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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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23-04-2018
UNCTAD, Alibaba train Asian entrepreneurs for digital transformation

On 26 March 2018, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Alibaba Business School enrolled the first class of 37 Asian entrepreneurs for the eFounders Initiative at an opening ceremony held on the Alibaba campus in Hangzhou, China.The 11-day course is part of a commitment by Jack Ma, Alibaba Group’s founder and Executive Chairman and UNCTAD Special Adviser, to empower 1,000 entrepreneurs from developing countries in five years.Following a rigorous selection process, the final candidates from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam will embark on an 11-day intensive course providing first-hand exposure to e-commerce innovations from China and around the world and become eFounders Fellows. The idea is to empower these young entrepreneurs to become catalysts in their home country with the potential to spur the digital transformation of their economies.The launch of the first program for Asian entrepreneurs comes after the success of the inaugural class for 24 African participants last November.Smart partnerships“We want to reach out to youth and include them in the work we do for inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” said Arlette Verploegh, Coordinator for the eFounders Initiative at UNCTAD. “The initiative is about bridging the digital divide for young entrepreneurs and unlocking their potential. It is part of a set of smart partnerships UNCTAD is creating to reach the sustainable development goals.”All participants are founders of their respective start-up companies, ranging from e-commerce, big data, logistics, fintech, payment and tourism.“We are excited to extend this fellowship to entrepreneurs from Asia for the very first time as part of our commitment to empower digital champions and communities around the world,” said Brian A. Wong, Vice President of Alibaba Group, who heads the Global Initiatives program.“Our goal is to inspire entrepreneurs to serve as pioneers for building a more inclusive development model that is not just good for their business, but also good for society by creating platforms that all can participate in and benefit from.”Under the auspices of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the initiative is aligned with the wider call to action to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital economy, and to help bridge the digital divide faced by businesses in emerging markets.Jointly organized by UNCTAD and Alibaba Business School, the eFounders Initiative also supports Alibaba’s mission to help small businesses succeed in their home markets and beyond. It was first announced in 2017 by Jack Ma in his capacity as the UNCTAD Special Adviser for Young Entrepreneurs and Small Business when he, together with Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, visited Africa.E-commerce ecosystemsThe participants of the eFounders Initiative will learn first-hand the transformative impact e-commerce and technology have on society in China and participate in lectures and discussions with local practitioners and executives to identify the lessons that can be applied to their own markets. Topics covered will include e-commerce, payment, logistics, big data and tourism from Alibaba Group and other successful companies in the e-commerce value chain, with sessions touching on digital finance, smart logistics and rural e-commerce development, among others.Upon graduation, participants will officially become Fellows of the eFounders Initiative and make formal commitments on how they will apply the learning from this program, checking in with UNCTAD and Alibaba every three months. UNCTAD and Alibaba Group will also continue to advise on and provide support for the creation of e-commerce ecosystems jointly with other stakeholders. Caption: The first class of 37 entrepreneurs from Asia receiving first-hand exposure to e-commerce innovations as part of the eFounders Initiative organized by Alibaba Group and UNCTAD (Photo: Business Wire)

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23-04-2018
Remote collaboration and virtual training enhances ultrasound care delivery

