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23-06-2017
Online ad spend in China impacts the region

We all know that the China is making a huge dent on the online display ad market. The size of the dent is, however, obscured when comparing individual countries in the region or using the region to compare with the world.Forrester’s “Online Display Advertising Forecast, 2016 to 2021 (Asia Pacific)” offers a clearer picture on the rising importance of the China netizen. It showed that China’s contribution to Asia Pacific region’s online ad spend is a key reason why the growth remains largely unchanged.The report noted that the region will grow US$20.7 billion in 2016 to US$38.1 billion at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.0. As a percentage of overall digital advertising, the Asia Pacific display market is now larger than in the US and Europe.The big shift is in China. The report noted that China should not be seen as similar to other large markets. It has a high online media time as a percentage of overall media time. So while in other countries, some of the online media time growth can be attributed to the cannibalizing offline media growth (e.g. online news vs. print), it is different for China. It also means any shifts in online media time can significantly impact media growth.Interestingly, the report forecasted that Chinese netizens will spend less time online. It noted that GSMA “expects a deceleration in mobile broadband growth in 2017.” Forrester expects it will contribute to a similar deceleration in online display ad growth in 2018 since mobile devices play a significant role in China.This deceleration, Forrester argued, is a good sign that the Chinese online media market is maturing. “Greater user maturity means that efforts to drive better monetization of ads will more readily gain traction,” the report said.For example, the report noted that the use data management platforms (DMPs) and interactive attribution have traditionally been low in China. In a maturing market, the demand for such technologies will increase. Subsequently, it offers ad agencies and adtech companies opportunities to raise their prices for using such technologies to improve targeting and measurement.As China’s market matures and becomes more prominent, the country’s big four online companies – Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Youku Tudou—will also increase. “China’s display spending trajectory will be heavily influenced by a unique group of internet players that hold a large share of display ad spending,” report added.In other parts of the region, Forrester forecasted that South Korea’s online display ad market will improve, while India’s and Australia’s will decrease. A key reason cited was the changing ratio of display and social to spending.Other conclusions include:While more consumers will come online in China, they are more likely to have a lower value to advertisers. Mobile ad growth in the region will drag down effective cost per ad (eCPA). India is experiencing high growth in online display ad spend, but is still a relatively small market. China is the largest mobile display market in the region.Further reading:Snapchat to marry offline data with online ad campaignsMore programmatic ads found violating IAB guidelinesChinese money set to shape adtech  Caption: Image credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images

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23-06-2017
Vietnam passes new law that mandates incentives, tax support for SMEs

Vietnam’s National Assembly has passed a law that supports the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).Under the new law, effective January 2019, SMEs include micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that have an average number of employees contributing social insurance of no more than 200 and that satisfy one of the following two criteria:Total capital not exceeding VND 100 billion (approximately U.S. $4.4 million) Total revenue of the preceding year not exceeding VND 300 billion (approximately U.S. $13.2 million)SMEs that satisfy these conditions may be entitled to various incentive measures such as support with credit access, support with tax and accounting, support with acquiring production space, among other items.The new measures also provide special support measures to three types of SMEs—SMEs converted from business households; innovative start-up businesses; and SMEs participating in industrial linkage clusters and value chains in the field of production and processing.Specific guidance is expected to be released by governmental agencies. 

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23-06-2017
Visa partners Validus to provide virtual card solutions to SMEs

