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20-07-2017
Zanroo targets China, US martech markets

A Thai martech startup is now aiming to be the top 10 martech outfits in the world by 2020. Before that, it is looking to enter the lucrative China market by the end of this year and expand into the US in 2018.Not bad for a firm that was founded in 2013 in Bangkok as a two-man show. Since then, the company grew by expanding its market reach across South East Asia and Japan. It also has a global HQ in the UK. Today, the company is present in more than 15 countries and has a revenue stream of around US$2.95 million.With fresh new Series A funding of US$7.4 million, the company is looking to enter China and the US. By 2019, the company reportedly wants to be in 40 countries by 2019.“We set ourselves apart with an all-inclusive range of services. On the software front, our social listening and engagement tools can slice and dice multi-lingual content to generate actionable insights. This is extremely important for our consultancy services in which we advise brands on strategic and tactical initiatives by seizing opportunities quickly and intercept crisis effectively,” Chitpol Mungprom, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Zanroo said in a company announcement.The company tapped IBM Cloud for expansion and recently launched Arun at the MarTech San Francisco. Arun, based on the company’s proprietary technology, looks at social media ROI and aligns with real market demand. It will also be the flagship product as Zanroo expands regionally and globally.“With well-thought, well-designed algorithms, Arun has the ability to process big data quickly and intelligently. As the first of its kind, Arun aggregates paid, owned and earned media holistically for ROI measurement, thus elevating businesses across all industries to a new level. All-in-all, Arun facilitates accurate business decision making,” Udomsak Donkhampai, Chief Technology Officer and Founder of Zanroo said.Further reading:Winter is coming as adtech and martech convergeStudy: Email could be the starting point for Martech and Adtech convergence3 Martech innovations that could change the face of marketing Caption: Image credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images

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20-07-2017
Shopee revs up B2C with in-app portal

Taiwanese e-commerce platform Shopee has launched Shopee Mall, a dedicated in-app space for B2C sellers that adds to existing offerings available in the Shopee marketplace. The new portal provides access to thousands of products from over 200 top sellers and leading brands such as 3M, L’Oreal, Philips and Reckitt Benckiser. Additionally, all products on Shopee Mall come with 100% authentic guarantee, free shipping and 15 days return policy. Shopee further strengthens its consumer-first policies by giving consumers more convenience. Shoppers can reap cost savings from free shipping on every order with no minimum spend. Furthermore, shoppers who wish to return their purchases can do so using the prepaid postage labels provided. Shopee Mall was conceptualized due to the increasing need for brands to provide Singaporeans with a streamlined online shopping experience. The portal aims to bolster both attributes and assure consumers by ensuring that all sellers on Shopee Mall are verified with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, a locally registered entity. This verifies a merchant's trustworthiness and ensures that all goods sold are authentic. “As we scale up our B2C efforts, customers can now shop conveniently from hundreds of leading brands,” said Zhou Junjie, country head of Shopee Singapore. “At the same time, Shopee Mall helps brands to reach out to more customers while building consumer confidence.” Shoppers can easily identify Shopee Mall product listings with the newly added red “Mall” label. Within the portal, shoppers can also navigate easily between key brands, category campaigns and personalized recommendations. During the launch period beginning July 18, Shopee Mall will offer exclusive campaigns, including opening sales of up to 80% off, voucher codes and giveaways.

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20-07-2017
Huawei bolsters Singapore’s digital economy thrust

Huawei has entered strategic partnerships with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Keppel Data Centres, and Ascent Solutions through the signing of two Memorandums of Intent (MOI) and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) related to Singapore’s Digital Economy future for a Smart Nation. The partnerships aim to enhance industry collaboration, enable local companies to scale globally, empower the workforce with skills relevant for the digital economy as well as equipping companies with the technology and knowledge to build strong digital capabilities in a sustainable manner.  Huawei, IMDA, and Keppel Data Centres will focus on a two-year strategic collaboration to explore the technical feasibility of a first-of-its-kind high-rise green data centre building. Also, Huawei and IMDA will collaborate to accelerate the growth of local small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs), by leveraging Huawei’s technical expertise and facilities, go-to-market opportunities and global business network. Further, Huawei will support Ascent Solutions as its technology enabler, allowing the local company to tap on Huawei’s global business network and explore overseas opportunities. In addition, IMDA and Huawei will jointly promote deeper talent and capability building among local information and communications technology (ICT) students. This initiative will include 45 overseas training stints and internship opportunities for students to explore new capabilities in technology areas critical to the future such as the Internet of Things, 5G, and cybersecurity. The first MOI is a tripartite partnership between Huawei, IMDA and Keppel Data Centres that aims to improve energy and land efficiency of the data center industry in Singapore through the implementation of innovative technology and solutions. The second MOI, between Huawei and IMDA, is focused on accelerating Singapore-based tech companies’ growth and expansion. Through this partnership, 35 local companies will have the opportunity to access and benefit from Huawei’s breadth of technology capabilities, market insights and global business network. The MOU, between Huawei and Singapore-headquartered IoT and cargo security tracking company, Ascent Solutions, builds on an existing partnership between the two companies and extends the partnership to a global scale.

