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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

83% of SG companies say strategy for digital transformation is in place

Singapore – Companies in Singapore are the most likely in the Asia-Pacific region to use data analytics and visualisation, with about 83% of Singapore companies reporting having a digital transformation strategy. This is according to the latest data from CPA Australia.

About one-third of respondents said their organisation will start or continue implementing a digital transformation or technology strategy in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, About two-thirds of Singapore respondents said their business worked with technology companies or vendors in the past year to supplement their technology needs.

In addition, Singapore-based businesses are already the top users of robotic process automation (RPA) in the region, with 57% of local respondents saying their company deployed RPA as a business tool.

However, the survey reveals many companies need external support to overcome barriers to digital transformation. High financial costs and a low return on investment were a challenge for 37% of respondents while 35% pointed to a shortage of technology talent

CPA Australia Singapore Divisional President Max Loh said the take-up of technology by businesses in Singapore would pay dividends.

“New technologies enhance organisational efficiencies by automating many mundane as well as high volume tasks. This allows employees to focus on work that needs strategic thinking, such as customer engagement or creating more value for organisations and stakeholders,” he said.

Loh added, “Technology will play a pivotal role in an evolving future workplace. It’s critical for companies to invest in and fully embrace advanced technologies to maintain their advantage in a globally competitive marketplace.”

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Technology Featured Global

Unruly names Grant Bingham as VP for international media business dev’t

Singapore – Global video and CTV programmatic advertising platform Unruly has appointed former head of publisher services at AOL Grant Bingham as its newest vice president for international media business development. He will be leading the media partnerships in Unruly’s international markets across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) and the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) regions.

Bingham will focus on identifying and capitalizing on the major opportunities for media companies today, as connected TV and video demand surges in the programmatic marketplace. This is in order to deliver omnichannel advertising solutions and monetization strategies to some of the world’s largest media organizations and brands via Unruly.

He brings 13 years of experience in media and advertising, where he worked closely with the largest broadcasters and publishers across Europe and Asia-Pacific. Aside from AOL, he has launched and led the programmatic strategy for companies Nine Entertainment Co, Seven West Media and, most recently, Are Media in London.

His experience in leading publisher businesses and monetization through programmatic platforms stands him in good stead in driving adoption of Unruly’s programmatic offering, especially in the rapidly growing CTV market.

“I am truly excited to be joining Unruly at this key time in their evolution, as connected TV has risen out of 2020 as one of the fastest-growing channels and key opportunities for publishers and advertisers. As a video-first platform, Unruly has delivered great value in this space for publishers and advertisers across the world, and I look forward to building on this momentum, working alongside Unruly’s clients to unlock growth opportunities and optimize the value of their inventory through Unruly’s tech and data-driven solutions,” Bingham said, regarding his appointment.

Based in Sydney, Bingham will report to Unruly’s Chief Strategy Officer Kenneth Suh.

Suh commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Grant on board our team. His broad experience and expertise in the media and ad tech industry make him a valuable addition to Unruly as we continue our growth as one of the largest CTV/OTT and multi-screen ad platforms in the world. APAC and EMEA are critical focus markets for Unruly, and we believe Grant’s appointment will help accelerate the value and opportunities we bring to publishers and advertisers in these regions.” 

Recently, Unruly’s parent company Tremor International, has entered into a partnership with DoubleVerify to launch an ‘Authentic Brand Suitability’ solution, which creates a centralized set of brand safety and fraud controls.

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Technology Featured South Asia

OTTera names director of business development for India

Los Angeles – OTTera, global white label OTT service, has announced the appointment of its director of business development for India operations, seasoned media and communications Sumit Rastogi

The appointment comes at a time when on-demand and live stream videos are at their peak demand with audiences looking for digital channels of entertainment in the middle of lockdowns. 

Headquartered in Los Angeles, OTTera provides an all-in-one platform for content developers with solutions for cross-platform development, distribution, and monetization. It allows companies to launch highly customized OTT services at speed, one that would normally take several years and a massive investment to build. According to the company, it currently manages over 70 linear channels and more than 50 OTT services globally.

