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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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17-10-2017
Spain’s Openbank uses Temenos solution to achieve digital banking ambitions

On June 16, 2017, Spain’s Groupo Santander announced the launch of Openbank positioning it as the country’s first full-service digital bank with a suite of products available through its mobile app and website.Ana Botin, executive chairman of Banco Santander, said: “We want to offer personalized financial services, accessible from anywhere, at any time. For people who prefer an exclusively digital service that is simple, agile and available via smartphone – with the guarantee of the Santander Group – Openbank is the answer.”As a digital bank, Openbank has its software, application programming interfaces (APIs) and client transactions hosted in the cloud.Ezequiel Szafir, CEO of Openbank, said: “Openbank offers one of the best digital banking platforms in the world. We have built the bank from scratch using some of the most advanced technologies available, allowing us to provide customized products and services for customers who want a digital-only banking proposition.”Openbank is using Temenos Core Banking for retail and SME banking across its global operations, delivered in the cloud. It will use the Temenos solution to drive domestic and international expansion and support the group digital strategy. Caption: Image from Openbank

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17-10-2017
Ad bodies urge faster standards development for ads

As ad blocking go mainstream, advertisers have penned a new joint letter asking for better ad industry standards. Authored by US trade groups the IAB, ANA and 4A’s, they are asking the Coalition of Better Ads to finalize its “Better Ads Standards” quickly. The letter also called for a better self-regulatory framework on ad blocking practices. The trade bodies are all members of the Coalition.Predictably, the trade groups singled out Apple for its “heavy-handed” approach. They accused the company as creating “chaos” within the ad ecosystem. Essentially, they highlighted that the Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature in Safari will make re-targeting difficult for marketers.The bigger concern for all three trade groups is that browser owners may be in the position to control and dictate on how the ad market needs to develop. This may either lead to an ad market fragmentation based on browser use or increased cost placed on advertisers by the browser/platform owners. They may even dictate ad standards, taking away the initiative from the actual advertisers and the Coalition.Admittedly, the problem is still small as the current Apple features are focused on the desktop version of Safari. However, Google has already indicated that it is looking to release an ad filter that will block ads that does not meet the Coalition standards. But because such standards are still being inked, what ads are admissible are up to Google’s interpretation at this moment.This is the reason why the trade unions are asking the Coalition to fast track their standards initiative so that browser and platform companies do not end up dictating ad standards.In reality, it will be a power struggle. Although browser companies and platform owners are part of today’s ad ecosystem, it will also be in their interest to control how ads can be developed so that advertisers end up choosing a single platform.What is more concerning in the letter is the proposal of a “safe harbor” for its participating members. Essentially, members will be protected from getting their ads being blocked unless classified as “annoying” in a Coalition-driven dispute resolution process.It will be interesting to see how the Coalition and browser companies respond to this suggestion.Further reading: Google, Facebook, P&G and other media giants launch Coalition for Better AdsIAB looking to blockchain for fraud detectionMore programmatic ads found violating IAB guidelines Caption: Image credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images

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17-10-2017
PChomestore Marketplace says free delivery strategy works

