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30-03-2017
SE Asian nations continue to create steady demand for IT pros

Southeast Asian countries continue to create steady demand for IT and Tech professionals amidst cautious market sentiments, according to the Monster Employment Index (MEI).Singapore and Philippines report a steady but less dramatic growth, while Malaysia shines as a hotbed for tech talent.Malaysia’s upbeat economic outlook despite significant headwinds has led to an uptick in online hiring sentiment, especially for roles across the IT, Telecom/ ISP and BPO/ ITES sectors. It reported a strong 36% growth year-on-year, as reported by the Monster Employment Index (MEI).The MEI is a monthly gauge of online job hiring activity by Monster.com, which records the industries and occupations that show the highest and lowest growth in e-recruitment, including statistics from the IT/Telecom sector.The Philippines too reported a 19% growth, which is a slight improvement from December’s annual registered growth of 12%.Singapore accounted an 11% year-on-year growth, which is a slight slump from December’s 14% growth.This sector saw the most-notable growth among other industry sectors in the city-state.Observing the annual e-recruitment landscape for Software, Hardware and Telecom talent, Malaysia exhibits strong signs of demand in hiring, reporting an increase year-on-year with 57% growth year-on-year.Both Malaysia and the Philippines have consistently reported an upward trend when compared to last few MEI indices.Singapore recorded a 21% year-on-year growth in January, the weakest amongst the three markets, whereas Philippines recorded a 25% growth, a steep improvement from previous month’s 11% year-on-year.Among other occupation groups, Software, Hardware, Telecom professionals exhibited the most notable growth in demand in Singapore.“Hiring sentiments remain favorable across the region, as governments inject funding to boost the start-up ecosystem. Digitalization and automation are leading companies to the next leap of transformation, which is creating demand for very specialized roles such as and have ramped up their recruitment efforts.However, despite the demand for IT and Tech roles, there is a shortage in the talent pool for niche roles. Upskilling will be key to meet current market demands which are in search of talent with niche skills and expertise,” said Sanjay Modi, Managing Director, Monster.com – APAC and Middle East.  

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30-03-2017
S’pore’s family businesses choose profitability over preserving legacy: study

Most (93 percent) of Singapore-based business founders say continued profitability is more important than preserving their legacy, finds a new report by KPMG and CPA Australia on family businesses.Among those participating in interviews, 8 out of 10 believe that family legacy, though important, should not be allowed to get in the way of business growth and profitability.Titled “Two Sides of a Coin: Differing Perspectives in Singapore’s Family Businesses,” the report also found that 98 percent of business owners struggle with succession as it is a complex and sensitive issue, requiring more time to develop long-term workable solutions.In fact, most family businesses in Singapore falter at first transition, with only 13 percent surviving to the third generation.“Informal governance structures that may have worked well for the founders of the business may not meet the needs and interests of a new generation,” says Chiu Wu Hong, Head of Enterprise at KPMG in Singapore.“With limited external influence, there could be questions about whether family businesses are allowing for rigor in their governance and if they are overlooking the added value of non-family members.”Professionalizing the businessAmong survey respondents, 46 percent cited professionalizing the business as a pressing issue, compared to 41 percent who indicated that retaining family control was of utmost importance.Almost all founders interviewed recognize that succession planning needs to be addressed with a professional or interpersonal approach.Among successors, many believe that a formal learning process would have given them a holistic understanding of the business faster, which in turn would have enabled them to make a difference to the company’s performance much sooner.They are also more open than founders letting outsiders (or non-family members) run the business, prioritizing business sustainability over family control.Over half of respondents (56 percent) cited the challenge of attracting and retaining talent as the most important issue.“It is critical for founders of the business to develop leaders who will run the business, not just inherit it. Instead of just identifying, family business owners could empower successors to make independent decisions, provide challenging assignments and increasing responsibilities while incrementally letting go of control to focus more on mentoring.”Of control and conflict Defining ownership and managing conflict are also among the top of mind issues for family businesses. Regulated ownership issues were one example of what many second or third generation family businesses struggle with, such as the trading of shares both inside and outside the family and how best to implement shareholder agreements.Often, the owner-founders of large family businesses preferred to pay low dividends and reinvest profits for expansion, rather than dilute ownership by issuing new stock or assuming debt.Despite safeguards to avoid controversy while maintaining business profitability and family control, family members can and will face conflict. 60 percent of founders interviewed said they prefer to make difficult decisions themselves. Only 37 percent let their successors manage the conflict but remained available for mediation at all times.Among survey respondents, 72 percent resolved conflict through the intervention of the CEO or chairman.In the digital arena, all founders interviewed were committed to keeping up with technological advancements, noting that this is an imperative. Yet, almost all survey respondents were keen to err on the side of caution when it came to investing in technology.Seventy-five percent see the disruptive power of technology but 9 out of 10 business owners interviewed did not outline a specific technology strategy.Yong said: “Good stewardship of any business is vital. But to steer family businesses, there are added challenges due to their unique make-up and forms of ownership. We hope this report can provide family businesses with useful takeaways to establish the values and vision to guide their own circumstances.”“Our research suggests that it is time more family businesses consider creating family charters and councils to improve governance and align the values and culture in the company. Whether a family business thrives over time, isn’t about family succession but about leadership. The best successor, is the best leader whether a family member or a professional,” concluded Chiu. 

