Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Google announces multiple initiatives across AI innovation with SG gov’t

Singapore – Tech giant Google, through Google Cloud, has announced partnership with Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) to strengthen AI cooperation in Singapore, including co-creating solutions, deepen AI capabilities in public service, and shape AI governance and ethics.

Google’s parent company Alphabet and its other subsidiaries will work closely with SNDGG’s National AI Office and other government agencies to co-create, test-bed, and scale AI solutions in key sectors like finance, sustainability, and healthcare.

In addition, Google Cloud will provide dedicated training resources and certification programs to cultivate deep AI and machine learning proficiency for identified public sector officers. These programs reinforce Google Cloud’s commitment to bridging the AI talent gap, and will build on Google’s Skills Ignition SG training program in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

Lastly, Google Cloud will support the Singapore government’s efforts to shape AI governance and ethics in key sectors like finance. These efforts complement Google’s involvement in Singapore’s Advisory Council of the Ethical Use of AI.

Sherie Ng, country director for Singapore and Malaysia at Google Cloud, said, “Already recognized as a leading smart city, Singapore has continued to grow in stature as a global center of AI innovation and real-world application. It is a privilege to be the first technology company to enter into a partnership with SNDGG’s National AI Office to co-develop and deploy new AI solutions of value and relevance to Singaporeans and the future economy.” 

She added, “Through this public-private collaboration in the field of AI, we aim to advance the technology’s ability to deliver greater societal benefit in areas like financial inclusion, carbon footprint reduction, and personalised healthcare, while ensuring equity, privacy, transparency, and accountability.”

Meanwhile, Chng Zhenzhi, director of the National AI Office at SNDGG, commented, “This MOU is a win-win collaboration. Singapore will benefit from Google’s deep technical expertise and investments, while Google can tap on our rich innovation ecosystem. Singapore can also be a test-bed for Google’s efforts to trial new solutions safely, before introducing them to the region and beyond.” 

She added, “With the MOU, we can look forward to novel AI solutions that will make an impact on the way Singaporeans – and people around the world – live and work. This is one of the many examples of how the public service and private sector can come together to undertake innovative projects for the greater good.”

Technology Featured East Asia

cacaFly, Google Cloud partner up to launch Cloud AI+ Solution Center in Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan – Local digital marketing agency cacaFly and Google Cloud have partnered up to launch Cloud AI+ Solution Center in Taiwan. This will help enterprises accelerate their digital transformation by offering Google Cloud Platform services for AI applications, data analysis, and cloud technology. 

Since 2011, cacaFly has partnered with Google to offer digital advertising solutions for industries such as retail, e-commerce, finance, technology, games, and media. This partnership has been taken to another level in 2022 with the establishment of the new Cloud AI+ Solution Center, which will integrate data analytics, market-leading cloud technology, and Google Cloud Platform AI services and consulting.

The agency envisions this expansion into cloud services through the Google Cloud AI+ Solution Center will help give customers reduce costs, accelerate business decision-making, and anticipate market demands and unforeseen opportunities.

In addition, the partnership with Google Cloud will be the foundation of a marketing and enterprise ecosystem that incorporates marketing, data analytics, and cloud technology. In order to realise this vision, the company is actively recruiting related talents, including cloud architects, cloud engineers, cloud data consultants, and cloud project managers.

Nathan Chiu, CEO of cacaFly, said, “cacaFly has the utmost confidence to lead Taiwan’s talent and forge a complete marketing and enterprise ecosystem, which together with our partners, can go beyond Taiwan’s borders and be competitive on the global stage.”

Meanwhile, Tony Hsieh, country director for Google Cloud in Taiwan, commented, “Companies on their digital transformation journey need to strive for competitive advantages in digital marketing. The Google Cloud platform’s data analysis, AI, and machine learning solutions are necessary tools to help corporations realise their digital transformation, accelerate business decision-making and become more agile and adaptable.”

