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Category: Business

Globe, SM team up for seamless GoWiFi digital experience in Supermalls

Get seamless digital connection while shopping and dining in SM malls nationwide through GoWiFi Auto. The service has been deployed in 34 select SM malls nationwide through the partnership and…

Get seamless digital connection while shopping and dining in SM malls nationwide through GoWiFi Auto. The service has been deployed in 34 select SM malls nationwide through the partnership and collaboration between Globe Telecom and SM Supermalls.

Ernest Cu, president and chief executive officer of Globe Telecom; Hans Sy, chairman of the executive committee of SM Prime; and Willy Ocier, president of Philippine Global Communications, Inc., signed a memorandum of agreement last November 23, 2017 to roll out GoWiFi Auto in SM malls.

“The new GoWiFi access in SM Supermalls is in line with our company’s mission to create wonderful experiences for customers that include premium connectivity even while they are out with their family and friends,” Cu said in a statement.

GoWifiAuto SM

CONNECTIVITY AGREEMENT. (From left) SM Supermalls President Annie Garcia, SM Prime Holdings President Jeffrey Lim, SM Prime Holdings Chairman of the Executive Committee Hans T. Sy, Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu, and Philippine Global Communications, Inc. President Willy Ocier during the signing of the agreement to deploy GoWiFi Auto in SM malls.

Internet while shopping, dining

He said having GoWiFi access in all 34 SM malls gives customers a swift and dependable option when they connect to the internet while shopping and dining.

Globe GoWiFi Auto is a seamless way to connect to WiFi automatically while in a GoWiFi coverage area. Customers who avail themselves of GoWiFi Auto will be able to connect automatically to the Internet and enjoy uninterrupted browsing without ads, and without having to enter user names and passwords.

GoWiFi Auto also allows customers to connect automatically when moving to other locations within the mall and extends browsing time beyond the free daily time allotted to users.

Free GoWiFi Auto trial

A one-time free trial allows new users to access GoWiFi Auto for three days from the moment of successful activation on the GoWiFi portal. The free 3-day trial promo runs until December 31, 2017.

GoWiFi internet access can be used by Globe and TM customers as well as customers from other networks.

Both prepaid and postpaid users can use the paid premium GoWiFi service where charges can be deducted through their load and postpaid bill.

The partnership signing was witnessed by Globe Telecom executives, including Don Rae, head of the WiFi Business Group; Christopher Cheng, vice president of the WiFi Business Group; Adrian Te, director of the WiFi Business Group, and Dominador Perez, head of rollout and deployment, WiFi Business Group.

Globe GoWiFi Auto

PAID PREMIUM SERVICE. Both prepaid and postpaid users can use the paid premium GoWiFi service and charges can be deducted through their load and postpaid bill.

SM branches with GoWifi Auto

SM top executives who joined Sy included Jeffrey Lim, president of SM Prime, and Annie Garcia, President of SM Supermalls.

The 34 SM malls branches with GoWiFi Auto include: SM Southmall, SM Seaside City Cebu, SM City Cebu, SM City Consolacion, SM City Sucat, SM Center Angono, SM City Novaliches, SM Center Sangandaan, SM City Baguio, SM City Olongapo, SM City Baliwag, SM City Iloilo, SM City San Jose del Monte, SM City Bacolod, SM City Molino, SM Center Pasig, SM Megamall Fashion Hall, SM Aura Premier, SM City San Mateo, SM City Santa Mesa, SM City Cauayan, SM City Masinag, SM City Santa Rosa, SM City San Pablo, SM City Rosales, SM City Tarlac, SM Center Valenzuela, SM City Trece Martires, SM CDO Downtown Premier, SM City Cagayan de Oro, SM City Cabanatuan, SM City Calamba, SM City Puerto Princessa, and SM City San Fernando Downtown. (Press Release)

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AirAsia wins 2 awards at 2017 World Travel Awards

AirAsia has been named the World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline for the 5th year in a row at the 2017 World Travel Awards (WTA) Grand Final in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. AirAsia…

AirAsia has been named the World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline for the 5th year in a row at the 2017 World Travel Awards (WTA) Grand Final in Phu Quoc, Vietnam.

AirAsia topped the category, having received the highest votes from travel professionals and industry players from around the world, beating Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Ryanair, easyJet, Jetstar Airways, Norwegian Air, West Air, flydubai, Air Arabia, flynas, kulula, Mango and fastjet.

Asia’s largest low-cost carrier by passengers also won the inaugural World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline Cabin Crew award, ahead of the same 13 budget airlines.

The win builds on AirAsia’s success earlier this year when it secured WTA’s first-ever Asia’s Leading Low-Cost Airline Cabin Crew award and in 2015, when it became the first ever low-cost carrier to win Asia’s Leading Cabin Crew, ahead of full-service carriers like Singapore Airlines, Korean Air and Cathay Pacific.

Digitalization journey

AirAsia Group Chief Commercial Officer Siegtraund Teh and AirAsia senior cabin crew Rosita Sulaiman accepted the awards at a gala ceremony held at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay in Vietnam.

Also present were AirAsia Berhad Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Berhad independent non-executive director Dato’ Fam Lee Ee and AirAsia’s Vietnam joint venture partner Tran Trong Kien.

AirAsia World Travel Awards

AIRASIA AWARDS. AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (center, left) and AirAsia Berhad Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun with the company’s awards.

“I am very proud to stand here today to receive our fifth WTA World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline award in as many years. I’ve always said we are the world’s true low-cost champion, and I’m thrilled to see I’m not the only one and the industry agrees with me. And we will only get better as we continue on our digitalization journey to better understand what our guests want and to make flying a richer, more enjoyable experience, as we continue to strive to provide world-class service at the lowest fares,” Fernandes said.

Best experience

“An airline is only as good as its people, and we have some of the best. Two years ago, we were named Asia’s Leading Cabin Crew by WTA, beating a field of full-service carriers. Since then, we’ve gone from strength to strength, winning the World’s Leading Inflight Service award in 2016, Asia’s Leading Low-Cost Airline Cabin Crew earlier this year and now, the first ever World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline Cabin Crew award by WTA. This shows our unwavering commitment to excellence and, as the world’s best low-cost carrier, we promise to continue delivering to our guests on board the best experience money can’t buy,” said AirAsia Group Cabin Crew Head Suhaila Hassan said.

The World Travel Awards is one of the most prestigious, comprehensive and sought-after awards program in the global and tourism industry.

Established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across key sectors of travel, tourism and hospitality industries, the World Travel Awards brand is now recognized globally as the ultimate hallmark of industry excellence. (Press Release)

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HMR launches special Visa credit card in partnership with Union Bank

HMR Philippines, Inc. has tied up with Union Bank to launch a co-brand Visa credit card that offers exclusive promos, exciting rewards, and cashback deals to shoppers. What’s even sweeter?…

HMR Philippines, Inc. has tied up with Union Bank to launch a co-brand Visa credit card that offers exclusive promos, exciting rewards, and cashback deals to shoppers.

What’s even sweeter? Union Bank waives annual fees for life for approved applications submitted by January 15, 2018.

Union Bank First Vice President Ana Aboitiz Delgado said during the special Visa card launch last December 1 that HMR is a recent addition to the over 60 companies that have co-brand arrangements with the bank.

HMR Unionbank Visa card

Union Bank First Vice President Ana Aboitiz Delgado (6th from left) leads the launching of the special co-brand Visa card for HMR.

Customer loyalty

The special HMR card will allow shoppers to enjoy 0.5 percent cashback on all retail spend anywhere as well as exclusive deals and promotions at HMR Trading Haus outlets.

Delgado added that the co-brand card is aimed at helping HMR enhance customer loyalty. It is accepted anywhere in the world where Visa is honored, and every P200 retail spend is equivalent to one reward point.

HMR credit card perks

The partnership with Union Bank will allow HMR to offer more to shoppers, according to HMR Philippines, Inc. chief executive officer (CEO) Sam Powell.