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30-03-2017
HK’s average staff turnover rate at 10.5% in 2nd half of 2016

Hong Kong’s overall average staff turnover rate for the second half of 2016 was 10.5%, a marginal increase of 0.3 percentage point from 10.2% in the first half of 2016, according to the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management’s (HKIHRM) Second Half Yearly Survey on Manpower Statistics in 2016.The job vacancy rate in the second half of 2016 rose 1.4 percentage points to 6.6% from 5.2% in the first half of 2016. On hiring intention for the first six months of 2017, the majority of companies remained positive despite economic uncertainties.The top three sectors with the highest staff turnover rate in 2016 were construction/property development/real estate (18.2%); retail (13.4%); and business services/professional services (11.5%).The top three sectors with the lowest staff turnover rate are manufacturing (6.4%); electricity/gas/petrol (2.6%); and transport/services allied to transport (storage) (2.0%).In terms of employee level, clerical/frontline staff recorded the highest turnover rate in the second half of 2016 at 14.2% while the lowest turnover rate was recorded for top/senior management at 4.0%.Job vacanciesThe top three sectors with the highest job vacancy rate retail (12%); business services/professional services (11.5%); and community/social/personal services (10.8%).The top three sectors with the lowest job vacancy rate are electricity/gas/petrol (2.4%); transport/services allied to transport (storage) (1.9%); and financial services/banking/insurance (1.8%).In terms of employee level, clerical/frontline staff recorded the highest job vacancy rate in the second half of 2016 at 7.7% while top/senior management registered the lowest job vacancy rate at 2.1%.Position growth and cutThe net growth in new positions for the second half of 2016 was 0.5%, down 1.3 percentage points when compared with the first half of 2016.The top three business sectors with the highest net growth in new positions are financial services/banking/insurance (6.8%); manufacturing (4.3%); and electricity/gas/petrol (1.8%).  In terms of employee level, positions for middle management/non-managerial professionals recorded the highest net growth in the second half of 2016 at 1.3% while positions at clerical/frontline level had the lowest net growth at 0.3%.Absence rateAmong the 76 participating companies in the survey, 57 companies provided data on staff absence. In the survey, “absence” is defined as unscheduled absence of one or more than one day including sick leave (paid or no paid), emergency leave, and casual leave.The overall absence rate in the second half of 2016 was 2.1%, 0.2 percentage point lower than the first half of 2016, and 0.4 percentage point higher from a year earlier.The top four business sectors with the highest absence rate are construction/property development/real estate (2.5%); transport/services allied to transport (storage) (2.2%);  electricity/gas/petrol (2.2%); and financial services/Banking/Insurance (2.1%).In terms of employee level, the clerical/frontline staff recorded the highest absence rate at 2.8%, compared with supervisory/officer at 1.6%, middle management/non managerial professionals at 1.2% and top/senior management at 0.8%.Hiring intentionsSeventy-two percent of all the 76 participating companies in the survey indicated to maintain hiring in the first half of 2017 at a level similar to that in the second half of 2016, an increase of 12.4 percentage points from the second half of 2016.By business sector, business services/professional services (40%); financial services/banking/insurance (33.3%); and telecommunication (25%) were the top three sectors with the strongest intention to increase hiring in the first half of 2017, while manufacturing, and business services/professional services, and retail were among the sectors that will freeze hiring in the first half of 2017.Only 3.9% of the employers surveyed will reduce hiring in the first six months of 2017.“Hong Kong’s unemployment rate has remained at the level of 3.3% since the end of 2016, which can be regarded as full employment, with the employment situation steadily improving since the end of 2016, especially in sectors such as property and real estate, retail and tourism-related industries,” says David Li, President of the HKIHRM.According to the HKIHRM’s latest Manpower Statistics Survey findings, retail and business services/professional services were among the highest in terms of turnover rate and job vacancy rate in the second half of 2016, indicating a fluid employment market.Employers’ hiring intention in the first half of 2017 remains stable. Individual industries such as business services/professional services, and financial services/banking/insurance show the strongest hiring intention in the first half of 2017.Only a small fraction of the employers surveyed (3.9%) indicated they will reduce hiring in the first half of 2017.In general, employers are fundamentally optimistic about Hong Kong’s labour market situation which will remain steady in the near term.Job seekers will face a keen competition in finding employment when new graduates enter the job market in the coming months.“Looking ahead, external uncertainties surrounding Hong Kong’s economy such as the pace of US interest rate hikes and trade protectionism will continue to affect consumer sentiment, business confidence, and employment outlook in Hong Kong,” says Li.