Stephen Hodge, co-CEO and chairman of OTTera, said that the appointment of Rastogi, who has built a broad leadership and network within the country, will help the company accelerate its growth and tap the many opportunities in the Indian sub-continent.

Rastogi boasts of over 18 years of experience in the area of media sales, content acquisition, and content syndication, and most importantly, in partnerships and affiliate business. Prior to joining OTTera, he was general manager at U2opia Mobile and has also worked for Times of India, Locovida Digital Solutions, and 9.9 Media & Dainik Jagran.

For his new role, Rastogi is charged to grow OTTera’s client base and operations in India. He will be exploring business opportunities from Indian content creators to showcase their content diaspora on leading connected TV and OTT channels and platforms globally.

Rastogi commented that the OTT viewership in India is at an all-time high now and has become the primary mode of entertainment for consumers across Tier II and III cities.

“Regional content, gaming sports, fitness, education will be key drivers in India’s OTT growth and I realize that I have a big opportunity to introduce OTTera services to all the OTT players [and] linear channels and content creators in India. I’m thrilled about working with the talented & experienced OTTera team,” he said. 

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Technology Featured South Asia

SMS service mTalkz appoints new VP for business development

New Delhi, India – Message and communications service mTalkz has appointed Abhishek Prakash as its new vice president for business development, where he will be responsible for revenue growth and solution sales of the company.

Prior to joining mTalkz, he has experience working as a project manager for IT services company HCL America, solutions leader for IT consultancy Wipro Technologies, and more recently as a client solution executive for management consulting company IBM.

“We are in an exciting time and Digital convergence is going through the next level of discovery. We are going to see some amazing cases and integrations being made possible with the help of the messaging products. A more sensible and rich way of customer engagement is going to emerge and we at mTalkz, look forward to becoming a unicorn in the next 3 years,” Prakash stated.

Meanwhile, Shelly Prakash, CEO of mTalkz, said, “Our industry is all about engaging with large corporate businesses and enabling new possibilities. Abhishek comes in as a reputed sales leader, and his experience in multiple industries like Banking, Retail, Petroleum, Insurance, Telecom, FMCG and Technology will help us to continue to grow at five times per year.”

Shelly-Prakash-mTalkz-CEO
Shelly Prakash, CEO of mTalkz

She added, “We are expanding our technology offerings and working on creating a rich platform to enable multiple integrations through messaging and AI-driven conversations. In the coming months, the market will see some interesting service products getting launched from our stable. We also look forward to launching the mTalkz brand in overseas markets shortly.”

Aside from its SMS services, mTalkz also provides high priority routes for critical OTP messaging, customer segmentation through link tracking, multilanguage upload, as well as split and schedule message campaigns, ergonomic interface and transparent reporting, and customer profiling/control.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Nissan announces new ASEAN senior management changes

Bangkok, Thailand – Japanese automaker Nissan has announced three new changes in the senior management of the company’s presence in the ASEAN region, a part of their midterm plan streamlining operation, financial stability and profitability.

Isao Sekiguchi (left of banner picture) has been appointed as regional vice president for marketing and sales in ASEAN, where he will report to Yukio Ito, corporate vice president for marketing and sales in Japan-ASEAN and is effective starting December 1, 2020.

Prior to his position, he worked for Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corporation, and is responsible for managing automotive companies based in US, Germany, and Slovakia. He later joined Nissan in 2014 as managing director for Nissan North Africa and Egypt, and later on as president director for Nissan Motor Indonesia.

Yutaka Sanada (center of banner picture) is promoted as Nissan’s corporate vice president for corporate strategy and special projects, and will report to Hideaki Watanabe, senior vice president for corporate strategy, new mobility, corporate governance, corporate management, board of directors office. Sanada joined Nissan in 1999 and has held various positions concerning logistics, sales and marketing, production and supply chain management. More recently, he was Nissan’s regional senior vice president and head of Asia & Oceania (A&O) operations.

