Correcting DNA mistakes

Using the knowledge of how the cell repair systems work will open the door to more effective cancer treatments
UNDERSTANDING how our cells repair damaged DNA, a breakthrough which earned the Nobel Chemistry Prize recently, could make cancer treatment more effective, experts say.

By revealing how our cells automatically fix DNA mutations which can lead to illness, the discovery opened the door to significantly improving chemotherapy’s effectiveness against cancer, which kills some eight million people worldwide each year.

“You can use this knowledge to destroy cancer,” said Nora Goosen, a DNA repair expert at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Chemotherapy attacks cancer cells by trying to scramble their genetic code and thus their ability to multiply, but cancer cells, just like healthy ones, do not give up without a fight.

he cell repair systems are going to try to undo the work of doctors by fixing the damage the doctors were trying to inflict,” said Terence Strick, a DNA repair researcher at the Jacques Monod Institute in Paris.

One solution would be to inhibit the ability of cancerous cells to self-mend.

“If you attack these repair mechanisms (in cancer cells) in combination with chemotherapy and other drugs … it (treatment) can be more effective,” Goosen said.

Sweden’s Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich of the United States and Turkish-American Aziz Sancar were awarded the top chemistry award for unravelling the process by which our cells repair mutations caused to DNA by the Sun or carcinogenic substances found in alcohol and cigarettes, for example.

Mistakes in DNA, the chemical code for making and sustaining life, can cause cells to malfunction, age prematurely, and become cancerous.

The vast majority of changes to our DNA are immediately corrected, but some accumulate and lead to cancer. Some people are more susceptible to cancer because their DNA repair response is faulty.

Ironically, the same repair mechanism identified by the Nobel laureates can also cause cancerous cells to resist the effects of cancer treatment.

Alan Worsley, a spokesman for the charity Cancer Research UK, said new drugs are being developed to fight the disease.

He cited the treatment olaparib, which stops cancer cells from fixing DNA damage. It was approved by the European Commission in December 2014 for use in Europe.

Alain Sarasin of France’s CNRS research institute highlighted the risks of interfering with DNA repair systems.

“We don’t yet know how to target tumour cells specifically. If we gave a patient a molecule which inhibits the self-repair mechanism of cancer cells, it may also inhibit the repair systems of other cells like white blood cells,” he said.

“If, one day, we have a molecule which reinforces the DNA repair and can be targeted to blood cells, for example, followed by chemotherapy after, this would allow us to increase the chemotherapy dosage without unintentionally killing blood cells.

“For now, we don’t know how to do that.” – AFP

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Penang deals with S’poreTemasek to build RM1.3bil Business Process Outsourcing Prime in Bayan Baru complex

Joining forces: Temasek Consumer & Real Estate head and Southeast Asia head David Heng (fourth right) exchanging the agreement documents with PDC general manager Datuk Rosli Jaafar. The event is witnessed by Lim (centre).

Penang Development Corporation (PDC) has inked a joint venture agreement with two Singapore-based companies to develop a RM1.3bil Business Process Outsourcing Prime (BPO-Prime) Complex in Bayan Baru.

The complex will be built on a 2.8ha of land where the PDC office is located currently.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who witnessed the agreement signing ceremony, said the collaboration with Temasek Holdings and Economic Development Innovations Singapore is a testimony of confidence and trust the international business community has in the future of Penang.

“BPO-Prime will represent the prime business hub in Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor at Penang Cyber City 1 in Bayan Lepas with a gross developmental value of RM1.3bil and gross floor area of minimum RM1.6mil sq ft,” Lim said.

He added that the project would start in 2016 and was expected to finish by 2019.

Lim said BPO-Prime would be the catalyst for the Penang’s industrial transformation, such as creating a new cluster of economic development in BPO, Knowledge Process Outsourcing and Information Technology Outsourcing.

“It will also become the home to multinational companies and it is estimated to create 4,000 high-income and quality job opportunities.

“Its high value added ser-vices hub includes customer operations, data processing, back office administration, accounting, technical support, transcription, software development, IT consultancy and disaster recovery services,” he said.

Lim said BPO-Prime would ensure progress in economic vibrancy, social development, liveability and sustainability.

“The Shared Services Outsourcing (SSO) sector has achieved rapid growth over the years and the state’s SSO is providing more than 8,000 high-income jobs to locals as well as serving both regional and global markets,” he said. – By The Star

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American FBI’s China accusation spurred by finance, not a good idea to spy on friends!