He added, “I am overjoyed cacaFly is partnering with Google Cloud in the establishment of the Cloud AI+ Solution Center. We are looking forward to providing cacaFly customers with complete solutions that will aid their 360-degree digital transformation.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Robinhood, Google Cloud collaborate to develop Thailand’s first super app

Thailand – Robinhood, a Bangkok-based food delivery and all-in-one travel service platform under SCBX Group, Purple Ventures Co., Ltd., has announced a multi-year strategic alliance with Google Cloud and MFEC Public Company Limited (MFEC) to advance its mission of building a homegrown super app that delivers inclusive growth opportunities to small business owners, delivery riders, and diverse users in metro and non-metro areas. Robinhood had already started planning late last year.

A super app is basically a unified app that has everything a person needs. This includes ride-hailing services, food delivery, payment wallets, flight and accommodation bookings, groceries, and many more. Currently, there are over a dozen super apps in Southeast Asia, each with its unique offering apart from integrating the other services that are offered in the app. In Thailand, super apps are available for consumers as well. However, there still isn’t a homegrown super app. The current super apps available in the country are from enterprises that have a strong business presence in the country.

April Srivikorn, country manager, Thailand at Google Cloud, pointed out that pandemic-driven shifts in consumer behaviour are expected to have a lasting impact, with food and transport, e-commerce, online travel, and digital financial services the key growth verticals in a resurgent internet economy that’s set to be worth US$57 billion by 2025.

Adopting a zero-commissions stance to give small businesses and riders a larger share of earnings, Robinhood was launched to alleviate the financial hardships faced by local food and beverage operators during the height of the pandemic and support the local tourism sector’s economic recovery. The three organizations will join forces to strengthen Robinhood’s culture of innovation, modernize its IT infrastructure, elevate user experiences using data-driven intelligence, and co-create new digital services.

According to Thana Thienachariya, chairman of the board at Purple Ventures, Robinhood’s differentiated business model enables them to generate revenue from other independent services, such as providing loans to individuals in their ecosystem, instead of charging smaller restaurants and hoteliers platform fees that erode their earning.

Thienachariya added, “With a fleet of 30,000 riders supporting 225,000 eateries, and 16,000 hotels already listed on our platform, Robinhood has become the food and travel application of choice for 2.8 million users. Together with Google Cloud and MFEC, we hope to build on the very warm response to our platform in the past 20 months and supercharge our expansion into the tour, car rental, flight bookings, and grocery and express parcel delivery services. This super app vision is an extension of our steadfast commitment toward assisting smaller players and revitalizing the grassroots economy.”

On the partnership with Google, Srihanath Lamsam, CEO of Purple Ventures, shared, that this was due to Google’s superior data cloud infrastructure which runs with net-zero operational emissions, and its rich experience in mapping the world and building open platforms and ecosystems. These capabilities, along with MFEC’s technical consulting and implementation expertise, will amplify Robinhood’s ability to create value for society, while contributing to our sustainability commitments.

The strategic alliance will encompass five core pillars including: 

  • Cultivating skilled talent and a culture of innovation – the three companies will establish a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) consisting of cloud architecture, data management, and application modernization specialists.
  • Enhancing the quality of digital services – the CCoE will tap microservices and extended Google Play Store support to ensure Robinhood’s customer and rider applications remain robust, reliable, and lightweight – even as new services are added and accessed by a high volume of users.
  • Serving hyper-personalized user engagement – the CCoE will build and manage an intelligent data engine using Google Cloud’s leading analytics, AI, and ML technologies. The data engine will also engage Robinhood users with hyper-personalized product recommendations on behalf of small businesses, to boost these merchants’ revenue streams.
  • Increasing income opportunities for riders – Robinhood will explore using Google Maps Platform’s software development kits to fast-track the creation and integration of on-demand mobility features. Potential use cases include providing riders with in-app, turn-by-turn navigation after identifying the shortest or fastest routes, so they can ride safer, fulfil orders quicker, and earn more.
  • Making financial assistance easily accessible – Robinhood will explore co-innovation initiatives with Google Cloud to embed virtual banking and microlending services into its application. This would allow small business owners to seamlessly apply for financial assistance to purchase new equipment and hire staff, or for prospective delivery riders to rent electric motorcycles.

