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Tech News

15-09-2017
Innovation and Technology Venture Fund

The Government has launched the Innovation and Technology Venture Fund on 15-09-2017. It is now open for application by venture capital funds to become co-investment partners (Deadline: 15-01-2018). A briefing session will be held on 03-10-2017 at the Hong Kong Science Park. Interested venture capital funds are welcome to attend.

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20-09-2017
Japanese Bankers Association adopts Fujitsu's cloud service for blockchain-based finance service testbed

The Japanese Bankers Association (JBA) will deploy a Fujitsu cloud service-based blockchain platform to be made available over Fujitsu Cloud Service K5.This collaborative Blockchain Platform is a financial services blockchain technology testbed environment that JBA plans to provide to its member banks.JBA plans to offer this Fujitsu cloud service as one testbed environment to its member banks and other institutions starting from October 2017.JBA will provide its Collaborative Blockchain Platform to its member banks and other institutions as a testbed environment for applications employing blockchain technology, such as for settlement and funds transfer services, and identity and time-of-transaction authentication. JBA will support efforts toward practical implementation of these applications.Amid rapid advances in Japan and elsewhere in the field of FinTech, a new trend in financial products and services, initiatives to transform the infrastructure for funds settlement and encourage financial innovation employing IT are important from the perspective of improving international competitiveness.Since 2016, JBA, an association of banks and other organizations operating in Japan, has administered the Review Committee for the Possibility and the Challenges of Utilizing Blockchain Technology, and has undertaken initiatives regarding blockchain. As part of these initiatives, JBA has established its Collaborative Blockchain Platform, a testbed environment for developing financial services employing blockchain technology, and plans to offer it to its member banks and other institutions starting in October 2017.JBA is providing member banks and other institutions with its Collaborative Blockchain Platform, a cloud service that sits on top of Fujitsu's cloud platform, K5, and is powered by Hyperledger Fabric, one of the blockchain frameworks hosted by The Linux Foundation.In addition to being a blockchain platform, this service includes standardized business APIs such as digital asset management that can be used in a variety of banking operations, as well as other industries' operations with robust security features and more. By using the Collaborative Blockchain Platform, JBA and its member banks can efficiently develop applications for new financial services and quickly test them.

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20-09-2017
Asia tops payments innovation: report

Asia remains the global leader in payments innovation, ahead of Europe and North America, according to a report that surveyed industry executives worldwide.Sponsored by ACI Worldwide and organized by FinTech and payments adviser John Chaplin, the biennial report is titled “Global Payments Innovation Jury 2017”. The Innovation Jury comprises 70 senior industry executives representing 37 countries, in a bid to reflect the trends and developments shaping global payments.The pace of innovation in payments has increased since the Jury’s last report in 2015, with established players trying to defend and grow their existing business and new market entrants aiming to grab a share of the market.The report’s finding showed Asia is the leader in payments innovation, in the opinion of more than half of the jurors (64%). Payments infrastructure in a multitude of Asian countries is ‘leap-frogging’ the legacy infrastructure of many card-dominated developed markets.Europe, while lagging Asia, is now considered a more innovative region (14% of jurors) than North America, Africa and Latin America, due to opportunities created by the new regulatory environment, London’s startup scene, and the promise of PSD2.Small  markets  such  as  Hong  Kong,  Malaysia and  Singapore are  rapidly modernizing their payments infrastructures, and are also aiming to be significant players in FinTech.Jurors in Asia, the Middle East and Africa believe that consumer payments provide the biggest opportunities in their markets, due to there being fewer issues with legacy systems, as well as opportunities to reach unbanked consumers as mobile penetration increases.Open APIs are identified as important enablers of innovation, with 73 percent of jurors viewing APIs as having a significant role in payments development, especially with the trend toward in-app payments and, increasingly, transactions from IoT-enabled devices.Forming partnerships with start-ups is considered the optimal innovation model for established payment firms (44%), with acquisitions of start-ups also considered a valid path to greater innovation (19%)."Established payments players, especially financial institutions, see an imperative to innovate as the size of the global payments market increases across multiple geographies – it’s clear that payments companies should not see nimble start-ups as a threat, but rather as a partnership opportunity,” said Paul Thomalla, senior vice president, ACI Worldwide. "Trends in payments and fintech, such as Open APIs, are converging to create space for new market entrants as well as for incumbents to retain or grow their market share."