On Thursday last week, the FBI released a film entitled The Company Man: Protecting America’s Secrets, which targets economic espionage. The 35-minute film features two Chinese economic spies who try to bribe a US employee with money, attempting to acquire insulation technology from the latter’s company. The two were later prosecuted and caught in the net of justice. According to media reports, the video has already been shown nearly 1,300 times at US enterprises.

An FBI official publicly voiced that “China is the most dominant threat we face from economic espionage … The Chinese government plays a significant role.”

The official also declared that economic espionage has caused losses of hundreds billions of dollars annually to the US economy.

How much is “hundreds of billions of dollars?” Say $300 billion, about 2 percent of US annual GDP.

Since the FBI believes that there has been a 53 percent surge in economic espionage in the US, and 95 percent of US companies suspect that China is the main culprit, does it infer that China has stolen 2 percent of US GDP?

Some people may ponder that given the Cold War is over, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were eradicated and the war on terror is seemingly not that urgent for the moment, and in light of US federal budget constraints, the FBI needs to find new strategic reasons for more funds. Therefore, the “position” of “Chinese economic spies” has been greatly elevated.

What the FBI has done is bound to injure Sino-US relations. But it is US society that will suffer the most. Many Americans will hence think that their economy is fine, their companies have no problems at all and the only issue is the threat from Chinese economic espionage.

It looks to them like Chinese intelligence services and civilian business spies are much more powerful than the FBI, CIA and other non-governmental intelligence forces combined. China is not capable in every category except for spy technology. This is the logic of the FBI

If we take a good look at China’s overall development in this changing world, you will see that one-third of global new technical patents are now created by Chinese companies every year. Innovation has also become China’s national slogan. China will eventually be able to challenge the West’s dominance in high technology.

China is well aware that it should learn from the West, especially the US, in terms of technology. But this is not stealing.

US universities are also attracting students from all over the world, yet this brings more benefits than losses to the nation due to the dissemination of knowledge.

Someone who always claims that his house was robbed and feels free to suspect his friend or neighbor is the thief is very annoying, and that is what the US is doing right now. The whole world knows that US intelligent agencies are the most notorious regarding this issue.

We hope that the often-silent Chinese intelligence services could expose some hard evidence of espionage by US spies, and make a spy movie featuring US espionage, providing it with a mirror to look at itself.- Global Times

Not a good idea to spy on friends

THERE’s been so much dramatic news these days – from Greece’s miseries to Iran, China from blowhard Donald Trump – that the shocking story of how America’s National Security Agency has been spying on German and French leadership has gone almost unnoticed.

Last year, it was revealed that the NSA had intercepted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. She is supposed to be one of Washington’s most important allies and the key power in Europe. There was quiet outrage in always subservient Germany, but no serious punitive action.

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, was also bugged by American intelligence. Her predecessor, Luiz Lula da Silva, was also apparently bugged.

This year, came revelations that NSA and perhaps CIA had tapped the phones of France’s president, Francois Hollande, and his two predecessors, Nicholas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. Hollande ate humble pie and could only summon some faint peeps of protest to Washington. Luckily for the US, Charles de Gaulle was not around. After the US tried to strong-arm France, “le Grand Charles” kicked the US and Nato out of France.

Last week, WikiLeaks revealed that the NSA had bugged the phone of Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for over a decade. Imagine the uproar and cries “the Gestapo is back” if it were revealed that German intelligence had bugged the phones of President Barack Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry.

A lot of Germans were really angry that their nation was being treated by the Americans as a northern banana republic. Many recalled that in the bad old days of East Germany its intelligence agency, Stasi, monitored everyone’s communications under the direct supervision of KGB big brother at Moscow Centre.

The National Security Agency and CIA claim their electronic spying is only aimed at thwarting attacks by anti-American groups (aka “terrorism”). This claim, as shown by recent events, is untrue. One supposes the rational must be a twist on the old adage “keep your enemies close, but your friends even closer”.

Ironically, the political leaders listed above – save perhaps Brazil’s da Silva – are all notably pro-American and responsive to Washington’s demands.

Why would the US risk alienating and humiliating some of its closet allies?

One suspects the reason is sheer arrogance … and because US intelligence could do it. But must US intelligence really know what Mr Merkel is making Mrs Merkel for dinner?