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30-03-2017
China, New Zealand sign bilateral cooperation in biomedical research

China and New Zealand have signed a bilateral cooperation arrangement in biomedical research.Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) Chair Dr. Lester Levy and China’s National Natural Science Foundation (NSFC) Vice President Dr. Liu Congquiang signed the agreement on Monday.New Zealand’s Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith welcomed the move, saying that it should be able foster breakthroughs in biomedical research that will advance the global development of science and technology.The NSCF manages the National Natural Science Fund, aimed at promoting and financing basic and applied research in China.“The government has improving cancer care as a priority, with faster access and more support during treatment. This arrangement will help further build on these improvements and contribute to even better outcomes for patients,” said Dr. Coleman. “A more integrated system will deliver new treatments, new drugs and new technologies more quickly, both to improve the health of New Zealanders and for export overseas.”Goldsmith added that the arrangement should also help promote the mobility and career development of researchers within joint projects.“This arrangement aims to strengthen existing and establish new collaborations in biomedical sciences between Chinese and New Zealand researchers from universities and research institutions,” he said.This project builds on a number of existing programs to support science partnerships with China, including the establishment of three government-funded New Zealand-China Research Collaboration Centers in 2016 to support better scientific engagement with China in water research, food safety and security, and non-communicable diseases.  Caption: Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto

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30-03-2017
More APeJ healthcare firms ready to launch IoT solutions in 2 years

Almost half (41 percent) of healthcare organizations in Asia-Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) plan to launch at least one Internet of Things (IoT) solution in the next two years, new research from research firm IDC reveals.About 63 percent of organizations believe that this is going to be the central theme for driving digital transformation in health. Remote patient monitoring, resource utilization and tracking are the key priority areas that these health organizations will focus their IOT efforts on.The IDC 2016 Global IoT Decision Maker Survey also shows that security-related concerns and the fear of recurring costs are the two primary reasons for acceptance of IOT on a large scale – especially with large private hospitals.The promise of reduced operational costs in the longer run, improved energy efficiency and creating new revenue streams are the key features decision makers expect as an outcome of an IOT implementation."The focus on mobility and analytics, coupled with the need for optimizing resource distribution, especially in the urban setting are driving acceptance for IOT implementation at healthcare organizations,” said Ashwin Moduga, Research Manager Health Insights, APeJ, IDC Asia-Pacific."With the advent of digital disruptors in the form of virtual care, the traditional hospital system could face gradual revenue losses unless digital transformation is undertaken as a proactive measure for the next decade – and IOT is key to improve operational efficiency, clinical confidence and patient engagement for any large hospital," he added.IDC said decision influencers for IOT implementation are now evenly distributed between the IT departments and the line of business. Caption: Phto courtesy of iStockPhoto

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30-03-2017
Deloitte partners with IMH to develop predictive healthcare management system