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20-09-2017
DBS, IMDA launch FinTech programme to train young professionals

DBS Bank and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) have partnered to create the first fintech training programme under the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative.The programme aims to train young professionals skilled in agile development, DevOps, information security and data analytics for the financial services sector. DBS is the first bank to partner with IMDA to train over 85 young professionals in these technology skills, under TeSA’s Company Led Training (CLT) programme. This collaboration comprises the launch of the new DBS Skills Enhancement and Education (SEED) and the ongoing DBS Business Analytics Graduate Immersion Programme (BAGIP) .The 12-month DBS SEED Programme is open to diploma or degree holders, who have graduated in information technology or science, technology, engineering, mathematics-related disciplines for less than three years. The DBS SEED Programme trains professionals in tech areas including agile development, DevOps and information security.Trainees will join the bank’s Technology & Operations department and will gain exposure and experience through on-the-job training and assigned projects while being mentored by senior technology managers at DBS. They will learn how the bank is applying technology to create a digital and agile environment.Graduates of the SEED programme can look forward to exciting job prospects in the banking and finance sector, as well as the growing fintech sector in Singapore. Top performers in the SEED programme will be groomed to take on technology leadership roles in DBS.The DBS BAGIP, launched in 2013, is a 12-month accelerated programme that focuses on trains graduates in the data analytics field. In the last two to three years, more than 30 young professionals have been trained.Angeline Poh, Assistant Chief Executive, Industry Development, IMDA said, “Finance is an important driver of Singapore’s economy, accounting for more than 14% of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product in 2016. The digitalisation of our economy brings about opportunities for the creation and delivery of new products and services. By deepening digital capabilities, banks and financial institutions here will be better-positioned to capitalise on such opportunities to grow their businesses. IMDA is pleased to support this industry-led project by DBS to jointly develop a pool of skilled tech talent for the finance sector to contribute to the development of our digital economy.”James Loo, Executive Director, Group Human Resources, DBS Bank said, “Banks of tomorrow will look very different from the ones today. In order for Singapore to maintain its competitive edge as a leading Asian financial hub, it is crucial that we focus on building a strong talent pool with the right technology and innovation skillsets. Partnering with IMDA to create these training programmes will present a valuable opportunity for the next generation of passionate digital bankers, as well as build a strong Singapore core of fintech professionals.”Each year, up to 150 DBS interns, new graduates and young professionals are also put through various training initiatives where they can be immersed in new technologies, a start-up culture, agile methodology and other digital working concepts, in addition to accelerated training, job rotations, networking sessions and mentoring from senior leaders.

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20-09-2017
Ping An Securities deploys Finastra for revenue boost and new markets

Ping An Securities has deployed FusionCapital from Finastra throughout its operations in Greater China.The securities firm is using the Finastra platform to boost revenues as it enters new markets.FusionCapital offers Ping An Securities an efficient, stable and mature platform that supports the bank’s growth ambitions. The solution consolidates and streamlines internal workflows, as well as digitalizing all manual and non-digital processes to reduce front- and middle-office admin, improving trading processes, risk monitoring and compliance.FusionCapital integrates with the firm’s existing in-house development system and is expected to help the business compete on a global scale, adapt quickly to new market practices and regulatory demands and minimize costs, while meeting Ping An Securities’ trading, pricing, risk analysis and reporting needs.“Legacy systems in China are built around existing domestic regulations and rules but they don’t have the capabilities to help us compete globally,” said Andy Han, Director of Development at Ping An Securities. “Our main goal in seeking an electronic trading platform partner was to find a provider that delivers the flexibility to trade across countries and the adaptability required by changing compliance rules. Finastra holds a strong reputation in handling the complexities of the toughest trading environments so they were the natural choice for us.”“Advantages of working with Finastra include the agility of the software and the level of local support we’ve received in China that has resulted in a seamless experience,” continued Han. “Finastra has over 100 consultants in China who have the expertise and service level to help us respond to market opportunities. In moving from our legacy systems provided by different vendors to a single solution with FusionCapital, we are well positioned for expansion in China and globally.”“Increasingly, financial institutions in China are looking to expand beyond domestic borders but it requires agile technology that can stand up to challenge,” said Imad Abou-Haidar, Managing Director, APAC at Finastra. “Our strength in China comes from understanding the local dynamics and the growth opportunities for firms both domestically and internationally, and our FusionCapital solution is perfectly placed to give businesses like Ping An Securities the competitive advantage needed to realize their ambitions.”