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20-07-2017
Nauto raises $159 million for expansion of autonomous vechicle business

Autonomous vehicle technology company Nauto, whose artificial intelligence-powered system and data platform is helping improve fleet safety and informing the development of self-driving technology, has closed a $159 million Series B financing round. This was led by a subsidiary of SoftBank Group and Greylock Partners. Other participants include previous strategic investors BMW iVentures, General Motors Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and the venture unit of global financial services and insurance provider Allianz Group as well as Series A investors Playground Global and Draper Nexus. The funds will fuel Nauto’s growth and the deployment of its retrofit safety and networking system into more vehicles around the globe, as well as support the expansion of the Nauto data platform in autonomous vehicle research and development across multiple automakers. Nauto is an automotive data platform, powered by artificial intelligence and an after-market dual-camera device, which can equip any vehicle or fleet with sophisticated safety and networking features. The Nauto 2 system also includes a new windshield mounted hardware design, updated deep learning and computer vision algorithms and smart cloud network informed by the accumulation of more than a million miles on urban streets and highways. The resulting insights help improve fleet safety and operations, as well as save lives and reduce liability and expenses. Over time the Nauto data platform will inform the transition to and co-existence of human-driven and autonomous vehicles. “At a time when traffic fatalities are climbing and distracted driving causes more than half of all crashes, we’re tackling that problem by putting Nauto’s safety features into more commercial fleet vehicles — from trucks and vans to buses and passenger cars — to warn drivers and coach them on how to stay focused,” said Nauto founder and CEO Stefan Heck. “We’ll now more rapidly be able to gather the billions more miles of real driving experience and data required to get a precise understanding of how the best drivers behave behind the wheel,” said Heck.

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20-07-2017
Mobile payments used by two thirds of Singaporean consumers: Visa study

Device-initiated payments have been adopted by two thirds of Singaporeans, according to the Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Survey 2016.The survey was conducted by Toluna on 500 Singaporeans to assess their attitudes toward cash and card usage, mobile banking, contactless payments and online shopping.On demand servicesAccording to the survey, on-demand services are accelerating the growth of mobile payments, with close to two-thirds of respondents using such services. Such services include on-demand transportation, meal and groceries delivery.Seventy-one per cent of respondents cited convenience and efficiency as the top benefits for using such services while 35 per cent of them stated that they enjoy shopping in the comfort of their own home.Expectations of such services have also shifted in response to higher adoption. According to the survey, majority of the respondents expect their transportation (e.g. taxi or a car) to arrive within 10 minutes from the time they book the service, meal deliveries to arrive within 30 minutes upon ordering, and groceries to be delivered within 45 minutes.Peer-to-peer payments Singaporeans are also starting to embrace peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. The survey showed that seven in 10 respondents are aware of such options and one in four respondents are already using P2P services to split a bill after a meal. Benefits of using peer-to-peer payments were fuelled by merchant awareness and convenience.“Increased connectivity, coupled with the wider payment methods and form factors have transformed consumers’ experience in every aspect including payment. Based on VisaNet data, seven in 10 Visa cardholders are already making device-initiated payments and more than one in five Visa cardholders are active using in-app payments, fuelled by use of transportation booking apps,” said Visa Country Manager for Singapore and Brunei, Ooi Huey Tyng. “The payment experience is becoming invisible and we believe this trend will continue with the introduction of more innovative players and services.” 