Until WikiLeaks blew the whistle, some European leaders may have known they were being spied upon but chose to close their eyes and avoid making an issue. Raising a fuss would have forced them to take action against the mighty US.

Besides, British, Italian and French intelligence are widely believed to have bugged most communications since the 1950’s. But not, of course, the White House or Pentagon. The only nation believed to have gotten away with bugging the White House was Israel during the Clinton years. The Pentagon was bugged by a number of foreign nations, including Israel, China and Russia.

Humiliating Europe’s leaders in this fashion is a gift to the growing numbers of Europeans who believe their nations are being treated by the US as vassal states.

There is widespread belief in Western Europe that US strategic policy aims at preventing deeper integration of the EU and thwarting a common foreign policy or a powerful European military. Britain serves as a Trojan horse for America’s strategic interests in Europe.

Way back in the 1960’s, then German defence minister Franz Josef Strauss, an ardent proponent of a truly united Europe, thundered that Europeans would not play spearmen to America’s atomic knights. But, of course, that’s just what happened.

The US still runs and finances Nato in the same way the Soviet Union commanded the Warsaw Pact. Washington calls on Europe for troop contingents in its Middle East and south Asian colonial wars in the same way that the Persian Empire summoned its vassals to war.

Many Germans and French, both right and left, would like their leaders to react more forcefully to NSA’s ham-handed spying. However, Merkel and Hollande are both political jellyfish eager to evade any confrontation with Big Brother in Washington. Maybe he has too much dirt on them.

But a confrontation is inevitable one day if Europe is to regain its true independence that was lost after World War II.

By Eric S. Margolis who is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. Comments:

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The great technology transformation

AFTER a week in the Silicon Valley, California last month, I came to the conclusion that I am a dinosaur. The speed of change from technology has been so fast and so profound that we are lost in transition, translation and transformation.

The digital revolution is already upon us, but the baby boomer generation, to which I belong, is having difficulty understanding this because we still upload (read) on paper, whereas the millenials (those born between 1980 and 2000) upload information mostly on mobile phones, video and communicate through social media.

Demographics say a lot. At the turn of the 21st century, the baby boomers (born 1946-1964) were half the work force, but today in the United States, millenials and Gen X (born 1965-1979) are roughly one-third each. The baby boomers may own most of the retirement funds and wealth, but the new wealth is being created rapidly by the younger generations.

A simple set of statistics says it all. The Forbes top five US companies by revenue are Walmart, Exxon, Chevron, Berkshire Hathaway and Apple. Walmart employs over 2.1 million people, with revenue just under US$485bil, but profits of US$16bil with market capitalisation of US$265bil. Apple, with only 80,000 employees, had double Walmart profits of US$39bil and a market capitalisation of US$725bil, larger than Walmart and Exxon put together. Twitter, with only 3,638 employees or less than 0.2% of Walmart workforce, is valued at 9.2% of Walmart. Facebook, with only 9,200 employees but 1.44 billion users, is valued at 86% of Walmart.

In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that Silicon Valley is booming in terms of wealth creation, California would be suffering from the economic effects of the worst drought in years. But at US$2.3 trillion, California is growing at 2.8% per annum, faster than US real gross domestic product growth of 2.2% in 2014. The Western Pacific states of Oregon and Washington are growing faster at 3.6% and 3% respectively, thanks to growing trade and services from the boom in technology.

Two things that stand out in the Digital Disruption – speed and scale. The speed and scale of the digital transformation is so fast and so wide and deep that we are all having problems valuing what it means – which is why we have a tech bubble in the making.

It is quite normal for us to accept that the Silicon Valley is the world leader in digital change, but what was eye-opening as I dug into the data is that the next waves are already happening in China and India. This has mind-boggling implications on a geo-political basis, especially for smaller economies, such as Malaysia, Hong Kong or Thailand.

What struck me from delving into the pattern of growth in the Internet Revolution is the speed and scale of change in China and India. Who would have expected even five years ago that four out of the top 15 global public Internet companies, ranked by market capitalisation would be Chinese (Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and with a combined value of US$542bil or 22.4% of the total market valuation of US$2.4 trillion of these 15 companies as of May, 2105.