The Deloitte Future Healthcare Centre of Excellence, the dedicated research arm of the Life Sciences & Healthcare industry practice in Deloitte Singapore, is partnering with the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) to develop a predictive model to improve care management and services.   The new model is expected to guide the behavioral monitoring of outpatients that would eliminate the common causes of missed appointments through targeted care interventions.“IMH is excited to start on this journey with Deloitte and looks forward to developing a methodology to help us analyze our data to better predict patient trends. This will enable us to be more responsive to their needs and improve care outcomes,” said Associate Professor Chua Hong Choon, CEO of IMH.Under the partnership agreement,the Deloitte Future Healthcare Center of Excellence will provide industry insights and expertise to co-develop tools and methodologies, utilizing the center’s “360° Model of Healthcare” to drive service design innovation.The transformational journey of the collaboration also sets its sights on being able to respond to the market and treat patients in an efficient and effective way, as well as to leverage technology and data to anticipate patients’ behavior."Mental wellbeing is a vital aspect of overall health, and IMH is at the forefront of championing and managing this for the nation,” said Dr. Loke Wai Chiong, Deloitte Southeast Asia Healthcare Sector Leader and an Executive Director with Deloitte’s Risk Advisory practice.“The Deloitte Future Healthcare Centre of Excellence is privileged to partner IMH in this very meaningful initiative, to study and innovate better ways to manage mental health in the outpatient and community setting, through the smart use of predictive analytics, in turn to guide the design of services to improve the health of patients and the wider population,” she added. Caption: Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto

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29-03-2017
Citi opens APIs to developers in Hong Kong

Citibank has made more than 30 APIs available for Hong Kong’s developer community, with the aim to encourage rapid development of Fintech solutions in the country. The APIs cover seven categories for Hong Kong on the Citi API Developer Portal. The categories are: Onboarding: tap into the power of Citi acquisition partner services for credit cards and loans Pay with points: allow clients to use points to cover purchases with statement credits when using eligible credit cards Accounts: allow clients to access their account summaries in an innovative way Cards: give clients the ability to manage their credit cards and debit cards while overseas Customers: allow clients to access their profile information Money Movement: give clients the ability to move money across accounts Reference Data: Get programmatic access to reference data for multi-country development First launched in the US and selected Asian markets in November 2016, the Citi API Developer Portal aims to provide a platform for developers to connect to Citi directly, while driving growth for the Fintech industry as a whole. Citi also announced the launch of the Citi Hk FinTech Challenge, an accelerator program supporting the Hong Kong Monetary Authority x Cyberport Haccelerator initiative. The Citi program aims to enable the Hong Kong developer community to put their ideas into practice, and help them create real-world innovations, which could function with existing Citi technology with minimal connectivity integration. Developers are encouraged to come up with innovative solutions by making use of Citi’s APIs and through connecting to a development sandbox. Citi HK FinTech Challenge enables the Hong Kong developer community to put their ideas into practice, and help them create real-world innovations, which could function with existing Citi technology with minimal connectivity integration. Developers are encouraged to come up with innovative solutions by making use of Citi’s APIs and through connecting to a development sandbox. “We are pleased to be the first bank in Hong Kong to launch an open API platform”, said Angel Ng, Country Business Manager, Hong Kong, Citibank Global Consumer Banking. “The launch of this innovative solution is an important milestone on our quest to future compatibility. Technology evolves at the speed of light and clients now demand quicker and more tailored services that suit their changing lifestyle. By enabling the FinTech community to access our open API architecture, we hope to contribute to the development of a positive incubation environment and a healthy ecosystem to propel the growth of FinTech in Hong Kong.” Howard Lee, Senior Executive Director, HKMA said, “The HKMA welcomes the launch of the Citi’s “API Developer Portal”, which aims to foster closer collaboration with FinTech firms in developing applications that offer customers with a wider choice of financial services. The HKMA also welcomes Citi making use of the Haccelerator platform jointly organized by the HKMA and Cyberport to launch the Citi HK Fintech Challenge, promoting technology sharing and collaboration among the financial and technology sectors, and fostering the development of the local FinTech ecosystem.Registration for the Citi API Developer Portal and Citi HK FinTech Challenge begins on March 29, 2017. Winners will have a chance to take their technologies into production with Citi’s support and a share of HK$650,000 in cash.