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20-09-2017
Malaysia’s Solarvest taps power of ERP to support regional expansion

Solarvest Energy Sdn Bhd, a high-yield solar photovoltaic (PV) system provider based in Malaysia, has chosen the latest version of Epicor Software Corporation ERP to support business growth.A subsidiary of Atlantic Blue Sdn Bhd, a provider of turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) solutions for large scale solar farming, Solarvest pioneered the installation of solar panels for residential, commercial, and industrial properties in Malaysia.Formed in 2012 with only four staff, Solarvest has since grown into a formidable solar power player with offices located in Selangor, Penang and Kedah, and now employs 80 workers. Solarvest expects sales to double this year, and is on the cusp of expanding into Southeast Asia.This vast and rapid expansion required Solarvest to streamline its business operations and processes. With no existing automated system in place, human errors were common, and it was difficult for different departments to communicate and collaborate on projects. As a result, Solarvest decided to look for a new platform to simplify and automate engineering processes, as well as replicate and improve upon the Malaysian business model across Southeast Asia.“We explored different options and decided on Epicor for its expertise in engineering services, as well as its stellar track record in this industry. Epicor ERP is highly customizable, allowing us to specify and adapt business processes quickly, which is imperative for our business to expand successfully,” said Davis Chong, managing director of Solarvest.He continued, “We are now in the digital era, and businesses must fully utilise technology to increase business agility, enable insightful decision-making and achieve greater gains. Beyond enabling greater efficiency and productivity for Solarvest today, we are confident that Epicor ERP will provide the foundation for us to take advantage of newer technologies such as big data and analytics far into the future.”   Caption: Image Credit: Solarvest

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20-09-2017
Malaysia's SMEs to benefit from strong retail market, says AmBank

Malaysia’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are expected to benefit from strong retail sales, according to AmBank Research, which expects the SME gross domestic product (GDP) to grow around 6.1% – 6.3% in 2017 with Malaysia’s GDP targeted at 5.7% – 5.9%.Retail sales continued its double-digit growth for the fifth consecutive month, up 14.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) in July which is the fastest gain, while wholesale trade expanded by 9.2% y-o-y July and motor vehicle sales rose 9.8% y-o-y to erase the entire 4.8% y-o-y fall in June, according to AmBank group chief economist Anthony Dass.Daas notes there are five factors driving the retail market:  tourism;  government investments;   better consumer sentiments; online sales where many international retailers operate apart from shops; and mobile wallets and related financial services between Alibaba’s (BABA) financial affiliate, Ant Financial Services Group and Malaysian bank CIMB.“This should bode well for the SMEs involved in this segment of the business, contributing about 62% of the total SME services sector, which in turn account for about 59% of its GDP. It is important to take note that most of the businesses in Malaysia are SMEs,” said Daas.