China Internet

Scale and speed

The reason for this valuation is scale and speed of the Chinese transformation, already overtaking the world leader, the United States. The rate of Internet penetration is over 80% for the United States, only 40+% in China and 20+% in India. But China already has more Internet users (618 million), double the US population and its growth in smartphones is double (21%) that of the United States (9%).

Although incomes in China and India are far lower than the United States, Chinese and Indian millenials (for that matter, millenials in all emerging markets) are beginning to spend more time on their smartphones than the advanced countries.

There are two implications from this broad trend, which the Chinese Internet platforms like Alibaba and Tencent are beginning to exploit.

The first is the ease and convenience of buying, selling and paying using the smartphone – an all service tool. Partly because of regulation, the US leaders such as eBay, Amazon and Facebook are still in their core areas of strength, but Alibaba and WeChat (part of Tencent) have developed eco-systems that are simultaneously social networks, chatrooms, trading and investing platforms combined.

When I lost my Blackberry, MacBook and camera recently in Latin America, I was staggered that using WeChat on iPhone, I could go on video and instant chat with friends across half the world for free. My only constraint was the battery on my iPhone and that I had not set up to get funds transfer in case of need.

The second implication is that traditional service providers are way behind in this technology. My credit card companies are still on outdated phone-banking, which meant that in order to report lost cards, I was frantically trying to Press one, Press two and Press self-destruct! These companies are at least two generations behind in customer service technology.

Internet Revolution

My conclusion from this survey of the Internet Revolution is that the disruption from technology on conventional businesses is yet incomplete. In the 1990s, the Internet changed the music, photography, book sales and video rental business. Today, we book airline and hotel travel on the web.

But with the arrival of the iPad and iPhone, healthcare, finance, investing, education and social communications are being combined into one gadget (the mobile phone) to do what we have to.

This disruption is happening very fast in China and India, because these late-comers have no pre-conceived legacy ideas on what cannot be done with technology.

If China is currently going through its tech bubble, watch out for the next tech bubble in India.

Those who think only in terms of risks think that bubbles are to be feared. I have come to realise that the animal spirits in us change the game through excesses. But those who learn from their mistakes will create the new.

Silicon Valley is not a place but a mindset – nothing ventured, nothing gained. That mindset is truly the New Digital Transformation.

Watch this space in Asia.

Andrew Sheng comments on global trends from an Asian angle

Milestone for tech firm: Toray Group starts production of battery film at new division in Penang

Toray Battery film Penang openingRed letter day: (From left) Hagiwara, Lim and Toray Battery Separator Film Co Ltd president O. Inoue checking out Penfibre products used in electronic tools during the opening of the division.

'TORAY'Innovation by ChemistryPenfibre Sdn Bhd has launched its Battery Separator Film (BSF) division in Bayan Lepas, Penang. The company is a member of  Toray Group in Malaysia and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toray Industries, Inc

Penfibre Sdn Bhd managing director K. Kurokawa said the company obtained its International Procurement Centre licence last year to process and market BSF in Penang.

“Located at our sister company’s premises Penfabric in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, the RM15mil BSF project was smoothly completed last year despite extensive renovation work.

“Commercial production started early this year,” he said in his speech during the opening of the BSF division at the Equatorial Hotel recently.

He added that the division was capable of producing a high value-added BSF trademark under the name of Setela for supply to regional buyers for use in lithium batteries.

Toray Industries Inc senior vice president S. Hagiwara said Toray was a leading global supplier of polyester film, commanding a combined global market share of about 20%.

Toray produces and sells many types of films under the trademark ‘Lumirror’. They are used in a wide range of applications.

“To date, we have established sound manufacturing and delivery systems at six major bases worldwide in Japan, the United States, France, Korea, China and Malaysia,” said Hagiwara.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Toray was now one of the single largest investors in Penang and Malaysia.

“Thank you to Toray for providing thousands of job opportunities for Malaysians over the last four decades,” he said.

He said Penang’s approved manufacturing investments increased to RM8.2bil last year, which is a 109% increase from RM3.9bil in 2013.

“This made Penang the state with the highest investment after Johor and Sarawak,” he said.

He added that total investments in Penang increased to RM48.2bil from 2008 to 2014.

Lim also commended Toray Group (Malaysia) for their contributions via several corporate social responsibility programmes.

These included providing the RM6mil electronic scoreboard at Batu Kawan Stadium in 1999 and setting up the Malaysia Toray Science Foundation in 1993 and the Toray USM Knowledge Transfer Centre with a donation of RM4mil.

