SME Featured East Asia

DBS Hong Kong, GS1 HK adopt HKMA’s CDI initiative to power digital ‘one click’ trade financing for SMEs

Hong Kong – Consumer bank DBS in Hong Kong and non-profit organisation GS1 Hong Kong have joined hands to further enhance their innovative SME trade financing solution with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) Commercial Data Interchange (CDI) platform. 

The move is part of DBS Hong Kong’s commitment to providing enterprises with tailored, efficient financing services while also supporting the fintech ecosystem development led by the HKMA in Hong Kong.

DBS Hong Kong said that it plans to leverage CDI’s platform capabilities to further enhance its recently launched trade financing solution and accelerate its ecosystem strategy in Hong Kong.

Alex Cheung, managing director and head of Institutional Banking Group of DBS Hong Kong, said that the latest trade financing solution enhancement demonstrates the bank’s strong commitment to developing Hong Kong’s fintech ecosystem. 

“As a leader in SME banking, DBS is proud to be a part of HKMA’s CDI platform. Since launching our innovative digital trade finance solution with GS1 Hong Kong earlier this year, we have successfully provided SMEs with enhanced and simplified access to working capital. DBS Hong Kong is proud to be an early adopter of CDI and we look forward to working on additional use cases that leverage the platform and find new ways to increase access to funding for SMEs,” added Cheung.

In June 2022, DBS Hong Kong and GS1 Hong Kong launched a digital post-shipment trade financing solution powered by alternative data. The solution enables SMEs on GS1 Hong Kong’s ezTRADE platform to utilise their trade data to access trade financing in a digital and straight-through manner.

With the new solution, SMEs can access much-needed working capital with just one click via the bank’s corporate banking platform, DBS IDEAL. This means that SMEs no longer need to manually submit hundreds of invoices and supporting documents, reducing time and effort through the adoption of a more digital and sustainable way of doing business and seeking financing. 

Moreover, the solution redefines the trade financing journey for SMEs with DBS availing financing through a streamlined credit assessment process. Through DBS’ predictive analytics capabilities, invoice data is used to assess the financial health of SMEs, with the amount of financing available to SMEs updated on a dynamic and recurring basis.

Anna Lin, chief executive of GS1 Hong Kong, shared that the collaboration between GS1 Hong Kong and DBS Hong Kong on digital trade financing has borne fruit to many SMEs enjoying trade financing in a much simpler and digitised manner already. 

“With the CDI, I look forward to unleashing the full potential of more alternative data, enhancing SMEs’ access to financial services and nurturing the trade financing ecosystem in Hong Kong,” said Lin.

Meanwhile, Sandy Tan, head of ecosystems for Institutional Banking Group at DBS Bank Hong Kong, noted that their digital solution has redefined the trade financing journey for SMEs on GS1 HK’s ezTRADE platform, and via their collaboration, they have enabled a digital ‘one click’ transaction experience and greatly reduced the time and effort needed to acquire working capital.

“DBS Hong Kong is committed to taking an active role in further developing and growing Hong Kong’s robust fintech ecosystem. Building on the launch of CDI’s capabilities, we expect to bring our solution to the next level in customer experience while providing more offerings to support the business growth of the SME community,” said Tan.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Lim Chu Chong appointed as DBS Indonesia’s new president director

Jakarta, Indonesia – Banking and financial services company DBS has announced the appointment of Lim Chu Chong as the new president director of DBS Indonesia. The appointment takes effect immediately, succeeding Paulus Sutisna.

Chong, who was previously the chief operating officer of the Institutional Banking Group (IBG) by DBS, will be part of DBS’ Group Management Committee as well. 

He has over 25 years of experience in institutional, SME and consumer banking, and previously served in DBS Indonesia as commissioner. During his role at IBG, he has led key business transformations, including a new customer experience office to enhance customer engagement, as well as setting up an employee experience office to improve employee experience and drive productivity.

Speaking on Chong’s appointment, Piyush Gupta, CEO at DBS, said, “Indonesia is a key market for DBS, and under Paulus’ leadership, our business has not only grown but become more diversified, with good balance across the consumer/ wealth and institutional banking segments.” 