Visa has partnered with Validus, a FinTech platform, to provide small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with virtual card solutions to help scale their businesses. The partnership seeks to unlock capital for SMEs to reinvest in their products and services.The solution has been adopted by GroXers Inc Pte Ltd, an F&B distributor in Singapore.Through this partnership, Validus works with Visa to facilitate immediate cash flow to SMEs, who have unpaid invoices in their payment cycles. By clearing invoices for SMEs using a Visa virtual commercial card, Validus helps SMEs expand faster and have a faster turnover for their products and services.The food & beverage (F&B) businesses, have to deal with a large number of buyers ranging from multinational corporations (MNCs) to smaller retail outlets.This large volume of invoices present a unique problem for banks, which may be reluctant to discount invoices payable by SME customers. Validus mitigates this risk for the suppliers.Validus also facilitates the tracking and management of invoice repayments via a tech solution as opposed to the traditional manual approach, which is time-consuming and prone to error. This is enabled by Visa’s commercial card solution and the fintech solution that Validus provides. This programme is part of Visa’s ongoing efforts to support SMEs in Singapore and across the world.According to Vikram Kshettry, Head for B2B Partnerships and Small Business Asia Pacific at Visa, “Small businesses often face challenges such as access to capital to fund their business growth and this makes them vulnerable. Similarly, suppliers for these businesses may be challenged to provide adequate credit, as they do not have the skills to underwrite higher credit lines. It is essential that businesses are able to access credit from specialist lenders to invest in their businesses, and for suppliers to be paid on time. The presence of such lenders, who can respond faster to business needs, is key to Singapore’s continued SME growth.”GroXers Inc, a leading enterprise run by well-known Singaporean entrepreneur, Nichol Ng, stated that the solution has freed up their cash flows considerably.“We have been looking for a solution that bridges the gap between our cash flow and account receivables and this is our biggest untapped asset. It is interesting to see how this solution has enabled us to receive our money faster and more seamlessly. At GroXers Inc, 100 per cent of our receivables from B2B retailers are now on credit card payment. We genuinely feel that in today’s economy, we should free our time and cash flow to focus on growing our business,” said Nichol, who is also Managing Director of GroXers Inc’s sister companies FoodXervices Inc. Pte Ltd, PlotX Inc Pte Ltd, LogiXtics Inc Pte Ltd, and X Properties Inc Pte Ltd.According to Ng, FoodXervices Inc is also considering using the same solution.Validus and Visa will look to increase their commitment to supporting SMEs in Singapore across a range of industries. This includes businesses that specialize in the distribution sector (e.g. Food & Beverages, FMCGs, consumer durables), services industries (e.g. construction, Information Technology, real estate, property management), and manufacturing (supply of goods from SMEs to large corporates). 

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23-06-2017
APAC companies report positive hiring plans for Q3 2017

Job seekers in Asia Pacific should expect to see more opportunities in the third quarter of 2017, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.Hiring is expected to increase in all eight Asia Pacific countries and territories during Q3 2017. Hiring sentiment is strongest in Japan and Taiwan, while the weakest outlooks are reported in China and Singapore.Japan's strongest hiring pace in more than nine years is forecast for the third quarter of 2017, with a robust Outlook expected in the Mining & Construction and Transportation & Utilities sectors.The labor market slowdown in India is expected to continue in Q3, following six consecutive quarters of steady decline. Indian employers are reporting their weakest outlook since the survey began in Q3 2005.Worldwide, employers in 41 of 43 countries plan to add staff, with hiring confidence strongest in Japan, Taiwan, Hungary and the United States, while employers in Italy, the Czech Republic and Finland report the weakest hiring prospects.Despite the uncertainties associated with recent and upcoming European elections – as well as ongoing Brexit negotiations – most European employers anticipate job gains between July and September.Of more than 58,000 employers surveyed across 43 countries and territories:Employers expect increased staffing levels in 41 countries and territories in Q3 2017. When compared to Q2 2017, hiring prospects have strengthened in 17 countries and territories, are unchanged in 10 and decline in 16. Confidence levels have strengthened year-on-year in 26 countries and territories and are unchanged in two.

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23-06-2017
Cyber hacks costs banks US$1.8 million