Customers with the special HMR Visa card will get 5 percent off on selected HMR items.

Special perks for Union Bank credit card holders during the launch include 50 percent off on gazebo tents, coolers, and director’s chairs. In addition, a 24-piece Wilmington dinner plate set was given free to customers with purchases worth P15,000. HMR also gave away an Aptus 32” tv as raffle prize for credit card applicants last December 1.

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Cebu Link Joint Venture issued Notice of Award for Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway

The Cebu Link Joint Venture (CLJV) has been issued the Notice of Award for the “Design and Build” contract of the 8.5-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), the much-anticipated bridge project…

The Cebu Link Joint Venture (CLJV) has been issued the Notice of Award for the “Design and Build” contract of the 8.5-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), the much-anticipated bridge project that will connect Cebu City to the Municipality of Cordova in the island of Mactan.

CLJV is a joint venture of Spain-based Acciona Construccion S. A., and Philippine-based First Balfour Inc. and D. M. Consunji Inc., all of which have proven track records in major infrastructure projects.

Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC) issued the Notice of Award to CLJV on November 23, 2017 at an agreed contract amount of P22.6 billion.

CCLEX will have two lanes in each direction and will feature the main navigation span bridge, along with viaduct approach bridges, a causeway, roadway and toll facilities.

CCLEC is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the toll road arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), a publicly-listed infrastructure holding company. MPTC is the largest toll road concessionaire and operator in the Philippines that has now expanded its business in other Asean countries namely, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. The CCLEX is the first of MPTC’s envisioned toll road expansion projects in Visayas and Mindanao.

Acciona’s Ruben Camba, representing the CLJV, said: “We are delighted to be part of this landmark project. We have put together a very experienced team, and are looking forward to working closely together with the customer to deliver a new toll bridge that will benefit both local communities and the Philippines.”

“We are very confident that we can deliver a quality state-of-the-art bridge that will provide not just travel efficiency but also drive economic growth and productivity in the entire Visayas region, and improve the overall welfare of the Cebuanos,” said CCLEC President and General Manager Allan Alfon.

“We are happy to be given this opportunity to bring to Cebu and share with the Cebuanos and the people in the Visayas in general, our company’s expertise in building and operating world-class highways and bridges to create more opportunities and spur economic growth,” MPTC President Rodrigo Franco said.

The CCLEX will give Cordova direct access to Cebu City and is envisioned to decongest the traffic in the two existing bridges between Mactan and Cebu.

CCLEC will build, operate and maintain the toll bridge through a joint venture agreement with the local governments of Cebu City and Cordova Municipality.

CCLEX will have two lanes in each direction and will feature the main navigation span bridge, along with viaduct approach bridges, a causeway, roadway and toll facilities. The span of the bridge allows for shipping traffic and the link is expected to serve at least 40,000 vehicles daily. It will give Cordova direct access to Cebu City and is envisioned to decongest the traffic in the two existing bridges between Mactan and Cebu.

President Rodrigo Duterte led the groundbreaking for the project in Cordova, Cebu last March 2, 2017. (Press Release)

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GCash launches Scan to Pay QR code payments in Ayala Center Cebu

You can now pay 50 stores in Ayala Center Cebu just by scanning a code via your phone using the GCash mobile app. The digital and cashless Scan To Code…

You can now pay 50 stores in Ayala Center Cebu just by scanning a code via your phone using the GCash mobile app.

The digital and cashless Scan To Code payment system was launched yesterday afternoon by Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu, who bought coffee and pastries in Abaca Baking Company by scanning a QR or quick response code near the cash register area.

Among the 50 stores that can accept payments via QR code scanning are Bo’s Coffee, Chika-an, Casa Verde, and Rose Pharmacy. By the end of the year, more than 100 stores will be able to use this payment option, the company said.

GCash scan to pay

SCAN TO PAY. Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu scans a QR code with his GCash app to pay for the coffee and pastries he bought from the Abaca Baking Company in Ayala Center Cebu.

Easy to set up

Officials said it is easy for vendors to integrate the payment system since all they need is the QR code.

“The people who have used it are amazed at the speed, amazed at the convenience of it,” Cu said in an interview during the launch. He flew into Cebu from Davao, where they also launched the system by partnering with the NCCC supermarket chain.

To pay using the system in partner stores, customers just need to open the GCash app then tap Pay QR, then choose Scan QR and then point the camera at the QR Code near the cash register then tap Pay.

“It is high time that our customers at Ayala Center Cebu experience the convenience of cashless transactions and offer scan to pay with GCash. This way, more people will have hassle-free options in making their transactions as they shop or dine at the mall,” said Ayala Center Cebu general manager Bong Dy.

Before the launch, Globe gave journalists and bloggers a preview on how to set up GCash and use the app to buy cellphone load. GCash allows its users to shop online, pay bills, and send money through the app.

GCash Scan to Pay

LAUNCHING. Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu answer questions of Cebu reporters during the launch of GCash Scan To Pay in Ayala Center Cebu.

Digital payments convenience

Cu highlighted the convenience of digital payments, saying cash “is a real burden for both the merchant and the buyer.”

“I heard a chain of 70 stores in the food business saying they accumulate 2 million pesos worth of coins before Christmas because they are afraid to run out. That’s a problem we need to solve,” he said.

Cu said he is “very confident” people will eventually adopt digital payments “because it solves a problem.”

“I personally have been using GCash for 4 years now. We started in the Globe tower. There was resistance in the beginning but then people used it and there was 99 percent satisfaction rating among employees,” he said.

Analytics for vendors

For merchants, satisfaction is even higher, said Cu.

“When merchants start the day, they just open up. There’s no need to prepare the cash register. And they get analytics, when is your heaviest transaction time? We can finetune the way we curate the vendors or the partners inside our food hall. Alam namin kung sinong malakas kung sinong mahina. Alam namin kung sinong malakas at the certain time of the day. We can do those analytics for them,” he said. “Which guy buys the most from you? Who are your repeat customers? You wanna do a campaign for them? Pwede rin. So many things we can do.”

He said digital payments create opportunities, especially for small business. “When I say small, I mean really small, kasi remember the GCash payment can be enabled for even your balut vendor, your cigarette vendor, your mais vendor. Kasi it requires no POS, just that particular QR code. That’s all you need,” Cu said.

He said the important challenge is to solve problems on cashing in. He said a key funder of GCash accounts are the more than 300,000 employees who receive their pay via the system.

GCash Scan to Pay QR Code

GCASH APP. You can Scan To Pay via the GCash mobile app.

Financial inclusion

Another key challenge is to raise awareness, he said.

“But we will hit the inflection point and it becomes the de facto standard of payment. I mean it happened in China, there was acceleration. It happened in India. Smartphones are coming with lower prices. A P3,000 gets you a decent Android now, which can make this happen,” Cu said.

He said the system is also a way to increase financial inclusion.

“As we gain records of your financial transactions, we are now able to give you a credit score. Together with your telco transactions, we can loan money in micro amounts, automatically. And say because of your transaction record you’re eligible for a loan of X pesos. You can also pay back through GCash. That way you don’t even have to enter a bank,” Cu said.

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Ashima: A simplified, flexible payroll system on cloud

Whether you are to file, track, and manage your leaves or get paid for an overtime and view your payslip, all these can now be done online and even on…

Whether you are to file, track, and manage your leaves or get paid for an overtime and view your payslip, all these can now be done online and even on mobile with the newly released payroll system called Ashima.

Ashima integrates Human Resource (HR) processes from employee onboarding to payroll management, that is government compliant, and in a user-friendly platform. It is highly flexible to suit company’s needs.

Joe Mercado, the CEO of Cebu-based IT company Konsum Technologies Inc., said that the strength of Ashima is its ability to customize. “Ashima means ‘limitless’. Everything here is parameterized. You can make employees’ passwords expire or not. Everything depends on you.”

