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15-09-2017
創科創投基金

政府已於2017年9月15日推出「創科創投基金」。該計劃現正接受風險投資基金申請成為共同投資伙伴(截止日期:2018年1月15日)。簡介會將於2017年10月3日於香港科學園舉行,歡迎風險投資基金出席。

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23-11-2017
EY says hedge fund managers to use innovation to drive operational efficiency

The EY “2017 Global Hedge Fund and Investor Survey: How will you embrace innovation to illuminate competitive advantages?” reveal that 57% of surveyed hedge fund managers are innovating to improve their operational efficiency in response to market disruptions and to avoid falling behind the industry.In addition, technology is anticipated to help grow asset base even as pressure on margins remain. Investors also said they recognize the need for managers to innovate, with 30% noting they want managers to do so in the front office.EY Asia-Pacific Wealth and Asset Management Leader, Elliott Shadforth said: “The pace at which the hedge fund industry is being disrupted continues to accelerate. Advances in technology are creating new threats, but also new opportunities. In this environment, hedge fund managers need to be more proactive in identifying novel solutions if they want to keep pace with investors’ appetite for innovative new product offerings, stand out and remain competitive in a crowded sector and, ultimately, drive sustainable growth.”Figure 1: Reasons for interest in innovationSource: EY, 2017Investors looking for front office innovationGiven the excitement around FinTech and the advancements in data set analytics, it’s no surprise almost one-third (30%) of investors said they would like to see hedge funds become more innovative within their front office operations. While investors say only 24% of the hedge funds they currently allocate to use non-traditional or next generational data and tools, they expect that number to rise to 38% in three years.Figure 2: Where Hedge Fund managers are investingSource: EY, 2017The landscape is quickly changing in response to investors’ demands, as managers are implementing innovative approaches to improve operational efficiency (57%), attract capital (36%), attract/retain talent (28%) and the front office (25%). The goal is to invest in cutting-edge technology to improve the speed and quality of data reporting.While, in 2016, only half of managers used or expected to use non-traditional data or tools in their investment processes, this year, more than three quarters indicate they currently use this technology (46%) or have future plans to do so (32%).Pressute to innovateUntil now, most managers have responded to added complexity, increased product offerings and reporting requirements by increasing headcount, which in turn drives margin pressure. Simultaneously, investors continue to place management fees under scrutiny, forcing managers to lower operating expense ratios. The average operating expense ratio is currently 1.75%, down from 1.95% in 2015.However, hedge funds are realizing the need to break the cycle and invest in operational efficiency. Fifty-seven percent of managers say their organization is investing, or will invest, in initiatives to improve their operating models. Half of managers surveyed plan to tackle margin pressures by investing in technology.Forty percent said they plan to invest in automating manual processes, and more than a quarter of managers (27%) have or will be making investments in artificial intelligence and robotics to strengthen their middle and back office.“Recent advances in technology provide creative solutions for hedge fund managers in supporting operating models that add to the bottom line, rather than reduce it,” said Shadforth.Shifting talent management priorities As the industry embraces innovation, the roles and responsibilities of traditional talent are shifting to account for technological and qualitative skills. The ability to compete for the right talent is a strategic imperative for hedge fund managers, particularly in the front office where more than half of those surveyed say they struggle to attract and retain executive investment professionals and more than a third express difficulty in attracting non-executive investment professionals.  Managers are also feeling pressure to provide competitive compensation and workplace culture. Nearly half of managers (45%) have taken steps such as formally surveying or employing consultants to understand what employees are looking for in the workplace. As a result, they have found that collaboration, compensation and work-life balance are key.“Competition for talent is fierce, as hedge funds compete with others in the space as well as in the growing FinTech community. Hedge fund managers must be attuned to the wants and needs of newer generations of talent in order to attract the right people and foster an unmatched work environment,” said Shadforth. Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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23-11-2017
Asian retailers can benefit from 2017’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may well be designed to attract mostly American consumers to part with their money to shop online, but the number of consumers in Asia Pacific joining the online shopping spree grew 29% in 2016.According to Worldpay Chinese consumers, not content with Singles' Day, are expected to make online purchases during Black Friday with overall spending on the day expected to go up by 37% compared to 2016. The event is also growing fast in Singapore and Hong Kong, at a rate of 21% and 32% respectively.While retailers are among the biggest Black Friday winners, internal data from Worldpay suggests that 2017 could also be an opportunity for savvy APAC businesses in the travel and digital sectors.In Singapore, spending with travel & airlines was up 20% compared to 2015. And in Hong Kong, travel and airlines saw a 30% surge, with eager travelers jumping online to search for great flight and hotel deals.RELATED: Chinese customers set the pace for global e-commerce – can you keep up?Shoppers are also increasingly seeking out bargains for digital content such as subscriptions, e-books, and on-demand box sets, with Black Friday spending in this sector experiencing year on year growth of 62% in Hong Kong and 14% in Singapore.Phil Pomford, General Manager for Asia Pacific at Worldpay said based on Worldpay data, 2017 seems set to be another solid year for the shopping event and a fantastic opportunity for a variety of e-commerce businesses, not just retailers.“While Black Friday and Cyber Monday have typically been the realm of retailers, a more diverse range of businesses are now recognizing that they too can take can take advantage of this unique online opportunity. Shoppers during this time are highly engaged, proactive, and looking for a wide range of online deals, so the potential to reach new customers and strengthen brand loyalty is huge, no matter what sector you operate in.“E-commerce businesses should ensure they set themselves up for success by making sure their websites are prepared for heavy traffic and offer simple payment options to drive shopping cart conversions online. They might also consider following the example of US retail giant Amazon and kickstart Black Friday deals a week early in order to generate excitement early on.” Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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22-11-2017
BT and Huawei to base R&D group at the University of Cambridge