The latest Kaspersky Lab report titled “New Technologies, New Cyberthreats” claims that cybersecurity threats in the financial sector cost an average of US$1,754,000 per “accident” involving a bank’s online banking services. Kaspersky says this is double the price of recovering from a malware incident, which costs as much as US$825,000 on average to resolve.The study shows that 61% of cybersecurity incidents affecting online banking come with additional costs for the institution targeted - including data loss, the loss of brand/ company reputation, confidential information becoming leaked, and more.Loss of brand remains one of the most feared consequence of a cyber incident.“In the banking sector reputation is everything, and security goes hand-in-hand with this. If a bank’s online services come under attack, it is very difficult for customers to trust that bank with their money, so it’s easy to see why an attack could be so crippling. If banks are to protect themselves effectively from the price tag of an online banking cybersecurity incident, they first need to become more prepared for the dangers DDoS attacks pose to their online banking services. This threat should be featuring higher on banks’ security priorities,” said Kirill Ilganaev, Head of Kaspersky DDoS Protection, Kaspersky Lab.RELATED: The Value of Trust in Digital FinanceFigure 1: Cost of events involving different attack vectorsSource: New Technologies, New Cyberthreats, Kaspersky 2017These findings suggests that financial institutions consider the cost implications of cybersecurity threats and put appropriate measures in place to protect themselves and their customers from incidents involving online banking – particularly from DDoS attacks, which can threaten online banking services.DDoS attacks against financial institutions are often designed to cripple banking websites. The report shows that when organizations are attacked by DDoS, customer-facing resources suffer more in banking, than in any other sector. For example, 49% of banks that have suffered a DDoS attack have had their public website affected (compared to 41% of non-financial institutions) and 48% have had their online banking affected when they’ve been targeted by DDoS.Banks worry about attacks against their online banking services more than about many other threats. However, DDoS, according to the report, only ranks third place, being superseded by concerns about malware and targeted attacks, despite the fact that DDoS is more costly to recover from than malware.Recovering from DDoS is also more expensive for banks than non-financial organizations. The report shows that a DDoS incident can cost a financial institution US$1,172,000 to recover from, compared to US$952,000 for businesses in other sectors.The report reveals that 83% of financial institutions plan to increase spending on IT security over the next two years, with regulatory and compliance requirements leading the chart at 50%.Figure 2: IT security spending priorities over the next 2 yearsSource: New Technologies, New Cyberthreats, Kaspersky 2017Feature photo courtesy of iStockPhoto Caption: photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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22-06-2017
Baheal Pharma to bring IBM Watson for Genomics to China

IBM Watson Health has announced that Baheal Pharmaceutical Group will bring Watson for Genomics to clinicians across China. As IBM’s primary channel partner for Watson for Genomics in China, Baheal will establish an ecosystem within China to sell the molecular data interpretation technology to clinicians and researchers across the country. The new multi-year agreement comes less than 3 months after Baheal and IBM launched a strategic alliance to distribute Watson for Oncology in China.Last year, the Chinese government launched a $9.2 billion precision medicine initiative to invest in the growing field of genomics, which holds particular promise in oncology. Physicians and researchers have made groundbreaking discoveries on the genetic drivers of cancer, which in some cases turn out to be the best indicator for the right treatment. Yet, even if a patient’s genome is sequenced, few doctors have access to the tools they need to turn that information into better treatment decisions. Precision oncology could help improve cancer survival rates in China, where one-fifth of all deaths are caused by cancer. Every year in China, more than 4.3 million people are diagnosed with cancer.Watson for Genomics claims to analyze massive bodies of genomic, clinical and pharmacological knowledge to help uncover potential therapeutic options that target the tumor’s genetic alterations. Then, Watson produces a report for physicians that identifies genetic alterations that are actionable based on literature as well as drugs and clinical trials that target those alterations. Watson for Genomics has been tested and validated at more than 20 leading cancer institutes worldwide, and is now commercially available.  “Despite the promise of precision medicine, data-driven challenges make it difficult for oncologists to bring genomic advances to their patients,” said Gang Fu, Chairman, Baheal Pharmaceutical Group. “We believe Watson will help accelerate this growing field so that research advances can be accessed for patient benefit more quickly. We are proud to now serve as IBM’s primary distribution channel for both Watson for Genomics and Watson for Oncology.”  Baheal Group works with more than 12,000 hospitals in China, and the company has already implemented Watson for Oncology at 8 hospitals.“With the rapid proliferation of clinical, research and genomic data, we are proud to work with Baheal Group to bring the promise of cognitive computing to doctors and researchers all across China,” said Rob Merkel, General Manager of Oncology and Genomics, IBM Watson Health. “Watson for Genomics can empower oncologists to deliver genomic insights to their patients faster and easier than it can now be done. We believe this has the power to scale expertise and ultimately help oncologists make more informed decisions.”

