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Tech News

15-09-2017
Innovation and Technology Venture Fund

The Government has launched the Innovation and Technology Venture Fund on 15-09-2017. It is now open for application by venture capital funds to become co-investment partners (Deadline: 15-01-2018). A briefing session will be held on 03-10-2017 at the Hong Kong Science Park. Interested venture capital funds are welcome to attend.

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21-03-2019
Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi launches cloud platform for connected vehicles

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, the world’s leading automotive alliance, has announced the production release of the Alliance Intelligent Cloud, a new platform that is enabling Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi Motors to deliver connected services in vehicles sold in nearly all 200 markets served by the Alliance member companies.Culminating joint development efforts between the Alliance and Microsoft, the auto industry’s first global and most ambitious connected vehicle program will be deployed utilizing cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and IoT technologies provided by Microsoft Azure.Azure provides the Alliance with a global data platform to securely capture, manage and analyze vehicle data to deliver intelligent services based on the vast volume of data created by connected vehicles.Kal Mos, Global Vice President of Alliance Connected Vehicles at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, said: “Today we are deploying a vehicle connectivity platform that will transform the digital experience for customers of Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi. Through our collaboration with Microsoft, we are introducing the most powerful and far-reaching connected vehicle platform. Leveraging the size and scale of the Alliance, we have built an intelligent cloud platform that sets the pace for our industry.”The first vehicles produced with Alliance Intelligent Cloud technology will be the all-new Renault Clio and selected Nissan Leaf models sold in Japan and Europe. These are also the first vehicles powered by the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform available to consumers at scale.Vehicles utilizing the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will benefit from seamless access to the internet, providing enhanced remote diagnostics, continuous software deployment, firmware updates and access to infotainment services.The Alliance Intelligent Cloud is a highly-scalable platform and will consolidate multiple legacy connected vehicle solutions with current and future connected car features and business operations that will support mobility services. The data-driven platform will enable advanced AI and analytics scenarios and accelerate time to market for new innovations and business initiatives.Optimized for speed and efficiency, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will connect to vehicles and share digital features and future innovations across multiple models and brands for consumers in different regions around the world. Features consolidated onto the connected platform include remote services, proactive monitoring, connected navigation, connected assistance, over-the-air software updates, and other customer-tailored services. The Alliance is taking a unique approach to addressing the business opportunity provided by connected vehicles by owning, operating, and designing its own intelligent cloud platform on Microsoft Azure.The Alliance Intelligent Cloud is capable of connecting Alliance vehicles with future smart cities infrastructure as it develops and with potential future partners. With this new initiative, any third-party seeking to connect with all legacy and future connected Alliance vehicles will have a single point of contact to partner with. 

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21-03-2019
Debt payments stable among Singapore SMEs, except in construction sector