On 20 November 2017, BT and Huawei announced a new five-year initiative which aims to see the two companies establish a joint research and collaboration group at the University of Cambridge.The research project aims to bring together experts from the BT Labs, the Huawei R&D Team and academics from the University of Cambridge to explore new technologies which have the potential to unlock economic benefits for UK businesses and organizations, such as reducing the cost of network infrastructure and boosting operational performance.Backed by up to USD 33.1 million in funding and contributions over the next five years, the group is expected to focus on projects relating to photonics, digital and access network infrastructure and media technologies, alongside work aimed at enhancing the societal impact of communications technologies.The projects are also expected to focus on the critical role that new technologies can play in delivering positive impacts to society, such as those aimed at reducing inequality, particularly for those groups excluded from digital transformation and using ICT technologies to improve resilience of communities to climate change.Finally, the funding is also intended to support longer-term, ‘blue skies’ research projects being progressed by postgraduate students at the University which are focused on generating benefits for industry and society at large. All these projects will be assessed by an Academic Advisory Board to be made up of senior representatives from each of the parties.The new research and collaboration team – likely to be based at the University’s Maxwell Centre – is expected to kick off research activity in the first half of 2018 with five to ten researchers from BT and Huawei working alongside their University collaborators.Prof Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cambridge, said: “The world of telecommunications has advanced rapidly over the last two decades. However, there is still work to be done to improve the technologies we use on a daily basis and to ensure that they are long-lived. By working with BT and Huawei we will be able to demonstrate that the insights delivered through our research have a broad impact.” Gavin Patterson, BT Group Chief Executive said: “We believe the best way of ensuring this country remains at the forefront of innovation is by combining the expertise and commercial focus of industry with the fantastic intellectual capital found at our world-leading universities. Working together with Huawei and the University of Cambridge, we will discover the next generation of technologies which promise to deliver huge economic, social and cultural benefits for UK citizens.”Ken Hu Deputy Chairman and Rotating CEO, Huawei, said: “Technology is changing the world faster than we have ever seen. It will bring many benefits to mankind, and affect nearly every aspect of our lives. Huawei will continue to invest and form partnerships to build out future infrastructure. We have over 80,000 people in research and development globally, working with customers, universities and industry bodies.“No single organization has all the answers. Partnership is the only way forward in a complex digital age. We look forward to working with BT and the University of Cambridge. Together, we will explore future technologies and help ensure a positive social impact.”Both BT and Huawei have a long history of working with Cambridge on research projects. Researchers at the BT Labs in Adastral Park recently collaborated with the University’s Cavendish Lab on a project to assess the potential theoretical speeds that can be delivered over the UK’s access network infrastructure. Huawei and the University of Cambridge have been working together for seven years on range of research projects including media, communications and other technologies.