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22-06-2017
New Zealand launches first Health Research Strategy

Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman and Minister of Science and Innovation Paul Goldsmith today launched New Zealand’s first Health Research Strategy which aims to increase the excellence and impact of government investment in health research.“The Health Research Strategy sets a vision of creating a world-leading health research and innovation system by 2027. The strategy brings together science, health, research and innovation to form a more cohesive system. This strategy also reinforces the role the health sector has to play in health research. Research underpins delivery and provides opportunities for new cost-effective technologies and improved models of care. Research is one of the three key pillars in any high-performing health system, along with training and delivery. That’s why the strategy includes a commitment to sustaining and growing a strong health research workforce. It also addresses specific areas that are unique to New Zealand, such as Maori and Pacific health," said Goldsmith.“Quality health research also underpins our high-value medical technology industries. Our health research system will achieve the best results when researchers, government agencies, and the commercial sector work together. The Health Research Council will run an inclusive priority setting process to ensure this investment will have the greatest impact. A key focus of the strategy is to ensure effective translation of research findings into policy and practice. In 2016, a total of $378 million was spent on health research and development (R&D) in New Zealand, accounting for 12 per cent of the country’s total R&D expenditure. R&D spending is a key driver of economic growth and an investment in New Zealand’s future,” he explained.Budget 2016 saw New Zealand’s largest increase health research funding. This sees funding increase by 56 per cent over four years, going from $77 million in 2015/16 to $120 million in 2019/20.The Strategy sets four principles to achieve the vision: excellence, transparency, partnership with Māori and collaboration for impact. It establishes four strategic priorities:Invest in excellent health research that address the health needs of New Zealanders Create a vibrant research environment in the health sector Build and strengthen pathways for translation into policy and practice Advance innovative ideas and commercial opportunitiesThe strategy was developed following an extensive consultation process in 2016 during which more than 500 people attended regional consultation meetings and targeted focus groups.166 written submissions were received by officials.The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Health and the Health Research Council will lead the implementation of the strategy and report on progress to Ministers regularly.  An advisory group comprising of experts across the system will advise on implementation.

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22-06-2017
Rethinking how best to support a mobile workforce

As Asia primes itself to become the most connected market with more than half of all mobile connections originating from the region by 2021, organizations must rethink how they empower their workforce to maximise their potential, especially when a majority of employees, particularly in Singapore, do not feel empowered for the digital age.According to Microsoft’s Asia Workplace 2020 study, while 62% of Singapore respondents consider themselves to be mobile workers and spend at least 20% of their time working outside of their offices, 63% agree that their employers are not doing enough to empower them for the digital age. In addition, only 26% of respondents agree that their organization is committed at a leadership level to ensure every employee is included in closing the digital skills gaps within the workforce.The study, which covered close to 4,200 working professionals from 14 Asian markets, aimed to make sense of changing employee behaviors and gaps in the workplace regarding productivity and flexi-work arrangements. 307 respondents hailed from Singapore.An earlier version of the study conducted in 2015 found that 39 out of 100 respondents in Singapore were ready for working on the go should organizations have proper policies supporting such an environment. This year, 44 out of 100 respondents felt so, indicating that organisations in the market are slightly more equipped, although more can be done to move the needle.But beyond factors such as people, place and technology, the rise of the 4th industrial revolution has also accelerated the pace of transformation.A recent Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study conducted in late 2016 found that ‘Empowering Employees’ is the number three digital transformation priority among Singapore’s business leaders. On the other hand, lack of a digitally skilled workforce was the number one barrier in their digital transformation journey.Structural challenges need to be addressedWhile mobile professionals appear to be embracing flexi-work today, organizations should look at new workplace practices, especially with the impeding influx of digital natives (born after 2000) entering the workforce for the first time.Majority of the respondents (80%) value work-life integration today, where the boundaries of work and life have blurred, but have enabled mobile professionals to be able to collaborate and work virtually.The study also found that organisations need to address several structural challenges within the workplace to ready themselves for the digital age, as well as flexi-work practices:Organisation’s Leaders are a key enabler to drive flexi-work practices in the workplace: Only 26% agree that their organisation’s leadership is committed in bridging the digital skills gap in the workplace. Organisational culture is important: Only 23% agree that their organisation has invested in culture development through training and development led by HR. Access to newer, data-centric technologies to enhance collaboration and productivity: Only 21% feel that their organisation has invested in analytics and data tools to help them make informed and timely decisions; only 22% agree that their organisation has given them tools to simplify workflows.Gaps hindering collaborative and productive outcomes from teamsWorkplace shifts have undeniably resulted in new ways of work, where technologies have enabled increased collaboration between individuals and teams across geographies and groups. However, the study found that there were certain gaps today that hindered collaborative and productive outcomes from teams.The top five challenges included:Too many face to face meetings that are taking up productive time (36%); Teams are too rigid and not open to new ways of work (29%) Teams take too long to respond to internal issues (26%); Teams are not open to new initiatives to improve processes (20%); Information about the team’s work or project is scattered in multiple places (17%)However, respondents feel that strong leadership and vision (45%), support from manager (44%) and access to technology tools for collaboration (41%) can help build more collaborative teams.Employees want better technologiesThe study also found that respondents are seeking better devices to help them become more productive at work. Beyond hardware requirements, 34% hope to have access to information and data on mobile devices, 26% wish for cloud-based productivity tools and 21% hope for real-time collaboration capabilities.  When asked about emerging technologies that will help build better work environments by 2020, almost half (48%) think real-time intelligences will help them make informed decisions at work. Forty-four percent believe artificial intelligence will be able to help perform tasks independently, and 33% look forward to virtual workspaces that support instant messaging and document sharing.“As the nature of work changes, how employees collaborate and work together will be impacted as well. It is critical for business and HR leaders to seek ways to better empower individuals and remove barriers to collaborate for the digital age, especially when the Study clearly identifies gaps that can be minimized with technology. However, it is also important for businesses to also bridge the leadership and employee gap with more focus on people and culture,” said Wo.