Debt payments in 4Q18 remained generally stable across SMEs in Singapore but were impacted by a significant number of delinquent debts stemming from the Construction sector.The findings on SME payment behavior were revealed in a report released today by DP Information Group (DP Info), part of Experian. The report analyses the payment patterns of more than 120,000 companies in Singapore across eight major sectors (Retail, Wholesale, Construction, Hospitality/F&B, Information & Communications, Manufacturing, Services, Transport/Storage) during 4Q18.Only 25% of construction debt were paid on time, down from 36% in 3Q18. The percentage of delinquent debt over 90 days for the Construction sector, at 35%, represented close to a twofold increase from 18% from the previous quarter. With the exception of the Construction sector, delinquency rates remained largely stable across SMEs.The overall Days Turned Cash (DTC) National Average – a measure of the payment behaviour of SMEs – saw a quarter on quarter (QoQ) increase from 33 to 40 days, indicating a lengthening of payment settlement timelines for SMEs in Singapore. While most sectors witnessed a modest increase in DTC of approximately two days, the Construction sector registered a QoQ DTC increase of 18 days.This was the key contributor to the overall lengthening of payment settlement timelines among Singapore SMEs and represented the highest DTC for the Construction sector in the last five years.Activity within the Construction sector has been weak in recent years, largely attributed to lower than anticipated construction demand for both the private and public sectors. However, 2018 saw an upturn of 23% in construction demand[1]. This was mainly driven by Government-led public sector projects, with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) expecting this sustained public sector demand to continue into 2019[2].Still, smaller local companies are still expected to face challenges as many infrastructure projects are being assigned to larger companies. The impact of smaller profit margins from these smaller firms may have led to the rise in delinquent payments among construction companies.Mr James Gothard, General Manager, Credit Services & Strategy SEA of Experian said: “The payment behaviour across the majority of the sectors tracked suggests that despite the emergence of business headwinds at the tail end of 2018, most SMEs were still able to maintain sufficient cash flow to service their payment obligations in a relatively timely manner. However, SMEs will potentially face bigger challenges in 2019 as uncertainties in the business environment are expected to persist, leading to the management of cash flow, liquidity, and credit risk remaining as top business concerns.”DP Info’s SME Development Survey 2018[3] found that half of the SMEs surveyed had anticipated challenges in managing cash flow, liquidity, and credit risk for the year ahead. The survey also determined that 81% of SMEs with financial challenges cited delayed payments from customers as the main reason behind this difficulty.“With finance-related challenges constantly identified by our studies as a key concern for SMEs, it is heartening to see Budget 2019 introduce initiatives specifically aimed at easing SMEs’ access to credit and financing. This access to capital is also likely to prove vital as firms embark on productivity improvements and business transformation plans to retain their competitive edge in a challenging business environment,” added Mr Gothard. [1] Ministry of National Development: Speech by MOS Zaqy Mohamad at the BCA-REDAS Built Environment and Property Prospects Seminar 2019[2] Building and Construction Authority: Singapore’s Total Construction Demand To Remain Strong This Year[3] DP Information Group: Singapore SMEs Responding to Calls for Transformation to Drive Business Sustainability

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21-03-2019
Salesforce: Customer experience takes priority in Singapore, Hong Kong

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing has growth at a rate of 44 percent since 2017, says Salesforce in the latest State of Marketing report. However, only a third (30%) of marketers are completely satisfied with the ability to balance personalization with privacy.Based on a survey of more than 4,100 marketing leaders around the globe in August and September 2018, the report reveals that marketers increasingly prioritize personalization, leverage the power of AI and turn to numerous data sources to improve customer engagement.Key prioritiesUnsurprisingly, customer experience is a key priority in the region: 41 percent of Singapore marketers and 35 percent of Hong Kong marketers say that they are tasked with leading customer experience initiatives across their organization.Most marketers in Singapore (84%) and Hong Kong (79%) also agree that personalization improves their overall marketing program, with voice-activated personal assistants seeing increasing use with around a significant proportion of marketers (26% in Singapore, 17% in Hong Kong) using it in their marketing efforts.On the flip side, marketers are struggling to prioritize privacy, with a third (32% in Singapore, 32% in Hong Kong) saying they feel challenged to balance personalization with privacy.At a media roundtable discussing the key insights and findings of the report, Liam McCance, CMO at Singapore Life explained the role of product design in the customer experience.“Rather than organize campaigns around the product we have, we want to build a product that earns the customer relationship. From a marketing perspective, it’s all about the customer experience. We would rather spend money bringing a person into a product even if it entails loss-leading – because it’s better spend than on media,” he said.“Technology can be like giving an electric car to a marketing team, [only for them to] go fill it with petrol. It needs to come with training, in terms of informing them of how to use these tools at their fingertips. They need to be brought on this journey of change,” said Jess O’Reilly, the regional VP of Marketing Cloud at Salesforce.The fifth edition of the State of Marketing report can be accessed here (free registration).Further reading:Shiseido deploys Salesforce Marketing Cloud to better connect with its customersHow cloud delivers exceptional customer experiencesHow AI is set to revolutionize the customer experience Caption: Image credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images/imtmphoto

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21-03-2019
SmarTone launches security solutions for enterprises

SmarTone has launched a line of cybersecurity solutions for enterprises based on a three-pronged strategy of people, processes, and technology

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21-03-2019
China Telecom Global, Tata Communications form IoT alliance