Transparency is another thing. With Konsum’s payroll system, employees who go on field are able to clock in.

Mercado said there are three ways to logged in the app and these are via kiosk, desktop, and mobile.

“If you use mobile, it automatically takes your GPS and snaps a selfie of you. It’s transparency,” he added. “When you file an adjustment and its pending and your supervisor doesn’t act on it, his or her head will know.”

Ashima Konsum

MOBILE. Screenshots of the Ashima app.

App features

Aside from the leave and overtime application online, Ashima is also able to accommodate change schedule requests, give real-time count of available leaves, view work schedules, access payroll history and many more.

The payroll system is highly configurable, easy to setup and can even carry more than one company.

“It sits on cloud, hence no security issues. All data are encrypted so nobody can see it. The communication is also secure via ssl,” said Mercado.

He added that Ashima can handle all pay scenarios from weekly, semi-monthly or monthly.

For the side of the HR department, it becomes easier to consolidate employee data as Ashima captures information real time and goes on a cloud storage.

With all the features mentioned, Ashima is reasonably priced starting at P50 per employee per month for a minimum of 25 employees.

Ashima payroll

Konsum Technologies Inc. CEO Joe Mercado (third from left) talks about the features of their newly released payroll system Ashima.

First clients

Mercado meantime shared that it took his company almost three years to develop Ashima.

“Very late last year, we started offering the system to Cebu companies. Most of our first clients are from the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry. They are adaptive to technology. Then we had Construction companies,” he said, adding that they are now offering Ashima to Manila.

To learn more about Ashima, visit its website at www.ashima.ph or get in touch with their Sales Team at email address sales@konsum.ph, telephone number +63.32.4127888 or mobile number +63.9176258603.

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Japanese brand Miniso opens 1st store in Cebu

Quality products for a “very affordable price,” that’s what Miniso offers in its store, a company official said during the opening of its first branch in Cebu. Miniso opened in…

Quality products for a “very affordable price,” that’s what Miniso offers in its store, a company official said during the opening of its first branch in Cebu.

Miniso opened in SM City Cebu on November 3. The store has been packed with shoppers since then.

Filipinos have taken to the store brand and response has been very good, said Miniso Philippines Inc. president Michael Hong in an interview during the opening.

Miniso Cebu

ELECTRONICS like these headphones are a popular category in Miniso.

Miniso branches in Philippines

Hong said Filipinos are amazed with their product offerings. “Wow. A lot of wows. A lot of suprises,” he said.

The SM City Cebu branched is the 36th in the country. They opened in the Philippine in June 2016, said Hong. Miniso will be opening 10 more by yearend, he said.

Miniso Cebu

OPENING. Miniso and SM officials lead the opening of the store.

He said they’ve always wanted to open in Cebu, being a major city, but had to wait for space to be available. They will soon open in SM Consolacion and SM Seaside City.

Hong said they are also considering a store in Ayala Center Cebu.

Miniso Cebu

NOW IN CEBU. Miniso has opened in SM City Cebu. It will soon be in SM Consolacion and SM Seaside City.

Wide range of products

Miniso sells a wide range of items from gadgets, stationery, kitchenware, toys, bags, cosmetics, among its many categories.

“What’s important is the value for money. We offer good quality but at a very affordable price. It’s not cheap – it’s really the value for the money,” said Hong.

Miniso Cebu

MINISO pens.

He said Miniso is a Japanese brand and the Japanese take pride in quality control, he said.

“Good quality, unique style, trendy, reliable and low price. These are the features of Miniso’s products,” the company said in its website.

More photos of Miniso’s opening in Cebu

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Our stash of Miniso notebooks.

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Cebu Landmasters CEO Joe Soberano is Ernst and Young’s Philippines Industry Entrepreneur of the Year

Cebu Landmasters, Inc. (CLI) chief executive officer Jose Soberano III was awarded “Industry Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst and Young last October 18 at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel. Soberano…

Cebu Landmasters, Inc. (CLI) chief executive officer Jose Soberano III was awarded “Industry Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst and Young last October 18 at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel.

Soberano is one of the 19 outstanding finalists representing enterprises from different industries nationwide chosen by Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) Philippines in its search for the country’s most inspiring entrepreneurs. “Industry Entrepreneur of the Year” is one of the four awards given by EOY Philippines.

EOY Philippines is a program of the SGV Foundation, Inc., with the participation of co-presenters Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, and the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Jose Soberano III award

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR. Cebu Landmasters, Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Jose Soberano III during his awarding as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Top local developer

Soberano was awarded for his remarkable role in the Real Estate industry. He was credited for establishing CLI, which is now one of the top local developers in Visayas and Mindanao, to address the need for quality and affordable housing and later expanded to include residential estates, offices, condominiums, hotels and mixed-use projects.

Soberano is also this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“We have worked very hard to put CLI to where it is today and to make an impact on the lives of many Filipinos. This would not have been possible if not for the never-ending support of my family and the CLI employees who are part of my extended family,” said Soberano.

CLI public offering

In the last 14 years, CLI has rolled out fast-selling high-end, mid-market and economic housing real estate developments.

CLI just recently went public at the Philippine Stock Exchange. Its debut last June made them the first Cebu-based real estate developer to ring the bell.

“What inspires me now is to build a company that can last many generations. What further fuels us as a family-oriented company is the goal to become the leading homegrown real estate developer in the Visayas and Mindanao region by 2020,” said Soberano. (Press Release)

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Globe, Alibaba partnership makes GCash “future of payments” in Philippines

GCash is poised to lead the future of payments in the Philippines following the recent joint venture of Ant Financial, Globe Telecom, and Ayala Corporation. The collaboration is seen to…

GCash is poised to lead the future of payments in the Philippines following the recent joint venture of Ant Financial, Globe Telecom, and Ayala Corporation. The collaboration is seen to speed up the country’s digitization to make the lives of Filipinos much easier.

Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, attended an event that marked the opening of the Philippine retail industry to electronic payments through GCash. Ma was joined by Ant Financial Services Group CEO Eric Jing, Ayala Corporation President and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu, Ayala Land President and CEO Bobby Dy, and Mynt President and CEO Anthony Thomas.

GCash QR code

“Imagine a day when you can shop and buy cinema, bus and train tickets with a simple scan of your personal GCash QR code in your smart phone. The convenient daily life 520 million Alipay users are enjoying will soon be realized in the Philippines. In the past months, Ant Financial has worked closely with GCash product of Mynt, as we are dedicated to bringing digital financial services to our friends in the Philippines,” Jing said.

“We are thrilled to mark this special milestone with Mr. Jack Ma, and Mr. Eric Jing of Ant Financial — it goes without saying that we are very pleased to partner with Ant Financial, given their level of experience and expertise in this field,” said Zobel de Ayala. “We look forward to innovating and evolving with the Filipino consumer, together. This day marks a special moment in the history of technology and payments in the Philippines — this launches the first broad application of such technology, and marks GCash as the leader in this space.”

Cu said the partnership is now bearing fruit. “We are happy to share the initial successes that will disrupt payment methods in the Philippines. In this country, only 5% of the population have credit cards, leaving almost everybody to carry cash all the time to pay for something. Today, we are introducing the 3rd method of payment – GCash. We found the right partner and the right time to really scale up the business and change the way we use financial services.”

QR CODE PAYMENTS. Alibaba Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma (center, left) joins GCat, the GCash Mascot, as it shows a sample of the QR code that is set to change the landscape of payments in the country. Together with him are (from left) Mynt President and CEO Anthony Thomas, Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu, Ant Financial Services Group CEO Eric Jing, Ayala Corporation President and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Ayala Land President and CEO Bobby Dy, and Ant Financial SVP and Head of International Operations Douglas Feagin.

Make digital preferred choice

“Now that more people are using data on their smartphones, the time is ripe to enable digital payments using the smartphone and let this go mainstream. Our challenge today is to make digital payments the preferred choice among our customers instead of cash or credit cards,” he added.