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22-06-2017
SAP Ariba, Deloitte help Lenovo transform procurement

Lenovo Group is implementing digital solutions from SAP Ariba across its global operations, with support from Deloitte. This is to create a collaborative digital process for sourcing goods and services that can deliver savings and efficiencies, while at the same time, fueling business innovation and growth. “We needed a standard way to manage procurement that would allow us to not only manage our costs, but minimize risks, and an integrated system to drive it,” said Sophie Zhu, procurement director at Lenovo. “Working with SAP Ariba and Deloitte, we proposed new functional requirements and developed a financial management solution that could accommodate our unique needs. And they delivered,” said Zhu. With in-depth knowledge and experience in the SAP Ariba technology, Deloitte has been helping clients like Lenovo to implement a broad range of cloud-based applications that allow them to optimize their procurement process, manage their customer and supplier relationships and achieve higher cost efficiency. “SAP Ariba provides a powerful platform to drive simpler, smarter sourcing,” said Lai Youyou, SAP consulting partner at Deloitte. “When implementing the company’s solutions, we have been able to help Lenovo drive a more transparent and collaborative negotiation process that has opened the door to savings, efficiencies and innovation.” Lai added that there is an aggressive timeframe to execute this high-level collaboration agreement, which will involve functional and technical experts from China and the US which will enrich Deloitte’s experience in SAP Ariba’s applications and facilitate the two companies in seizing business opportunities in the rapidly growing local market. Lenovo joins more than 2.5 million companies in 190 countries around the world who are connected to the Ariba Network and using it to transact over $1 trillion in commerce on an annual basis. “The world has gone digital and procurement has gone with it,” said Gareth Bowen, head of SAP Ariba, Greater China. “Innovative organizations like Lenovo that are embracing the trend can power new ways of thinking and operating that beyond savings and efficiencies, create long-term, sustainable advantage for their business.”

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22-06-2017
NVIDIA teams with top server makers to push AI cloud computing

NVIDIA has  launched a partner program with the world’s leading original design manufacturers (ODM) — Foxconn, Inventec, Quanta, and Wistron — to more rapidly meet the demands for AI cloud computing. Through its HGX Partner Program, NVIDIA is providing each ODM with early access to the NVIDIA HGX reference architecture, NVIDIA GPU computing technologies and design guidelines. HGX is the same data centre design used in Microsoft’s Project Olympus initiative, Facebook’s Big Basin systems and NVIDIA DGX-1TM AI supercomputers. Using HGX as a starter “recipe,” ODM partners can work with NVIDIA to more quickly design and bring to market a wide range of qualified GPU-accelerated systems for hyperscale data centers. Through the program, NVIDIA engineers will work closely with ODMs to help minimize the amount of time from design win to production deployments. As the overall demand for AI computing resources has risen sharply over the past year, so has the market adoption and performance of NVIDIA’s GPU computing platform. Today, 10 of the world’s top 10 hyperscale businesses are using NVIDIA GPU accelerators in their data centers. With new NVIDIA Volta architecture-based GPUs offering three times the performance of its predecessor, ODMs can feed the market demand with new products based on the latest NVIDIA technology available. “Accelerated computing is evolving rapidly — in just one year we tripled the deep learning performance in our Tesla GPUs — and this is having a significant impact on the way systems are designed,” said Ian Buck, general manager of Accelerated Computing at NVIDIA. “Through our HGX partner program, device makers can ensure they’re offering the latest AI technologies to the growing community of cloud computing providers.” NVIDIA built the HGX reference design to meet the high-performance, efficiency and massive scaling requirements unique to hyperscale cloud environments. Highly configurable based on workload needs, HGX can easily combine GPUs and CPUs in a number of ways for high performance computing, deep learning training and deep learning inferencing.