“Sanada has been instrumental in strengthening the Asia & Oceania region and in driving a focused strategy. He has created a strong, customer-focused organization that makes us well-positioned to tap into new opportunities. In his new role, Sanada’s deep understanding of the business will further support the execution of the Nissan NEXT transformation plan,” said Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer at Nissan.

Former corporate vice president for Nissan Japan business Yukio Ito (right of banner picture) has been promoted as Nissan corporate vice president marketing and sales for the Japan-ASEAN region, and will report to Asako Hoshino, executive vice president for brand champion, global marketing and sales, global customer experience, MC chairperson for Nissan Japan-ASEAN.

Sanada and Ito’s appointments are effective by January 1, 2021.

The senior management shuffle is part of Nissan NEXT, the company’s corporate revamp, including new car models and market realignment to four key regions: Japan-ASEAN, China, Americas and AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe & Oceania).

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SME Featured APAC

APAC SMEs are catching up the digital transformation wave: report

Singapore—Small-medium enterprises (SME) in Asia Pacific are slowly making their way into being adoptive to today’s business changes across the digital transformation sphere, according to a report from IT and networking company Cisco and market intelligence firm IDC.

With more than 1,400 respondents across APAC SMEs, the report found out that there is a significant increase for digital adoption, showing a 16% growth for SMEs willing to integrate more digital transformation strategies, compared to the 11% growth last year.

On the other hand, 53% of SMEs showed initial willingness to be ‘observant’ at first for their small modern digital changes, while 31% of SMEs showed reactiveness to move into the digital market and are slow in their own transition.

The current COVID-19 pandemic proved to be one of the major reasons for digital transition of SMEs, as statistics showed that 94% of SMEs showed reliance on technological measures for their businesses. In regards to using digital business measures as a way to make roundabout on disruptive events i.e. the pandemic, 55% percent said that such measures are important and are crucial for the business framework.

Some of the leading goals for digitalization of SMEs include market expansion, improved customer experience (CX), prototype kickstart/startup, supply chain, among others.

Cisco estimates that with willingness from SMEs to conduct business presence online, such enterprises are forecasted to   bring $2.6–$3.1 trillion in GDP across Asia Pacific, suggesting faster economic recovery by 2024.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Local, global brands in Philippines launch campaign against COVID-19

Manila, Philippines – As the Philippines continues to battle the impact of COVID-19, brands and companies from the private sector across various industries have banded together to help restart the economy while ensuring consumers’ health and safety. As a result, the Ingat Angat Tayong Lahat campaign was launched.

“Ingat Angat Tayong Lahat” which is a Filipino phrase for “take care” is a campaign aiming to help businesses gradually increase operations as well as to help build consumer confidence by reiterating the importance of standard safety practices against the virus, such as frequent washing of hands and constant wearing of masks and face shields. 

The campaign was built in direct support for an ongoing multi-sector initiative Taskforce T3 (Test, Trace, Treat), put together by the government in April 2020 to manage the outbreak of the pandemic.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said, “At this point in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, balancing health and the economy is our main priority. This is why we are pushing for the gradual and safe reopening of the economy. In line with the spirit of the campaign, we can only move forward by supporting and keeping one another safe while protecting lives and livelihoods.”

The Ingat Angat group calls for participation from businesses, both big brands and SMEs. In line with this, it has provided downloadable assets such as logo templates and design guides enabling brands to easily integrate the Ingat Angat visual identity to their system.  

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation and founding partner of TaskForce T3 stressed the importance of continued public-private sector cooperation. 

“The private sector has found a new front where we can be supportive of the fight against COVID, and that is in restoring the  confidence of our citizens that we can all resume our lives and livelihoods, so long as we strictly follow the minimum health standards recommended by health experts,” he said.