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22-11-2017
Study says insurtech to drive innovation in emerging Asia

Insurers in emerging markets are introducing innovative solutions faster than their peers in more developed insurance markets as advances in Insurtech make it easier, quicker and cheaper for them to accurately assess customer behavior, needs and risks, thereby opening the door to new business models.Developed in collaboration with CB Insights, the report revealed how China’ booming e-commerce is giving rise to new insurance products to meet demand for coverage on risks associated with online purchases.An example would be free-return insurance that helps retailers to increase sales by providing additional security to consumers via free shipping for product returns. Some even allow buyers with good credit to receive refunds immediately, instead of when returned items are received by merchants. This shows how data can transfer to credit, build trust, innovate insurance models and ultimately facilitate business.  The report also noted that technology-based new entrants to the insurance industry now compete with traditional players by offering a more tailored and comprehensive range of products from a variety of carriers to a larger target market than insurers distributing traditional products through captive agency and bancassurance channels.The report also noted how tech giants armed with big data capabilities are playing a growing role in the evolving insurance value chain. The drive to differentiate has led to different strategies to establish presence and penetrate the market including:Partnerships with multinational insurers to leverage global insurance capabilities and risk management expertise. Cases include Yunfeng Financial’s acquisition of MassMutual Asia and Tencent’s purchase of Aviva Hong Kong among others. Establishment of De Novo insurers by leveraging big data and technology capabilities. One such case is Alibaba-backed Zhong An, China's first online-only insurance company. Building technology-enabled distribution platforms to provide a “one-stop shop” for insurance products and services, including pricing and policy comparison tools, artificial intelligence-enabled consultation services and efficient online payment platforms. Cases include Taobao Insurance and JD Insurance. “Existing products in China are highly commoditized with limited variation. The market is dominated by leading insurers that have minimal incentive to innovate. Technology advancements now enable smaller players to compete with established ones by offering all kinds of new products through new distribution models,” said Selina Hu, Executive Director at Willis Towers Watson Securities. “Technology development has also enabled entrants outside of the insurance industry. As Internet giants join the sector, the market has become more diversified and efficient.”  Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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22-11-2017
Singles’ Day highlights value of online to offline integration

China's Singles' Day has grown beyond a Chinese online sales campaign into an international, omni-channel, retail-as-entertainment festival. What made this year’s bonanza even more interesting was the extension of "New Retail" into a wider physical footprint.The festival has become a significant event – China digital natives are now leading the way with new forms of retail such as "retail-tainment", while flexing its economic and commercial influence outside China.Singles' Day has also become an international affair in many ways. For example, Lazada Thailand mirrored Alibaba's Singles' Day practice to host a massive televised gala with celebrities counting down until the shopping deals began at midnight.By the numbersAlibaba's gross merchandise value (GMV) grew by 42.9% to US$25.3 billion. Rival JD.com reported US$19.1 billion in GMV generated, or up 50%. In countries outside of China, Alibaba Group’s Lazada reported US$123 million of GMV generated, a 171% increase from 2016.RELATED: What Jack Ma’s New Retail looks like in actionAccording to Alibaba, they already see Asia as a mobile-first economy with 90% of transactions done via mobile and tablets, up from 82% in 2016."A key highlight this year was how e-Tailers started to open up more offline retail stores and offer the same discounts online in their offline retail shops. This helps to provide consumers with a better shopping experience and gives them the option of being able to physically see and touch the item and being able to purchase these items with the online discount. This is also beneficial for e-Tailers from the logistics perspective as it reduces the number of deliveries that they may need to make during the sales period," said Tay Xiaohan, Research Manager for Client Devices Team, IDC Asia/Pacific.Trending observationsThere was generally better integration between e-Tailers as well as the third-party retail shops. For example, consumers can head to specific clothing shops, try on the clothes and purchase it using the online discount. This option also enables re-Tailers to provide consumers with a better shopping experience with more consumer touchpoints.e-Tailers also experimented with new offers, e.g. a 30-day price guarantee. If the prices of certain items drop within 30 days after consumers purchased the items before Singles' day, e-Tailers promised to refund the difference to them.e-Tailers social and gamification expanded from an individual-centric interaction to community-centric. For example, instead of the usual individualistic red packet game for consumers, this year, they added an element where consumers had to team up with their friends to form teams to attempt to snatch red packets. Elsewhere, brands were also found using games to generate buzz and anticipation in days leading up to Singles' Day."Coined by Alibaba as the 'New Retail', online-to-offline (O2O) commerce is part of Alibaba's ambition to shake up China's retail market, while extending the market in its maturing e-commerce business. The idea is to connect virtual and offline worlds, drawing more customers onto its network to boost transactions while amassing valuable purchasing data which feeds into the rest of its ecosystem. We expect this to be even more prominent with the other e-Tailers in the coming years," said Lawrence Cheok, Senior Research Manager for Digital Commerce, IDC Asia/Pacific.IDC expects e-Tailers to continue to use interactive games, AR and VR to interact with consumers in the coming years. e-Tailers will also continue to increase the number of "New Retail" shops to further strengthen the online-offline integration in the coming years. It will be interesting to monitor the adoption of the “New Retail” model outside of China.Digital native enterpriseSingles' Day 2017 showcases that digital native enterprises such as Alibaba and JD.com are leading the way in business model innovations. These organizations are reshaping consumer experiences and expectations, driving the region toward the Future of Commerce.IDC defines The Future of Commerce as the application of 3rd Platform technologies and IAs to fundamentally change the way commerce is done between individuals, organizations and things; and deliver outcome-based products and/or services through business model innovation.To align value propositions with consumers' shifting value perceptions, organizations will do well to take inspirations from these digital natives – in how they structure, operate and monetize the value which their organizations deliver. Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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20-11-2017
Move to cashless society to drive tech spend upwards among Indian banks