Meanwhile, Siriwat Vongjarukorn, CEO and President, MFEC, commented, “With our newly formed CCoE imparting critical cloud skills, adopting an open cloud architecture, implementing data governance best practices, and automating application deployment, Robinhood can achieve performance at scale, optimize IT costs, uphold the highest data security and privacy standards, and empower its developers to release continuous software updates – without downtime – to enrich its entire digital ecosystem.” 

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Google Cloud inks ‘Cloud Framework Agreement’ with the Malaysian Gov’t

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Google Cloud and AwanBiru Technology Berhad (Awantec), a technology and talent management company have signed a new Cloud Framework Agreement (CFA) in an official ceremony hosted by the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) and the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Ismail Sabri, to accelerate public sector innovation and the delivery of digital citizen-centric services.

The CFA reinforces Google Cloud’s commitment to supporting the Malaysian Government’s MyDIGITAL blueprint which aims to bridge the digital divide and grow the country’s digital economy. Terms of the agreement will also see Malaysia’s public sector gain access to Google Cloud’s cloud infrastructure, data warehouse, data security, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and application modernisation capabilities, in addition to privacy and compliance controls, Carbon Sense Suite and other cloud-native tools.

Such services can be accessed in any of Google Cloud’s 88 availability zones in 29 geographic regions across the world, as well as its 146 network edge locations.

Sherie Ng, country director of Singapore and Malaysia at Google Cloud, said that more than 8 in 10 online consumers in Malaysia are now using digital services, due to a permanent shift that’s been brought about by the pandemic. 

“MAMPU, through its strategic and forward-looking cloud-first policy, is marshaling the advanced cloud technology infrastructure, tools, applications and talent to significantly accelerate the development of next-generation citizen-centric services – to meet the expectations of the rakyat for digitalised public sector interactions and experiences matching that of the digital native businesses they frequently interact with,” Ng said.

“Having signed this CFA with the Malaysian Government, we look forward to playing an active role in bringing the next phase of its MyDIGITAL blueprint to life. By offering government agencies easier access to flexible, scalable, secure and sustainable cloud infrastructure and services, we aim to help them realize new possibilities in public service delivery to serve the rakyat – be it in education, healthcare, transport, or financial inclusion, etc. – and contribute to the vision of establishing Malaysia as a regional digital economic powerhouse by 2030,” Ng added.

As per the agreement, managed service provider (MSP) Awantec will offer technology consulting and digital skilling programs to public sector agencies, such as conducting user research, supporting rapid prototyping using Google Cloud tools, and driving best practices for cloud implementations at scale.

On the company’s partnership with Google Cloud, Rezal Rahman, CEO of Awantec, commented, “Being a technology and talent digitalization enabler in Malaysia, Awantec is proud to be Google Cloud’s local partner and are jointly committed to empowering Malaysia’s public sector to innovate and deliver critical new citizen-centric services at scale, as Google Cloud is an established leader in enabling organizations of all sizes to securely and transparently convert massive datasets into intelligence and insights.

“With two decades of experience delivering technology solutions and skilling programs to the Government, our joint business relationship is also positively reflected in recent project wins, Rahman added. 

Prior to the CFA, Google Cloud and Awantec entered into an agreement with Malaysia’s Ministry of Education in July 2021 to provide Google Workspace to public schools, seeking to boost staff productivity and elevate students’ learning experience while keeping their work, identities, and privacy safe through security controls.

In addition, Google Cloud has been gaining mindshare and market share with large enterprises across various sectors in Malaysia, especially those operating in regulated industries. 