China Telecom Global and India-based Tata Communications have teamed up to launch a global IoT service for the Chinese market

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21-03-2019
Dell Boomi leans on parent company to help benefit partners

Cloud integration and workflow automation software provider Dell Boomi wants to take advantage of its relationship with parent company Dell

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21-03-2019
Facebook’s blockchain cryptocurrency could kill 'fake news'

Blockchain would enable Facebook users to make PayPal-like purchases of advertised products and authenticate people posting on the site

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20-03-2019
Kiasu.me launches in S’pore, offers pay-as-you-use insurance coverage

Technology company Synagie has launched Kiasu.me, a new on-demand lifestyle insurance mobile app. The cloud-based insurance platform is powered by Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) and aims to provide affordable and instant protection for consumers in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Available on both iOS and Android devices, the service focuses on delivering pay-as-you-use lifestyle insurance policies tailored to protect consumers from threats and hazards associated with the digital lifestyle. Kiasu.me will be offering its first product – Device Shield, which will be launched in the form of a scratch card available at leading mobile phone retail outlets in Singapore. Device Shield is a 12-month accidental screen damage protection for brand new mobile phones that covers the cost of one screen repair for all major brands with coverage activation and automated claims powered by Kiasu.me. This insurance coverage includes an app-based concierge service that picks up the damaged phone for repair and sends it back to the consumer after repair free of charge. The Group believes that the Device Shield scratch card is a novel distribution method for mobile phone insurance as it provides instant protection at the consumer’s point of inflection when they buy a new mobile phone. The Group is using Singapore as a test bed and intends to extend the distribution of this product to other countries in the region. Kiasu.me was founded based on the belief that most traditional policies do not work for the on-demand economy and the current insurance policies that consumers buy are likely larger than what they require as they pay higher premiums for coverage that they might not use. Co-Founder and Executive Director of Synagie, Ms Zanetta Lee said, “Traditional insurance policies are probably two sizes bigger than they should be. Imagine a pair of sneakers that is two sizes up from your normal size. Would you pay extra to buy them? We have been working with our A-rated insurance partners to provide custom-fit protection for consumers for an affordable monthly price. Our policies work like a subscription where you pay a low monthly fee for the lifestyle coverage you need and have the freedom to add on more protection or cancel anytime.”Other insurance products in the pipeline this year include cyber risks and family insurance that will soon be available on Kiasu.me mobile app or through the app’s official website.

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20-03-2019
Singtel’s VIA, a cross-border mobile payment alliance, expands to Japan

The Singtel Group’s VIA, Asia’s first cross-border mobile payment alliance, has expanded its footprint to Japan through the addition of NETSTARS, a Tokyo-based mobile payment technology company, to the alliance.NETSTARS will add 00,000 stores to the network’s current 1.6 million merchant partners.Users of mobile wallets on VIA, including Singtel’s Dash, AIS GLOBAL Pay and soon Kasikornbank’s K Plus and Boost Malaysia will be able to use their home wallets when making payment at NETSTARS’ merchants, which span airports, shopping malls, food and beverage outlets, tourist attractions and transportation modes across Japan, in the near future.Through VIA, they will be able to pay instantly in their local currency, transact conveniently and securely, and enjoy competitive foreign exchange rates in Japan, and across the networks of all wallet members in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel’s International Group, said, “We are thrilled to partner NETSTARS for VIA’s very first foray into North Asia. Having welcomed Axiata Digital’s Boost Malaysia mobile wallet just weeks ago, VIA’s steady expansion has taken it beyond our associate markets, and now beyond telco e-wallets and Southeast Asia. These partnerships to grow cross-border mobile payments continue to add further momentum to the Singtel Group’s goal of empowering consumers and enabling them to transact seamlessly across borders.”Tsuyoshi Ri, CEO, NETSTARS, said, “We are delighted to join the VIA alliance and collaborate with Singtel to welcome more mobile payment users from Southeast Asia. Together we will bring convenience to both customers and stores as NETSTARS expands its store network from thousands to millions, moving towards a cashless society in Japan.”NETSTARS is targeting to grow its merchant base to one million stores throughout Japan by the end of 2020, benefitting visitors to one of the world’s fastest growing travel destinations, which in 2017 received some 1.8 million visitors from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, the countries which feature mobile wallets on VIA’s network.VIA was launched by the Singtel Group in October 2018 to create a region-wide payment network that will enable consumers to securely and conveniently pay with their mobile wallets when they travel in Asia Pacific. The Singtel Group plans to progressively expand the VIA alliance to include other regional associates Airtel in India, Globe in the Philippines, Telkomsel in Indonesia, working within each country’s regulations, as well as non-telcos.