Royal Philips, a global health technology company, in partnership with Innovative Imaging Technologies (IIT), announced on 27 March 2018 an industry-first integrated tele-ultrasound solution based on Philips' Lumify portable ultrasound system and powered by IIT's Reacts collaborative platform. This innovation connects clinicians around the globe in real time by turning a compatible smart device into an integrated tele-ultrasound solution, combining two-way audio-visual calls with live ultrasound streaming.With this integrated system, clinicians can begin their Reacts session with a face-to-face conversation on their Lumify ultrasound system. Users can switch to the front-facing camera on their smart device to show the position of the probe. They can then share the Lumify ultrasound stream, so both parties are simultaneously viewing the live ultrasound image and probe positioning, while discussing and interacting at the same time. In addition to clinicians seeking virtual guidance, Philips Lumify with Reacts can be a tool for teaching institutions, medical students and residents, emergency medical service providers, disaster relief providers and hospitals with satellite clinics."By combining exceptional mobility and reliability, Philips Lumify with Reacts will open up new doors for the way clinicians collaborate, educate and train," said Randy Hamlin, Point-of-Care Business Leader, Philips. "This all-in-one tele-ultrasound solution will enhance care delivery by bringing even more confidence to ultrasound clinicians and removing longstanding barriers in education, support and training."With the potential to break down barriers in a wide range of care settings, Lumify with Reacts can help advance patient care by bringing experts into an ultrasound exam anywhere in the world:A professor can go on virtual ultrasound rounds with students, helping them learn anatomy and probe positioning quickly and efficiently, unrestricted by location. A doctor can consult a colleague and receive expertise and guidance using live streaming ultrasound. A midwife in a remote location can call upon an obstetrician in a different location to receive perspective and guidance, discussing the ultrasound exam as if they were in the same room. An emergency medical technician in an ambulance can stream the live ultrasound exam and discuss a patient's condition with an emergency department physician, expediting care delivery upon arrival."Reacts' secure, versatile and interactive collaboration platform deployed on technology solutions like Philips Lumify can change education and patient care models and enable a positive disruptive change to healthcare," said Yanick Beaulieu, MD, CEO and founder of IIT. "For years, clinicians in the field have been trying to piece together systems that offer real-time, interactive tele-ultrasound capabilities. Now it has truly arrived."

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22-04-2018
Lack of cybersecurity safeguards among Fintech prevalent

Unencumbered by legacy technology and lack of strict oversight by regulations has enabled Fintech companies to build products that consumers find appealing. However, a general lack cybersecurity safeguards among Fintech companies have raised serious concerns around data protection and compliance, especially with the implementation of EU’s GDPR in May 2018. The recent spate of global cyberattacks has also emphasized the need for application security and cloud protection.As these companies access and store more and more sensitive personal data, they are becoming targets by cybercriminals.Fortinet says financial institutions and their Fintech partners must join together to address critical cybersecurity needs in order to forge successful collaborations.“While the majority of banks view these partnerships as necessary, 71% have also expressed concerns with the cyber risks associated with Fintech firms, while 48% cited regulatory risks as deterrence. Fintech companies typically have fewer human and capital resources to spend on security, let alone address other regulation requirements. More specifically, these security concerns especially surround application security and cloud use, which are the most important development inflection points that the market is demanding,” said Cherry Fung, Fortinet Regional Director, Hong Kong, Macau & Mongolia.Large financial institutions and smaller Fintech companies are increasingly leveraging on each other to successfully meet the growing consumer demands in Asia Pacific for greater accessibility and management of their finances.For established firms, such Fintech partnerships will allow for faster innovation, while the value for smaller Fintech firms will come from the revenue, scale, and credibility banks provide. According to market researcher Frost & Sullivan, the Asia Pacific Fintech market is witnessing unprecedented growth, driven primarily by digital payments.Fortinet suggests that banks and Fintech companies to find a way forward that allows for technical innovation and performance without compromising security by focusing in areas such as application security, cloud security, and automated threat intelligence.Application Security: Fintech largely relies on applications that can access users’ financial profiles to perform a variety of real-time transactions. Applications are an increasingly common attack vector, and vulnerable code can be exploited as an entryway into financial networks. Banks and Fintech need to ensure that a robust application security infrastructure is in place to protect user data. This should include a web application firewall enabled with current threat intelligence to identify and mitigate known and unknown threats, as well as detect and patch vulnerabilities.Cloud Security: Many Fintech companies utilize cloud services to provide consistent, scalable performance with lower upfront costs. However, the cloud must be secured differently than a traditional network or data center, and disparate point solutions often amplify data movement while reducing visibility across these distributed environments. Banks and Fintech firms must ensure that the same security standards they apply to their own networks are applied in the cloud. In addition to detection and prevention, this security must also be dynamically adaptable and scalable to ensure that is can grow seamlessly alongside cloud use. Additionally, to secure financial data, firms need to implement internal segmentation, along with cloud access security brokers, to improve data visibility while integrating industry security standards.Automated Threat Intelligence: An integrated defense needs to be enabled with automated threat intelligence to become a holistic system. As banks and Fintech firms enter into partnerships, it will be impossible for IT teams to manually gather and assess all of this threat intelligence in a timely manner. Machine learning will be integral to this process. Cybercriminals are already leveraging automation to make attacks more effective and persistent. Likewise, machine learning and automation integrated into network security tools enable the detection and prevention of attacks in real-time, allowing organization to keep pace with cybercriminals. Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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22-04-2018
Collaboration to build next generation insurance professionals