The transition of the Indian banking sector to a cashless society is creating many opportunities for technology investment in digital payments infrastructure, according to Gartner.“Financial services firms are lagging behind global top-performing organizations in relation to digital transformation. They hope that doing ‘more of the same’ will equate to improved performance,” said Rajesh Kandaswamy, research director at Gartner. ”As organizations seek digital maturity, As digital leaders, financial services CIOs need to focus their firms' participation in an expanded ecosystem that includes competitors, customers, regulators and other stakeholders from across multiple industries.”Gartner estimates that IT spending by banking and securities firms in India will increase 11.7% in 2017 to reach US$9.1 billion.Several top banks in India are investing heavily into contactless payment, which uses near field communication (NFC) mechanisms, which is also propelling investment in devices.Devices spending in the Indian banking sector will grow the fastest at 20% in 2017, followed by IT services at 15.8%. Firms in the banking and securities industry are investing more in devices to upgrade their existing infrastructure.“Indian banks are getting back on track after slower IT spending the last two quarters, which was prompted by demonetization. However, as banks focus on enhancing the legacy infrastructure and making digital transformation the primary goals for the banks, we will see more investments flow into newer concepts like artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain,” said Moutusi Sau, principal research analyst at Gartner. Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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20-11-2017
Immature use of tech straddles AML operations in Asia

In a survey at the Thomson Reuters ASEAN Regulatory Summit 2016, 56.4% of 500 delegates said the most common area of misconduct in their jurisdiction was mis-selling financial products, followed by money laundering (23.5%) and market manipulation (11.5%).In what may be a disappointing indictment of the state of AML readiness in the region, the Kapronasia report titled “2017 Asia Pacific Vendor Landscape: AML Solutions” cited immaturity of technology use at AML operations in Asia as well as limited understanding of the business implications of non-compliance as leading to a failure to comply with AML regulation in the region.The AML industry in Asia has changed over time. In the past, most of the countries in the region were content to meet the regulatory requirements of the leading global markets, such as the U.S. However, in the last decade, a regulatory impetus has arisen to ensure that AML compliance platforms meet the specific local and national requirements across jurisdictions.Large banks employ hundreds, if not thousands of professionals to manage their AML compliance requirements.“AML technology is becoming an essential tool in the overall strategy to fight financial crime. Cybercrime, especially crime related to terrorism, has forced governments to focus on financial transaction processes in order to ensure the safety and legitimacy of the financial services industry,” said Anshuman Jaswal, Director at Kapronasia.The Kapronasia report noted that without this technology firms would struggle to meet their requirements cost efficiently.This figure would be much higher were it not for machine learning and greater commoditization of the underlying technology. A shared database provides an opportunity for banks to flag common threats faced by institutions.“Firms need the basic capability to screen efficiently any customer or money flow against a range of highly dependable lists that cover the critical aspects of financial exposure. A LexisNexis Risk Solutions survey on financial inclusion and financial transparency revealed 87% of respondents in Hong Kong agreed they would be willing to collaborate with their peers to streamline client onboarding. In China, our study found 79% agreed they would be willing to collaborate with their peers to streamline onboarding, KYC activity and watchlist processing,” said Thomas C. Brown, senior vice president, U.S. Commercial Markets and Global Market Development, LexisNexis Risk Solutions.Financial inclusion and transparencyThe Kapronasia report further noted that banks will need to move from a previous “check-the-box” approach, to a more dynamic and proactive mindset. In the future, some of the most important regulatory requirements are expected to be around the issue of financial inclusion and financial transparency.“Going forward, we are of the view that we’ll see increased mechanisms for financial inclusion. It’s going to take industry-wide and even cross-government action to help with that transparency through data sharing,” observed Brown.David Haynes, LexisNexis Risk Solutions head of Asia, noted that big data, natural language processing and artificial intelligence are now commonly expected to play a key role in regulations, and meeting regulatory requirements, particularly in areas such as KYC.“With the use of big data analytics, banks can analyze their trends in compliance, cooperate with other financial institutions which do the same, and then present a market-wide picture of compliance to regulators. This allows for better targeting of system-wide compliance monitoring and surveillance and even inform how they should frame regulation itself,” said Haynes. Caption: Image by iStockPhoto