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22-06-2017
Card-Not-Present fraud to cost retailers US$71 billion over 5 years

New data from Juniper Research predict that retailers stand to lose US$71 billion globally from fraudulent CNP (Card-Not-Present) transactions over the next 5 years. Chief factors include the USA’s shift to EMV cards, delays in 3DS 2.0 (3D-Secure) and click-and-collect fraud were key drivers behind the rise.The Juniper report – “Online Payment Fraud: Emerging Threats, Key Vertical Strategies & Market Forecasts 2017-2022” – revealed that many merchants still perceive combatting fraud as too expensive. Consequently, they have been ill-prepared to deal with the shift to online fraud following the introduction of EMV (CHIP and signature) payment cards in the USA.RELATED: Guide to countering CNP fraud in 2017In a separate report by Javelin Strategy & Research Study titled 2017 Identity Fraud Study highlighted what it claimed was a significant spike in CNP fraud in the US market, with a rise of 40% in losses as a result of more shoppers going online.Figure 1: US Fraud trends in 2016 Source: 2017 Identity Fraud Study (click here to download the full infographic)Juniper’s cost analysis of FDP (fraud detection and prevention) solutions found that in most instances, merchants would receive value from their investment. It therefore urged players across the value chain to increase their efforts in educating merchants on the benefits of FDP.Juniper forecasts that fraudulent CNP physical goods sales will reach US$14.8 billion annually in 2022. It argued that click-and-collect services were particularly vulnerable given the lack of a residential delivery address. Meanwhile, retailers are reluctant to impose rigorous ID checks on pick-up for fear of damaging the consumer experience and reducing conversion rates.In 2018, the fight against fraud will revolve around the use of cited machine learning as a key tool to identify genuine users, and the shift to mobile eCommerce would rely on 3DS 2.0 and biometrics.“2018 will herald the arrival of new tools in the fight against fraud. 3DS 2.0 will finally begin to rollout and will mark a paradigm shift in terms of merchants and issuers leveraging shared data. We also expect passive biometrics, such as the manner in which a device is handled, to become key in the future,” noted research author Steffen Sorrell.Feature photo courtesy of iStockPhoto Caption: photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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22-06-2017
3 in 5 large APAC firms have gone digital

Enterprises in Asia Pacific (APAC) are leading the way in digital transformation with 57% of large businesses across the region now having a formal strategy, according to a new global study conducted by 451 Research and CenturyLink. The study that covered 613 organizations in six markets — Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Singapore — finds that these firms are actively digitizing some of their business processes, compared with 47% in Europe and 45% in North America. The three key factors driving digital transformation are desires to improve customer experience (44%), manage risk (43%), and reduce operational costs (41%). However, despite leading the way in embarking on digital transformation, the majority of enterprises in APAC are mindful about how long it will take to successfully complete a full transformation within the organization. Almost two thirds (63%) of decision-makers estimate that it will take three to six years to achieve a company-wide digital transformation, and another seven percent estimate going beyond seven years. This is largely due to the length of time it takes to overcome complexities that surround digital transformation, both from a business and a technological standpoint. The top three barriers to successful digital transformation identified by enterprises in APAC are the potential failure to secure sensitive data (35%); inflexible IT systems and lack of operational agility (32%); and inability to migrate legacy IT and business applications to the cloud (31%). “While it’s encouraging to see the majority of enterprises in APAC have begun digital transformation projects, the complexity that surrounds their journeys can result in significant roadblocks,” said Gery Messer, CenturyLink managing director, Asia Pacific. “However, by simplifying the foundational steps behind digital adoption, APAC enterprises can focus their resources on innovation and customer experience, and truly lead the world in digital transformation,” said Messer. On top of long-term commitment and planning, the study identifies choosing the right partner as a critical factor for success. Among respondent firms, 55% is using or expect a need for an IT or communications service provider partner in support of their digital transformation programs, and just under half (49%) use or will use a specialist cloud service provider.