The campaign has already obtained the support of the biggest corporations and brands in the country, including Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Jollibee Foods Corporation, and McDonald’s Philippines. It has also partnered media outlets such as CNN Philippines, GMA, Kapamilya Channel, and news brands Philippine Daily Inquirer, and The Philippine Star. Meanwhile, agency partners include EON, HIT Productions, NuWorks, and Omnicom Media Group. 

The campaign was spearheaded by creative agency TBWA/Santiago Mangada Puno. 

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Main Feature SME Southeast Asia

Philippine-grown super-service app MyKuya unlocks critical job opportunities amid lockdown

The COVID pandemic has seen a plunge in the employment rate for most industries and according to the Philippines’ statistics, the country’s unemployment has risen to 17.7 percent in April.

Homegrown super-service app MyKuya which launched in 2018 has been since handing out opportunities for its would-be partners, but the ongoing retrenchments in businesses have further proven the app’s value proposition.

MyKuya is a mobile-based application and technology platform which allows users to quickly hire trained partners to run jobs such as grocery delivery, personal shopping in malls, plumbing and carpentry works, and even on-demand tasks for small businesses.

These partners, called Kuyas and Ates (brother and sister), are able to become part of the on-call workers by signing up through the app, and going through just like any normal hiring process, that of with document requirements. 

As of current, the app has signed up 10,000 partners, and they are nowhere near from stopping at that, as MyKuya is rallying to create 1 million job opportunities by 2022.

With this massive goal, how do then the company plans to reach out to prospective Kuyas and Ates?

MyKuya’s Marketing and Communications Manager Gab Billones said that hyperlocalizaiton of content and simplification of narratives are some of its top strategies.

“One of the most effective strategies that we do is hyperlocaliczing our efforts, really targeting communities, condo associations, and different particular groups where interests of the majority, particularly the target market that we have are present in these online communities,” Billones said.

“We also do simplifications. We’re not just doing hyperlocalization, we also simplify the messaging, and the narrative of MyKuya, so it becomes more relatable to as many people as possible. We curate stories, particularly highlighting the activities that our partners do, and the kind of value that our customers actually find with MyKuya services. So those are the kinds of narratives that we actually highlight on our Facebook messaging, and we’re still trying to reach out more and more communities, in preparation for our expansion activities as well,” he added.

Presently, MyKuya has established online presence on the major social media channels of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. On Facebook, they present real-life testimonials of individuals who have already worked as partners for the app, integrating the promotional hashtag #MyKuyaMyHero. 

“How do our Kuya and Ate exemplify heroship during the pandemic? Each Kuya, a different story! Read on the inspirational stories of our partners in this time of lockdown and ECQ, and find out how they are able to help many people!” said one of the posts, followed by quote cards of partners, bearing their images and testimonies. (Translated in English)

In terms of the app’s users, the super-service app has also responded to the hard times that the pandemic has thrusted many into, and has made service rates more wallet-friendly amid users’ tightened budgets.

One thing that it has already done is to reduce the rates for their Pick-up & Drop service, lowering it from P150 per hour to P99 per hour within the MECQ period. 

Reduced rates will also be seen on the app’s services for their enterprise owner users such as BizHelper and MotoToday services. BizHelper is help in tasks like packing, sorting, and organizing, while MotoToday is for those that require motorcycle delivery or pick-ups. Under the MECQ, the lower minimum number of hours to avail of these services has been reduced from 6 hours to 4. 

Enterprise owners are one of the main stakeholders of the app. As of today, it has over 100 SME users. 

When we asked about their approach to business development, just like how they reach out to potential partners, MyKuya’s Country Head Dennis Bunye said that they go for a personalized approach, even implementing an SME club.

“We reach out enterprise partners in terms of in-person, face to face conversations, and we also get referrals in terms of how we can gain access to certain communities, which we hope to serve as well in order to be able to provide more value to them,” said Bunye.

“We are also having this what we call SME club, wherein we will make use of the spirit of community and provide value through not only giving advice and not just being salesy about it, but really sharing what we learned as we get to understand further the requirements of our SMEs right now,” he added.