Toray also contributed RM300,000 towards the Tech-Dome Penang project recently.- The Starmetro



Good afternoon.

It is indeed a great pleasure for me to attend this luncheon, held in conjunction with the official opening of the Battery Separator Film Division at Penfibre this morning.

On behalf of the government and people of Penang, I would like to extend our heartiest congratulations to Toray for another milestone in your business expansion, particularly in the State of Penang.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

From a humble beginning where Toray Industries Inc., Japan first invested in Penang in 1973, we are proud to see that TORAY Group (Malaysia) has grown and expanded tremendously over the last 40 over years. With approximately RM4.5 billion investment to date and annual sales revenue of over RM4.1 billion from Penfibre, Penfabric, Toray Plastics (Malaysia) and Toray BASF PBT Resin, Toray is now one of the single largest investors in Penang and Malaysia. Thank you to Toray for providing thousands of job opportunities to our Malaysians over the last 4 decades.

Penang’s approved manufacturing investments increased to RM 8.2 billion in year 2014 compared to RM 3.9 billion in year 2013, a significant 109% increased. This made Penang the top 3 State with the highest investment, after Johor and Sarawak. Total investments in Penang has increased 93.6% to RM48.2 billion for the seven years period of 2008 to 2014, compared to the previous seven years period of 2001 to 2007 which was only RM24.9 billion. The jobs created has also increased 20.1% to 109,592 compared to 91,252 for the same period.

Going forward, it is important for Penang to stress on establishing Penang as a centre of science and technology through the Tech-Dome Penang project. Supported by our strong commitment to the Penang Government’s CAT policy, which stresses on “Competency”, “Accountability” and “Transparency”, it is our fervent hope that the bond and cooperation between all stakeholders will bring about a better tomorrow for every one of us.

I am happy to note that TORAY Group (Malaysia) has never failed in coming forward to support our nation building, through the various community projects under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), namely:

• the RM2.5 Million Seberang Jaya Swimming Pool Complex in 1982,

• the RM6.0 Million Electronic Scoreboard at Batu Kawan Stadium in 1999,

• the establishment of the Malaysia Toray Science Foundation (MTSF) in 1993 to promote science and technology in Malaysia,

• the setting up of the “TORAY-USM KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER CENTRE” with a donation of RM4.0 Million to Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), and

• the recent cash contribution of RM300 thousand towards the Tech-Dome Penang project.

In conclusion, I would like to once again congratulate Toray for having successfully established this new BSF Division in Penang. I am confident that Toray Group will enjoy even greater success in your future endeavors.

Thank you.

Chief Minister of Penang – Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang

SY Lau, a Malaysian took China’s WeChat by storm

SY Lau has made the country proud through talent, perseverance and hard workSY lau china's WeChat.jpgWeChat_SY Laui

Known globally as the WeChat Company, Tencent is the largest Internet service provider in Asia, with a market capitalisation (as of April 16, 2015) of US$193bil. It delivers value-added Internet, mobile/ telecom services and online advertising, in order to fulfil the strategic goal of providing users with “one-stop online lifestyle services”.

In 2006, when SY Lau (pic) joined Tencent as one of the senior management team, he focused on driving corporate growth with the specific mission of overseeing Tencent’s Online Media Group (OMG).

Today, OMG is one of the largest media companies in the world, with a portfolio that includes a matrix of online information and entertainment products.

We sit down to talk to the Star Speaker of this year’s Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) Conference.

Early days

I came from an average family and was raised by parents who believed strongly in traditional Chinese parenting. I am the eldest in the family with two younger sisters. My dad worked in the Nanyang Press for more than 25 years before he passed away at an early age due to illness. My mom was an excellent tailor, but I guess my sisters and I would remember her most as a disciplinarian who instilled the spirit of inquisitiveness and competitiveness within us during our formative years.

I studied in St John’s Institution before graduating with a major in Mass Communication from one of the local universities. Subsequently, after working for 10 years or so, I obtained my MBA from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and graduated from Harvard Business School upon completing their pinnacle AMP programme.

My first job was with McCann Erickson as a trainee account executive. How did I get the job? When I was in the final year of my undergraduate studies, I decided to conduct a field research on the Malaysian Advertising Industry using collections of communication theories. The research effort opened up doors for me to conduct field work with more than 10 leading advertising agencies in Malaysia.