Taiwan mobile C2C site, PChomestore Marketplace claims that it has recorded annual monthly order in excess of 6 million, just six months following the introduction of free shipping for customers. With an 800-fold growth of more than 170 million items available on its platform, PChomestore Marketplace claims it has surpassed Shopee to become Taiwan’s top e-commerce provider in terms of order figures.“Central to PChomestore Marketplace’s success is our free shipping marketing strategy, coupled with premium offerings and coupon deals that incentivize self-collection and greater spending”, said Irene Huang, Chief Operating Officer of PChomestore Marketplace.“Additionally, a large percent of the market share was acquired through our social media efforts, where the average Facebook post attracts over a thousand responses. In particular, our Million Dollar Shopping Spree fared exceedingly well, with 6 thousand coupons being redeemed in the short span of 7 minutes. In light of soaring consumption activities and an increase in demand for quality products at affordable prices, PChomestore Marketplace constantly innovates to offer consumers the most cost-efficient deals.”Merchants on PChomestore Marketplace have attested to the effectiveness of the mobile e-commerce giant’s free shipping strategy, with one retailer selling over 2,000 packs of instant noodles.At present, PChomestore Marketplace offers up to six concessions for users of the site: Free transactions for merchants, free listings for merchants, free collection of items at convenience stores, free credit card transactions for merchants, free withdrawals for merchants, and zero charges for returns on goods previously purchased through ATM transactions.PChomestore Marketplace’s best-selling product categories include beauty and cosmetics, women apparel, baby & maternity, and home & lifestyle. Parent company of PChomestore Marketplace, PChome Group, currently holds top spot in Taiwan with its B2C business, 24-hour shopping services, and Ruten Action.Export.gov describes the e-commerce market in Taiwan as growing rapidly over the past few years and estimates e-commerce to be a US$37.6 billion industry in 2016. With a 5-year average growth rate of 10-20%, it is predicted that online sales in Taiwan will eventually overtake physical store sales.Estimates put e-commerce penetration rate as one of the highest in the world. A maturing e-commerce base has seen a shift to convenience over access as the driver of e-commerce growth among local consumers.According to Export.gov, clothing and apparel remain the most widely purchased products. However it is also noted that purchase of basic household necessities is up on the back of improved delivery service. An opportunity that PChomestore Marketplace is capitalizing upon. Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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17-10-2017
L’OREAL, Tencent to make digital marketing ‘beautiful’

Beauty and social media are becoming more integrated in China. In a recent Joint Business Partnership (JBP) agreement renewal, Tencent and L’OREAL agreed to explore new ways to use digital marketing to promote beauty.The original agreement was signed in 2013 and set the framework for further cooperation. The renewal late last month saw the launch of a new joint initiative called Brand Data Center."L'OREAL was one of the first digital advertisers in the global beauty industry," Stephane Rinderknech said in a press release."We believe the partnership with Tencent will help L'OREAL make a difference in China, and through Tencent's support to achieve our global vision, which is to become a 100% digital brand, build a 50% consumer relationship via new media and achieve 20% revenue by ecommerce," he added.The Brand Data Center aims to achieve three goals: better precision, better efficiency and better traceability. It will be designed exclusively for L’OREAL by Tencent using the latest martech technologies. In addition, L’OREAL will use Tencent’s Data Management Platform to use data to drive better customer segmentation and understanding of customer needs using social and big data.More importantly, L’OREAL is looking to use the Brand Data Center to drive better conversions, from “increasing target audience density to collecting more sales from potential markets.”The Center will use historic data analysis and algorithms to simulate and verify results, quickly and effectively identify target audiences, and highlight the most suitable resources for improving marketing efficiency. It will also enable L’OREAL marketers to use real-time re-targeting based on data feedback during advertising for optimizing target audience advertising.The joint effort will strengthen Tencent’s own ONE Tencent initiative that was announced in the recent Tencent MIND conference. The initiative unveils a new portfolio of marketing solutions that will be powered by Tencent’s own marketing platform and ecosystem."Tencent provided L'OREAL customized marketing solutions during the three year's JBP cooperation. This time we will take the partnership as an important step to implement ONE Tencent, to bring the advertisers from the beauty industry more possibilities and use the potential of marketing," Sophia Ong, GM, Strategic Partnership & KA, Online Media Group, Tencent said.One of the key initiatives launched under ONE Tencent is Inter-Trace, an integrated data marketing tool. It combines Tencent's strengths in content, data and technology and “aligns creation, communication and conversion to provide whole-course, all-dimensional data support to advertisers and customized brand marketing solutions for clients from various industries.”Further reading:Tencent's Steve Chang explains Digital China in numbersDentsu Aegis Network partners with TencentThe two factors shaping mobile ad success in Hong Kong Caption: Image credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images

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16-10-2017
Which is the safest city in 2017?