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20-09-2017
Singapore signs Memorandum of Cooperation on Cybersecurity with Japan

On 18 September 2017, Singapore and Japan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) to strengthen cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries.The MOC was signed by David Koh, Chief Executive of the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and Dr. Ikuo Misumi, Deputy Director-General of the National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) of Japan. The signing ceremony took place at The St. Regis Singapore Hotel.The MOC covers cybersecurity cooperation in key areas including regular policy dialogues, information exchanges, collaborations to enhance cybersecurity awareness, joint regional capacity building efforts, as well as sharing of best practices between both countries.Said Koh, “Singapore and Japan have been working closely together on various cybersecurity initiatives at both the bilateral and multilateral levels. This MOC will serve to bring our cooperation and relations a step further. I am confident that we will continue to have fruitful exchanges and move forward to operationalize our cybersecurity priorities.”Prior to the signing of this MOC with Japan, CSA had previously signed six Memoranda of Understanding with Australia, France, India, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and a Joint Declaration on cybersecurity cooperation with Germany.

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20-09-2017
Both women and men link greater gender diversity to business success

While a large proportion of both women and men believe greater gender diversity contributes to business success, men still hold at least 80 per cent of the top jobs in Asia as well as the bulk of line manager roles, according to research carried out by recruiting experts Hays.Hong Kong has the highest number of men occupying the top job at 89 per cent and Malaysia the highest percentage of female leaders at just 24 per cent.The annual gender diversity research conducted by Hays is based on a survey of women and men working in more than 30 industry sectors across China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.“Last year, men held 79 per cent of the top jobs and 67 per cent of line manager roles so there is no real improvement in female representation in leadership roles,” says Lynne Roeder, Managing Director of Hays Singapore.“However, we have been buoyed by the similarities of views when it comes to recognizing that greater gender diversity delivers positives for business,” she says.The largest proportion of respondents of both genders:• believe greater gender diversity contributes to business success,• support more sharing of family responsibilities to help address equality in the workplace,• describe access to flexible work options as important to them,• concede women face barriers to career success due to gender,• agree their organization has some gender diversity issues to address.“Tackling gender bias around promotion, recruitment and accommodating life choices such as parenting and elder care requires focus and can be confronting to any organization,” says Roeder.“However, with an aging population and workforce in Asia, the companies that get this right will ensure they have the largest pool of talent to draw upon as candidates get harder to find and thus, will gain a competitive advantage that is truly worth the commitment in getting this done right,” she says.By country, all Hong Kong survey respondents say greater gender diversity has a positive impact on business. Japan has the largest proportion of respondents with fewer than six per cent of respondents saying greater gender diversity has no positive business impact. In Singapore less than five per cent of respondents share that view while in China, it was less than three per cent and Malaysia only one per cent.Company culture is the most useful benefitBoth male and female respondents in China, Malaysia and Singapore view company culture is the most useful benefit of greater gender diversity. In Japan, men and women see the recruitment of the best talent as the key benefit. In Hong Kong both genders agree greater gender diversity boosts a company’s reputation.“Organizations need to review if the way they identify and promote high-potential employees is skewed towards male success,” says Roeder.“It is well-known that managers often hire in their own image so given men far outnumber women in line management and senior roles, deliberate intervention is required if companies are to reap the benefits offered by greater gender diversity.“The best person for the role should get the job but too often, companies struggle to see past their own unconscious bias to identify high quality female talent.”“We also need to ensure our work cultures enable women of ability to put their hand up for added responsibilities and promotion without being viewed as pushy.”Women face barriers to career successThe study also shows that more than half of female respondents (51 per cent) and 46 per cent of men concede women face barriers to career success due to their gender. A further 30 per cent of female respondents believe women “very much” encounter barriers to career progression compared. Only 15 per cent of men share this view.More women than men are dissatisfied with their current level of seniority (22 per cent versus 15 per cent). Twenty-eight per cent of women and 24 per cent of men are not at all confident their manager understands their ambitions.Twenty-one per cent of women say men have greater access to opportunity than female colleagues of the same ability and 40 per cent say access is only “somewhat” provided.Surprisingly, more men than women (20 per cent versus 17 per cent) believe their organization “very much” has gender diversity issues to address and 35 per cent of female respondents and 33 per cent of male respondents that their organization has some issues to address.Approximately 73 per cent of women say flexibility is very important or important to them with men not far behind at 67 per cent.Overall, half of male respondents can access flexible work options in their current role compared to only 40 per cent of female respondents.Most respondents in Hong Kong (54 per cent) and Singapore (53 per cent) have access to flexible work options.In contrast, there were no flexible options available to the majority of respondents in Malaysia (64 per cent), China (51 per cent) and Japan (41 per cent). 