A month before my graduation, I received six job offers from the top 4As agencies, and Noel Derby offered to pay RM1,000 to have my work translated into English for use by his company.

I chose McCann because of two reasons. I strongly believed in the motto of the company, Truth Well Told, and, more importantly, Ong Thiam Hong impressed me as a sincere business leader.

Did you go to China by accident or was that part of your plan for a long time? How did it all begin?

Well, it was both by accident and somewhat part of the plan. I was fluent in both English and Mandarin and I thought that if I had an opportunity to venture overseas, China would certainly be my first choice.

I remember when the opportunity came, I was already working with Leo Burnet. One day during lunch, I met Ong Thiam Hong and he told me McCann Hong Kong was in trouble.

One of their biggest international clients, Nestlé, had a new managing director for Greater China, and she was about to fire McCann. The new MD was Leong Ming Chee, a highly respected Nestlé veteran from Malaysia, with a remarkable track record in one of the most significant markets in Asia.

So, the McCann regional management team was frantically looking for a lead person to solve this problem. Apparently Ong had given my name to the regional team based on the fact I used to be one of the well-respected account leaders on the Nestlé account in Malaysia.

I spent the next three years stabilising and building the Nestlé business for McCann, by nurturing and building a professional local team from scratch.

We ended up winning more than a dozen new business accounts for both China and Hong Kong markets.

During this time I won the prestigious Milo Account for China and the media Agency of Record (AOR) , which was a first in Asia.

Lessons learned

China is a huge market, and I have seen many business professionals cutting corners here and there in the name of responding to pressure. Irrespective of industry, I think business people today could excel more if they were more conscious of focusing on leadership led by principles.

This reminds me of an advertising campaign that I saw recently on CNBC; I think it is for a bank from Singapore. The story goes… a father was bringing his son to a fun fair. As the father was purchasing tickets to enter the circus, the ticket seller said it would cost a dollar for an adult ticket and half price for children under four. The father then asked for two tickets. The ticket seller appeared to be shocked and asked curiously about the age of the boy, to which the father replied five. The ticket seller then said you could have told me he was four and I would have let you in without knowing. The father replied while holding his son’s hands, “Well, you may not have known, but he would have.”

Today, we live in a world where few people believe principles really do define who we are. It is my wish we have more principle-driven executives in the business world.

Leadership talks

In recent years, I have been honoured to be invited to deliver a number of speeches at some of the world’s leading universities. The main topics of the speeches explored the development of China’s digital economy environment and Tencent’s role in that development.

In 2012 at Stanford, taking into consideration that the number of Chinese web users had increased slowly since June 2008, I predicted that the demographic dividend (the organic growth brought by the growing number of Chinese Internet users) is going to be cashed out.

So, I proposed that targeted advertising placement and personalised content creation would be the key to break the bottleneck.

I believe that mobile media can not only help advertisers with product promotion, brand communication and customer relationship management, but also with the integration and optimisation of business models, which can become a new marketing platform in the long run. Future digital marketing will go Personal: shifting from media buying to user buying; go Richer: developing a technology-driven creative team and raising the proportion of developers; and go Offline: powering the integrated marketing model with O2O, and achieve closed loop marketing from advertising to sales.

At the Said Business School of Oxford University last year, I shared opportunities brought about by the growth of mobile Internet access across China; we see opportunities at three different levels: the consumer level, the industrial level, and then extending to the level of the whole economy.

Mobile Internet meets the pent-up demand of Chinese people for increased and upgraded levels of consumption, facilitates a long called-for industry transformation as well as expediting the liberalisation of the national economy.

In short, the Internet plays the role of an enabler to transform the new thinking of sustainable development into reality under what we call the New Normal.

The second-mover advantage triggered by the Internet industry can be summarised by examining two different perspectives: Industrial and Geographical.

Very simply put, the Internet has changed the lives of people in China in profound and meaningful ways.

It provides not only a new way of thinking and doing, but a feasible methodology for achieving China’s economic goals. The Internet is not just a resource; it is a means to turn dreams into economic reality.

Digital vision

I think Malaysia had the vision a long time ago, but unfortunately this vision was not implemented to the best of its potential. At the end of the day, the Internet today has become a basic infrastructure, and it should be discussed at a national policy level.