Through GCash, particularly the scan to pay feature of the GCash App, Filipinos can now experience the convenient cashless lifestyle.

The new payment option is a game changer for both consumers and merchants. It allows customers to pay for goods and services by simply using their smartphones to scan QR codes displayed by merchants and establishments.

Benefits for business owners

Business owners also benefit from not having to install expensive machines as they are provided with a QR code sticker which buyers can scan to pay. Customers pay the exact amount, removing the need for coins or change. GCash sees this solution working not just for organized trade but even for the ambulant vendors.

Joining GCash in showcasing the future of payments in the Philippines is Ayala Malls. Known as a retail innovator, Ayala Malls is a perfect catapult for GCash to reach thousands of consumers while also improving the customer experience for Ayala Malls shoppers. Glorietta is the first Ayala Mall to offer the GCash payment system in many of its shops and restaurants, as well as its cinemas.

GCash will be rolled out very soon to other Ayala Malls such as Greenbelt, TriNoma, Market! Market!, Alabang Town Center, Ayala Center Cebu, Bonifacio High Street, UP Town Center, Ayala Malls The 30th, Ayala Malls Vertis North, and Ayala Malls South Park. With the GCash scan to pay feature, Ayala Malls customers can catch up with the cashless experience of shoppers in other countries.

GCash is an internationally-acclaimed mobile wallet service of Mynt which can be used to buy load, pay bills, send money, and pay for goods and services whether online or offline. (Press Release)

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Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong 2017 highlights: Awards, big events, upgrades

From winning awards and hosting big events to undertaking upgrades, it has been a busy and memorable 2017 for the Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong, which include the iconic Kowloon landmark…

From winning awards and hosting big events to undertaking upgrades, it has been a busy and memorable 2017 for the Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong, which include the iconic Kowloon landmark Marco Polo Hongkong as well as newer facilities Gateway and Prince.

The three hotels were given the Merit Award at the 2017 HKMA Quality Award ceremony held on July 21, 2017, while the yearly event Marco Polo German Bierfest garnered the Gold Award for “Best Outdoor Events: Arts, Leisure and Entertainment” at the Marketing Events Awards 2017 organized by Marketing Magazine.

Marco Polo German Bierfest Award

ANOTHER AWARD. The Marco Polo German Bierfest was given the Gold Award for “Best Outdoor Events: Arts, Leisure and Entertainment” at the Marketing Events Awards 2017.

Samantha Poon, Director of Communications for Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong, said this demonstrates the commitment and dedication to quality at Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel. She provided updates during a dinner hosted by Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong for Cebu and Davao media and bloggers at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The annual Quality Award by the Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA) recognizes organizations from various fields of industry and business that have achieved outstanding performance and quality standards.

Marco Polo Hong Kong

MERIT AWARD. Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel were given the Merit Award at the 2017 HKMA Quality Award ceremony last July 21, 2017.

Marco Polo Bierfest

Now on its 26th year, the award-winning Marco Polo Bierfest kicked off last October 20 and will run until November 11. Celebrated in the outdoor area of Marco Polo Hongkong, against the breathtaking backdrop of Victoria Harbour, the event features partygoers dressed in traditional lederhosen and dirndl while a German band plays folk and oompah tunes and hosts interactive and drinking games.

Marco Polo Bierfest

Marco Polo Bierfest

Guests get to enjoy authentic Bavarian dishes, including the best crispy pork knuckles in Hong Kong, and the finest German beers. Those who book a stay with any of the Marco Polo hotels via marcopolohotels.com within the Bierfest season get two complimentary tickets to the event through the Bed and Bierfest package.

To further extend the Bierfest spirit, hotel guests also receive in-room amenities Marco Polo German Bierfest 2017 special edition beer mugs (maximum two per room) and Erdinger beer (maximum two 500ml bottles per room).

Marco Polo Bierfest

BREATHTAKING VIEW. The Marco Polo Bierfest is celebrated in the outdoor area of Marco Polo Hongkong, against the breathtaking backdrop of Victoria Harbour.

 

Marco Polo Bierfest

Pretzel

 

Marco Polo Bierfest

MARCO POLO BIERFEST. Roast pork knuckle served with braised red cabbage and gratinated potato.

Hotel upgrades

As part of continued quality improvements, the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel also recently completed an extensive upgrade to its building facade.

Gateway Hotel, meanwhile, is set to unveil an entirely new Continental Club floor in the uppermost level. It will feature 21 well appointed guestrooms and suites that offer stunning views of Hong Kong’s dramatic skyline.

Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel_Harbour View Room

Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel_Harbour View Room.

The new Continental Club rooms will continue to reflect a sophisticated, stylish design and layout, enhanced with the latest technology for today’s modern travellers.

Continental Club guests enjoy a host of exclusive privileges, from daily complimentary breakfast to all-day coffee to tea service.

Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong Cebu dinner for Cebu, Davao media

Marco Polo Hong Kong

CEBU, DAVAO journalists and bloggers during the dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

 

Marco Polo Hongkong

COMMITMENT TO QUALITY. Samantha Poon, Director of Communications for Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong, said the recent awards demonstrate the commitment and dedication to quality at Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel.

 

Marco Polo Hong Kong

HOTEL UPDATES. Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel provided updates during a dinner hosted for Cebu and Davao media and bloggers at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

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Property24, real estate portal of OLX group, launches in Cebu

Growth in real estate in the Philippines is in the “upscale” category but consumer demand is highest for “affordable” properties, an official of a real estate portal said. This does…

Growth in real estate in the Philippines is in the “upscale” category but consumer demand is highest for “affordable” properties, an official of a real estate portal said.

This does not necessarily indicate a mismatch between supply and demand. Rather, it shows that Filipinos are “upscaling” and want to see “value for their money,” said OLX Operations Director and Head of Real Estate Ferdie Perez.

It also shows the important role played by real estate portals like Property24, Perez said. Property24, which is part of the OLX group, is a website that lists properties for sale or lease.

No mismatch; role of portals

“There is no mismatch. Affordability here means, rather than the absolute peso amount, rather than the absolute price, it is more or less the value for money,” Perez said. “And we see that not only in real estate. It’s also the trend that we see in FMCGx (fast-moving consumer goods, in F&B in hotels and restaurants. The trend now is Filipinos is upscaling. People want to feel the value of their hard-earned money.”

Officials of Property24 and OLX were in Cebu this week to introduce the real estate website to local journalists and bloggers.

The site already has 6,000 Cebu properties listed and they will be expanding aggressively in the province. Perez said this is the most number in terms of listings compared to other web verticals.

Property24 Cebu

PROPERTY24. OLX Operations Director and Head of Real Estate Ferdie Perez introduces Property24 in a press conference in Cebu City. The property portal is part of the OLX group.

Cebu real estate sector

He said they want to expand in Cebu because “there are a lot of local developers here.”

Perez said their data shows that the real estate sector in Cebu is distinguished by 1) strong growth in BPO, tourism, and remittances; 2) increased demand for condos; and 3) popularity of townhouses and duplex units outside Metro Cebu.

The top considerations for Cebuano property buyers, according to Perez, are presence of nearby shops (74%); accessibility (44%); kids infrastructure (40%); safety (39%); and public services (36%).

The top cities in property searches are Cebu City at 47%; Mandaue City, 17%; Lapu-Lapu City, 12%; Talisay City, 7%; and Consolacion, 5%.

Unlike other portals, Property24 is meant for professional sellers such as brokers and agents, Perez said. The website verifies the identity of sellers before they are allowed to post. For brokers, they require Professional Regulation Commission or PRC IDs; for agents, they require proof of identity and the name of their brokers.

Perez said Property24 also performs regular audit and review of listings to make sure these are legitimate.

Property24 works on a subscription model and those who want to post pay a fee based on different packages. Perez said the fee is minimal compared to potential earnings by brokers and agents if they make a sale on the platform.