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19-09-2017
New Zealand to invest $248m in science research

Funding has been awarded for 68 new science research projects that will benefit New Zealand environmentally, economically, and socially, Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced today.The funding, totalling $248 million over the next five years, has been invested through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) 2017 Endeavour Fund, which received an $81.9 million funding boost over four years in Budget 2017.“The Endeavour Fund is an important tool in the Government’s ten-year vision for a highly dynamic New Zealand science system,” Mr Goldsmith says.“The Fund looks for transformative initiatives that propose excellent research and have strong potential to improve a range of outcomes for New Zealand, such as marine ecosystems and hybrid energy.“This year the quality of applications was exceptional, and a diverse range of applications were received which will address some really important issues facing New Zealand.”As part of the 2017 Endeavour Fund round, up to $15 million per year in total will be invested in 41 projects under the ‘Smart Ideas’ initiative over the next three years. Smart Ideas are innovative research projects that have a high potential to benefit New Zealand.Up to $43 million per year in total will be invested in 27 Research Programmes over the next five years. Research Programmes support ambitious, well-defined research ideas, which have high potential to positively transform areas of future value, growth or critical need to New Zealand.Some examples of the successful 2017 Endeavour Fund proposals include:Developing hybrid-electric aircraft (Victoria University of Wellington) Recovering the trajectories of the marine ecosystem from the Kaikōura earthquakes (University of Canterbury) Improving NZ Pinot noir production (New Zealand Winegrowers) Exploring new technologies to improve weather forecasting (MetOcean Solutions Limited) Developing new charging technology for electric vehicles while parked or moving (University of Auckland)

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19-09-2017
Next gen VR are coming to retail

Retailers are in continuous turmoil as they wrestle with understanding what emerging technologies will have the most significant and immediate impact to their business.Already brands are experimenting with virtual technology (VR) to reshape the customer experience. Outdoor apparel company North Face is using VR to transport customers to Yosemite National Park to connect customers with its products as used in the outdoor.In South Korea, General Motors is using mixed reality to introduce and highlight the features of its Chevrolet models (see video below).Source: IsobarABI Research says next generation virtual reality headsets will user in even more immersive experience for customers.The worldwide virtual reality (VR) market has been experiencing significant growth with increasing numbers of content launches, consumer and enterprise deployments in entertainment and retail.As the VR adoption rate increases, so does the expectation and requirements of VR head-mounted displays (HMDs). As VR makers continue to improve the level of immersion, ABI Research forecasts that VR HMDs with 6 DOF will represent over 40% of combined mobile and standalone VR market in 2022.To meet user expectations, VR HMDs have a long way to go in many features including display quality, degree of freedom (DOF), and connectivity. The majority of VR HMDs currently available in the market support only 1080/2K resolution displays – which need to be greatly improved to solve the screen door effect caused by low resolution displays. New tethered devices with 4K display such as Aukey Cortex and Pimax and the arrival of mobile headsets with 4K display are likely to drive the penetration of high resolution VR devices.Accuracy in tracking movements is another important feature for an immersive VR experience. Most of the current VR devices support only 3 DOF tracking, with the exception of tethered devices, which are usually targeted for high-end market support 6 DOF.“A 6 DOF is the ideal goal and mobile and standalone VR devices are moving towards 6 DOF tracking to provide a total immersive experience. Mindmaze and uSens have announced 6 DOF position tracking solution for mobile VR devices, and Google announced Worldsense, a standalone VR device with 6 DOF,” notes Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst at ABI Research.In terms of connectivity, 802.11 n/ac Wi-Fi is supported by mobile and standalone devices. While tethered devices are still connected to a PC or console with a cable, however, a wireless connection is likely to replace the cable connection. For tethered VR and high-resolution VR content, 60 GHz (WiGig) will play important role to support high bandwidth in the years to come.ABI Research expects that WiGig will be mainly deployed in the tethered VR devices which need multi-gigabit connectivity with low latency. Nearly 40% of VR HMDs are expected to support WiGig connectivity in 2022. Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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19-09-2017
Customer-facing tech to drive digital transformation in retail