The 2017 edition of The Safe Cities Index was launched by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on 12 October, 2017. The index, sponsored by NEC, ranks 60 cities worldwide across five continents. The 2017 edition is the second, after a first was published in 2015, and features an updated and expanded definition of urban safety, including six new indicators related to man-made threats, including terrorism.Tokyo, which topped the index again, performed strongest in digital security and made improvements in health security. It is joined in the top 10 overall by Asian and European cities, with the sole exception of Toronto in 4th place.The US’ deteriorating infrastructure is reflected in its cities’ rankings, with only San Francisco making the top 20 and Dallas falling in the bottom half. All of the cities that made the top10 in infrastructure security are either in Europe or Asia-Pacific.Dhaka, Yangon, and Karachi, three cities added to the 2017 version of the index, are at the bottom and are joined by three other Asian cities in the bottom 10: Manila, Ho Chi Minh, and Jakarta. Although wealth is not the only factor in determining safety, it is among the most important, as evidenced by the stark divide between the cities in high-income countries at the top of the rankings and the cities in low to middle income countries at the bottom.Chris Clague, the editor of the report, said: “Events since 2015, from the terrorist attacks in Europe to the recent devastation wrought by severe weather in the southern US and the Caribbean, have reinforced the importance policymakers should place on urban safety. Technology is a vital tool for any government in combatting these and other security issues, but it itself creates new vulnerabilities, chiefly in the form of cyberattacks. The 2017 version of the index is designed to help leaders find a balance.”Other notable findings include:

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16-10-2017
Little loyalty among corporate treasurers says Ovum-Temenos report

Four-fifths of corporate treasurers operating in countries without real-time payments infrastructures are willing to change bank for one offering superior servicing and products, according to a Temenos report released in conjunction with Ovum.The finding illustrates the importance to banks of providing state-of-the-art payments facilities in order to stay competitive.According to the report, “2017 Transaction Banking Survey: Challenges & Imperatives of Real-Time Payments & Liquidity”, real-time payments is the most valued service enhancement, with 64% of survey respondents citing it as one of the top three most desirable service/account enhancements.Real-time payments has added value to corporates in a number of key areas, the survey found, with 80% of corporates saying real-time payments has improved risk management, 77% saying it has improved liquidity management, and 76% saying it has improved cash visibility.Figure 1: Challenges facing corporate treasurersSource: 2017 Transaction Banking Survey: Challenges & Imperatives of Real-Time Payments & LiquidityThe survey also found virtual accounts to be high on the banks’ agenda: 53% plan to offer virtual accounts within the next 12-15 months, rising to 57% among banks based in countries with real-time payments.The survey underscores the importance to a bank of servicing its corporate clientele with what they need. And while the report indicates that banks are listening to their corporate clients, it also finds they are slow to change, hampered by ageing legacy platforms and isolated, so-called best-of-breed single function systems that can only communicate with other platforms via complex and expensive interfaces.“Corporate banks are responding to the ever-changing landscape of banking and the move from batch to real-time but they are often still driven by regulation, and are still grappling with the issues of ageing legacy systems and a tangle of bolted-together in-house developments,” said David Bannister, Principal Analyst, Ovum.“The findings of this survey reinforce the opportunity that real-time payments and liquidity management solutions offer,” said Darryl Proctor, Product Director – Payments, Temenos.He concluded that it’s time for banks to address the move to real-time by leveraging the latest end-to-end digital software that will allow creation of true real-time services in a single platform.  Caption: Image by iStockPhoto

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15-10-2017
Dassault Systèmes to acquire Exa for $400m