When I attended the recent BoAo Economic Forum, I had the privilege to meet and dine with Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He patiently listened to my story of how the private sector got involved in formulating a national policy for Internet Plus in China.

As you know, one of the most significant characteristics in the development of China’s digital economy exists in its integrating with various industries at high speed.

In China, we call this procedure “Internet Plus” – Internet plus the retail industry, plus the real estate industry, plus the manufacturing industry, and of course, plus the media industry.

China has already revealed that Internet Plus will become a policy for the country alongside another national strategy for the manufacturing industry, that is “Made in China 2025”.

A government fund of 40 billion yuan (US$6.38bil) has already been put in place for investment in China’s emerging industries.

Meanwhile, the “Broadband China Project” is being carried out. It will help to make broadband coverage in China reach over 250 million users, and a newly-gained user number of 4G service hit 200 million by the end of 2015.

All of these provide guarantees for the development of the digital economy.

Tencent’s future

Since Internet companies are always impacted by the combined forces of technology and users, I want to talk about some opportunities that I see as solid and realistic here…

Connecting the last billion

First of all, it took 20 years for the Internet to really take hold in China, turning 47.9% of the total population into Internet users.

For the other half of the population who are not yet using the Internet, a lot of them are elderly, young children, or those who cannot afford the necessary equipment.

To plug those people into the Internet world with easy and inexpensive access will be our major mission in the near term.

I think mobile phones are the most viable option to achieve this goal. Through what Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab calls, “connecting the last billion”, I believe Tencent will be capable of enabling the development of China even more.

Media of the ‘Mega Web’

Actually, I call this idea of a fully inter-connected world “the world of the Mega Web”, in which the role of the media will greatly expand. The media is already connecting users to content, and it will further connect us to many more things; more devices, more context, more people.

Media will expand to touch almost everything, everywhere. When connectivity expands to that level, singularity will be triggered. The information that we have will become “intellectual” as Big Data accumulates, interconnects and becomes available to even more devices. This expanded access to intelligence is the basic information we act upon, machines act upon and entire smart cities act upon.

The future: connect, call out, make the whole community answer

When data itself becomes both interpretive and predictive, a judgment like “Something needs to be done to improve this situation” will more frequently be made by media rather than people, and more insightfully than we can imagine now. Once everyone is inter-connected, we will be able to reach out to every member of the society, in every remote part of the globe, and call for collective actions to solve problems both locally and globally.

Currently, our mission is to support the Internet Plus Action Plan of China. We are ready to cooperate with the partners and potential partners coming from different vertical industries on a strategic level, so that together we can provide better O2O commerce, online payment experiences and smart livelihood services for our users. We see opportunity around the world, whether this is for our own apps like WeChat or for partnership and investment in Western businesses.

I think WeChat is possibly the most recognisable brand for those in the US or UK.

Tencent also supports other famous brands around the world in markets like gaming and social. Companies like Epic Games and Riot Games are owned by Tencent, while we have our own gaming IP that is successful in China.

To see SY in action on April 21, visit

– The Star/Asia News Network


Tencent: The Growing Giant

by Simon Kemp in News

We Are Social - Largest Social Channels May 2014

Tencent released its Q1 results earlier this month, including the latest monthly active user figures for its various social platforms.

As the chart above shows, Tencent’s platforms have attracted a huge share of the world’s
social media users, even if the majority of those users are still based in China.

Despite this geographic focus, Tencent now accounts for 3 of the world’s top 5 platforms, driven by the continuing growth of QQ, Qzone and WeChat:

Qzone alone now accounts for around 40% of the world’s social media users.

Moreover, the impressive growth of WeChat (Weixin), both in terms of its active user numbers as well as the platform’s functionality, suggests that Tencent is still far from reaching its peak.

Is it only a matter of time before the rest of the world joins the Tencent family?

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The Malaysian world’s top performing IFCA Software stock surges 1,300% in Kuala Lumpur!

IFCA Property Development Management Solution is a fully integrated Business Management Solution designed specifically for the Property industry. With a culmination of more than 20 years experience, IFCA Property Development Software embraces comprehensive functions, features and adopts the latest ICT tools that are poised to help elevate your Business to a paradigm shift. IFCA Software™ provides a complete solution for property developers to best manage their project development from the initial phases until key collection and beyond. It has complete built-in functionalities to ensure proper recording of each sale and its subsequent billing and administration. The software is saliently focused on its scope of capabilities. It supports multi-company, multi-projects and multi property types. It tracks and measures the effectiveness of sales campaigns and sales staff performances. It also supports user-definable payment scheme and loan financing. Headquarters IFCA MSC Bhd Wisma IFCA, No 19, Jalan PJU 1/42A, Dataran Prima, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia. 