The PwC report, “CEO Viewpoint 2017: The Transformation of Retail,” says retailers have put digital transformation (DX) as their number one priority in 2017, with 69% of executives planning to increase DX investment over the next year.Market research firm Frost & Sullivan says its new report, Digital Transformation in the Global Retail Sector, takes a step further by revealing how retailers plan to make this happen.According to Frost, customer-facing digital technology will be at the forefront of retailers’ DX initiatives. These will be supported by lower-key, enabling and function-specific technologies and solutions that provide the foundation for the retail system to function and live up to customer-facing technologies’ promise.RELATED: Busting the Top 10 Myths of Omnichannel Customer Engagement“As the archetypal customer-facing industry, retail is ever more becoming a showcase for customer-driven digital transformation,” stated Digital Transformation Integrated Commerce Lead Martin Hoff ter Heide.Retailers that fail to engage with the technologies that are reshaping and upending their industry will fall behind and become unable to meet customers’ growing expectations.“New holistic and data-driven approaches optimize personalization and shopper experience. Shoppers find themselves empowered by mobile and wearable devices. They can also roam in and out of physical and digital channels throughout their shopping journey, vary the degree of service versus self-service, and increasingly interact with artificial intelligence, robots, and an array of smart things,” added Hoff ter Heide.The most critical, immediate driver for companies to engage in digital transformation is the need to improve customer experience. Given the nature of their activity, retailers are exposed like few other industries to escalating customer expectations driven by digital technology and innovative eCommerce competition.“Advances in retail technology can put retailers that operate physical store assets back at an edge over pure play e-Commerce companies and help better cater to shoppers’ increasing expectation of immersive and personalized omni-channel shopping experiences,” noted Hoff ter Heide. Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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18-09-2017
Finding a home in Hong Kong just got easier

Outside of the soaring trend of property prices in Hong Kong, finding a property continues to present multiple road blocks to prospective buyers. The city has currently over 38,000 licensed property agents willing and ready to sell you new or used flats. But prospective home buyers need to understand that the process of acquiring a home can easily become a daunting task.Homebuyers typically have to gather property-related information through multiple channels and evaluate suitable options, while obtaining a preliminary sense of the affordability of a property.To ease prospective buyers into the process, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) launched its DBS Home360, a mobile phone app designed to let home buyers find a property that is tailored to their preference. In partnership with realtor, Century 21, the app lets prospective buyers find properties available for sale anywhere in Hong Kong.In addition to on demand listing of available properties for sale, filtered by price, location and number of rooms, users can view the selected property from the convenience of their mobile device via virtual tour. It also provides instant valuation with data culled from valuation firm Cushman & Wakefield. As expected, it includes a built-in budget calculator that also provides estimates on how much users can expect to pay, including stamp duty, commissions and related fees.It also comes with an Instant Mortgage Assessment feature to let users find out if they qualify for a mortgage based on their finances, and have a bank representative follow up and assist with the formal applicationVivian W.S. Chan, Managing Director, Deposits & Secured Lending, Consumer Banking Group for DBS Bank (Hong Kong), the app also calculates agent commission, applicable stamp duties and solicitor fees so that prospective buyers have a ballpark [figure] of how much they really need for down payment to the property of their choice.The app is designed to avoid surprises, particularly for first time home buyers who may not know all the unannounced fees that come with buying a property in Hong Kong.According to Royce Teo, managing director and head of Consumer Banking Group and Wealth Management, Hong Kong, of DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, said, “We developed DBS Home360 as an innovative, interactive and intuitive way to put the power of realtors and banks at your fingertips. More importantly, prospective homebuyers can gain a clear understanding of the home-buying process, from searching for properties to sending in the mortgage application.” Caption: Vivian W.S. Chan, Managing Director, Deposits & Secured Lending, Consumer Banking Group, DBS Bank (Hong Kong)