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29-03-2017
Singtel,Telkomsel partner for mobile money

The new service is being offered by SingCash under the Singtel Dash brand. It will allow customers in Singapore to send money to the state-owned PT Pos Indonesia's 4,500 cash-out points across the nation.The initiative marks the first collaboration between Singtel and Telkomsel on a mobile money initiative.The agreement is expected to be expanded in the future to cover more cash pick-up points, and to support mobile remittance directly to Telkomsel's TCash mobile wallet from Singtel mobile wallets.According to the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Singapore, there are 200,000 Indonesians living and working in Singapore, and outward remittance from Singapore to Indonesia totals more than $409 million per year.“Telkomsel's partnership in Singtel's remittance service is one effort to support our government in promoting financial inclusion for Indonesian people, especially the unbanked segment,” Telkomsel CEO Ririek Adriansyah said.“Foreign remittance enables them to improve their quality of life as well as provide an opportunity to begin saving for the future. We believe every little effort to promote financial inclusion will also accelerate the growth of Indonesia’s economy.”Singtel Dash currently offering remittance fee waivers until 31 March 2017 to customers who send money via Weselpos Instan.

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29-03-2017
Bankers feel AI is key to enhancing customer experience: Accenture

In the next stage of artificial intelligence adoption, banks will use AI to help understand the intentions and emotions of customers and enable better interactions, according to a new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN). A new report from Accenture has revealed that banks are set to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) to better understand customers’ intentions and emotions, with the aim of enabling better interactions.The report, Accenture Banking Technology Vision 2017, draws on the analysis of an advisory board of more than two dozen individuals, interviews with technology luminaries and industry experts, and results of a survey of 579 bank executives in 31 countries across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and South America. The goal of the survey was to identify the key issues and priorities for technology adoption and investment.According to the report, more than three-quarters (78 percent) of bankers believe that AI will enable simpler user interfaces that will help banks create a more human-like customer experience. In addition, four out of five respondents (79 percent) believe that AI will revolutionize the way banks gather information and interact with customers, and three-quarters (76 percent) believe that within three years, banks will deploy AI as their primary method for interacting with customers.Four out of five bankers surveyed (80 percent) expect AI to accelerate technology adoption throughout the organization, providing their employees with the tools and resources to better serve consumers.When asked to identify the top three reasons for embedding AI into user interfaces, respondents most often cited “to gain data analysis and insights” (60 percent), “increase productivity” (59 percent) and “cost benefit savings” (54 percent). At the same time, the bankers acknowledged challenges to implementing AI, citing privacy issues (38 percent), compatibility issues with the current IT structure (36 percent) and the fact that users often prefer human interactions (33 percent).The report finds that while human contact is diminishing in terms of volume, the quality and importance of human touch points will increase. For instance, one-third (34 percent) of the bankers surveyed said they plan to use a detailed understanding of human behaviour to guide new customer experiences. And while nearly nine in 10 bankers (89 percent) said they believe that their customers are satisfied with their bank’s use of personalisation, two-thirds (67 percent) claim they struggle to understand their customers’ needs and goals. “As we point out in our report, what lies ahead for banks in APAC, is in many ways, a blank page,” said Singapore-based Steve Pemberton, Accenture’s head of banking for Asia-Pacific.  “Major aspects of the future are waiting to be mapped out. Bankers understand industry challenges — security, fraud, privacy, digital ethics, emerging technologies like blockchain — much better than regulators. First movers can move faster than regulators (and even pull regulators along) to pioneer uncharted banking terrain and influence customer behaviour by providing services to customers that provide what their customers need and want with innovative new services that partner with other businesses. Bankers can and should help shape the new standards, processes, practices and cross industry partnerships that will underpin innovative models.”Seventy-eight percent of APAC bankers (75 percent globally) believe they have a duty to be proactive in writing rules,” noted Pemberton.Nearly all bankers surveyed (98 percent) said they believe that it is ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ critical to adopt a platform-based business model and engage in ecosystems with digital partners, with one-quarter (25 percent) of respondents saying that their organizations are already taking aggressive steps to participate in ecosystems.Many banks are already giving authorized third-parties access to account data and aggregated card profiles to benefit customers. Banks recognize that it is critical to participate in these ecosystems, but it comes at a cost. Three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents said that participating in these ecosystems would require giving up control in favour of an overall better outcome — such as speed, agility and access to new customers — and that same number believe that chosen partners and ecosystems will help determine their bank’s competitive advantage moving forward. 