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20-07-2017
Bank OCBC NISP deploys security platform from Palo Alto Networks for workforce mobility

InIndonesia’s Bank OCBC NISP has deployed Palo Alto Networks’ Next-Generation Security Platform to strengthen security as the bank pursues a mobile, digital-first business strategy.With more than 3,000 mobile users operating in an increasingly digital industry, Bank OCBC NISP faced a mounting challenge to prevent cyberthreats from infiltrating its business network. The bank initiated a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy; however, traditional firewalls and antivirus software could not keep up with the onslaught of persistent and zero-day attacks able to find openings through these end-user devices.With the deployment, the bank now has advanced threat prevention that automatically inspects traffic and blocks cyberattacks. The Palo Alto Networks platform also provides the bank’s security team with deep visibility and control to safely enable legitimate applications through its internet gateways and into the core data centers.The Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Security Platform comprises the Next-Generation Firewall, Threat Intelligence Cloud and Advanced Endpoint Protection. It delivers application, user, and content visibility and control, as well as protection against known and unknown cyberthreats.  Advanced features such as application- and user-level identification provide Bank OCBC NISP with granular insights into exactly who and what is access its network so security staff can identify threats coming through malicious web access.In addition, the WildFire™ private cloud appliance enables the bank to analyze suspicious files in a local malware analysis environment, driving automated prevention that meets privacy and regulatory requirements without sacrificing security. Overall, the features of the Palo Alto Networks platform have cut the time spent managing network security in half, freeing time for staff to develop and bring to market new digital banking services."Compared to other offerings we evaluated, the threat identification and prevention capabilities of the Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Security Platform are of a different standard and allow our staff to work securely from anywhere. It has transformed our productivity,” said Filipus H. Suwarno, technology security and governance division head, Bank OCBC NISP.

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20-07-2017
Financial Technology services poised for mainstream global adoption, led by China and India

Levels of financial technology (FinTech) adoption among consumers has surged globally over the past 18 months and fintech looks poised to go mainstream, according to the latest EY FinTech Adoption Index.The study, based on 22,000 online interviews with digitally active consumers across 20 markets, shows that the emerging markets are driving much of this adoption with China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico averaging 46%.An average of 33% digitally active consumers across the 20 markets in the EY study now use FinTech.China and India in particular have seen the highest adoption rates of FinTech at 69% and 52%, respectively. FinTech firms in these countries are particularly successful at tapping into the tech-literate but financially under-served segments, according to the study. In Singapore, FinTech adoption, while being lower than the global average, saw an increase from 15% in 2015 to 23% in 2017.“While FinTech adoption levels in Singapore are lower than the global average, the ground work has been laid and its anticipated penetration will increase across all categories in the next twelve months, with the highest growth expected from borrowing platforms and financial planning tools,” said Liew Nam Soon, EY Asean Financial Services Managing Partner, Ernst & Young Advisory Pte. Ltd. “The lower adoption levels doesn’t mean that Singapore consumers are not open to FinTech innovation. On the contrary, it reflects the efforts of traditional banks working with FinTech start-ups, which gives consumers fewer reasons to go directly to the FinTechs, unless it’s a brand new innovation or value proposition.”Payments and insurance driving adoptionThe EY FinTech Adoption Index evaluates services offered by FinTech organizations under five broad categories – money transfers and payments services, financial planning, savings and investments, borrowing and insurance.The index reveals that money transfers and payments services are continuing to lead the FinTech charge with global adoption standing at 50% in 2017, based on the consumers that were surveyed. 88% of global respondents said they anticipate using FinTech for this purpose in the future. The new services that have contributed to this upsurge include online digital-only banks and mobile phone payment at checkout.Insurance has also made huge gains, moving from being one of the least commonly used FinTech services in 2015 to the second most popular in 2017, now standing at 24%. According to the study, this has largely been due to the expansion into technologies such as telematics and wearables (helping companies to better predict claim probability) and in particular the inclusion and growth of premium comparison sites. In Singapore, a similar trend is observed. Money transfers and payments (38%) and savings and investments (17%) saw good penetration in the market, though adoption of borrowing (3%) and financial planning services (4%) were particularly low. “We anticipate that payments, and savings and investments will continue to see strong growth in Singapore. This is evident in the number of FinTechs that are establishing themselves in this space,” said Liew. “The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s recent consultations around single payment infrastructure and robo-advisors will further facilitate the provision of services targeted at the middle income group.”Sharing economy and on-demand servicesAccording to the study, 40% of FinTech users regularly use on-demand services (e.g. food delivery), while 44% of FinTech users regularly participate in the sharing economy (e.g. car sharing). In contrast, only 11% of non-FinTech adopters use either of these services on a regular basis.The demographic most likely to use FinTech are millennials – 25–34-year olds, followed by 35–44-year olds. The study revealed that people in this age range are comfortable with the technology and that they also require a wide range of financial services as they achieve milestones such as completing their education, gaining full-time employment, becoming homeowners and having children.There is however also growing adoption among the older generations: 22% of digitally active 45–64-year olds and 15% of those over 65 said they regularly use FinTech services.The study has also identified a new segment of users, the ‘super-user’. These individuals use five or more FinTech services and account for 13% of all consumers. ‘Super-users’ generally consider FinTech firms to be their primary providers of financial services.Like the global average, the tech-savvy younger generation (25-34 year olds) is the demographic most likely to use FinTech. They are also high adopters of all FinTech services among the Singapore population.FinTech adoption set to increase to 52% globallyThe EY FinTech Adoption Index says that FinTech adoption is set to increase in all 20 markets covered by the study. Based on consumers’ intention of future use, FinTech adoption could increase to an average of 52% globally. The highest proportional increases of intended use among consumers is expected in South Africa, Mexico and Singapore. “In Singapore, we anticipate adoption to increase to 56% with more usage by not just the millennials but the older generation, as awareness increases and the users gain greater comfort towards conducting financial transactions digitally,” said Liew. “This is not surprising, given the vibrant FinTech ecosystem – support from consumers, access to talent and capital, and governance. For financial institutions and FinTech collaborations to be successful, FinTech companies must be able to get access to customers and scale to build a sustainable business model. To do so often requires partnerships with financial institutions or businesses with an existing large customer base and adequate support in investment funding.”