Technology Featured APAC

Databricks expands availability on Google Cloud in APAC

Singapore – Global data and AI company Databricks has expanded its availability on Google Cloud for customers across APAC, with availability on Google Cloud’s Singapore and Sydney. 

The move aims to help organisations across SEA to leverage Databricks on Google Cloud, creating a lakehouse capable of data engineering, data science, machine learning, and analytics on Google Cloud’s network.

The SEA expansion is a reflection of growing demand from customers looking to adopt an open, modern lakehouse architecture and accelerate their cloud data strategy. Databricks on Google Cloud in Singapore enables greater flexibility and data locality choices for customers, and delivers enhanced performance and scalability while guaranteeing local data residency requirements. It is tightly integrated with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Google Big Query, Looker, and Google Cloud Storage, as well as Pub/Sub, giving customers the freedom of flexibility and access to their choice of data analytics services. 

Moreover, the expansion allows businesses across SEA and Australia to extend their existing Databricks lakehouse capabilities and can cross-leverage Google BigQuery for analytics, simplifying their data investments with an open, modern data platform for all of their analytics use cases.

Andrew Martin, Databrick’s head of South Asia, shared that they will continue to make significant investments in building their local capabilities in Singapore to meet the future needs of SEA’s rapidly growing data and AI communities.

“From fast-growing digital natives to large global enterprises, we continue to see incredible demand across the region. We are excited to work with Google to help accelerate our customers’ data and AI journey in this region together,” said Martin.

Meanwhile, Amitabh Jacob, Google Cloud’s head of technology, ISV, and solutions partnerships for APAC, noted that cloud-driven transformation will underpin SEA’s growing internet economy that is expected to be at US$1t by the end of the decade.

“Our strategic collaboration with Databricks to deliver lakehouse architecture on Google Cloud’s regional, scalable platform, and combined expertise in data engineering and AI-driven analytics, will enable companies to harness the power of data and tap into evolving digital models,” said Jacob.

In addition, the partnership also has a comprehensive ecosystem of joint partners that deliver seamless integrations and expertise across the platforms, including Accenture, Cognizant, Deloitte, Informatica, Qlik, and Tableau, as well as TCS, and Trifacta, amongst others.

Technology Featured Global

Optimizely taps Google Cloud to drive joint innovation, next-gen experimentation

Singapore —  Digital experience platform Optimizely has entered into a strategic partnership with cloud services provider Google Cloud. In addition to Optimizely moving its market-leading experimentation solutions to the cloud platform, the multi-year agreement signifies a commitment by the two companies to co-innovate digital offerings and develop digital-first marketing solutions to market.

Through the new partnership, customers can benefit from working with Optimizely’s content experimentation for enterprise companies and Google Cloud’s secure infrastructure and capabilities in AI, ML and analytics. In addition, Google Cloud and Optimizely will also coordinate a joint go-to-market and sales execution strategy to seamlessly deliver experimentation solutions to customers around the world.

A notable part of the multi-year agreement of the two companies is their intent to collaborate closely on co-innovation, developing new and expanded digital offerings that bring the best experience possible to new and existing customers. As marketing continues to evolve, success depends on the data-driven decision-making and optimised customer experiences that Optimizely’s end-to-end, scalable experimentation solutions will deliver on Google Cloud.

Alex Atzberger, CEO of Optimizely, said that he couldn’t think of two tech companies that are more relevant for the data-driven growth marketer than Google Cloud and Optimizely.

“We share the same philosophy on leveraging data, AI and experimentation to replace guesswork with certainty. By entering into this strategic partnership with Google Cloud, we’re empowering marketers to unlock their digital potential, create exceptional customer experiences and deliver strong business outcomes all on a trusted, secure platform. It’s a true win-win-win situation for Optimizely, Google Cloud and the marketing industry overall,” Atzberger said.