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20-11-2017
Clock’s ticking: companies still not ready for GDPR

First adopted on April 27, 2016, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was intended to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union.The GDPR aims to give control back to citizens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU. When it takes effect on May 25, 2018, it will replace the data protection directive (Directive 95/46/EC) of 1995.While the GDPR applies to processing carried out by organizations operating within the EU, it also applies to organizations outside the EU that offer goods and services to individuals in the EU.  Research by DLA Piper has shown that, six months ahead of the new GDPR II mandate, many organizations still have significant gaps in meeting requirements under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).RELATED: Why financial services companies should care about data sovereigntyDLA Piper's Data Privacy Scorebox online survey tool revealed that the average alignment score with all key international data privacy principles was 31.5%, as against a 38.3% average score for respondents in the 2016 calendar year.Responses to DLA Piper's Data Privacy Scorebox online survey tool for the period January 2017 to October 2017 have shown that respondents for the period demonstrated a lower average level of preparedness than those during the period January 2016 to December 2016.Patrick Van Eecke, Partner and Global Co-Chair of DLA Piper's Data Protection practice, said with only six months to go until GDPR, it is startling that on the face of it, responses to the firm’s Scorebox tool since January have indicated a fall rather than a rise in preparedness."We can conclude that the first wave of respondents, throughout 2016, was characterized by a higher level of GDPR awareness, and therefore of preparedness. In contrast, the second wave of respondents, since January 2017, may have realized more recently that GDPR is applicable to them, and therefore have further to go in their GDPR journey. It will be interesting to review the results by sector in our Global Data Privacy Snapshot 2018 report, to be released in January," said Van Eecke.Scott Thiel, Intellectual Property and Technology partner in Hong Kong also commented that a similar situation exists in Asia with many organizations still not yet fully ready for GDPR. He advised organizations in Asia need to act quickly to prepare themselves in time." Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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20-11-2017
Prudential and StarHub to launch blockchain-based digital trade platform for SMEs

Prudential Singapore (Prudential) and StarHub have partnered to launch Fasttrack Trade (FTT) - a digital trade platform for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) using blockchain technology.The platform will allow SMEs to seek business partners and distributors, buy and sell goods, track shipments, receive and make payments, access financing and buy insurance via a single platform. The platform is being developed by fintech startup Cites Gestion with funding from Prudential.FTT is powered by distributed ledger technology which aims to establish trust among SMEs through the sharing of a common audit trail between counterparties on the platform.Every transaction on FTT is recorded and traceable, making it not only safer but also faster and cheaper for SMEs to conduct trade transactions and access financing versus traditional methods. For instance, for transaction values of between S$3,000 and S$20,000, an SME can get access to financing within 24 hours and insurance cover for its outstanding loan for premiums as low as S$20.Under the partnership, StarHub will offer its SME customers access to FTT’s services while Prudential will offer insurance to help them mitigate business risks. The platform also provides alternative financing options to SMEs through Funding Societies, a peer-to-peer lender. More service providers from the financing, business intelligence, payments and logistics sectors are expected to join the FTT by the time it is commercially launched in the first quarter of 2018.The partnership between Prudential and StarHub marks the start of a broader plan to create a digital B2B marketplace powered by StarHub. This will bring together a network of service providers across multiple industries to support the business expansion of SMEs.Stephanie Simonnet, Chief Partnerships Distribution Officer at Prudential Singapore, said that such insurer-telco-fintech collaboration is the first of its kind in Singapore and opens up opportunities for all parties to reach a wider customer base with innovative business solutions, and to share expertise.“We are creating a digital ecosystem based on cross-industry collaboration that will transform commerce and drive the growth of enterprises. Convenient and affordable access to non-traditional sources of funding and to protection will help smaller businesses fulfil their growth ambitions and manage risk. For Prudential, FTT will help drive engagement with a new group of enterprise customers,” said Simonnet.Dr Chong Yoke Sin, Chief of Enterprise Business Group, StarHub, said that for SMEs to thrive in today’s digital economy, it is important for them to capitalise on digital technologies and leverage their capabilities early.“In recent years, the role of telcos has evolved into much more than facilitating communications between people or businesses. At StarHub, we ease adoption of digital solutions for enterprises by integrating partner solutions into our digital platform of offerings, to propel businesses in the digital economy. Our solutions in data analytics, cyber security, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are integrated into value-added services offered through our digital platforms to enable enterprises to easily conduct business,” said Dr Chong.There are plans to open up FTT to SMEs beyond Singapore. Agnes Hugot, CEO and Co-founder of Cites Gestion said, “We want to test the platform in Singapore and then bring it to emerging markets across Southeast Asia to enhance financial inclusion.“Today, there is a huge trade financing gap in Southeast Asia because of a lack of financing and access to business services, especially for smaller businesses. A digital platform such as FTT could help boost the trade corridors in Southeast Asia, strengthen business communities and bring about significant economic benefits to everyone.”