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29-03-2017
War for talent to cripple competitiveness of HK financial services in 2017

A new survey by Robert Half reveals that growing skills shortage is the top factor that will shape the financial services sector in 2017. Fifty-five percent of Hong Kong CFOs working in the financial services sector say a skills shortage is the biggest issue impacting the city’s financial services landscape in 2017.In addition to the skills shortage, 2017 will also be shaped by increased demand from stakeholders – both internally and externally, as more than one in three (34%) CFOs forecast managing customer expectations as having the greatest impact on the financial services sector in 2017.Other top factors for 2017 cited in the survey include technology-driven activities (30%), risk management (28%) and compliance pressures (27%).Adam Johnston (photo right), Managing Director at Robert Half Hong Kong says business leaders can expect increased competition for the right banking and insurance skills in this ‘war for talent’. The crunch will affect their hiring processes and staffing policies for the foreseeable future.“It’s crucial for employers to take proactive steps to attract and retain quality financial services professionals. An efficient and streamlined hiring process can be instrumental to securing high caliber candidates who often receive multiple job offers,” he added.“As Hong Kong financial services companies endeavor to become more competitive by addressing the changing consumer landscape and embracing technology, a growing skills gap will certainly be felt in the business community. To address key business priorities, such as new technologies, companies need professionals with adequate skillsets to maintain, develop and optimize innovative business practices.”“By investing in employee training programs, companies can offset the potential impact of the skills shortage. To maintain ‘business as usual’ or further grow the business during times where companies lack adequately skilled staff, companies would be wise to hire contract and interim managers during peak periods or for special projects. This approach can be highly cost effective and simultaneously injecting fresh ideas into a team. Hiring interim managers also prevents troubling existing employees with higher workloads, which can negatively impact staff morale,” concluded Johnston.Feature photo courtesy of iStockPhoto Caption: photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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29-03-2017
Hong Kong financial services remain top target of cyber criminals in 2017

The financial services sector is likely to remain a top target for cybercriminals in 2017 due to the sensitive nature and value of financial data the industry holds, says security solution vendor Fortinet. The company predicts attack to continue growing in complexity and number.“The financial industry continues to be a prime target given the sensitive nature of its data that is extremely valuable on the online black market. Cybercriminals are also capitalizing on new ways to exploit increasingly complex network environments in FSI and developing new techniques to bypass security and evade detection,” said Cherry Fung, Country Manager, Hong Kong, Macau and Mongolia, Fortinet.She suggests the industry to prepare to better detect and mitigate threats in order to protect their organization. The company lists its 2017 top 5 cybersecurity threat predictions for the financial services industry in 2017 as including:1. Further Securing the CloudInformation security tops the lists for reasons why financial institutions hesitate to move data to the cloud. Recently some large FSI organizations have moved part of their service offerings to public cloud service providers like AWS and Rackspace.As cloud adoption grows across the industry in 2017, organizations need to ensure the data being passed to the cloud is put through the same scrutiny as all other data. Visibility into that data needs to be maintained, and security policies and enforcement must be applied consistently regardless of the location of that data. Expect to see cloud security solutions continue to evolve and make protection simpler and more effective.2. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)In 2016 a number of the data breaches that impacted large banks involved the theft of traditional login and password information to conduct fraudulent transactions.To better combat this existing problem, 2FA offers an additional layer of defense in 2017. 2FA combines passwords, which the user already knows, with another type of authentication that is connected to something the user has, for instance a One-Time PIN (OTP) sent to their mobile phone.This solution keeps traditional login and security measures in place while giving customers (and financial organizations) stronger security when managing sensitive financial transactions.3. Securing the Internet of Things (IoT)  The insurance industry is already relying on IoT to align driving behavior with premium rates by leveraging data from in-vehicle telecommunication devices in some countries. The banking industry is expected to improve the experience for retail customers with IoT initiatives like personalized customer rewards.Regardless of how the data is being accessed and shared, it must be secured in order to protect customers. Financial services organizations should control network access, segment traffic, and invest in solutions that can help them manage the complex nature of today’s cybersecurity landscape.4. The Government Will Become More InvolvedAs reflected in the 2017 Policy and Budget address by the Hong Kong government, cybersecurity will remain a focal point for government action in 2017, and organizations will need to be ready to meet these standards. With failure to adhere to regulations resulting in costly penalties and damaged reputations, financial services institutions will likely look to investing in additional cybersecurity solutions to meet these increasing demands.5. Smarter Attacks Will Call for Smarter SolutionsIn 2017, financial services organizations should consider deploying a Security Fabric architecture that provides awareness and visibility into all security elements, integrates them into a single, operationalized defense and response system, and allows for centralized orchestration and automation through a single management platform. This Fabric should also provide open APIs (Application Program Interface) to enable seamless integration and intelligence sharing with other third-party network and security solutions.Feature photo courtesy of iStockPhoto Caption: photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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29-03-2017
Strong economy not helping Indonesian banks