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20-07-2017
OCBC Bank enables account-to-account fund transfers via QR code

OCBC Bank has enhanced its Pay Anyone mobile ap to enable customers to send or request for funds using QR codes.This function eliminates the need for customers to share their mobile phone or NRIC (Singapore’s national ID system) numbers.Transfers are made directly from the payer’s account to the payee’s account, with no mobile wallet intermediary.PayNow-registered customers, through the OCBC Pay Anyone mobile app, can now use this function.QR code payments via the OCBC Pay Anyone app use just the payee’s and payer’s fingerprints for authentication. This is expected to facilitate peer-to-peer e-commerce, where sellers and buyers may not wish to exchange personal information but would just meet up to make payment and hand over the goods. The QR code would specify the amount to be paid, and can be sent via the e-commerce platform or social media for the payer to scan and pay. Alternatively, a payee can meet the payer and have the latter scan the QR code directly on a mobile device to make immediate payment.The daily transfer limit for payers is $1,000.Aditya Gupta, OCBC Bank’s Head of E-Business Singapore, said: “Cashless is the new normal! With OCBC Pay Anyone, our customers have been embracing the move away from cash as they get the convenience of real-time payments of all types in one single app. Be it peer-to-peer, in-store or online payment, customers can simply use QR codes, mobile or NRIC numbers – or even Facebook – to pay via the OCBC Pay Anyone app. We believe the recent launch of PayNow is an inflection point for driving cashless payments behaviour in Singapore, and we have integrated that with OCBC Pay Anyone to offer our customers the additional convenience of QR code peer-to-peer payments. We will continue to push the boundaries on mobile payments and move the needle in making Singapore a cashless society.”Peer-to-peer QR code payments are available to OCBC Bank customers who have registered for PayNow. Customers need to use Apple iPhone devices running on iOS8 and above or Samsung devices running on Android 4.4 Kit Kat, with the fingerprint recognition feature. 