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19-11-2017
UOB and SAP partner to launch cloud-based apps for SMEs

United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) and SAP have tied up to offer SAP Business One to the Bank’s small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers. SAP Business One will be made available as part of UOB BizSmart, a suite of digital applications for small businesses.The solution will offer cloud-based software to help SMEs digitize their back office processes such as accounting and sales. SMEs can choose from three options, depending on the functionalities required and the number of employees in the organization; the most basic option will be complimentary. “While SMEs are keen to reap the benefits of digital technology, it can be costly to implement such technology. A survey we conducted among SMEs earlier this year showed that two in five respondents indicated that cost was a barrier to using digital solutions,” said Lawrence Loh, Managing Director and Head of Group Business Banking, UOB. “To help SMEs overcome this challenge, we have worked with SAP to offer a complimentary, entry-level version to help our customers begin their digitalization journey.“Through the collaboration, we believe our customers would benefit from the use of an enterprise resource planning solution to automate and to manage their administrative processes. Having a direct link to their operating accounts with UOB would enable them to manage their company finances more effectively.”Other potential collaborators on UOB BizSmart include Enterpryze, a mobile business software provider for micro and small enterprises and HReasily an innovative HR solutions company.

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19-11-2017
Chubb launches small commercial division for SMEs in APAC

Chubb has established a small commercial division in Asia Pacific dedicated to the risk management needs of Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs).This new business division focuses solely on delivering a sustainable value proposition to SMEs through innovative products, tailored distribution strategies and convenient sales platforms.Three new appointments have been made for the Small Commercial Division:Michael Cellura, Head of Small Commercial Division, Asia Pacific. Mr. Cellura has been with Chubb for more than 10 years and has a wealth of international underwriting and business development experience. He was previously at Chubb in Japan leading the Property & Casualty business for four years. Mr. Cellura is now tasked with bringing to bear the full capabilities of Chubb's product innovation and channel expertise in agency, bancassurance, broker and digital channels, to serve the needs of small commercial businesses.Kieran Brennan, Head of Product Development, Small Commercial Division, Asia. Mr. Brennan will focus on product design as well as the development of processes and service for SMEs. An underwriter since he began his career in the UK more than 20 years ago, he was previously with an international insurer as their Asia Pacific Chief Underwriting Officer for the SME Division.Rob Cameron, Head of Actuarial, Small Commercial Division, Asia Pacific. Mr. Cameron has deep actuarial experience having worked at Chubb for over 15 years; first as an Actuarial Services Manager for Australia and New Zealand and later, as the Regional Property & Casualty Actuary. In his new role, he will further develop new actuarial models specifically for SMEs to ensure Chubb's value proposition is customised for this market segment.On the new Small Commercial Division, Chubb's Regional Head of Property & Casualty, Jason Keen said, "The SMEs' demands for risk management are rapidly evolving as they continue to play an expanding role in the local economies across the region. With Chubb's superior underwriting expertise, award-winning claims and account services, we can provide SMEs a differentiated offering to help them thrive. I'm confident that Michael, Kieran and Rob, in collaboration with the local SME teams in each country, will be able to tap the many opportunities to grow this exciting new division together with our existing clients and distribution partners".