Forget Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv and Bangalore.

To find the world’s top-performing software company, you have to go somewhere that few would think to look for winning investments in the technology industry — Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Better known as the home of state-owned energy giant Petroliam Nasional Bhd., it’s also where shares of IFCA MSC Bhd., a maker of cloud-based software for property companies, have jumped 14-fold over the past 12 months.


IFCA’s earnings are surging just as fast as its stock after the company took an 80 percent market share among Malaysian developers and began expanding into China, where early adopters of its sales tracking and payment processing software include billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group Co. IFCA Chief Executive Officer Ken Yong Keang Cheun (pic above) predicts that the world’s second-largest economy will become the biggest market for his $198 million software firm by 2018.

“The growth in China is incredible,” Yong said in an interview at his office in Petaling Jaya, a suburb near Kuala Lumpur. He plans to double the number of IFCA offices in the country to 16 by the end of this year.

IFCA has about 100 clients in China, where the National Bureau of Statistics estimates there were more than 90,000 real estate companies as of 2013. The country last month announced measures to make buying and selling a home cheaper, giving a boost to developers as authorities seek to cushion a slump in the property market that has weighed on economic growth.

The stock rose as much as 1.5 percent before closing unchanged at 1.35 ringgit in Kuala Lumpur, near its April 9 record.

GST Boost

Wanda uses IFCA’s software for its cost systems, bidding and capital leases, Huang Chunlei, an assistant to the president of Dalian Wanda and deputy general manager of the company’s IT department, said via e-mail.

In Malaysia, 800 of the biggest 1,000 property developers are its customers, Yong said. The company’s software sales in the country surged 76 percent in 2014 as a new goods and services tax prompted companies to upgrade their software to comply with the change. Profit jumped 12-fold last year to 21.1 million ringgit ($5.8 million) and Yong said he’s “confident” earnings will climb to another record in 2015.

“The good thing about the software is that it is niche for property developers,” Chow Yuh Seng, general manager for IT at Mah Sing Group Bhd., Malaysia’s fifth-biggest developer by market value, said in an interview.

Shares of IFCA have surged 1,321 percent over the past 12 months, the most among software companies worldwide with a market value of at least $150 million, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That compares with an average gain of 46 percent for global peers.

Malaysia Tech

“There was a strong theme for IT and software-related development companies last year, and this year is a continuation,” said Danny Wong, chief executive officer of Kuala Lumpur-based Areca Capital Sdn., which owns shares in IFCA. “The shift to Internet and technology is the new way of doing things.”

IFCA isn’t the only Malaysian software company with booming sales. Grabtaxi Holdings Pte., a mobile application that assigns cabs to nearby commuters, has grown to become Southeast Asia’s largest taxi-booking mobile application, luring investments from Temasek Holdings Pte., Singapore’s state-owned investment company, and SoftBank Corp., the Japanese wireless carrier controlled by billionaire Masayoshi Son.

While Malaysia isn’t known as a hub for technology companies, the government has tried to support the industry since 1996, when it introduced the Multimedia Super Corridor, a special zone to attract technology investments and multinational companies.

Chasing Shares

The success of IFCA’s business may already be reflected in the share price, according to Ang Kok Heng, the chief investment officer of Phillip Capital Management Sdn., which manages $428 million, said by phone in Kuala Lumpur. Shares are valued at 30 times reported earnings, versus 17 times for the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We normally don’t chase a stock,” Ang said.

IFCA plans to boost recurring income by introducing a software rental service that would make its offerings more affordable for customers via monthly subscriptions, Yong said. The firm also plans to set up a property listing website by year-end.

IFCA’s profit will probably jump at an annual rate of 228 percent over the next three years, according to Nigel Foo, a Kuala Lumpur-based analyst at CIMB Group Holdings Bhd., Malaysia’s second largest bank by assets.

“The property sector is a rich man’s industry with high risks, and it’s capital intensive,” Yong said. “People are willing to pay for solutions.”

By En Han Choong – Bloomberg

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