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18-09-2017
Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor Office and Hitachi to establish IoT center

On 13 September, Hitachi, Ltd. concluded a cooperation agreement with the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office on applying digital technologies, including IoT (Internet of Things) technologies, and establishing an innovative environment to promote EEC development in the Kingdom of Thailand. Thailand is currently promoting measures aimed at establishing an advanced economic base and achieving further economic development. In 2015, "Thailand 4.0" was presented as a long-term vision of an ideal economic society, and the EEC development plan was laid out as one key measure in realizing this vision. Based on the EEC development plan, total investments on a scale of 1.5 trillion baht (approx. 5 trillion yen) are expected in the public and private sectors combined, and in addition to expanding airports and high-speed railways, the country will aim to attract and foster growth in 10 targeted industries, including robotics, digital technologies, and next-generation automotives.Meanwhile, as part of its 2018 Mid-term Management Plan, Hitachi will be promoting growth in the global market through the rollout of the Social Innovation Business, which creates new value through collaborative creation with customers by combining operational technology, IT, and products. Hitachi's largest scale of business in the ASEAN market is in Thailand, where it is rolling out business in a broad range of fields, including the railways, elevators/escalators, industrial products, and information and telecommunications systems businesses.Under the agreement, the EEC Office and Hitachi will be working collectively using advanced digital technologies, including IoT related technologies, within the Eastern Economic Corridor region to establish a ‘cutting-edge’ IoT center. The EEC Office and Hitachi will collaborate on EEC development in various areas, such as implementing necessary study, introducing advanced science and technology etc. EEC Office will also provide relevant information and possible support in creating bases for the use of advanced digital technologies, rolling out services in this region. With the EEC Office's cooperation, Hitachi will promote the use of IoT technologies – for example, through undertaking data analytics using artificial intelligence (AI) based on big data obtained from plants, office buildings, and other sources. It will also utilize the solution core and customer cases for Lumada, Hitachi's IoT platform, and roll out digital solutions that contribute to the resolution of various issues in Thailand and the ASEAN region as a whole.

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18-09-2017
Singaporeans prefer personal networking over social media job sites when job hunting

Social media may be a big part of people’s daily lives in Singapore, but it remains the least favored way to find a new job according to a poll conducted by recruiting experts, Hays.“Our latest Hays poll reveals that the highest proportion of respondents in Singapore (45 per cent) rely on online job boards to find a job while 31 per cent turn to personal networking,” says Lynne Roeder, Managing Director of Hays in Singapore.“Singapore has among the world’s highest internet connection speeds making ‘job shopping’ online easier than in many countries, but it’s interesting to see that personal networks still rank above virtual networks when it comes to job hunting,” says Lynne.“Research released earlier this year revealed that social media is now part of daily life for up to 70 per cent of Singaporeans but only 24 per cent of respondents in our latest Hays poll turn to social to look for a new job opportunity,” she says.“Job boards are a great way to get an overview of what roles and skills are in demand, but personal networks offer a way to hear about a job before it’s advertised as well as to learn about the work culture of an employer from someone with inside knowledge.”“Recruitment consultants should be part of a candidate’s personal networking efforts as they can offer insights on both, market trends and what opportunities are coming to the market. They are also able to share tips about what employers are looking for in their next hire,” says Lynne.Half of the candidates polled in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Malaysia nominated job boards as their preferred job hunting option while in Japan, that figure was 40 per cent.Personal networking was the second most favored option for job hunters in Malaysia (39 per cent), Japan (35 per cent), Hong Kong (34 percent) and Mainland China (32 per cent).Japan has the highest proportion of job hunters that use social media at 25 per cent and Malaysia the lowest at only 11 per cent. In Hong Kong, 16 per of respondents reported using social media to job hunt while in Mainland China that figure was 18 per cent. 