OLX, Property24 Cebu

COMBINED PLATFORM. The combined OLX and Property24 platforms generate 300,000 in sales leads monthly, an official said. In the photo are (from left) Mix Martinez, Category Manager for Real Estate; Hazel Juson, Cebu Head of Sales Real Estate, OLX Philippines; Ferdie Perez, Head of Real Estate, OLX Philippines; Charisse Vilchez, PR Lead, OLX Philippines; and Timmy Deal Agua, Brand Marketing Officer, OLX Philippines.

Monthly traffic, sales leads

He said the combined monthly traffic of OLX and Property 24 is 2 million people. The combined platforms generate 300,000 leads every month. These are inquiries via email, SMS, and chat, said Perez.

“When combined, both platforms give sellers a rise in web traffic and increase in potential buyers, delivering better value for subscription fees. Buyers are equally rewarded with more property options, higher seller engagement, and more pages viewed,” the company said in a press statement.

Perez said Property24 also offers the “win-win exchanges” pioneered by OLX.

He said 75 percent of real estate professionals already use online tools to sell property and supporting this with face-to-face and on-site selling. He said online tools lead to faster turn-around and more sales. Offline, agents sell 2 to 3 units a month. Online, they are able to sell an average of 7 to 8 units.

Property sellers, buyers win

Perez said Filipino users are already starting to be comfortable with buying items online. Almost half are already looking for properties online, he said.

With the Property24 platform, “buyers win because they are able to find the perfect property they are looking for their families. Sellers win because they sell more, and they sell faster. Ultimately the country wins because the economy grows faster, real estate grows faster,” Perez said.

Property24 Cebu.

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PayMaya, Smart accelerate rollout of QR code payments nationwide

After introducing the first Quick Response (QR) code payments via app in the Philippines last May, PayMaya Philippines today announced that the scan-to-pay technology is now available across the country….

After introducing the first Quick Response (QR) code payments via app in the Philippines last May, PayMaya Philippines today announced that the scan-to-pay technology is now available across the country. Smart Stores and select merchants in key cities now allow consumers to conveniently pay by simply scanning QR codes through their PayMaya app.

Smart subscribers have a new means to transact with their accounts as Smart Stores all over the country are now equipped with PayMaya QR technology. PayMaya is also enabling merchants in communities starting with canteens in partner schools like STI and commercial establishments in cashless cities such as Muntinlupa and Malabon.

PayMaya is also tapping popular merchants in SmartSpots already enabled by WiFi connectivity in key cities such as Baguio, Cebu, and Davao.

PayMaya QR Code

CONVENIENT. Using QR Code to simplify payments, PayMaya is making cashless transactions even more convenient.

All kinds of merchants

In the near future, payments enabled by PayMaya will also be accepted online and in-store in popular food chains, supermarkets, and malls such as McDonald’s, Army Navy, Domino’s Pizza, and Gaisano Supermarkets, among others.

To further bring the technology to more users, Smart and PayMaya are also set to equip Smart retail partners down to the sari-sari store levels with the payment technology.

“As PayMaya continues to grow nationwide, we take a giant step for our customers by making QR code payments available to all kinds of merchants. PayMaya is the leading digital payments wallet and on the merchant side, this will reinforce our position as the top mobile payments acquirer in the country,” said Orlando B. Vea, President and CEO, PayMaya Philippines and Voyager Innovations.

“Convenient and secure cashless transactions complete the digital life experience of people and communities. Equipping our Smart Stores, partner merchants, and retailers with PayMaya’s innovative platforms is a step in making our vision a reality,” said Eric R. Alberto, Chief Revenue Officer, PLDT and Smart.

Existing technology, new use cases, right conditions

QR code technology has been in use for quite some time with many applications already in the market. However, wide adoption for payments had been previously hampered by various factors, such as lower smartphone and internet usage.

The technology has now taken off around the world, with payment providers in various countries introducing use cases for adoption. Globally, Tencent’s WeChat app is the leader with close to a billion active users, most of them residing in China. Similar to PayMaya, every time their app is downloaded, so too is a QR code reader as the feature has already been integrated.

In the Philippines, the growing smartphone and internet penetration is now being complemented by digital payments adoption, pioneered by PayMaya. It has made payments integration capability via QR codes available and is now accelerating consumer acceptance, as it further builds up and reinforces the payment ecosystem and infrastructure across the country.

PayMaya QR Code

DIGITAL PAYMENTS. For digital payments to work, “it is important to foster the right conditions and build the ecosystem. PayMaya is already leading the market toward this direction,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman of PLDT, Smart, Voyager Innovations and PayMaya Philippines.

It takes a village to make ‘cashless’ work

“For any kind of digital payments technology to be widely adopted, it is important to foster the right conditions and build the ecosystem. PayMaya is already leading the market toward this direction. Along with the strongest network of PLDT and Smart, we are seeing digital financial inclusion in action,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman of PLDT, Smart, Voyager Innovations and PayMaya Philippines.

PayMaya Philippines is the digital financial services arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations. Its PayMaya wallet, accessible via mobile app and Facebook Messenger (@PayMayaOfficial) that comes with a virtual and physical Visa or MasterCard, is now the preferred prepaid payment by the millennial market.

Any mobile subscriber can download the PayMaya app from the Play Store or the App Store and load up their wallet at any of the more than 15,000 reloading stations nationwide, which include SM Business Centers, Robinsons Department Stores Business Centers, and 7-Eleven, Petron stations along NLEX and Ministop outlets with Touchpay Kiosks, UnionBank ATMs, Shopwise, Wellcome, 2Go outlets, Smart Padala centers, Palawan Pawnshop, and online banking via BDO and UnionBank.

PayMaya is also the platform of choice of local governments, enterprises, and schools for disbursements and ID plus payments cards. PayMaya-enabled ID plus payment cards are being used by Balanga City, Malabon City, Malolos City, Muntinlupa City, Catbalogan City, and Tacloban City, as well as by schools such as STI.

Financial technology platforms

PayMaya Business, the company’s system solutions provider that allows businesses to receive online and card payments is now the top mobile payments acquirer powering companies such as Cebu Pacific, Lazada, Meralco, Metro Pacific Tollways, Philippine Airlines, Smart, and Zalora, as well as numerous other merchants.  Completing the cashless ecosystem is Smart Padala’s largest money-in/money-out remittance network.

Complementing PayMaya’s digital payments is the financial technology or fintech platforms of Voyager’s FINTQnologies, Inc. (FINTQ). FINTQ enables banks and financial institutions to expand the reach of their services through digital lending, banking, and micro investment platforms such as Lendr, PeraAgad, Mobile Loan Saver, and iNVSTR.

FINTQ has processed over P21 billion worth of disbursed loans since it started in 2015. The Voyager’s fintech arm now has the most extensive digital lending footprint covering 100% of 81 provinces, 90% of 145 cities and 15% of 1490 municipalities including low-income areas.

For more information about PayMaya, visit www.paymaya.com. Engage with us on social media at: facebook.com/PayMayaOfficial, twitter.com/paymayaofficial, and instagram.com/paymayaofficial. Get customer support at @PayMayaCares on Facebook.

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Paramount highlights green living, smart homes in Wellington Greens residential project

Green and smart. That is how Cebu´s residential developer Paramount Property Ventures, Inc. envisions its up and coming residential community Wellington Greens in the hills of Compostela, Cebu. The property…

Green and smart. That is how Cebu´s residential developer Paramount Property Ventures, Inc. envisions its up and coming residential community Wellington Greens in the hills of Compostela, Cebu.

The property is nestled in a quiet neighborhood of the town, amid towering trees and lush greens.

“Imagine having a home in such beautiful place. You’re not too far from the busy city yet you come home to a peaceful abode. In this new project, we say that you can breathe and live green,” Arli Arenas-Vergara, PPVI Vice President for International Operations, said during the media launch of Wellington Greens last October 17, 2017.