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20-03-2019
Scoot collaborates with UOB, enables payments via PayNow

Scoot has enabled PayNow, a Singapore-based interbank fund transfer service, as a payment option for customers who book flights via the FlyScoot website. Due the bank limitations, transaction amounts will be capped at S$999.Made possible through the airline’s collaboration with UOB, Scoot customers in Singapore can now use PayNow to make payment for their flights directly from their bank account. PayNow is the latest addition to other payment modes offered by Scoot, including credit card and AXS.PayNow enables retail customers and companies in Singapore to send and receive payemnts to and from participating banks using the recipient’s mobile phone number, Singapore NRIC/FIN or the company’s Unique Entity Number.Scoot customers can use PayNow to book their flights on the FlyScoot website and pay directly from their bank account seamlessly. Once the customer selects the ‘PayNow’ option on the FlyScoot.com payment checkout page, a QR code will be generated on- screen. Customers can then scan the QR code through the mobile banking app of any PayNow participating bank. To complete the payment, customers simply need to confirm the payment amount and the recipient fields, which are automatically filled. UOB’s API (application programming interface) service will then provide Scoot with a confirmation of payment receipt instantly. This in turn means customers will be able to receive a real-time notification from the payment webpage that their Scoot flight booking has been successfully completed.Vinod Kannan, Chief Commercial Officer, Scoot, said, “Scoot is thrilled to be the first airline in Singapore to allow payment via PayNow. We believe that travel is an innate need, and to enable more people to travel, we are always looking at ways to better serve the needs of different customers and provide them more options. Embracing digital technologies such as PayNow to ease flight booking and payment processes is one such example.”So   Lay  Hua,   Head   of   Group   Transaction   Banking,   Group   Wholesale Banking, UOB, said, “As its banking partner, UOB is committed to supporting Scoot’s vision of making affordable travel more convenient. Enabling PayNow as an additional payment mode will greatly enhance the book-and-pay experience for Scoot’s customers as it is a simpler and faster way to pay.”

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20-03-2019
FIS and Worldpay to merge

FIS and Worldpay have entered into a definitive merger agreement. This combination is expected to expand FIS’ capabilities by enhancing its acquiring and payment offerings while increasing Worldpay’s distribution footprint by accelerating its entry into new geographies.Upon closing, the combined company is expected to be better positioned to offer best-in-class enterprise banking, payments, capital markets, and global eCommerce capabilities empowering financial institutions and businesses worldwide.FIS and Worldpay have complementary solutions and services encompassing financial institution issuer services, network and merchant services including global leadership in eCommerce, as well as loyalty and fraud solutions benefiting consumers and businesses. Clients are expected to benefit from the combined omni-channel payment and multi-currency capabilities, robust risk and fraud solutions and advanced data analytics.The combination of FIS and Worldpay, two companies that are leading their respective markets in modernization investments, provides clients of both organizations access to a wider portfolio of digital assets to accelerate their revenue growth, streamline their operations and create a better engagement with their customers.At the closing, under the terms of the agreement, Worldpay shareholders will be entitled to receive 0.9287 FIS shares and $11.00 in cash for each share of Worldpay. Upon closing, FIS shareholders will own approximately 53 percent and Worldpay shareholders will own approximately 47 percent of the combined company. The combination of stock and cash values Worldpay at an enterprise value of approximately $43 billion, including the assumption of Worldpay debt, which FIS expects to refinance.“Scale matters in our rapidly changing industry,” stated Gary Norcross, chairman, president and chief executive officer, FIS. “Upon closing later this year, our two powerhouse organizations will combine forces to offer a customer-driven combination of scale, global presence and the industry’s broadest range of global financial solutions. As a combined organization, we will bring the most modern solutions targeted at the highest growth markets. The long-term value we will create for clients and for shareholders will set the bar in our industry and will create a range of new career opportunities for our employees. I have never been more excited about the future of FIS.”Worldpay is one of the world’s top payment technology companies powering global omni-commerce and providing solutions for merchants, businesses and financial institutions on a global basis. It processes over 40 billion transactions annually, supporting more than 300 payment types across more than 120 currencies.“At Worldpay, our focus has always been on delivering more value to our clients and partners and making decisions that achieve our growth and performance objectives. Combining with FIS helps us accelerate the achievement of that, now benefitting from new scale and capabilities that will truly differentiate the company globally,” said Charles Drucker, executive chairman and chief executive officer, Worldpay. “We are proud to become part of one of the financial services industry’s most respected and consistently performing companies, and I am excited about the new opportunities this brings both for the business and our colleagues worldwide.”