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17-09-2017
Traditional banks in APAC to rise above Fintech revolution

Reflecting on the 2008 global financial crisis, Chris Foye, Manager, Financial Crime Compliance at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, was a plus for banks across Asia Pacific, with the region emerging to become a global leader in financial technology (Fintech).In explaining his observation he noted that some banks reacted by restrict lending. “This unmet market need coincided with changing customer expectations, including customers increasingly using digital channels, thus reducing the need for 'bricks and mortar' infrastructure," he added.This observation is elaborated in greater detail in a new whitepaper from LexisNexis Risk Solutions titled “Fintech in APAC: the virtuous cycle”.The report predicts that in countries where the penetration of smartphones and even some social media is greater than that of conventional banks, Fintech will be the new financial system rather than an adjunct to it. Individual firms have the potential to be all, or part of that ecosystem.RELATED: How financial institutions can transform and thrive in the app economyChallenger banks have emerged in the UK and elsewhere to disrupt big banking institutions, including crowdfunding/P2P platforms, payment processors and lenders. Yet in recent years there have been no signs -- and no instances -- of banks disappearing due to tech interlopers."In Asia-Pacific we have seen an ecosystem of Fintech companies emerge that are focusing on the applicability of technology like blockchain, artificial intelligence and biometrics has emerged with the aim of working with conventional financial institutions, rather than replacing them," added Foye.Innovation-Regulation conundrumWith the rapid development of the Fintech sector in the region, a key challenge is how to encourage this innovation while regulating digital disruption at the same time.He conceded that concern is occurring within the industry that this rapid pace of innovation could come at the cost of consumer protection. Moreover, some Fintech companies are not adhering to the same regulatory/compliance standard of traditional banks."However, solutions are at hand. Banks themselves who have an intimate knowledge of the regulation and compliance obligations relating to their business have established innovation labs to experiment with new technologies and assess their applicability and suitability," he explained.Additionally, regulators have introduced regulatory 'sandboxes', wherein the usual regulatory requirements for financial services firms are relaxed to allow them to experiment. Sandboxes have been deployed widely by regulators in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and elsewhere in APAC."This concept is beneficial in several ways. Sandboxes can reduce time to market, provide greater choice to consumers and ensure consumer protection is factored in. It also allows fintech companies to gain a better understanding of what is expected of them in terms of regulation and compliance," Foye commented.Sandboxes can also support regulators in developing financial services. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has stated that its Fintech Innovation Hub, ostensibly set up to host "proof of concept trials", could also allow the authority to explore the use of emerging technologies to enhance the efficiency and efficacy of the HKMA in discharging our duties.Big data, natural language processing and artificial intelligence are now expected to play a key role in regulation, particularly in areas such as Know Your Client (KYC). Big data is increasingly used to gain a more complete picture of customers by trawling, and grouping together, disparate pools of data before unimportant or duplicated information is discarded.Collaboration to realize innovation"Many financial institutions are taking this a step further through collaboration," Foye added. "In particular, this is happening in KYC where current processes are very time and resource intensive. Financial institutions are recognizing that matching headcount to the regulatory burden and customer volume is not a sustainable model, so they are looking to derive efficiencies without compromising regulatory obligations."One way of doing this is through a shared utility, which can increase efficiency through standardized KYC, scrutinizing big data inputted from a range of institutions, without the need to increase headcount.Asia Pacific authorities are backing this idea, even to the extent of utilizing government technology infrastructure and databases. Indonesia recently opened its national ID card database up to financial institutions; India is considering a similar move with its 'Aadhar' data; and Singapore has trialed a national KYC utility based on government-operated digital identity service MyInfo.Foye concluded that: "The emergence of Fintech should be embraced as it promotes financial inclusion, targets segments which have been 'de-risked' and provides greater choice for the consumer. Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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