Wellington Greens

WELLINGTON GREENS. PPVI Senior Vice President Emmanuel Victor Estrella says the community is also designed to be an intelligent one: the units will be built as smart homes with a modern security system and provision for the use of solar panels to answer daytime electric consumption.

Zen-inspired ‘smart’ homes

Wellington Greens, which spans about 10-12 hectares, will feature six Zen-inspired house models and amenities that are designed to encourage outdoor bonding activities for families.

A landscaped gateway with guardhouse will lead to an activity pavilion, swimming pool with sun deck, dual play court, playground for kids, jogging trail and meditation garden.

PPVI Senior Vice President Emmanuel Victor Estrella said the community is also designed to be an intelligent one: the units will be built as smart homes with a modern security system and provision for the use of solar panels to answer daytime electric consumption.

“We have an automatic entrance gate also equipped with security cameras and there’s wifi connection in the amenities area,” said Estrella. Wellington Greens is the newest project of PPVI in the northern part of Cebu and the first out of a partnership between its mother corporation Cañedo Equity Ventures Inc. (CEV) and the Norkis Group of Companies.

Middle class target

Positioned for the mid-market bracket, Wellington Greens homes cost from P2.1 – P6 million but with more units priced in the P3 million range.

“Our target is the growing middle class in Cebu. We continue to expand in this market for the next five to 10 years,” said Rey Maribao, CEV Vice President for Strategic Corporate Planning and Business Development.

He added that the CEV-Norkis partnership “is in line with the strategy to provide solutions for the housing backlog catering to the rising middle class from OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) remittances and BPO workers.”

Wellington Greens

LUSH GREENS. Arli Arenas-Vergara, PPVI Vice President for International Operations, said that with Wellington Greens, “you’re not too far from the busy city yet you come home to a peaceful abode.”

Green living

Green living is not a new concept for PPVI, but it takes the advocacy to a new level with Wellington Greens.

“People these days are getting busy with work. They travel and go somewhere else to relax. But when they return from vacation, reality strikes — you go back to work and earn the stress again. And so we thought of a community where homeowners can enjoy a nature escape everyday. This is the concept of The Wellington Greens. It can be your weekend home. A Sunday home where you can relax but what if everyday is a Sunday? That’s how we envisioned this project,” Arenas-Vergara said.

Estrella added that Compostela Mayor Joel Quiño also embraces the concept of Wellington Greens.

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Real estate firm CEV ties up with Norkis for property projects

Two strong homegrown companies forged ties recently to undertake real estate developments in Cebu. The Cañedo Equity Ventures, Inc. (CEV) and the Norkis Group of Companies officially sealed their partnership…

Two strong homegrown companies forged ties recently to undertake real estate developments in Cebu.

The Cañedo Equity Ventures, Inc. (CEV) and the Norkis Group of Companies officially sealed their partnership only last August, and two big projects are already in the works.

These include a 10-hectare residential community targeted at the middle market bracket and a six-hectare memorial park in the northern town of Compostela, company executives said in a recent press conference.

CEV, Norkis partnership

CEV chair Filomena Cañedo and Norkis chair Dr. Norberto Quisumbing, the two pillars of the conglomerates, affixed their signatures to the partnership during a separate and much earlier signing ceremony held at the Cebu City Sports Club.

The collaboration is in line with CEV´s mission to address the housing backlog, catering in particular to the rising middle class made up of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and BPO employees and their families.

“Compostela used to be a small and quiet town. Then the Cañedos came with all their ideas and development projects,” Quisumbing was quoted as saying in a press statement released by CEV. He also reportedly expressed high confidence in the venture.

Cañedo Equity Ventures, Inc. Norkis Group

PARTNERSHIP. Cañedo Equity Ventures, Inc. chair Filomena Cañedo and Norkis Group of Companies chair Dr. Norberto Quisumbing seal the partnership between the two companies in the presence of company officials.

Compostela property developments

Land development for the residential community in Compostela will take around two years, said Rey Maribao, CEV VP Strategic Corporate Planning and Business Development, during a talk with journalists.

The project is first in line for the Philippine Paramount Property Ventures, Inc. (PPPVI) and Norkis partnership. It is scheduled to be launched by the last quarter of 2017.

Norkis, a motorcycle manufacturer and distributor with land properties throughout the country, will benefit from horizontal, vertical, and mixed use development projects through CEV´s real estate arm PPPVI.

Compostela is the best place for PPPVI to expand, according to Maribao, citing indicators showing that the third-class municipality is working to become a high growth area in Metro Cebu and a booming population growing at a yearly average of 2.27 percent.

More progressive town

Norkis will likewise partner with CEV’s memorial parks development company, Celestial Meadows and Developers Corporation.

Quisumbing said people will very soon see a progressive Compostela. Cañedo, for her part, thanked Norkis for partnering with CEV.

“We are very honored to partner with the reliable Norkis Group. We are one with you in transforming Compostela into a better community. We look forward to working with you in developing Compostela and other parts of Cebu,” she said in the same press statement.

CEV is a conglomerate in Minglanilla that oversees eight companies performing highly in the fields of real estate, parks and memorial, construction, food, training, and education.

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Cebu City Marriott Hotel to close on January 1

Cebu City Marriott Hotel will close on January 1 after the contract between AyalaLand Hotels and Resorts Corporation (AHRC) and Marriott International Hotels to manage the facility ends on December…

Cebu City Marriott Hotel will close on January 1 after the contract between AyalaLand Hotels and Resorts Corporation (AHRC) and Marriott International Hotels to manage the facility ends on December 1.

The hotel that helped spur the growth of the Cebu Business Park will reopen under the Seda brand after refurbishing its rooms and amenities in 2018.

“The Cebu City Marriott Hotel helped to affirm the reputation of the Cebu Business Park in its growing years as the premier business district of the city, as well as the region,” said AHRC president and CEO Al Legaspi.

Cebu City Marriott Hotel closes

Cebu City Marriott Hotel will close on January 1 and reopen in 2018 carrying the Seda brand. (Photo from official FB page)

Hotel performance

He expressed appreciation for Cebu City Marriott Hotel’s consistent performance since its opening in 1997. He also expressed gratitude to the hotel employees for their dedicated service.

AHRC has appointed its wholly-owned hotel brand Seda to manage the hotel in 2018 after refurbishing its rooms and amenities.

“Seda, which now has 1,255 rooms throughout the country, is ready to fill the needs of Cebu Business Park locators and visitors,” said Legaspi.

Since its launch in 2012, the Seda hotel brand has flourished in various locations throughout the country. It has hotels in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, Iloilo City, Nuvali in Laguna, and Quezon City, where it recently opened the biggest hotel in the area with 438 rooms, a ballroom, and a presidential suite.

Aggressive expansion

Seda’s success has merited an aggressive expansion program that will see its room inventory growing to twice the current number in the next two years.

Seda in Cebu Business Park will be the brand’s biggest in the Visayas. Legaspi says this is but fitting given Cebu’s status as the center of business and commerce in the area. He adds that AHRC’s commitment to Cebu is further underscored by the construction of another Seda hotel at Cebu IT Park — the first Seda hotel and serviced apartments outside of Metro Manila.

Both hotels will uphold the Seda brand pillars of a strategic location close to shops and restaurants within a vibrant Ayala Land mixed-use development combined with service at par with global standards. (Press Release)

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Send money, pay bills, buy load on Facebook Messenger via PayMaya

Filipinos can now send money to family and friends, pay bills, and buy mobile load and data using Facebook Messenger via PayMaya. “This integration with Messenger represents an exciting new…

Filipinos can now send money to family and friends, pay bills, and buy mobile load and data using Facebook Messenger via PayMaya.

“This integration with Messenger represents an exciting new way to reach the unserved and underserved people and communities in the country by making payments available via social,” said Paolo Azzola, Chief Operating Officer of PayMaya Philippines. “Our mission is to make cashless payments available for all and this new channel via Messenger will help us enable more people.”