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20-07-2017
Sephora SEA Digital deploys Adyen to offer UnionPay SecurePlus on Hong Kong online store

Sephora SEA Digital has partnered payments technology company Adyen to offer UnionPay SecurePlus as a payment option to customers of Sephora’s online store for Hong Kong.The store will be the first to use UnionPay SecurePlus, a new offering from UnionPay International that allows credit and debit payments to occur within the merchant site, with the aim for a more seamless and secure payment flow.In line with current UnionPay solutions, SecurePlus is expected to enable easier access to recurring payments for both credit cards and debit cards. The UnionPay SecurePlus offering is complemented by Adyen's comprehensive end-to-end solution for Sephora SEA Digital in Asia Pacific. Adyen also provides www.sephora.hk with tools to gather customer insights from transactions as well as prevent fraud.“Online payment solutions are an integral part of our product portfolio, and UnionPay SecurePlus ensures our cardholders a safe and convenient online payment experience. Being able to launch SecurePlus on an established and global retail platform such as www.sephora.hk is a boon for UnionPay cardholders,” said Shuan Ghaidan, Director of Products, UnionPay International. “As validation of Adyen’s local know-how and our close working relationship, we are thrilled to be the first retailer to offer UnionPay SecurePlus on our e-commerce site in Hong Kong. We look forward to continue delivering a seamless shopping experience for our customers in the city,” said Alexis Horowitz-Burdick, Managing Director of Sephora SEA Digital.

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19-07-2017
VN Central Bank gets new core banking system

Vietnam’s central bank, State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) officially went live with its new core banking suite including accounting and budgeting applications. The system consists of 5 components: Core banking, Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Tender and Open Market Operations and Portal.System integration will be provided by FPT Information System (FPT IS), a multinational information technology service provider based in Hanoi, Vietnam. As part of the original agreement signed in August 2014, FPT IS will source appropriate technologies from Oracle, Temenos and Tibco.Valued at US$9 million, the solution is part of a SG3.1 contract under the US$71.83 million Financial Sector Modernization and Information Management System project (FSMIMS) funded by the World Bank.A total of 17 departments and agencies, 63 SBV branches and 100 credit institutions will benefit from the upgrade. Caption: officials touched an orb to official mark the going live of the new core banking system

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19-07-2017
Singapore online grocery to triple by 2020

IGD forecasts that Singapore’s online grocery market will triple in growth over the next three years, from US$91 million to US$350 million by 2020.At the end of 2016, IGD valued online grocery to have a 1.2% share of the Singaporean grocery market. Reflecting rapidly changing shopper habits in the region and increased investment in the online channel from retailers and suppliers, IGD is further forecasting online to take a 4% share of Singapore’s grocery market by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 39%.“Shopper habits are changing rapidly in South East Asia and in a compact city such as Singapore, with its relatively affluent population, big expat community and high penetration of internet and smartphone usage, there are huge opportunities for online grocery to meet these evolving needs. To make the most of this opportunity, retailers and suppliers must work together to ensure they really understand online shoppers and can tailor experiences and products to suit their personal preferences,” said Nick Miles, IGD’s Head of Asia-Pacific.He noted that retailers are looking to improve the overall online experience, by getting the basics of search functions, favorites, images and information right for shoppers. At the same time, they’ll be aiming to make delivery options as convenient as possible, whether that’s through shorter timespan delivery slots or greater choice of click and collect points throughout the region.According to IGD 80% of shoppers cite convenience as their number-one reason for shopping online. He expects Singaporean shoppers to have very similar preference when heading online for their groceries.“We also expect online grocery retailers in the region to encourage shopper loyalty through personalized offers and products, plus subscription models and delivery saver passes. On top of that, shoppers in the region are increasingly connected via mobile, so ensuring a seamless shopping experience no matter what device they are using will be critical. Coupled with an increased focus on using innovations such as voice-activated technology, virtual reality and robotics, we predict huge opportunities for those retailers and suppliers who really invest in making the online grocery channel work for them in Singapore,” he added.Feature photo courtesy of iStockPhoto Caption: photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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19-07-2017
DHL eCommerce to help accelerate e-commerce in Vietnam