A likely pick-up in Indonesia's economy could translate in stronger bank performance over the medium term, says Fitch Ratings. However, asset quality and profitability may still remain under pressure over the next few quarters – and, for now, the sector remains on negative outlook.Indonesia's economic outlook is slowly improving. We expect real GDP growth to accelerate to 5.3% in 2017, from 5.0% in 2016, driven by a pick-up in public investment and the lagged effects of previous monetary policy easing. The renewed push on structural reform should support business investment. Headwinds from the downturn in the commodity sector are also fading.The operating environment for banks should gradually become less challenging as economic conditions strengthen, and we expect some signs of stabilization in bank performance in 2017. Loan demand has remained weak so far in 2017, but a slight pick-up is likely by year end.Fitch also expects profitability to bottom out, despite credit costs remaining high, with the return-on-assets (ROA) of large banks likely to remain flat at around 1.8%. This is lower than before the commodity price collapse, but still high compared with regional peers.Short-term risks aheadHowever, Indonesian banks face a number of short-term risks that could still add to pressure on their performance this year.On the external side, the Federal Reserve's tightening cycle - which Fitch expects to involve two more rate hikes this year - creates uncertainty over the stability of the rupiah. A weaker rupiah would make it more difficult for domestic borrowers to service foreign currency-denominated debt, which account for around 15% of bank loans.The main domestic risk is the banks' large stock of restructured loans. The Indonesian authorities relaxed rules on restructuring loans in 2015, which helped banks to avoid a sharper rise in NPLs during the worst of the commodity-sector downturn.Most restructuring involved an extension of loan maturities. Slippage of these loans, and other lingering effects of the commodity sector downturn, could put additional pressure on NPL ratios - which, in any case, are likely to remain high at 3.0% on average for the large banks.Buffer against risksThe strong capitalization of large banks acts as a buffer against these risks. Their average Tier 1 ratio was a healthy 19.0% at end-2016, and most of them would have already met the Basel III requirements if the maximum additional capital charges were applied at end-2016.Meanwhile, proposed bail-in measures are creating uncertainty over bank ratings that are driven by sovereign support.The lack of clarity on whether the regulations might include provisions for the bail-in of senior creditors is one reason why the recent upward revision of Indonesia's sovereign rating, in December 2016, does not necessarily create upward rating potential for state-owned banks. The authorities are due to provide details by next month.First published on CFO Innovation AsiaFeature photo courtesy of iStockPhoto Caption: photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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28-03-2017
Global banks sharpen corporate banking focus in Asia

The competitive dynamics of Asia’s corporate banking market are changing rapidly.The list of Greenwich Associates 2017 Share Leaders in Asian Large Corporate Banking is topped by familiar names. HSBC leads with 54% market penetration, followed by Standard Chartered and Citi, which are tied for second at 43%. ANZ Bank and DBS Bank tie for fourth at 28%.The situation is much the same in Large Corporate Cash Management, where HSBC and Citi are statistically tied for first place with market penetration scores of 31%–32%, followed by Standard Chartered at 22%, Bank of China at 17%, and DBS and Deutsche Bank sharing the No. 5 spot with scores of 14%–15%.These regional leaders represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to companies’ options for banking services.Asia is a highly heterogeneous group of markets, many of which support “national champions” whose businesses are growing in step with their domestic markets and becoming increasingly competitive on a domestic level.Figure 1: Narrowing the quality gapSource: Greenwich Associates 2017 Share Leaders in Asian Large Corporate BankingAsian companies seem more than ready to take advantage of this wealth of alternatives. According to a new Greenwich Report, As Global Banks Sharpen Focus in Asia, Ambitious Locals Step In, approximately 40% of large Asian companies say they plan to shift a significant share of wallet from an incumbent core bank in 2017.“Global franchises continue to dominate the pan-Asia stage, but are less dominant than before,” says Paul Tan (photo left), Greenwich Associates Managing Director. “We are seeing all of the market leaders make prudent ‘participation choices,’ prioritizing return over sheer market share.”Global banks shift gearsAs global banks become more selective in their Asia corporate banking landscape, the shift is creating new opportunities for a group of ambitious and fast-improving local providers that are emerging as a credible option for Asian corporate treasurers in search of replacement, supplemental or simply lower-cost banking service.As recently as 2010, Asian banks held less than half of all available Asian corporate-banking relationships. Increasing steadily since then, that share now stands at 58%. Leading this charge are banks with regional ambitions, like ANZ and DBS, and the biggest banks from the regions’ largest country markets, including Bank of China, State Bank of India and HDFC.Figure 2: Large Corporate Banking by CountrySource: Greenwich Associates 2017 Share Leaders in Asian Large Corporate Banking“These gains reflect the perfect alignment of growing sophistication and opportunity,” says Greenwich Associates consultant Gaurav Arora (photo right). “The best Asian banks have made rapid improvements in terms of the quality of their offerings, the talent of their teams and the overall sophistication of their enterprises.”Reflecting these improvements, the list of 2017 Greenwich Quality Leaders in Asian Large Corporate Banking includes one Asia-based franchise—DBS Bank—in addition to Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citi.On the whole, however, local Asian banks have not yet matched the quality and sophistication of the global banks, but large banks like Bank of China and HDFC have enhanced their platforms to be competitive within their domestic markets, and DBS has become competitive in key regional markets.Feature photo courtesy of iStockPhoto Caption: photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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28-03-2017
ITU initiates global dialogue on AI for social good