PayMaya is a pioneer and the leader in mobile money and digital financial services in the Philippines. It is transforming the mobile phone into a virtual wallet and is continually looking for ways to expand its services. PayMaya recognizes that Facebook Messenger’s community offers a unique opportunity to make PayMaya services available and accessible to even more users.

PayMaya - Facebook Messenger

PAYMAYA, FACEBOOK MESSENGER. Ginger Baker (left), Facebook Product Manager and Paolo Azzola, PayMaya Chief Operating Officer.

New tools, easier way

“We’re excited to work with PayMaya to give people in the Philippines new tools to access their money using Messenger,” said Facebook Product Manager Ginger Baker. “Our goal is to amplify the reach and impact of providers like PayMaya by enabling tools that allow them to connect people with the services and friends they care about.”

Consumers in the Philippines regularly connect with friends and family to send money and pay bills. However, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, 86% of Filipino households don’t have a deposit account. As one of the most popular messaging apps in the Philippines, Messenger offers a much easier way for people to create a new account for daily financial transactions.

Through PayMaya’s partnership with Facebook, Filipinos will have an easier option for sending money and paying bills on Messenger, whether they have a bank or a mobile money mobile account or not.

New tools, easier way

Using PayMaya in Messenger is simple. A customer just needs to search for @PayMayaOfficial on Messenger on an Android device to start a transaction. The chatbot will guide the user on the available menu options. New PayMaya users can create their account using Messenger while those who already have the PayMaya app installed on their Android phones can link their wallet to Messenger.

Once in Messenger, they can inquire about their PayMaya wallet balance, pay bills and send money to other Messenger users, regardless if they are already on PayMaya or not. People can also buy mobile load on their phone with a substantial discount anytime, anywhere, directly in Messenger.

Aside from accessing PayMaya in Messenger, PayMaya also comes with a physical card that can be linked to the mobile wallet. This physical card can be ordered through www.paymaya.com/shop free of delivery charges and can be used at any Bancnet ATM nationwide, and anywhere VISA and Mastercard are accepted. PayMaya users can link up to three PayMaya physical cards to their app.

PayMaya loading locations

PayMaya holds the largest network of reloading touchpoints with over 15,000 top up stations nationwide, which include SM Business Centers, Robinsons Department Stores, 7-Eleven with Cliqq Kiosks, Petron stations along NLEX and Ministop outlets with Touchpay Kiosks, Shopwise, Wellcome, 2Go outlets, Smart Padala centers, Palawan Pawnshop branches, UnionBank ATMs, Gaisano Malls, and online banking via BDO and UnionBank.

PayMaya is both an app-first and a card-first prepaid payment service. Users can opt to have the card first and connect it to their app later on for a shared wallet experience, and vice versa. It is telco-agnostic which makes it easy for anyone to create an account regardless of the network provider.

It is also a regulated e-Money Issuer by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

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AboitizLand opens Foressa Trails with trail run, bike event

To mark the opening of its new adventure park Foressa Trails in Balamban, AboitizLand has partnered with the Primer Group of Companies to bring the Salomon Xtrail Race to Cebu…

To mark the opening of its new adventure park Foressa Trails in Balamban, AboitizLand has partnered with the Primer Group of Companies to bring the Salomon Xtrail Race to Cebu on October 15, 2017.

Foressa Trails in Cansomoroy, Balamban was developed according to international standards and now has a hiking path system of 27 kilometers with varying levels of difficulty, said AboitizLand Projects in Planning Manager Eduardo Aboitiz.

The mountain park, which used to be known as Canso X, is an hour and a half drive from Cebu City through the TransCentral Highway.

Foressa Trails

FORESSA TRAILS. Present during the press conference announcing the Salomon Xtrail Race are (from left) Andre Borromeo of Motor Ace Philippines-Kawasaki, Cyrel Canedo, Primer Group Area Operations Head-Visayas; Eduardo Aboitiz, AboitizLand Projects in Planning Manager; Joey Zamora of AboitizLand; and Jason Gabrinao, GreenStrat Inc. (Photo by Marlen Limpag)

Aboitiz said it is intended as a place not just for homeowners of the AboitizLand’s 257-hectare residential development Foressa Mountain Town in the same area but for anyone who loves nature and adventure. Foressa Trails will offer hiking, biking, and camping, among other activities.

“With Foressa Trails, we hope to give everyone an experience that will allow for fun memories and priceless moments within a well-designed community that nurtures life,” he added.

Foressa Trails

Foressa Trails is seamlessly integrated into Foressa Mountain Town, where one can escape into an adventure.

Salomon trail run

AboitizLand will mark the opening of Foressa Trails on October 15 with the first-ever Salomon Xtrail Race in Cebu in the morning and a trail ride organized by Motor Ace Philippines-Kawasaki in the afternoon.

Cyrel Canedo, Primer Group Area Operations Head-Visayas, said the Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 2017 will feature two distances — 11 and 21 kilometers.

Foressa Trails Bike Trails

The Bike Trails extend up to 17 km and is designed based on standards of the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

He added that registration is ongoing for the 11K, which costs P700, and 21K, at P1,200, in Salomon SM Seaside Cebu and R.O.X. Ayala Center Cebu. This comes with a Salomon race bib, jersey, race cap for all 21K runners and first 50 registrants for 11K, and medal for 21K finishers who complete the run within the cut-off time of 5 hours.

Mandatory gear

According to Canedo, 21K registrants will need to present a medical certificate. Runners for both categories also have to prescribe to the mandatory gear that includes a whistle and hydration pack with at least 1,000 ml of water.

 

Primer is targetting 250 to 300 participants for the mountain run.

Motor Ace Kawasaki, meanwhile, will announce registration details for the Motor Ace Track Day in the next few days.

Foressa Trails

At Foressa Trails, you can hike, bike, camp, stargaze or sight-see. It will definitely be the best location for your outdoor experience, making nature your playground.

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DTI leads moves for digital transformation of MSMEs

An online campaign that accompanied an e-commerce mentoring program by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Cebu generated leads from as far as London for a furniture company….

An online campaign that accompanied an e-commerce mentoring program by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Cebu generated leads from as far as London for a furniture company.

The fact that potential buyers visited the Cebu-based company to check out its products shows the reach of digital marketing, said DTI Cebu Provincial Director Maria Elena C. Arbon during the Digitize Cebu conference in Cebu last August 30.

As the agency tasked to assist micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), DTI is now focused on getting them to undergo digital transformation.

“Last year, we went into the startup space. We interfaced with them and developed some programs for tech startups. This year, we’re trying to mix together startups and tech communities with brick and mortar MSMEs,” Arbon said.

Digitize Cebu Maria Elena C. Arbon

PROGRAMS. DTI Cebu Provincial Director Maria Elena C. Arbon goes over the different programs for micro to medium enterprises of her office. Key parts of the program revolve around technology tools and digital developments.

Digital transformation programs

DTI has several programs for micro to medium enterprises, three of which revolve around technology tools and digital developments.

These include startup ecosystem development, digital transformation for brick-and-mortar MSMEs, and e-commerce mentoring.

According to Arbon, the e-commerce program is an intense 6-week, 12-module course that aims to get companies online. Close to the end of the training activity, the enterprises are required to undertake a 3-week selling campaign using what they’ve learned from the course.

The ecommerce campaigns have resulted in sales amounting to as much as P2 million for the first batch and P3 million for the second batch of enterprises. Furniture buyers from London also came to visit a furniture company in Cebu when it went online as a consequence of the e-commerce course.

Cebu startup ecosystem

Arbon cited that DTI also just recently held the Slingshot Conference, a tech event that aims to bring together traditional businesses and startups so they get to serve each other’s needs.

Early this year, she said they came up with a startup ecosystem development program. Part of the process involved using existing tools to determine the maturity of the startup environment taking into consideration talent, capital, and infrastructure among other things.