Dassault Systèmes and Exa have signed a definitive merger agreement for Dassault Systèmes to acquire Burlington, Massachusetts-based Exa. Under the terms of the merger agreement, a subsidiary of Dassault Systèmes will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Exa common stock for a price of $24.25 per share payable in cash upon completion of the offer. This represents a fully diluted equity value for Exa of approximately $400 million. With the acquisition of Exa, Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform will provide customers with a proven, diverse portfolio of combined Lattice Boltzmann fluid simulation technologies, as well as Exa’s fully industrialized solutions and nearly 350 highly experienced simulation professionals. This set of solutions solves challenging fluids problems faster and more accurately than traditional methods for aerodynamics, aeroacoustics, thermal management, and a growing list of applications in other industries. Exa’s software is used by designers and engineers at more than 150 leading companies in transportation and mobility, as well as aerospace and defense, natural resources, and others to evaluate highly dynamic fluid flow throughout the design process.  Combining the two companies greatly enhances collaboration with customers, facilitating the ability to offer integrated solutions and simplify both commercial and technical interactions. Customers will be able to quickly create and analyze fluid behavioral models that simulate highly dynamic fluid flow across a wide range of applications.   “With Exa’s valuable application knowledge in transportation and mobility and other industry verticals, we will accelerate our delivery of industry solution experiences to benefit our existing and future customers,” said Bernard Charlès, vice chairman and CEO of Dassault Systèmes. Completion of the transaction is expected in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including required regulatory approvals.

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15-10-2017
A*STAR, Rolls-Royce and SAESL launch smart manufacturing joint Lab

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Rolls-Royce, and Singapore Aero Engine Services (SAESL) will invest up to S$60 million to set up a joint laboratory to develop smart manufacturing technologies. The joint lab is a five-year collaboration program between A*STAR, Rolls-Royce and SAESL. It will develop next-generation aerospace manufacturing, as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities enabled by advanced processes, automation and digital technologies. The A*STAR research institutes supporting this joint lab with relevant capabilities are the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC), Institute of High Performance Computing, Institute for Infocomm Research, Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, as well as the National Metrology Centre. This is the first joint investment that A*STAR, Rolls-Royce, and SAESL have made on advanced manufacturing technologies. The program comprises five main themes — smart assembly systems; integrated remanufacturing technologies; advanced fan blade manufacturing; future manufacturing processes; and knowledge-based manufacturing. This program will leverage ARTC’s Model Factory, as well as A*STAR’s other relevant capabilities to test-bed new technology applications for the aerospace industry. The developed technologies will eventually be used on-site at Rolls-Royce and SAESL’s facilities for improved productivity, costs savings and business competitiveness. The joint lab is a significant milestone in Singapore’s push for the future of manufacturing. It will develop cutting-edge manufacturing technologies, such as the additive manufacturing (3D industrial printing) of complex aero-engine components, as well as advanced robotic and automatic solutions. This could subsequently carry significant spin-off benefits to other relevant local industry sectors, such as precision engineering. One of the joint lab’s goals is for the local manufacturing industry, especially SMEs, to adopt the latest technologies, and be part of the high-value global manufacturing supply chain to generate economic outcomes in Singapore. These new business opportunities could then form a robust high-value aerospace-related business ecosystem for local enterprises. “Our Future of Manufacturing strategy involves bringing together ideas, resources, people and companies along the innovation value-chain from MNCs to SMEs on a synergistic platform to co-create and co-develop to benefit Singapore’s future economy,” said A*STAR chairman Lim Chuan Poh.