In Vietnam, online retail makes up about 1% of the total retail market. But growing smartphone and social media use are fueling acceptance of customer openness to online shopping. Two barriers limiting the growth of e-Commerce in the country are poor logistics infrastructure and preference to use cash payments.According to Research and Markets’ report titled "Vietnam B2C E-Commerce Market 2017" companies like FPT Corporation, Mobile World, Lazada, and Tiki are investing into developing their delivery and payment infrastructure to help further accelerate the growth of e-commerce in the country. In the report, Facebook is cited as a leading platform for online purchasing in Vietnam.Joining the race to capture a share of the burgeoning e-Commerce market is DHL eCommerce which announced plans to launch nationwide domestic delivery operations in Vietnam. The logistics vendor says it will offer a range of services tailored for the booming e-commerce industry."The Vietnamese e-commerce market represents a huge and relatively untapped potential for local retailers, e-tailers and marketplaces: in 2016, total e-commerce spending hit US$1 billion despite barely over 50% of the population being online. With e-commerce spending expected to grow at around 23% per year between now and 2020, local e-tailers need scalable, high-quality logistics solutions with nationwide coverage more than ever before," said Charles Brewer, CEO, DHL eCommerce.DHL eCommerce Vietnam offers domestic delivery nationwide across the country, managed by hubs and depots strategically located throughout the country. DHL eCommerce's fleet of vans and motorbikes, coupled with regular air and road connections between its hubs, will support next-day delivery in Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and other primary markets."Our new domestic delivery service brings to Vietnam DHL's extensive experience in designing comprehensive logistics networks, coupled with tailored e-commerce solutions to tackle some of the most pressing roadblocks to e-commerce growth," added Brewer, "With e-commerce, consumers are increasingly expecting greater choice, convenience and control in their delivery experience and we aim to deliver a smile in the last mile by providing an amazing and customer-centric delivery solution."When using the network, local e-tailers can easily assign shipments requiring cash on delivery service through DHL eCommerce's online portal, allowing for faster remittance and simpler management of shipment information. Consumers will also be able to open, check and return goods at the point of receipt thanks to DHL's Open Box Delivery service, better aligning the online shopping experience with their preferred purchasing habits."Only 15% of Vietnam's e-commerce shoppers paid online in 2016, making cash on delivery a must-have feature for e-commerce to succeed. That, combined with concerns about the hassle of returns and refunds, has made growth an uphill battle for many local e-tailers," said Thomas Harris, Managing Director, DHL eCommerce Vietnam. "We recognize that having a fast and reliable delivery service won't solve these issues alone, which is why we've tailored our nationwide network to seamlessly handle cash payments with next day cash remittance and returns to take the burden off local e-tailers so they can fully focus on growth and customer experience."

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19-07-2017
World Bank earmarks US$1 billion to fund women-led SMEs

The World Bank Group has announced the creation of a new facility that aims to enable more than $1 billion to advance women’s entrepreneurship and help women in developing countries gain increased access to the finance, markets, and networks necessary to start and grow a business.The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), the first World Bank-led facility to advance women’s entrepreneurship at this scale, will work to enable more than $1 billion of financing to improve access to capital, provide technical assistance, and invest in other projects and programs that support women and women-led SMEs in World Bank Group client countries.The United States initiated the idea for the facility and will serve as a founding member along with other donor countries. The goal of the facility is to leverage donor grant funding – currently over US$325 million – to unlock more than $1 billion in IFI and commercial financing by working with financial intermediaries, funds, and other market actors.The World Bank Group was invited to create the facility by the United States and Germany, given the Bank Group’s deep experience, track record, and strong learning and innovation agenda.Strong donor supportThe initiative received strong donor support from Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States, enabling the Bank Group to take the facility from concept to Board endorsement within the year of the German G20 presidency.We-Fi builds on the success of past and current Bank Group programs while reaching into new areas, supporting women-led businesses at earlier stages of growth, and unlocking access to equity and insurance services.  At the same time, the facility aims to support complementary public sector interventions that strengthen the enabling environment and enhance market opportunities for women-owned businesses.We-Fi differs from current efforts in that it represents a platform to align country-level reforms and private investment, build on and implement lessons learned about what works for starting and growing female owned/led firms, collect key data from the public and private sector on female entrepreneurs and their firms, and support innovation and learning for results at scale.Women entrepreneurs face numerous challenges to financing, owning, and growing a business, including limited access to capital and technology, a lack of networks and knowledge resources, and legal and policy obstacles to business ownership and development.We-Fi will work to break down barriers to financial access and provide complementary services such as capacity building, access to networks and mentors, and opportunities to link with domestic and global markets as well as improve the business environment for women-owned or women-led SMEs in supply chains across the developing world.One of the major constraints limiting female-led enterprises is access to financial services. Nearly 70 percent of women-owned SMEs in developing countries are either shut out by financial institutions or are unable to receive financial services on adequate terms to meet their needs.Women Entrepreneurs Face Many ChallengesIt is estimated that women-owned entities represent just over 30 percent of formal, registered businesses worldwide. Yet, seventy percent of women-owned SMEs in developing countries are either shut out by financial institutions or are unable to receive financial services on adequate terms to meet their needs. This results in a nearly $300 billion annual credit deficit to formal women-owned SMEs. Lack of networks, knowledge, and links to high value markets further constrain female entrepreneurship. Moreover, unfavorable business and regulatory environments are among the barriers that still impede women entrepreneurs from accessing finance. The fact that many emerging markets financial institutions have yet to develop a sustainable strategy to address this significant market gap represents a missed opportunity and constrains private sector development 