Optimizely’s Web Experimentation and Full Stack Experimentation allow marketers to take the guesswork out of delivering personalised, meaningful engagements. Optimizely will continue to enhance its in-class experiences for its customers as they move to Google Cloud.

Rob Enslin, president at Google Cloud, commented, “Through this partnership, Google Cloud infrastructure will underpin Optimizely’s fast-growing and widely-adopted customer experience platform. It’s critical that businesses deliver exceptional products and services to consumers, and this partnership will enhance their ability to do so, driven by the Optimizely platform, data and Google Cloud’s capabilities in AI and ML.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

SeABank taps Google Cloud to enhance digital banking experience

Hanoi, Vietnam – The Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank, also known as SeABank, has tapped cloud services provider Google Cloud to enhance the service quality and customer experiences delivered on its SeAMobile/SeANet digital banking platform. 

Through Google Cloud’s enterprise-grade technologies, SeABank can optimize costs, strengthen security and accelerate innovation. In addition, SeABank will use Google Cloud’s secure, flexible and scalable infrastructure solutions, such as Migrate for Compute Engine and Google Kubernetes Engine, to migrate critical workloads from its on-premises data center to the cloud and build and deploy cloud-native applications. 

More importantly, SeABank will lean on Google Cloud’s capabilities in AI, machine learning and data analytics to acquire better understanding of its customers and create valuable new services to meet their future needs.

Le Thu Thuy, general director at SeABank, said, “The cooperation with Google Cloud is one of the crucial steps taken by SeABank to leverage industry-leading infrastructure and AI capabilities at speed and scale, to optimize our capacity to deploy customer-centric products and services, and enhance the overall digital and mobile banking experience.”

Having integrated AI into digital banking services on SeAMobile, as well as across its IT systems for customer service, operations, financial management and risk management, the core pillars of SeABank’s digital transformation strategy for the next five years will include end-to-end digitalization and providing hyper personalized customer experiences.

Meanwhile, Ruma Balasubramanian, managing director for Southeast Asia at Google Cloud, commented, “SeABank’s choice of Google Cloud as its primary cloud provider reinforces the Bank’s commitment toward using technology to advance how it interacts with and serves its customers – from anywhere and at any time. The bank can now amplify its abilities to build new capabilities and services, quickly deliver a predictive customer experience, and leapfrog into becoming the bank of the future.”

Platforms Featured Global

Digital Turbine renews Google partnership for product, growth strategy on Android ecosystem

Texas, USA – Global mobile growth and monetization platform Digital Turbine has renewed its with tech giant Google to accelerate its product and growth strategy to support the Android ecosystem by enabling nearly a billion devices with intelligent app discovery.

Said multi-year partnership with Google will entail working with Google Cloud’s premier partner SADA to implement Google’s enterprise and cloud solutions to rapidly enhance and expand globally while broadening growth and monetization solutions for its partners.

Speaking about the partnership, Rob Enslin, president of Google Cloud, said that they are excited to partner with Digital Turbine to support the expansion and scale of its products and services globally.

“Digital Turbine has been a longtime supporter of the Android ecosystem, and with this new partnership, it will utilize our advanced cloud and enterprise infrastructure to expand support of its value-added mobile experiences to end users around the globe,” Enslin said.

Meanwhile, Bill Stone, CEO of Digital Turbine, commented that for the past 10 years, Digital Turbine has helped expand the Android ecosystem with their intelligent app discovery, growth and monetization products supporting many of the Android app developers in the market today.

“We are thrilled to further deepen and expand our partnership with Google. By partnering with Google we are efficiently powering app discovery for nearly a billion Android devices globally while simultaneously expanding our footprint across the Android ecosystem including mobile, TV and connected devices,” Stone added.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Ex-Microsoft Sherie Ng appointed as country director for Google Cloud MY, SG

Singapore – Google Cloud, the cloud computing services suite of tech giant Google, has announced the appointment of ex-Microsoft general manager of public sector for Asia-Pacific Sherie Ng as the new country director for Google Cloud in Malaysia and Singapore. Through her role, she will be responsible for leading revenue and go-to-market strategy and operations for Google Cloud Platform and Google Workspace.