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15-10-2017
The CIO: from delivery exec to business exec

The CIO role is transitioning from delivery executive to business executive, from controlling cost and engineering processes, to driving revenue and exploiting data, according to a new survey by Gartner. The 2018 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey gathered data from a record number of 3,160 CIO respondents in 98 countries and all major industries, representing approximately $13 trillion in revenue/public sector budgets and $277 billion in IT spending. Results show that 95% of CIOs expect their jobs to change or be remixed due to digitalization. While world-class IT delivery management is a given, it will take up less and less of the CIO's time.  Respondents believe that the two biggest transformations in the CIO role will be becoming a change leader, followed by assuming increased and broader responsibilities and capabilities. Inevitably, the job of CIO will extend beyond the traditional delivery roles to other areas of the business, such as innovation management and talent development. "The CIO's role must grow and develop as digital business spreads, and disruptive technologies, including intelligent machines and advanced analytics, reach the masses," said Andy Rowsell-Jones, VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner. The survey showed that a majority of CIOs say that technology trends, specifically cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI), will significantly change how they do their jobs in the near future. Cybersecurity continues to threaten the global landscape in 2018, and 95% of CIOs surveyed said they expect cybersecurity threats to increase and impact their organization. "Digital security ranks high on the CIO agenda as 35% of respondents said they have already invested and deployed some aspect of digital security, and 36% are in the process of planning to implement some form of digital security," said Rowsell-Jones. Also, at least 84% of top CIOs surveyed have responsibility for areas of the business outside traditional IT. The most common are innovation and transformation. Based on the top CIOs' responses, the ideal balance is 56% of metrics related to business outcomes, such as revenue growth, business margins and influencing business strategy, and 44% related to IT delivery. The survey found that CIOs are spending more time on the business executive elements of their jobs compared with three years ago. The more mature an enterprise's digital business is, the more likely the CIO will report to the CEO.

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15-10-2017
Big firms lose $258M yearly due to lack of cloud expertise

Large enterprises in Hong Kong could be losing out on revenue as 84% of IT decision makers say that they don’t have the required cloud expertise according to a new report commissioned by Rackspace in collaboration with LSE academics. This comes as large enterprises across the world are losing out on $258.2 million a year as a result of a cloud skills gap. The Cost of Cloud Expertise report covered 950 IT decision makers and 950 IT professionals – as well as in-depth conversations with IT leaders – in large enterprises around the world. The study also found that this lack of expertise is stifling creativity, with 80% of IT pros saying they could bring greater innovation to their organization with the right cloud insight. Beyond innovation and growth, 44% of IT decision makers believe a lack of skills is causing a lag in their organization’s ability to deploy cloud platforms. The majority (77%) also believe they need to invest more in their workforce to meet the developmental challenges of cloud computing. “With technology and the cloud now underpinning business transformation, the growing technology skills gap means organizations must have a strategy to access the expertise needed,” said John Engates, CTO at Rackspace. IT decision makers are seeing the benefits of moving all or part of their IT estate to the cloud, with 54% of respondents saying their organization has already seen a positive ROI on using the cloud, with a further 30% expecting the cloud to deliver positive ROI in the future. Among IT pros, 96% of IT pros said that deeper cloud expertise within their organization would help it increase the cloud’s ROI. Half of IT decision makers acknowledge that a lack of expertise is holding their business back. Also, more tha  half of IT decision makers (54%) find it hard to recruit the right talent to help manage their organization’s clouds. The top barriers to recruitment were the inability to offer a competitive salary (51%); industry competition (41%); and the inability to offer sufficient training to prospective recruits (46%). For organizations to navigate cloud expertise skills gaps in their business Rackspace and LSE advise them to split the IT function into separate streams; develop a cloud skills strategy; and fully assess the cloud ecosystem.

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15-10-2017
Hong Kong startup to target the future consumer