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22-06-2017
Frasers Centrepoint gamifies shopping in Great Singapore Sale

Frasers Centrepoint Malls has launched its newest digital gamification initiative in time for this year’s Great Singapore Sale, which lasts until August 13. With digital e-commerce on the rise and malls in Singapore facing stiff competition, there is a need to attract more eyeballs and drive crowds back to malls. The initiative intends to help Frasers take advantage of the popularity of all things digital to refresh the mall experience for loyal and new shoppers. Compared to the past where shoppers needed to return to Customer Service counters to queue for their rewards, they are now incentivised to visit more brick-and-mortar stores within the malls to make direct redemptions. For the first time, Frasers Centrepoint Malls rolled out a digital gamification initiative dubbed “Frasers Tribal Quest,” which will mesh traditional game play with a digital element, offering a fun and “frictionless” shopper experience. More than a game, this is part of the group’s retail strategy to attract shoppers into the mall, leveraging the lifestyle and digital habits of today’s consumers. Shoppers can download the Frasers Rewards mobile application and join the interactive QR code scavenger hunt, where they will look out for a winning collection of tribal animals accompanied by QR codes at any Frasers Centrepoint Mall. Each time they find an animal featured in the application and scan the QR code, they will be prompted to spin the wheel in the app and stand a chance to win a tenant’s e-voucher.

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21-06-2017
Asian companies need to rethink how they empower their workforce for the digital age

As Asia primes itself to become the most connected market with more than half of all mobile connections originating from the region by 2021, organisations must rethink how they empower their workforce to maximise their potential, especially when a majority of employees, particularly in Singapore, do not feel empowered for the digital age.According to Microsoft’s Asia Workplace 2020 Study, while 62% of Singapore respondents consider themselves to be mobile workers and spend at least 20% of their time working outside of their offices, 63% agree that their employers are not doing enough to empower them for the digital age. In addition, only 26% of respondents agree that their organization is committed at a leadership level to ensure every employee is included in closing the digital skills gaps within the workforce.An earlier version of the study conducted in 2015 found that 39 out of 100 respondents in Singapore were ready for the New World of Work, whereby organisations had the right People, Place and Technology principles in place to enable a productive, collaborative and innovative workforce. This year, 44 out of 100 respondents felt so, indicating that organisations in the market are slightly more equipped, although more can be done to move the needle.But beyond People, Place and Technology factors, the rise of the 4th industrial revolution has also accelerated the pace of transformation.A recent Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study conducted in late 2016 found that ‘Empowering Employees’ is the number three digital transformation priority among Singapore’s business leaders. On the other hand, lack of a digitally skilled workforce was the number one barrier in their digital transformation journey.Structural challenges need to be addressedIt is evident that mobile professionals in the market are embracing flexi-work today, and organisations should look at new workplace practices, especially with the impeding influx of digital natives (born after 2000) entering the workforce for the first time.Majority of the respondents (80%) value work-life integration today, where the boundaries of work and life have blurred, but have enabled mobile professionals to be able to collaborate and work virtually.The study also found that organisations need to address several structural challenges within the workplace to ready themselves for the digital age, as well as flexi-work practices:Organisation’s Leaders are a key enabler to drive flexi-work practices in the workplace: Only 26% agree that their organisation’s leadership is committed in bridging the digital skills gap in the workplace. Organisational culture is important: Only 23% agree that their organisation has invested in culture development through training and development led by HR. Access to newer, data-centric technologies to enhance collaboration and productivity: Only 21% feel that their organisation has invested in analytics and data tools to help them make informed and timely decisions; only 22% agree that their organisation has given them tools to simplify workflows.Gaps hindering collaborative and productive outcomes from teamsWorkplace shifts have undeniably resulted in new ways of work, where technologies have enabled increased collaboration between individuals and teams across geographies and groups. However, the study found that there were certain gaps today that hindered collaborative and productive outcomes from teams.The top five challenges included:Too many face to face meetings that are taking up productive time (36%); Teams are too rigid and not open to new ways of work (29%) Teams take too long to respond to internal issues (26%); Teams are not open to new initiatives to improve processes (20%); Information about the team’s work or project is scattered in multiple places (17%)However, respondents feel that strong leadership and vision (45%), support from manager (44%) and access to technology tools for collaboration (41%) can help build more collaborative teams.Employees want better technologiesThe study also found that respondents are seeking better devices to help them become more productive at work. Beyond hardware requirements, 34% hope to have access to information and data on mobile devices, 26% wish for cloud-based productivity tools and 21% hope for real-time collaboration capabilities.  When asked about emerging technologies that will help build better work environments by 2020, almost half (48%) think real-time intelligences will help them make informed decisions at work. Forty-four percent believe artificial intelligence will be able to help perform tasks independently, and 33% look forward to virtual workspaces that support instant messaging and document sharing.“As the nature of work changes, how employees collaborate and work together will be impacted as well. It is critical for business and HR leaders to seek ways to better empower individuals and remove barriers to collaborate for the digital age, especially when the Study clearly identifies gaps that can be minimized with technology. However, it is also important for businesses to also bridge the leadership and employee gap with more focus on people and culture,” said Wo. 