More insurance CEOs are concerned about the pace of technological change (85%) than leaders in almost any other industry. This was one of the conclusions that came out from the PwC 21st CEO Survey:  Maintaining optimism while grappling with transformational changes. The study cautioned leadership about understanding the talent needed to harness the potential of technology to innovate and disrupt the insurance market.The PwC report “Insurance Banana Skins 2017: A Singapore observation” underscored the risks concerning human talent (ranked #6 in Singapore) as industry managers are now expected to raise the bar in guiding their organization through a climate of change and emerging threats (e.g. cyber risks), which demand fresh thinking and innovative approach.One insurer that is facing the challenge head-on is Prudential Singapore which is collaborating with SkillsFuture Singapore to help its employees acquire the skillsets needed to meet the future demands of the insurance industry.Under the terms of the partnership, employees will have access to the SkillsFuture Series of courses curated for the insurance sector. They will be trained in innovation, entrepreneurship, data analytics, social media and cyber security, among other areas.According to Prudential Singapore CEO, Wilf Blackburn, in 2017 the company invested more than 25,000 hours in training employees in leadership skills, design thinking, innovation and digital skills. The insurer claimed that its internal mobility program and commitment-free part-time education sponsorships have enable employees to build new competencies while on the job and to forge new career paths within the organization.Blackburn commented that investing in capabilities-building for its people is core to the success of Prudential and the insurance industry. “By partnering with SkillsFuture, we are further helping our people to prepare themselves for future roles in the digital economy so they can remain relevant and continue serving the evolving needs of our customers,” he added.As a start, Prudential will enroll 1,000 employees, Financial Consultants and customers in SkillsFuture Advice. At the workshop, they will receive useful information about SkillsFuture and how they can tap on the various resources and tools for their skills upgrading needs and career planning.For employees who are not digitally savvy, the company said it will encourage these to undergo the SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace program where they can pick up foundational digital skills to prepare for the future economy, understand emerging technologies and their impact on work, and interpret and use data. Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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22-04-2018
DBS Bank gets top markets for its DX efforts

CFOs across Asia who believe that digital capabilities are important in a banking partner should take a look at Singapore’s DBS Bank.In a new report, digital transformation measurement services Digital Transformation Scores (DTS) says DBS Bank is “ahead of the pack” among financial institutions in Singapore for its strong leadership and digital advocacy.“The bank has been making steady digital hires since 2009 and had given these roles high visibility across all stakeholders, including staff, investors and general media,” says DTS. “OCBC has also been making steady progress with senior data and innovation roles.”“Singaporean banks are actively connecting via social channels and benchmark strongly against other markets,” DTS adds. But they still have some catching up compared with other “progressive banks” in Asia, such as Australia’s ANZ Bank.DTS founder Marcelo Silva says Singaporean banks “have established the operational and cultural hygiene required to operate in a fast-paced and hyper competitive landscape.”“However, during the next wave, these players must stay the course and move from perceptual rewards and ultimately benefit from true innovation: upending existing processes and business models.”DTS benchmarked DBS, OCBC, UOB and Maybank in the study, which are part of a competitor set that includes local players and international brands Standard Chartered Bank, Citi Bank and HSBC.First published on CFO Innovation Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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22-04-2018
Qualtrics takes aim at customer experience with Delighted acquisition