INFINITI Motor Company, the luxury auto division of Japanese automaker Nissan, has launched the INFINITI Lab Hong Kong 3.0, an attempt to ride the startup frenzy. INFINITI LAB is a global program that aims to address locally relevant challenges. It follows similar programs in Singapore and Toronto, Canada.The company says the program focuses on the “future consumer” and aims to drive innovations in retail technology to achieve that illusive customer experience. To this end it invited seven high-potential startups, two from Hong Kong and five others from Canada, Germany, Mexico, Sweden and the US, to its global headquarters to develop future technologies that enhance the customer journey.As part of the program, they will test, evolve and refine their technologies to win over investors and industry leaders.Dane Fisher, general manager, Global Business Transformation & Brand at INFINITI Motor said: “We are dedicated to supporting top entrepreneurial talent around the world and helping bring their ideas to life through comprehensive startup programs and world-class partnerships.”Commenting on the joint program for Hong Kong, Lawrence Morgan, CEO of Nest, said “This year’s INFINITI LAB Hong Kong 3.0 Accelerator Program will focus on ‘The Future Consumer’, innovations in retail technology and the customer experience. We have created a bespoke 10-week program for our startups and look forward to working with these high-potential businesses.”The program will conclude with Demo Day on Monday, 13th December, 2017, where the entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas to a panel of investors in hope of securing partnerships and funding to propel their businesses to the next phase. They will also have a chance to pitch their business cases to key decision makers from INFINITI and the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Caption: Image from Infiniti

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15-10-2017
HP attempts to modernize traditional retail experience with POS solution

IDC Retail Insights predicts that by 2018, 30% of major retailers globally will adopt an omni-channel digital B2B2C commerce platform, improving customer experience, process efficiency, and inventory management.According to the analyst, however, current retail experience exists largely in separate and disconnected domains.With e-commerce influencing consumers’ shopping experiences, brick and mortar retailers must ensure sales associates are data driven to better understand buying behavior and deliver the best possible customer experience.According to InReality’s 2016 2nd Annual Reality of Retail report, 69% of shoppers said they would be more likely to buy in-store if given access to digital self-help tools like interactive displays and kiosks. Finding the right balance of where technology can help increase sales while streamlining processes is vital in today’s new retail environment.“As retailers seek new ways to interact with customers and reinvent in-store experiences, technology must empower sales associates and engage customers in a way that feels like a natural extension of the brand,” said Daren Ng, Director of Mobility Solutions, Asia Pacific and Japan, HP Inc.HP claims it is working with leading retail and hospitality customers and partners to reimagine how technology can transform the in-store experience for customers. The outcome is the HP ElitePOS – another point solution to the myriad of point solutions cropping up to serve the digitally transforming retail sector.“The new HP ElitePOS solution is built for versatility with a sleek and stunning design that can adapt to multiple retail and hospitality environments, while still offering the security, performance and long-term durability that our customers expect from HP,” said Ng.A modular design, the ElitePOS supports several use cases including interactive signage, employee attendance, and self-service applications like a customer check-in and access to additional product offerings in the “endless aisle”.For retailers who want a clean and clutter-free counter space, or who need greater versatility in the placement of their point-of-sale terminal, the display can be separated from the input/output (I/O) base for maximum placement versatility.“As the retail and hospitality industries undergo a revolutionary shift, the point-of-service device will be a critical hub in delivering the in-store experience for customers,” said Leslie Hand, vice president of Retail Insights, IDC.With point-of-sale devices increasingly targeted by hackers, security continues to be top of mind for the retail industry. According to Verizon’s 2016 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 64% of breaches in the retail industry that contained data loss were caused by point-of-sale intrusions.“But with this rapid transformation in digital business also comes increased threats, in the form of targeted attacks and malware. Retail POS systems, including the new HP ElitePOS, must be able to balance the growing needs of the customer and the brand while also acting as a guardian of the sensitive information that passes through the device on a daily basis,” said IDC’s Hand. Caption: Image from HP

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13-10-2017
Singapore productivity loss due to sickness absenteeism may reach US$2.4B by 2030