He added, “In recent years, he has also brought our strong digital capabilities to bear in the market, enabling us to deliver seamless banking to clients. As a career DBS banker with deep business and market experience, I am confident that Chu Chong will build on our strengths in Indonesia and take the business to the next level.”

Meanwhile, Sutisna will be appointed as non-independent commissioner of DBS Indonesia in due course.

Marketing Featured East Asia

DBS Hong Kong’s latest brand campaign underscores need for ‘different kind of bank’ in post-pandemic

Hong Kong – Consumer bank DBS in Hong Kong has launched a new regional brand campaign called ‘Be a Different Kind of Bank’, which makes clear that the bank is more like a startup, as well as more techie and eco-warrior, and less like a traditional bank. 

The campaign signals DBS’ belief that a different kind of bank is needed in a post-pandemic world. It also highlights the bank’s commitment to intensifying efforts going forward to become even more like a forward-looking tech company offering financial services and less like a conventional bank. Moreover, it will continue to up the ante on addressing sustainability issues and devoting itself to being a purpose-driven bank.

Moreover, the campaign encapsulates several aspects of how DBS embodies being a different kind of bank, which include inculcating a startup culture, where a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship will continue to flourish, and committing to continuous innovation, where the bank seeks to ensure that banking is simple, fast and effortless, increasingly personalised, and seamlessly woven into everyday life.

Another aspect is advancing the sustainability agenda, where the bank will be supporting social enterprises and prioritising action on climate change, powering philanthropic and relief efforts.

Karen Ngui, DBS’ group head of strategic marketing and communications and DBS Foundation’s board member, shared that with COVID-19 upending economies and societies, now more than ever, they must be able to anticipate and lead change so their customers and the community at large can ‘Live more, Live better, and Bank less’. 

“By behaving more like a startup, more like a techie, more like an eco-warrior, and less like a ‘traditional’ bank, we believe we can be a bank for the times – a different kind of bank for a post-Covid world,” said Ngui. 

Aside from Hong Kong, the regional brand campaign will also be rolled out in Singapore, Mainland China, India, Indonesia, and Taiwan over the next two months.

SME Featured APAC

DBS ties anew with Xero to make working capital more accessible to SMEs in SG, HK

Singapore – Consumer bank DBS has expanded its partnership with global small business platform Xero to simplify the loan application process and increase access to working capital for SMEs in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The expanded partnership will see both companies availing Xero customers of the option to share their transactional records from Xero’s platform with DBS, and by doing so, customers will be able to present a more holistic picture of their cash flow which in turn enables the bank to offer SMEs hyper-personalised credit terms and working capital limits tailored to their needs.

DBS and Xero began their partnership in 2017 with a bank feed integration to give SMEs greater visibility and control over their finances with automatic bank updates. Xero is also a key partner of the bank’s DBS Start Digital Package, which is designed to help SMEs kickstart their digital transformation journey.

Joyce Tee, DBS’ group head of SME banking, noted that their regular engagement with SMEs has consistently shown that cash flow needs continue to be top of mind for their clients, even as business owners seek new growth opportunities.

“We will continue to integrate our touchpoints seamlessly into the customer journey, so as to offer our SMEs more intelligent and intuitive lending solutions. DBS has been sharpening our digital lending capabilities by leveraging ecosystem partnerships and advanced data analytics to roll out solutions that are hyper-personalised to each business’ needs. DBS is pleased to take our long-standing partnership with Xero to the next level as we double down on our commitment to helping SMEs accelerate their growth,” said Tee.

Meanwhile, Joseph Lyons, Xero’s managing director for Australia and Asia, shared that digital tools and solutions have been a significant driver in empowering SMEs to become more resilient and competitive, but working capital is the lifeblood of small businesses everywhere.

“With DBS – our first banking partner in Singapore to offer API integrated bank feeds – we are excited to extend new offerings to our shared customers through SME financing. We look forward to continuing our work to further support SMEs with their financing needs, particularly in ensuring small businesses have the support they need to thrive,” said Lyons.

Marketing Featured South Asia

BRAC Bank, DBS partner to provide real-time, zero-fee remittances to Bangladesh

Bangladesh – Bangladesh-based private commercial bank BRAC Bank has partnered with Singapore’s consumer bank DBS, aimed at allowing Bangladeshi migrants working in Singapore to easily transfer their hard-earned income to their families back home, with minimal fees and in real-time using DBS Remit, a remittance service integrated within the digital banking platform, DBS digibank. 