In addition, Ng will be also working with teams across Google to help customers in all industries reimagine their business through data-powered innovation.

During her previous role at Microsoft, she spearheaded business engagements and partnerships with public sector institutions – government agencies, state-owned enterprises, healthcare and education institutions.

With 25 years worth of career in her technology leadership, Ng has also served as managing director for Southeast Asia at NICE Systems and held management roles with Invensys Operations Management, Singtel, Comverse Technologies, CSG Systems and Lucent Technologies.

Speaking regarding her appointment, Ng told MARKETECH APAC, “I’m excited to join Google Cloud ahead of the new year, and continue my passion of empowering enterprises to reimagine their businesses. I look forward to working closely with our customers and partners in Singapore and Malaysia, as we strategically navigate the next digital decade and build lasting change across companies, communities, countries.”

Ng will be reporting to Ruma Balasubramanian, managing director for Southeast Asia at Google Cloud. Balasubramanian told MARKETECH APAC that Ng’s appointment coincides with Google Cloud’s continuous growth in SEA, where they have seen companies of all sizes pursuing an unprecedented level of digitization to solve their most complex challenges.

“Sherie’s rich experience and passion for serving local communities will undoubtedly help us continue to build on our strong foundation in Singapore and Malaysia, and take our industry leadership to the next level,” she stated.

SME Featured APAC

Axiata’s B2B unit ties up Google Cloud for new bundle for SMBs

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Axiata Enterprise, the business-to-business (B2B) arm of Malaysia-based telecommunications group Axiata, has announced a partnership with Google Cloud in order to help accelerate digital adoption across companies and small-medium businesses (SMBs) across Asia.

The implementation will come in the form of offering Google Workspace as part of their integrated ICT portfolio and solution bundles to small and medium businesses (SMBs). Telecoms across Axiata’s group will spearhead the implementation, with Dialog in Sri Lanka leading the initiative, and with implementation scheduled for Q2 this year.

This will be followed by Celcom in Malaysia, XL in Indonesia, Robi in Bangladesh, Ncell in Nepal, and Smart in Cambodia by the second half of the year.

Axiata’s digital telcos will also continue to leverage Google Cloud’s core compute, storage, and networking capabilities to modernize their infrastructure and drive their digital transformation initiatives. 

Said initiative comes in retrospect to the fact that Asia is home to over one million SMBs all looking for the best possible way to tap the immense opportunities in some of the world’s fastest growing Internet economies. Axiata’s controlling interests in six mobile operators cover over 157 million mobile subscribers across its footprint. 

“Axiata and Google Cloud have a shared vision of helping businesses digitize and grow as they build greater resilience for the long haul. With nations increasingly stepping up on digitalization for economic recovery and growth, we stand at a critical juncture to support businesses, especially small and medium players in their efforts to adjust and adapt to new digital norms for survival,” said Gopi Kurup, CEO at Axiata Enterprise.

He also added that the power of Google Cloud’s advanced technologies combined with Axiata’s market intelligence enables companies to access advanced tools to boost their collaboration and productivity and generate data-based insights to strengthen their evolving customer engagement strategies.

Celcom, which is under the Axiata Group, is leveraging Google Cloud’s infrastructure and solutions as well to run its payment gateway and advance its modern digital customer journey. The Malaysian telco also has plans to use Google Cloud’s AI tools to build personalization and recommendation models to further enhance customer experience. 

Ruma Balasubramanian, managing director of Google Cloud in Southeast Asia, said, “To resource-strapped SMBs, cloud technology is a game-changer that enables them to compete with larger players in the market. We’re thrilled to partner with Axiata to accelerate the digital transformation of millions of companies in the region, and help them solve their complex business and technology challenges.”