The aging workforce and medical cost inflation in Singapore are projected to drive up average medical costs per employee by 108% to S$1,973 per year in 2030, representing a mounting financial burden for employers, according to the “Aging Workforce: Cost and Productivity Challenges of Ill Health in Singapore” report released by Mercer and Marsh & McLennan Companies.The segment of Singapore employees aged over 50 is projected to increase by 55%, and to represent 40% of the workforce by 2030. With an increase in demand for medical services, the aging demographic will contribute to 41% of the escalation in medical costs, as it will drive a rise in the utilization of healthcare services, which together with healthcare cost inflation, will result in a significant surge in overall costs.“With improved management of health conditions permitting individuals to stay in the workforce longer, increasing financial needs in retirement, as well as more flexible employment options, such as working from home, and on-demand jobs in the gig economy, there is a growing trend for Singapore employees to postpone their retirement,” said Neil Narale, Singapore Business Leader for Mercer Marsh Benefits.“However, health risks increase with age, ranging from diminishing motor and sensory functions to a greater incidence of chronic diseases, which will create challenges for employers.”Challenges of stagnating productivity growthIn Singapore, societal aging is estimated to drive the prevalence of chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes by up to 200% by 2030, which means Singapore will face the challenges of stagnating productivity growth through increasing rates of absenteeism and presenteeism.Based on current trends, productivity loss due to sickness absenteeism per employee is projected to increase by 25% based on GNI (gross national income).With an aging workforce, at the national level this represents a cost of S$3.3 billion (US$2.4 billion) in 2030, a 43% increase from 2016.  The three main drivers of this are (1) the aging of the workforce, which leads to an increase in sick days, (2) a larger workforce, and (3) the GNI per capita growth rate.What is worth noting is that 60% of all medical claim costs are attributable to 10% of claimants. This highlights the value of interventions for high-risk groups, such as health and wellness programs to reduce the incidence of disease, and screening for earlier detection of disease.“Organizations need to adapt to current demographic trends by implementing strategies to mitigate the higher costs of ill health and capitalize on the productivity of an older and potentially shrinking workforce. This includes workforce analytics to characterize productivity drivers, as well as evidence-based workplace strategies such as health initiatives, workplace redesign, and return-to-work programs,” added Narale.“While an aging workforce may present challenges related to higher healthcare needs, older workers are associated with advantages such as greater firm-specific knowledge, and lower turnover rates. Accordingly, if managed properly, diversity of age at work can serve to improve productivity and reduce the need for governments to tax corporates and the next generation to support the elderly.”“Consequently, as business leaders and governments design productivity-enhancing changes, it is important for them to consider the implications of an aging workforce in the development of such strategies. A holistic approach that aims to improve the overall health of the workforce, while pre-emptively introducing initiatives to enhance productivity, will enable organizations to capitalize and maximize the productivity of an aging and potentially shrinking workforce,” concluded Narale. 

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13-10-2017
61% of HK SMBs suffered a cyber breach within past 3 years

Small and medium businesses in Hong Kong are one of the most targeted in the region for cyber breaches, according to the ESET 2017 SMBs survey.Sixty-one percent of Hong Kong SMBs suffered from a cyber breach within the past three years. The cause of these cyber breaches could be attributed to weak encryption methods, given that over half of their cyber breaches were due to the failure of encryption (57%) and two-factor authentication (55%).Hong Kong SMBs may need to boost their encryption methods seeing as over two-thirds (67%) of companies use encryption for data in transit and a large majority (87%) of SMBs are most likely to use encryption for most devices."The cost of cyber breaches can be devastating to businesses, especially to small and medium businesses where the impact of just one cybersecurity incident can have the potential to put them out of business," said Parvinder Walia, Sales and Marketing Director for Asia Pacific and Japan, ESET."With Hong Kong being a hotbed for startups, cybersecurity needs to be prioritised to prevent SMBs from being an easy target for cybercrime."The latest findings from ESET mirror the data on the overall perceptions and activities around cybersecurity for the region. Businesses in the region appear to be stepping up efforts in the fight against cybercrime given that a majority of businesses, regardless of size or market region, reported utilizing cybersecurity solutions such as antivirus software and firewalls.    