The new partnership will enable DBS and POSB customers in Singapore to remit funds to any of BRAC Bank’s 187 branches and more than 700 agent banking outlets across Bangladesh. Furthermore, customers can credit their remittances via DBS Remit to any bank account in Bangladesh. By the end of 2022, customers will also be able to use DBS Remit to transfer funds to Bangladesh’s mobile wallet bKash, a subsidiary of BRAC Bank.

For remittances to Bangladesh, DBS Remit has no service fee charges, provides guaranteed exchange rates, as well as real-time automated deposits to any bank account there. BRAC Bank’s extensive network also allows recipients in Bangladesh to easily collect funds in cash if they prefer. For remittances deposited to a BRAC Bank account, BRAC Bank customers can use the bank’s app, Astha, to pay for utilities, insurance and loan installations, credit card and phone bills, as well as transfer funds to any bank account or mobile wallet in Bangladesh. They can also withdraw their cash at any ATM around the nation.

Rhidoi Krishnakumar, the regional head of DBS Remit, commented that they are very pleased to partner with BRAC Bank, one of the most innovative financial institutions in Bangladesh, to enhance their DBS Remit capabilities and provide more accessible, affordable and secure remittances for their customers. 

“We also look forward to enabling remittances to bKash wallet by the end of this year so customers can remit to even more touchpoints across Bangladesh,” said Krishnakumar.

Meanwhile, Selim R.F. Hussain, BRAC Bank’s managing director and CEO, shared that inward foreign remittance is one of the backbones of the economy, and they are always working hard to facilitate its continuous growth. 

“We joined hands with DBS Bank, the leading digital bank in the world because they, like us, offer their customers the best service experience, backed by the most advanced technologies,” said Hussain.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

DBS launches new complimentary cybersecurity training for 280,000 SMEs in SG

Singapore – Singapore’s consumer bank DBS has launched its new complimentary cybersecurity training programme to help protect 280,000 SMEs in Singapore against the growing threat of cybercrime.

The programme, ‘DBS #CyberWellness’, comprises 10 online modules, each covering a different facet of cybersecurity, such as password protection, phishing, digital scams, and physical security, as well as social media security. These modules can be accessed on the go digitally through an e-learning platform, with all 10 modules taking no more than 120 minutes to complete. At the end of the programme, SMEs will be presented with recommendations for suitable cyber insurance and cybersecurity solutions. This enables SMEs to take immediate steps to protect their businesses from potential cyberattacks.

Following the launch of the new initiative, DBS has also appointed telco StarHub as its new programme partner for DBS #CyberWellness. StarHub will be providing participating SMEs with a complimentary two-month trial of their hardware-free, plug-and-play cybersecurity solution called ‘Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) for SME’, which enables SMEs to gain a business-wide defence against cyber threats.

Joyce Tee, the group head of SME Banking at DBS, believes that they can make the biggest impact by equipping the employees of SMEs with foundational cybersecurity skills, which become ingrained everyday habits as they put their skills to practice.

“We’re especially proud that DBS #CyberWellness was developed entirely in-house in partnership with our technology teams. This speaks to our commitment to come together as one Team DBS to help our SMEs, social enterprises, and even charities digitalise their operations safely,” said Tee

Meanwhile, Charlie Chan, StarHub’s chief of enterprise business group, shared that they are partnering with DBS to help SMEs and their employees stay safe online, and with the partnership, they have combined critical and free training with defensive tools that are easy to use. 

“There is no better time than now for SMEs to say ‘no’ to being an easy target, both for the business as well as their employees. We are in it for the long haul, to be a trusted partner for our customers in their digital and cybersecurity journey,” said Chan.

DBS said that the programme was first rolled out as a pilot to social enterprises and charities in Singapore and was subsequently expanded to include SMEs.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

IMDA, Enterprise Singapore refresh ‘Start Digital’ initiative

Singapore – ‘Start Digital’, a digital initiative started by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore for SME support, is refreshing their existing digital solutions in order to provide newly incorporated SMEs or those that have yet to digitize with foundational and easy-to-deploy digital solutions.