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19-11-2017
Oracle startup cloud accelerator program begins in Singapore

Oracle has announced the inaugural class of startup participants officially commencing the six-month Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator program in Singapore.Selected from hundreds of applicants, the six startups in Singapore’s initial class are Arya.ai, FlexM, FOMO Pay, Hacker Trail, RL Club, and Unscrambl. These startups work on technology solutions across industries such as retail, recruitment, and finance. The startups will have access to technical and business mentoring by Oracle and industry experts, state-of-the-art technology with free Oracle Cloud credits, full access to a co-working space within Oracle’s premises, as well as access to Oracle’s global ecosystem of startup peers, customers, investors and partners.Launched in April 2016, the Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator Program is an initiative driven by Oracle R&D. The program focuses on encouraging innovation in the enterprise through collaborations with startups that foster co-development and co-innovation.The Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator is open to technology and technology-enabled startups. Global locations include Bangalore, Bristol, Delhi–NCR, Mumbai, Paris, São Paulo, Singapore and Tel Aviv. The Startup Cloud Accelerator is working with F6S, an online network of startup founders, to generate applications for the eight accelerator programs. The six startups are:         Arya.ai is an enterprise deep learning platform designed to automate complex data science tasks involved while building neural network based application or predictive models and in production. The platform is optimised for autonomous applications that can learn and re-learn in real-time without any human input.         FlexM is a fast-growing Singapore-based fintech company working toward the financial inclusion of migrant and foreign domestic workers. FlexM’s complete and seamless financial solution is designed specifically to consist of consumer card, payroll solutions for businesses, and prepaid global cards.          FOMO Pay is a one-stop QR code payment solution platform that enables merchants to accept a full suite of new payment methods including WeChat Pay, NETSPay, mVISA, and more. With FOMO Pay, merchants can unlock their business potential by giving customers the payment options they prefer and adopt cashless payment easily.         Hacker Trail is a curated, cloud-based marketplace for the technology industry, designed to source, engage, curate and connect the right candidates with the right job opportunities across Southeast Asia. Headquartered in Singapore, HackerTrail engages with candidates from over 80 countries and serves top multinational companies and fast growing startups in the region.         RL Club is a rewards and loyalty club mobile app that rewards consumers for brand engagement and advertisement consumption. It solves loyalty for enterprise by building and operating award-winning white-label mobile engagement platforms for telecoms and banks, enabling their customers to be paid by consuming targeted ads.          Unscrambl is an Atlanta-based startup that has developed a disruptive, next generation real-time cognitive analytics platform. Unscrambl’s solution senses events as they happen, analyses in context with artificial intelligence, and responds in real-time with optimal recommendations and actions.“We are excited to embark on this journey with Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator. As a payment solution platform, Oracle’s expertise in providing the right cloud infrastructure for enterprises is a perfect match for us,” said Zack Yang, chief operations officer at FOMO Pay said.  “I believe that this synergy between FOMO Pay and Oracle will bring our mobile payment technology to greater heights.”

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19-11-2017
Emphasis on EQ lacking during hiring process, say one in four CIOs

CIOs in Singapore are placing importance on their IT staff having high emotional intelligence (EQ).New independent research commissioned by specialized recruiter Robert Half reveals 100% of the surveyed Singaporean CIOs believe it’s important for their IT staff to recognise and react to other people’s emotions and their own. According to Harvard Business Review, emotional intelligence within the technology sector is now thought to be even more important due to the rise of machine learning and the need to develop new soft skills in order to differentiate humans from AI.The annual study is developed by Robert Half and conducted in July 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 75 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in Singapore. This survey was part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.However, results from the survey show that while almost two in three (63%) believe sufficient attention is given to sourcing candidates with the right level of EQ, one in four (25%) CIOs believe the level of emphasis put on EQ during the hiring process is “too little” – highlighting the need for Singaporean companies to optimise their recruitment processes in order to source IT job candidates with the right balance of soft and technical skills. Just over one in 10 (12%) believe there’s “too much” emphasis put on EQ.According to the research, the greatest benefits of having employees with high emotional intelligence are improved leadership (59%), better project management (55%), better collaboration (48%) and increased motivation/morale (40%).“As the technology sector and machine learning continue to accelerate and impact the workplace, it’s now more important than ever for IT professionals to demonstrate high emotional intelligence,” said Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore.“New technologies and digitisation have drastically changed the workplace and the way IT professionals work together. IT employees who demonstrate high levels of emotional intelligence are able to effectively communicate with their co-workers, and are generally better at managing stress and making difficult decisions under pressure. This not only cultivates a more cohesive and innovative workplace, it also generates confidence throughout the IT department, which can make the difference between success or failure in times of crisis and uncertainty for any business.”  “When hiring IT staff, identifying their level of emotional intelligence, through traits such as self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and social skills, can be more challenging for a hiring manager than identifying their technical skills. Companies therefore need a streamlined hiring process where sufficient attention is given to assessing the candidate’s EQ. Organisations can effectively do so by asking behavioural interview questions to gauge how candidates handle difficult situations, and asking references how well an applicant handles criticism, resolves conflicts, listens to others, and motivates team members,” concluded  Imbert-Bouchard.According to Robert Half, the types of EQ interview questions hiring managers ask (and interviewees should be prepared to answer) in a job interview are:If you’ve previously reported to multiple managers at the same time, how did you get to know each person’s preferences and juggle conflicting priorities? Tell me about a challenging workplace situation you were involved in, either with your peers or someone else in the company. How did you manage that challenge, and were you able to resolve it? What would a previous boss say is the area that you need to work on most? Have you taken steps to improve in this area, and if so, what have you tried to change? Tell me about a day when everything went wrong and how did you handle it? And in hindsight, how would you have handled it differently? If business priorities change, describe how you would help your team understand and carry out the shifted goals.