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13-10-2017
Hong Kong’s staff turnover more than 12% in first half of 2017

Hong Kong’s overall average staff turnover rate for the first half of 2017 was 12.3%, rising 1.8 percentage points from 10.5% in the second half of 2016, reveals the findings of The Half Yearly Survey on Manpower Statistics (First Half of 2017) conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM).The job vacancy rate in the first half of 2017 stood at 6.5%, down 0.1 percentage point from the second half of 2016. The hiring intention of the majority of companies remained stable for the second half of 2017.Since 2002, the HKIHRM Survey on Manpower Statistics has been collecting data to track manpower movement in Hong Kong’s labour market. A total of 80 companies participated in the survey conducted in July and August 2017, covering 97,935 full-time employees.The top three business sectors with the highest staff turnover rate were construction/property development/real estate (20.7%), retail (18.3%), and telecommunication (14.6%).The top three business sectors with the lowest staff turnover rate were transport/services allied to transport (storage) (2.1%), electricity/gas/petrol (2.4%), and manufacturing (6.4%).In terms of employee level, clerical/ frontline staff continued to record the highest turnover rate in the first half of 2017 at 17.3% while the lowest turnover rate was recorded for top/ senior/management at 3.4%.Job vacancy ratesThe top three business sectors with the highest job vacancy rate in the first half of 2017 were retail (11.7%), construction/ property development/real estate (9.7%), and community/social/personal services (7.3%).The top three business sectors with the lowest job vacancy rate were transport/services allied to transport (storage) (1.9%); wholesale, import/export, trading, distribution (1.9%); and telecommunication (2.2%).In terms of employee level, clerical/ frontline staff recorded the highest job vacancy rate in the first half of 2017 at 7.4% while top/ senior management registered the lowest job vacancy rate at 2.4%.Position growth/cutThe net growth in new positions for the first half of 2017 was 2.3%, up 1.8 percentage points when compared with the second half of 2016.The top three business sectors with the highest new growth in new positions are financial services/ banking/insurance (11.4%); construction/property development/real estate (7.6%); and manufacturing (5.1%).In terms of employee level, positions for clerical/ frontline recorded the highest net growth in the first half of 2017 at 2.4% while net growth for positions at top/ senior management, middle management/ non-managerial professionals and supervisory/ officers stood at 1.3%, 1.8% and 2.3% respectively.Absence rateAmong the 80 participating companies in the survey, 62 companies provided data on staff absence. In the survey, “absence” is defined as unscheduled absences of one or more than one day including sick leave (paid or no paid), emergency leave, and casual leave.The overall absence rate in the first half of 2017 was 2.4%, 0.3 percentage point higher than the second half of 2016, and 0.1 percentage point higher from a year earlier.The top five business sectors with the highest absence rate were community/social/personal services (2.8%); construction/property development/real estate (2.6%); and electricity/gas/petrol (2.2%); transport/services allied to transport (storage) (2.2%); and wholesale, import/export, trading, distribution (1.6%).In terms of employee level, the clerical/ frontline staff recorded the highest absence rate at 3.2%, compared with top/ senior management staff at 1.0%.Hiring intentionsAmong the 80 participating companies, all of them provided data on their hiring intention for the second half of 2017.Employers’ hiring intention in the second half of 2017 remained stable, with 68.8% of the surveyed employers would remain hiring at the same level as in the first half of 2017, followed by 12.5% who would freeze hiring, and 5% who would reduce hiring.By business sector, financial services/banking/insurance; telecommunication; and construction/property development/real estate were the top three sectors with the strongest intention to increase hiring in the second half year of 2017, while wholesale, import / export, trading, distribution was the sector with the strongest intention to freeze hiring in the second half year of 2017.David Li, President of the HKIHRM, comments that Hong Kong’s unemployment rate remained at 3.1% in the third quarter of 2017, which can be regarded as full employment, with the employment situation continuing to improve across various business sectors, especially in manufacturing, property and real estate, and retail, according to the government’s figures. 

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