Initially launched in January 2019, the Start Digital program has helped more than 30,000 SMEs to adopt various digital transformation strategies for their businesses, known collectively as the ‘Start Digital Pack’. These solutions are offered across six partners, namely financial institutions DBS, Maybank, OCBC, and UOB, as well as telco Singtel and M1.

Start Digital is offering three new and enhanced categories:

  • Digital Collaboration – These enable employees to work from home or any other convenient locations. Examples include Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.
  • Digital Marketing – Tools that provide SMEs with templates to create social media ads and manage their digital ad buys and placements on a single platform. This allows SMEs to easily manage targeted digital marketing campaigns and reach out to consumers on social media.
  • Digital Transactions – InvoiceNow-linked solutions offered by bank partners are integrated with e-payment including PayNow Corporate to enable SMEs to generate/receive e-invoices through InvoiceNow and receive/make e-payments seamlessly. These solutions help SMEs improve transaction accuracy and administrative productivity. Both e-invoicing and e-payments are part of digital utilities which IMDA is putting in place as baseline infrastructure for the digital economy. Similar to their physical counterparts, digital utilities provide common standards and ease of transactions for businesses. 

Start Digital initially included accounting, human resource management system and payroll, digital marketing, digital transactions and cybersecurity solutions. 

“Based on feedback from SMEs and Start Digital partners, IMDA and Enterprise Singapore are enhancing Start Digital to include new solutions that will enable SMEs to collaborate seamlessly with internal and external parties, and gain new customers,” according to a factsheet released by IMDA and Enterprise Singapore.

Both institutions have been proactive in driving support for SMEs and startups based on digital transformation strategies. Earlier this year, Enterprise Singapore supported the launch of the PlanetSpark Innovation Centre to focus on tech startups seeking to deploy artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) to the market. 

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Which Singapore CEO is the most talked about online?

Singapore – As chief executives of their respective firms, CEOs are sure mentioned and displayed a lot on online media, and this year, DBS Bank’s Piyush Gupta emerged as the most visible CEO in local digital media in Singapore, according to a report by market intelligence firm CARMA ASIA. 

Gupta had the largest volume of online articles that mentioned him, amounting to 90 articles from the period of May to October this year. CEOs’ visibility, or frequency of mentions, was studied on both mainstream media – which are local online publications such as The Straits Times, The Business Times, and The New Paper – as well as on social media, particularly Twitter mentions.

Gupta retains the crown, being hailed in the same rank last year. Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines’ Goh Choon Phong received the highest social media engagement with 999 mentions. 

According to the report, Gupta outperformed other CEOs due to his frequent communication around DBS’ efforts to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. 

The report also looked into how ‘favorable’ the visibility of CEOs are on media, and for this strand, Wilmar International’s CEO Kuok Khoon Hong took the reigns.

Favorability was measured via an article’s disposition, such as whether a company appears in the headline, the tone of the sources inside the article, and the sentiment of the journalist and the media outlet. Meanwhile, the mood of Twitter mentions was determined via the tone of the messages as well as the type of emojis and GIFs placed.  

The report said Hong’s favorability in the media emanated from the depiction of Hong as resilient, financially sound, and supportive towards the community by giving away the company’s largest-ever S$7m donation as well as the firm’s acknowledgment that the business had continued to record positive performance in 2020.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines’ CEO Goh Choon Phong was commended for being the first to publicly address the news surrounding SIA including staff layoffs and pay cuts, as well as their rapid response to the backlash following new initiatives such as the ‘Flight To Nowhere.’ 

OCBC’s Samuel Tsien, Singtel’s Chua Sock Koong, UOB’s Wee Ee Cheong were also among the most visible CEOs with a total of 60, 40, and 22 articles respectively. These were due to their prompt responses to the COVID-19 crisis, assurance of the companies’ financial positions, and introduction of digital transformation initiatives to ensure their companies are able to weather the COVID storm.

CARMA ASIA’s Managing Director Andrew Nicholls spoke about the importance of CEOs being vocal in a time of crisis.

“In a period that has shaken confidence, the pressure on CEOs to provide guidance and reassurance to shareholders, employees, and customers has intensified.”