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19-11-2017
Four Korean firms form joint investment fund for AI, smart mobility

SK Telecom will join forces with Hyundai Motor Company, Hanwha Asset Management and Element AI to form a fund that will invest in startups with innovative technology and ideas worldwide.The fund, named AI Alliance Fund, will be established in the first quarter of next year with an initial investment of US$45 million (KRW 50 billion). The AI Alliance Fund will invest in startups specialized in artificial intelligence, smart mobility and FinTech in Europe, Israel and the United States. The fund will focus on equity investment in emerging startups with the next generation technology and innovative business models.The fund intends to leverage the research capabilities and the global network of Element AI, an AI solutions provider founded by Yoshua Bengio, a professor of the University of Montreal, when analyzing potential AI investment opportunities.The Korean firms expect to be able to benefit from the synergy created by their respective expertise in the areas of artificial intelligence, automotive and financial networks.SK Telecom previously launched South Korea’s first AI service NUGU and extending the AI capability to its automotive navigation system application T-map. Hyundai Motor Company opened the CRADLE, an innovation hub in Silicon Valley to seek opportunities for investment in future technology, analysis of new business and technology model and collaboration with new partners.Hanwha Asset Management has been exploring potential investment opportunities in the convergence of industrial technology. In addition, based on fintech, Hanwha seeks to introduce new financial technologies to upgrade its internal capacity and utilize them as its new growth engine.

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17-11-2017
New AdAsia platform to increase AI use in ads

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now entering the mainstream in the fast-evolving adtech space. Recently, AdAsia Holdings, a developer of AI-based marketing solutions, launched the AdAsia Digital Platform for Publishers. It is an integrated yield management platform featuring AI that allows publishers to explore various revenue opportunities.“In a market where social media penetration rate ranks top globally, online publishers in Hong Kong are looking at more engaging ways to reach their digital audiences. They can now be poised to leverage on additional digital opportunities and explore new revenue streams that have been powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Sam Tam, AdAsia Holdings’ newly appointed Vice President, Hong Kong said in a press release.The AdAsia Digital Platform for Publishers allows digital publishers to gain revenue from various advertising networks and supply-side platforms (SSPs), using an easy-to-use, unified management dashboard. The integrated platform also supports private marketplace and real-time bidding (RTB) deals, along with AI features that include dynamic floor price optimization and dynamic ad allocation. The AI features is the result of AdAsia Holdings’ acquisition of Japanese publisher trading desk FourM in early October 2017.“This is an essential step in our bid to enable advertisers, marketers, and now publishers, to leverage on intelligent tools. Our Publisher Engagement team across Asia are poised to provide our publisher partners with the guidance needed for this development, offering an end-to-end solution for online asset monetization,” Kosuke Sogo, CEO and co-founder of AdAsia Holdings said.The AdAsia Ad Network and AdAsia Video Network are also integrated with the AdAsia Digital Platform for Publishers, providing online media owners with display, native and video demand sources through a single platform. Meanwhile, AdAsia Holdings’ flagship product developed for advertisers, the AdAsia Digital Platform, will be renamed as the AdAsia Digital Platform for Advertisers.Further reading:Spotad to optimize programmatic mobile ad buying with AIAI fueling customer experience strategies for top brandsAmplero gives customer experience an AI boost  Caption: Image credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images

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CyberLink Vol.110 October 2017

Klook raised US$60M, the largest funding ever for in-destination service booking platform

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CyberLink Vol.109 September 2017

Cyberport FinTech Delegation to London lays important groundwork for future success

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CyberLink Vol.108 August 2017

GOGOVAN merges with 58 Suyun to become largest intra-city logistics platform in Asia

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