“On a scale of 1 to 5, we’ve determined we’re at 2 plus,” Arbon added. One of the ongoing campaigns of DTI is to create a master list of existing startups in Cebu.

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Tap digital to boost business growth in a mobile-first Philippine market, Google official tells Cebu SMEs

Small business with a strong online presence grow 4 times faster than competitors who are not on digital, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan. With 65 million Filipinos now…

Small business with a strong online presence grow 4 times faster than competitors who are not on digital, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan.

With 65 million Filipinos now online, going digital should no longer be a question, Lingan said during the Digitize Cebu conference held in Cebu last Wednesday and organized by AdSpark, Globe myBusiness, and Department of Trade and Industry Cebu Province.

“For every single month, half a million Filipinos are going online. That’s really massive. You think about that – in a year, you are adding the population of Singapore online into the Philippines,” he said. “That’s the kind of market potential that we are dealing with here.”

Digitize Cebu Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan

GROWING, MOBILE-FIRST. Most new Filipino users access the internet through mobile devices, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan during Wednesday’s Digitize Cebu conference.

Filipinos are mobile-first consumers

But what defines the Filipino internet consumer, he said, “is the fact that we are mobile-first.”

Most new Filipino users access the internet via mobile phones. “In fact that’s really where they spent much of their time,” he said. Filipinos look at their phones 150 times in a day, studies said. People are very engaged on their phones and “it is affecting every aspect of our lives,” he said.

People today do not go online, he said, they “live online” and mostly through their phones.

That can be seen in findings like Filipinos’ growing dependence on services like Waze. While the global usage average is 17 minutes, in Manila Waze is used at an average of 70 minutes per session, he said.

In a world going digital, “small will be the new big,” Lingan said. The internet “could work for big business as much as it could work for small ones.”

He said small businesses are the “backbone of the country,” employing about 60% of the population.

“If you want to drive growth in the Philippines, the only way to really drive that is through empowering small business,” he said. A key driver for this is digitization, Lingan told attendees of the conference.

Digital levels business playing field

In the past, he said business was all about “having big resources.” Digital levels that playing field, Lingan said. With digital tools, business can reach the right customers and at massive scale.

“In the past if you’re a small business, your target market will only be your community. But with the internet, your definition of what your target market is goes beyond your borders,” Lingan said.

With digital advertising, businesses are then able to leverage measurements and tools to make sure their ad spending are getting “the right return of investments.”

He also spoke about the opportunities offered by the emergence of commerce in the country.

Digitize Cebu

DEPENDENT. People are increasingly becoming dependent on their phones to do most tasks.

Opportunities for e-commerce

“I know it’s still small in the Philippines, in fact, it’s just $500 million in terms of value but what we foresee is that the next 10 years this will grow 20X to $10 billion by 2025. And it’s changing consumer habits,” he said.

Among these habits is the practice of researching online via mobile phones even while inside a physical store.

He said people continually engage with phones to find information and these “micro-moments” will become the new battleground for brands.

Lingan said there are 4 types of micro-moments: I want to know, I want to do, I want to go, and I want to buy.

“The path to purchase is changing and evolving. A lot of people now, through that path of purchase, are consulting their smartphones to know more about their services and really making sure that they are better informed and would make the right decisions,” he said.

Influence path to purchase

Lingan said it is important for brands to have a strong digital presence because when Filipinos start researching on purchases, “82% are not absolutely certain of brand choice.”

“It is an opportunity for businesses to influence that decision by making sure that your presence online is strong,” he said. “People would go to their smartphones 6 to 7 times before they make their decisions.”

The role of phones is emphasized by findings that 78% of Filipinos have used a locator or maps app to find a store’s location and 80% have consulted their smartphones while buying in a physical store.

Lingan said the key to influencing the path to purchase and winning in a mobile-first world is to: be seen, be fast, and be smart.

Digitize Cebu

PHYSICAL STORE, ONLINE RESEARCH. Consumer behavior has changed, chief among them is the practive of researching online through mobile phones while buying in a physical store.

Be seen

“If you are not present online, you are saying no to all these people who are online. You are making it impossible for a lot of customers to find you,” he said.

“If I am a foreigner visiting Cebu and if you are not on Google Maps it’s impossible for me to find you,” he said, pointing out how easy it was for businesses to be listed on Google Maps for free.

He also emphasized the importance of online videos, especially on YouTube, in influencing purchase decisions and improving brand perception.

He said “50% of shoppers will more likely seek advice from online videos relating to their purchases.”

Lingan also said that more than 80% say online video “helps convince shoppers to think more positively about a brand.”

“If you have videos, I would encourage you to create a YouTube channel for your business. Every business has a story and videos would be able to tell your story in a much more enriching way,” he said.

Be fast

Demands of customers have changed, they now want things “as fast as possible.”

In a mobile-first world, Lingan said, 53% of users would abandon your website if it loads slower than 3 seconds.

“The important thing about mobile is to be really obsessed about the user experience,” he said.

He cited tools from Google that will help businesses assess their website speed on mobile and offer suggestions to improve this.

Digitize Cebu

BE SMART. Opinions aren’t as important today as data-driven decisions based on analytics.

Be smart

With today’s tools, opinions don’t matter as much as data-driven decisions.

“You now have opportunity for analytics for data. We need more data-driven decisions so that it could tell you what kind of investments have given you ROI,” he said.

He also emphasized the need for businesses to be willing to experiment on digital and use analytics to see if these work.

Online learning resources

Lingan also asked those present to take advantage of online resources to learn about entrepreneurship and tapping digital marketing to boost their businesses.

He cited the following resources as helpful to businesses:

1) YouTube channels for educational videos. He told people to subscribe to Google Small Business and Google for Entrepreneurs.

2) Think With Google website for industry trends and practices.

3) Google Primer, which offers marketing lessons by Google.

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Diamond Rent-A-Car executive: Digital marketing a must for SMEs

When Diamond Rent-A-Car first tried out digital advertising several years ago, it was a relatively new thing in the Philippines. Quincy Buenaflor, the company’s vice president for operations, said he…

When Diamond Rent-A-Car first tried out digital advertising several years ago, it was a relatively new thing in the Philippines.

Quincy Buenaflor, the company’s vice president for operations, said he was able to successfully sign up for Google Adwords just by following the required steps.

“Just a few minutes after our company ad was posted, we already started getting hits,” he shared during Wednesday’s Digitize Cebu conference, which aims to empower small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through digital marketing tools.

The family-owned Diamond Rent-A-Car, which was started by Buenaflor’s parents around 40 years ago, had relied heavily on traditional media like newspapers and billboards for its advertising needs.

Digitize Cebu Google Ads

DIGITAL ADS. Diamond Rent-A-Car vice president for operations Quincy Buenaflor shares his experience on using Google ads to grow their business in a talk with Rebeca Siccardi, strategic partner manager for Google Sales. The case study was among the sessions in today’s Digitize Cebu event.

Digital marketing

Buenaflor said that when they tried digital advertising, specifically through Google ads, they found it to be very effective in reaching out to potential customers. The company now spends 80 percent of its budget on digital platforms and only 20 percent on traditional methods.

“With digital marketing, I reach the right person,” he added, citing that he believes it provides the same opportunity in general to SMEs.

According to him, digital marketing should be part of every company’s advertising campaign. Diamond Rent-A-Car operates 1,600 rental vehicles and manages another 4,000 for various clients.

Google AdWords

The Google AdWords campaign helps with the company’s expansion by reaching the target market in a specific location.

Buenaflor said having AdSpark manage the company’s digital ads made the campaign more effective.

“It’s different working with a group with expertise on digital marketing. With AdSpark, we now have peace of mind. We know that for every little bit we spend, AdSpark makes it work for us,” he added.

AdSpark is a digital and mobile advertising company that’s fully owned by Globe.

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