Qualtrics has acquired Delighted, a CX measurement and rating company, and the move is expected to help give its customers a way to quickly get the pulses of their customers and take immediate action based on the feedback.Organizations can easily configure online customer experience feedback that can be launched via a variety of channels including email, web, text messaging, or mobile-optimized URLs. A thriving developer ecosystem offers closed-loop feedback, with over 15 out-of-the-box integrations supported – including Salesforce.com, HubSpot, Slack, and Zendesk.Qualtrics says it is already working with notable brands in Southeast Asia to manage and integrate the core experiences of business such as customer, employee, product, and brand experience on a single platform. Customers include OCBC Bank, Sephora, Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific, Singapore Post, United World College Southeast Asia (UWCSEA) and the National University of Singapore (NUS).With the ever-growing customer expectations, brands are realizing the increasing importance of delivering a superior customer experience (CX) as it will help them gain a key competitive advantage. Indeed, Qualtrics noted that Singaporeans prioritized experiences more than other markets, at over 40% more compared to the 25% global average.However, organizations are still struggling with developing and implementing a good CX strategy. This is where Qualtrics says it can make a difference with its platform.“Qualtrics created the experience management (XM) category with the goal to help every organization in the world more effectively leverage and take action on experience data, or X-data,” said Ryan Smith, co-founder and CEO of Qualtrics.“With the addition of Delighted, Qualtrics can now be used by the earliest-stage startup or the most sophisticated, global organization. With the Qualtrics Experience Management Platform, organizations have a single system of record for all of their customer experience programs,” he said.Further reading:APAC marketers focused on personalized, relevant customers experiencePoor customer experience frustrates Singapore consumersHow CMOs can lead their teams to digital transformation success Caption: Image credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images

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21-04-2018
China’s DiDi comes to Hong Kong

Ride hailing company DiDi Chuxing has launched in-app payment options in Hong Kong to provide local users with cashless travel experiences.As a promotion for the new offering, DiDi is working with Visa to provide discounts to drivers and customers over the next three consecutive Fridays. Pasengers who pay on their mobile phones using an international credit card will be given a HK$100 taxi fare discount for up to two rides per day.During the promotional period users and their friends will each receive a HK$100 reward when referrals take their first ride with the service.DiDi's portfolio in Hong Kong includes a roaming taxi-hailing service in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The service, which was recently rebranded from Kuaidi Taxi, is in use by more than half of all taxi drivers in Hong Kong – more than 20,000 drivers – as well as 600,000 registered users."Since the beta launch of our digital payment systems in Hong Kong in end March, 40% of taxi ride transactions are settled by credit cards," said Lin Li, DiDi's general manager of North Asia.He added, "The market is going to grow bigger. This is not a zero-sum game. We look forward to growing this with all the players in the industry. At the end of the day, it's about making transportation easier and life better for everybody."Sharing the same sentiment, Caroline Ada, Visa country manager of Hong Kong and Macau, said, "I think with more players in the market that are innovating and trying to remove payment friction, this is not only good for customers but more importantly for taxi drivers.She added, "That's actually where we see a much faster and rapid adoption of this kind of payment versus cash."Didi's Li noted the company, going forward, is open for more collaboration with different stakeholders, making transportation and payment better.Didi also plans to work with partners to expand its business from personal ride-hailing services to smart transport and other advanced applications.To support this goal, DiDi has formed a strategic partnership with HKUST to jointly research machine learning and smart transportation technologies to support Hong Kong's transition into a smart city.First published on Computerworld Hong Kong Caption: Image from DiDi

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21-04-2018
OCBC Bank rolls out voice banking services on Google Assistant

OCBC Bank this week announced that it is the first bank in Singapore to launch artificial intelligence (AI) powered voice banking, in tandem with the launch of Google Home and Google Home Mini devices in Singapore.OCBC Bank says its support for the Google Assistant will provide consumers with another self-service digital channel to interact with OCBC Bank that is convenient and embedded in consumers’ lives. General banking questions can be posed any time of the day to the Google Assistant for instant responses.Among others, customers will be able to initiate a conversation about OCBC Bank’s services, and access features ranging from retirement planning, saving for a child’s education, calculate mortgage loan amount, or getting the latest financial market updates.This isn’t the first time that OCBC has been in the news for digital initiatives designed to reduce friction and increase the touch points with its customers. Last year, it launched an AI-powered chatbot called ‘Emma’ to answer home and renovation loan queries on the OCBC Bank website in an intelligent, human-like way. Earlier this year, the bank rolled out a facial recognition system at its Holland Village branch to identify top banking clients.“This is the new digital – conversational, smarter and simpler access to banking. For our customers to be able to interact with OCBC services by simply speaking to AI assistants on their smartphones and smart home devices is an exciting development, and an important one as we shape the bank of the future,” said Aditya Gupta, head of OCBC Bank’s E-Business in Singapore.“We are the first bank in Singapore to collaborate with Google on this game-changing service, and will continue to embed ourselves in consumers’ lives using voice-powered AI tools, which will be able to answer more questions and perform more tasks for OCBC customers over time,” he said.Further reading:OCBC Bank ups customer experience with facial recognition techOCBC Bank deploys instant digital card issuance and provisioningOne-quarter of customer service operations to use chatbots by 2020, says Gartner Caption: Image credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images