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21-06-2017
SGX, ETPL to help SMEs access innovative technologies and capital more efficiently

Singapore’s start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will now be able to tap on innovative technologies and capital more efficiently, following a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) and Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd. (ETPL), the commercialization arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).Through strengthening the financial positions and innovative capacities of high-growth enterprises, the partnership is expected to drive business growth and capture greater value for Singapore’s economy.Under the two-year MoU, SGX and ETPL will jointly identify companies with growth potential to help them access growth capital from private or public capital markets in Singapore efficiently.Translate inventions into marketable products and servicesThe partnership also seeks to help start-ups and SMEs better translate their inventions and intellectual capital into marketable products, processes and services. The identified enterprises can tap on A*STAR’s multidisciplinary research and development (R&D) capabilities which span across the biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering, and receive ETPL’s guidance in productization and business development.SGX and ETPL will raise awareness amongst these fast growing innovative companies on the technology transfer opportunities in Singapore, and SGX will organize forums on how the identified companies can raise capital and use Singapore as a springboard into the Asia-Pacific region.Financial educationThe partnership will also provide financial education to enterprises, which include A*STAR’s spin-offs and licensees, as well as investors and potential investors. These education efforts will include offering insights into different channels of capital raising for growth, as well as business models and industry outlooks.The partnership, targeted at companies in the technology sector, including subsectors such as medtech, biotech, cleantech, digital tech and consumer tech, will foster greater information sharing and engagement between the financial and technology communities, and allow technology companies to develop a keener appreciation of using Singapore’s capital markets as a source of funding and a platform to expand their businesses globally.“Our partnership with ETPL is another step towards our vision of supporting innovative and high-potential businesses, bringing their ideas, technologies and growth plans to fruition,” says Chew Sutat, Head of Equities and Fixed Income, SGX. “By marrying our capital markets expertise with ETPL’s technology commercialisation capabilities, we look forward to playing a part in nurturing competitive and future-ready companies and strengthening Singapore’s position as a technology hub.”Philip Lim, CEO of ETPL said, “Access to finance and in-house technological capabilities continue to be key challenges for entrepreneurs in today’s increasingly competitive business environment. The SGX-ETPL partnership will leverage each other’s complementary strengths to address these challenges, and help grow a pipeline of quality enterprises and promising intellectual properties that deliver greater economic impact for Singapore.”To facilitate the collaboration, six market professionals have committed to come onboard and provide professional support to the companies identified by ETPL and SGX. These organisations are: Catalist Sponsors SAC Capital Private Limited and UOB Kay Hian Private Limited, law firms Virtus Law LLP and WongPartnership LLP, and audit firms Deloitte Singapore and PwC Singapore.             

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CyberLink Vol.105 May 2017

JUMPSTARTER 2017 offers great platform to early stage start-ups 

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CyberLink Vol.104 April 2017

Cyberport launches new strategic plan to drive digital tech as an economic driver for Hong Kong  

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CyberLink Vol.103 March 2017

Cyberport collaborates with the Government in staging the 2nd edition Internet Economy Summit 2017

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