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20-03-2019
IBM launches new global payment network, supports more than 50 countries

IBM has announced that IBM Blockchain World Wire, a real-time global payments network for regulated financial institutions, has enabled payment locations in 72 countries, with 47 curries and 44 banking endpoints.Designed to optimize and accelerate foreign exchange, cross border payments and remittances, World Wire is a blockchain network that integrates payment messaging, clearing and settlement on a single unified network, while allowing participants to choose from a variety of digital assets for settlement.World Wire provides a more straight-through model for cross border payments using the Stellar protocol that makes money transfers point-to-point in lieu of the complexities of conventional correspondent banking. It reduces intermediaries and allows users to accelerate settlement time often in seconds by transmitting monetary value in the form of digital assets, commonly known as cryptocurrencies or "stable coins." This simplified approach improves operational efficiency and liquidity management, streamlining payment reconciliation and reducing overall transaction costs for financial institutions. The network already supports settlement using Stellar Lumens and a U.S. dollar stable coin through IBM's previously-announced collaboration with Stronghold.  Pending regulatory approvals and other reviews, six international banks, including Banco Bradesco, Bank Busan, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), have signed letters of intent to issue their own stable coins on World Wire, adding Euro, Indonesian Rupiah, Philippine Peso, Korean Won and Brazilian Real stable coins to the network. IBM will continue to expand the ecosystem of settlement assets based on client demand.Local regulations will continue to guide activation, and IBM is growing the network with additional financial institutions globally."Bradesco continuously adopts innovation that enhances customer experience and improves efficiency," said Luiz Carlos Brandao Cavalcanti Junior, Innovation and Digital Channels Executive Director, Banco Bradesco. "The World Wire Network addresses both of these aspects, and therefore presents a valuable opportunity for Bradesco and its customers in Brazil.""RCBC is pleased to be an early innovator with plans to issue our own Peso stable coin on World Wire, pending final approval from our regulators," said Manny T. Narcisco, First Senior Vice-President, RCBC. "We're focused on innovation that adds value for our customers, and World Wire presents a tremendous opportunity to transform and enhance our payment infrastructure."

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20-03-2019
OPINION: Challenges and opportunities to Hong Kong’s I&T

Whether or not Hong Kong can transform into a talent hub very much depends on the successful development of an ecosystem in GBA

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20-03-2019
Huawei Cloud unveils blockchain and AI services for Hong Kong

Huawei Cloud has launched blockchain services in Hong Kong, and will launch its Enterprise Intelligence AI solutions in the market at the end of March

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20-03-2019
TNG FinTech teams with Visa to launch payment solutions in SEA

TNG FinTech Group and Visa have announced a partnership to launch prepaid mobile wallet services in six markets in Southeast Asia

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CyberLink Vol.126 March 2019

Internet Economy Summit unfolds industry-critical topics of digital future 

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CyberLink Vol.125 February 2019

Be inspired by thriving entrepreneurs’ daring spirit at “We Dare to Venture” Season 2

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CyberLink Vol.124 January 2019

Cyberport spotlights FinTech and InsurTech at Asian Financial Forum 2019

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