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20-04-2018
HKBN profit climbs 423.4% during 1H18

HKBN grew its profit for the six months ending in February by 423.4% to HK$241m

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20-04-2018
CUHK team develops AI dining recommendation app

The EatChoice app developed by CUHK researchers uses data mining and AI to make personalized dining recommendations to users

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20-04-2018
Mature APAC economies top Cloud Readiness Index

Hong Kong is ahead of larger markets like mainland China in terms of cloud readiness

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20-04-2018
Innovative CIOs make shift to managing IT as a product

Aping Silicon Valley technology startups, enterprises are revamping their organizations from project-based IT service delivery to product-oriented technology

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20-04-2018
Air Taxi sees initial development in 17 countries

McFly.aero Technology and Business Incubator is developing hardware and infrastructure for the future Air Taxi Industry – which is currently making headway in more than 34 cities and counting.A community of entrepreneurs and early supporters are currently setting up air taxi management systems and marketplaces in Australia, Belarus, Canada, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Panama, Philippines, Russia, and USA.McFly.aero is introducing unified technology solutions for those willing to develop the industry in their geographic locale. Missions are assigned to leaders of local chapters. These include creating standards, managing local communities, and lobbying with city authorities and national regulators, all with the goal of utilizing the first mover advantage and promoting McFly.aero innovations.“The incubator includes corporate partners being excited to see where the industry is going. In addition, there are consortium members enthusiastic to integrate their products into a unified air taxi infrastructure, entrepreneurial community, which is organized in city-focused chapters desiring to use that technology to earn revenues, i.e. sell that technology as a service, as well as develop other business models,” says Ilya Khanykov, advisor for McFly.aero, CEO of Bartini.One of the key components of the McFly.aero project is blockchain technology.“We are building a flying car for mass use as air taxis in cities. For safety, aircraft has to be restricted for flights after a fixed flight-time. We use blockchain to control this. Only the transfer of McFly tokens into vehicle’s wallet will trigger the flight: 1 token per minute. The vehicle will only accept over its lifetime a fixed number of tokens, after which its use will be restricted. Tokens will be used to reward other devices and their owners. Token transactions will also contain flight parameters and records of maintenance,” Ilya Khanykov explains.The McFly.aero Technology Consortium has existed less than a year, but already includes ten technology companies: three designers of aerial vehicles applicable for air taxi (Bartini, Hepard, and IAMAERO air taxi designers), two blockchain protocol developers (Universa.io and Emercoin), batteries and charging points manufacturer Farad.Energy, Drone Employee by AIRA Labs making smart contracts for auto-piloted drones, Colony.io – a platform for decentralized open organizations, pilot training simulators developer TFT Aero, AFRUS making interiors for flying machines. The Incubator has also partnered with CreativeRussia.co, engaged in urban public transport systems integration design, and with Shukhov Lab – the Laboratory for Experimental Urban Design. More companies and research bureaus are expected to join soon.

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19-04-2018
APAC cloud video collaboration market grew 43% in 2017

New business models and advances in cloud capabilities are driving growth in the APAC cloud video collaboration market

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19-04-2018
Facebook says GDPR means ‘new privacy experiences for everyone’

Facebook will force users worldwide to make decisions about their privacy settings as it complies with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation

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CyberLink Vol.115 March 2018

Check out the key drivers for the new economy at IES 2018

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CyberLink Vol.114 February 2018

Cyberport to launch first offsite Smart-Space in Tsuen Wan

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CyberLink Vol.113 January 2018

Cyberport drives FinTech discussion at Asian Financial Forum 2018 

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