Can artificial intelligence (AI) help address global challenges such as poverty, hunger, health, education, equality and the protection of our environment?The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is hosting the AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva this June. The summit, to be held in partnership with UN agencies, including OHCHR, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNICRI, UNIDO, UNITAR and UN Global Pulse, will evaluate opportunities presented by AI and how it can benefit humanity. It seeks to convene representatives of government, industry, UN agencies, civil society, and the AI research community to explore the latest developments in AI and their implications for regulation, ethics and security and privacy. Breakout sessions will invite participants to collaborate and propose strategies for the development of AI applications and systems to promote sustainable living, reduce poverty and deliver citizen-centric public services."As the UN specialized agency for information and communication technologies, ITU aims to guide AI innovation towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. "We are providing a neutral platform for international dialogue to build a common understanding of the capabilities of emerging AI technologies."Some of the confirmed speakers include Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google ; Peter Lee , Corporate Vice President of Microsoft AI and Research at Microsoft; Jing Wang, Senior VP and Head of Research at Baidu ; Manuela Veloso , Professor in Computer Science and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University; and Gary Marcus, Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University.Marcus Shingles, CEO of XPRIZE, said that with the acceleration and democratization of AI, the organizers recognize the tremendous opportunity for an emerging generation of problem solvers to tackle global challenges. “We are seeing teams use AI as an underlying tool across a variety of domains, from creating personalized learning experiences for children with no access to formal education in Tanzania, to empowering consumers to make healthcare decisions with a medical Tricorder device, to guiding advanced and autonomous robotic vehicles to explore the deep sea or to find their way to the lunar surface," he said. Caption: Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto

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28-03-2017
Australia Post, Alibaba to explore use of blockchain to combat food fraud

Australia Post is participating in an initiative introduced by e-commerce giant Alibaba and natural health firm Blackmores to combat the rise of counterfeit food being sold across China.The partners said they will work together to increase the traceability of food products and reduce the risk of fraud, and will explore new technologies, including blockchain technology - a decentralised and highly available database - which could obtain crucial details from suppliers about where and how their food was grown and map its journey across the supply chain. he technology has the potential to enable up-to-date audits, increasing transparency between producers and consumers.Australia Post Executive General Manager Parcels and StarTrack CEO Bob Black said the project would help guarantee that only genuine Australian products arrive safely into the hands of Chinese consumers. Australia prides itself as a trusted exporter of high quality food. “Our food producers have a global reputation as being a clean, green and safe provider of food and we are pleased to help deliver a solution to enhance the integrity of their produce,” Black said.Food fraud is known to be one of the biggest issues facing the global food industry, considering the potential health risks associated with adulteration and loss of trust from consumers and governments. In recent years counterfeiters have targeted popular Australian products such as health supplements, beer and wine, honey and cherries.Last month, the two companies also signed an agreement to extend Australia Post’s online storefronts beyond China to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia using the e-commerce network Lazada, which Alibaba has a majority stake. Caption: Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto

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CyberLink Vol.102 February 2017

Cyberport’s popular Career Fair returns on 4 March

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CyberLink Vol.101 Chinese New Year Special Edition

Message from the CEO

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CyberLink Vol.100 December 2016

Smart-Space FinTech opens to further support community

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