Technology in 2030, Stephen Prentice, 01 February 2016
Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms, Eric Ouellet, Ian McShane, Avivah Litan, 30 January 2017
Huawei, REDtone and Fusionex Collaborate to Accelerate Cloud Transformation for Government and Enterprise Business
[Singapore, May 23, 2017] Huawei, REDtone (Stock: 0032.KL)and Fusionex (Stock: FXL.L)announced the forming of a tripartite partnership to serve the rapid increase in demand for big data and analytics Cloud solutions in Asia Pacific. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the three parties was completed at the Huawei eco-Connect, Singapore, in conjunction with CommunicAsia 2017, the largest ICT trade event in the region.
The collaboration aims to leverage on all partners’ unique expertise to intelligently identify pain points and opportunities for users while lowering OPEX and CAPEX with on-demand one-stop cloud service solution. Huawei, a global leader of Telecommunications ICT solutions, will be cloud solution provider and the Go-to-Market advisor. REDtone flexiCloud, the next generation business-to-business cloud, offers Enterprise Cloud Services that runs on the Huawei’s cloud platform. Whilst Fusionex, an international software provider of analytics, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT), will contribute business insights and analytics-as-a-service to complete the full-suite of Cloud Solutions ideal for verticals including healthcare, retail and more.
George Pan, Chief Technology Officer of Huawei Malaysia said, “With this strategic partnership, we are moving towards swift digital transformation together with our partners and customers, as well as enabling business success of our customers by helping them to cloudify their business through our global experience and professional services. We see this as a future model of growth for enterprises in the digital era,”
About REDtone International Berhad
REDtone International Berhad is a subsidiary of Berjaya Corporation Berhad. Listed on Bursa Malaysia, REDtone is a leading integrated telecommunications and digital infrastructure services provider. A well respected home-grown brand founded in 1996, REDtone has evolved from a voice provider to one that offers an extensive range of services under three main categories: (i) telecommunications services – it offers data, voice, mobile and managed cyber security services to government, enterprises and SMEs. REDtone is the only service provider in the industry to provide infrastructure integration expertise. Its access to a unique suite of last mile technologies also enables it to offer broadband-on-demand. (ii)managed telecommunications network services – this includes building, maintaining and operating large scale WiFi hotspots, base stations and fiber infrastructure. (iii) industry digital services – it offers cloud services and applications, data centre services, Internet of Things (IoT) / smart cities services, and healthcare solutions to enterprises, government and the healthcare industry.
Fusionex is a multi-award winning international provider of software solutions, specializing in Analytics, Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning. Its offerings help organizations manage, understand and derive value, insights, and foresight from data.