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19-07-2017
Strong enthusiasm among HK SMEs to go public

The enthusiasm of going public on the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) in Hong Kong among the local small and medium-sized enterprises was strong during the first six months of 2017, according to Deloitte China.By 30 June 2017, Hong Kong is expected to have 69 new listings raising approximately HK$53.8 billion, a 77% jump from 39 IPOs and 23% up from HK$43.6 billion during the first half of last year. Despite just three large IPOs, the market has been vibrant in terms of small and medium-sized deals which saw a sharp rise in the first six months of the year as compared with last year.Small- and medium-sized offerings from manufacturing and technology companies will continue to dominate in terms of the number of new listings."The IPO activities on the Chinese Mainland were considerably boosted by regulatory support. We are excited to see new listings in the first six months of this year are to exceed the number of offerings for all of 2016. This is also going to be of one of the best performances in this market since the same period of 2011," remarked Anthony Wu, A-Share Capital Market Leader of the National Public Offering Group, Deloitte China.   

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19-07-2017
The DNA of an HRD – proactive, versatile and ready for constant change

HRDs need to have a thorough understanding of every aspect of the business they work for, plus be proactive, versatile and able to balance the needs of the organization with those of individual employees, according to new research released by recruiting experts Hays.The research is outlined in a new report, the ‘DNA of an HRD’ designed to provide insight into what it takes to succeed in an HR leadership role in Asia. The report is based on an extensive survey of 570 HRDs and a series of in depth face-to-face interviews.The ‘DNA of an HRD’ reveals that most respondents believe strategic planning is the most important professional skill an HRD must master, while being proactive is the most important personal trait to possess.“The advice from HR leaders is to develop a broad range of skills as no two days are ever the same for an HRD,” says Dean Stallard, Managing Director of Hays Hong Kong.“In addition to strategic planning, our respondents named five other ‘must-have’ skills for HRDs. In order of importance they are stakeholder engagement/influencing, people management, commercial acumen, communication skills and change management skills,” says Dean.More than half of respondents (51 per cent) say ‘being commercially aware’ is their top piece of advice for aspiring HRDs.“We’ve been recruiting HR professionals for nearly 50 years globally and we have certainly seen a strong and growing trend for HR professionals to develop a deep knowledge of every aspect of how the organization operates in order to truly partner with the business,” says Dean.“Respondents told us that the biggest challenge facing HRDs is how to keep employees engaged. They also said that in the next five years, they expect the bulk of their role to be identifying and retaining key talent and succession planning,” he says. “This is no surprise given that employment engagement is seen as the greatest challenge they expect to face.”Despite the important role played by the HRD, only 17 per cent of respondents hold a seat on their company’s board and nine per cent a seat on other boards.The ‘DNA of an HRD’ also found that the majority of HRDs in Asia are typically women (59 per cent) aged 36 to 50 (71 per cent) holding at least a bachelor’s degree (97 per cent). Only 16 per cent of degree holders studied HR with the degrees of 31 per cent focused on business, commerce, finance or economics.Most HRDs had at least 10 years of HR experience before landing their current senior role (86 per cent) and had worked for multiple organizations (only 12 per cent had only worked for the one organization) while 52 per cent had worked outside HR at some point in their career.Only 29 per cent of respondents had worked outside of Asia at some point during their career with 65 per cent of those spending more than two years overseas. Destinations included North America (43 per cent), Europe (31 per cent), the UK (22 per cent) and Australia and New Zealand (21 per cent).Interestingly, 45 per cent of respondents consider working outside their home country a must for career development and 47 per cent are currently considering working overseas.

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CyberLink Vol.106 June 2017

Cyberport companies bag top 3 awards at Citi HK FinTech Challenge 2017

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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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