Source for Tech Start-ups  

Over the course of the last few years, the Philippines has not only undergone an economic boom but also a tech revolution. After much transformation, the country has succeeded in re-inventing itself and becoming a leading source of tech start-ups and talent.

After an intensive program aimed at privatizing and modernizing Fort Bonifacio - a former military base - turned it into the Silicon Valley of the Philippines. Boasting luxury condos, malls and skyscrapers, today Bonifacio Global City looks like any other major financial hub in the world. This modern financial district is the beating heart of the country's tech scene and it is hard to believe that not even two decades ago, it was still a military base filled with barracks built during World War II.
From being left behind in Southeast Asia, the Philippines has become the breeding ground for tech start-ups that quickly reach the billion-dollar value mark. These successful start-ups are fast becoming the norm in the country, which has produced 30 start-ups of the like within a year.
The country's booming economy - one of the world's fastest growing economies - is mostly responsible of that growth. As its massive business process outsources industry, employing more than a million workers, the Philippines has grown a ferociously strong tech services industry. The country also fosters talent as the some of the industry's fastest growing sectors are those employing advanced skills, like data analytics and mobile app development.
Boasting growing innovation, flexibility, talent and resources, the Philippines is fast attracting a growing number of tech start-ups. The Philippines also boasts a large English-speaking population, a young and highly educated workforce, and low labor costs.
Each year, tens of thousands of graduates specialize in engineering and technology. Most of them are highly skilled in app design and programming languages, which ensures a thorough capable workforce. Nowadays, internet has made it possible for companies across the planet to tap into this skilled workforce and find an ideal pool of on-demand talent for emerging tech start-ups.
As a former US colony, the Philippines has a workforce that is already familiar with the American culture, which is an advantage for companies looking to outsource.
There has also been revolution in society, a shift in culture and a change in the general mindset from one generation to the other. While Filipinos were happy to work in a call center in the past generation, there's a new generation of young and educated Filipinos who are willing to design and build their own products, and compete with tech films from around the world.
Thanks to this shift in culture, investors are now interested in working with Filipino companies. For instance, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company invested $445 million in Germany-based Rocket Internet to establish a strategic partnership with the objective of encouraging a joint development of digital payment technologies for emerging markets.
Thanks to its strategic position, the Philippines are a gateway to the larger Southeast Asian market, since it boasts a westernized market while maintaining a shared ethnicity with many of its neighbors. Therefore, the Philippines is also a unique market that presents an interesting testing environment and it has served that purposed for a variety of products and services, including Uber and Facebook.
As Filipinos can speak English, start-ups can test their products in the Filipino market without having to translate them into another language.
The Filipino population has also laid the groundwork for a tech revolution given it active presence in social media. According to Opera Software's State of the Mobile Web report, the Philippines is the world's most active country on social media. Moreover, according to a study by Taiwanese advertising tech start-up Appier, 20.8 percent of multi-screen users in the Philippines use at least three devices, so they are actively purchasing technological products.
The Philippines tech sector has also been backed up by the Government. During the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo stated, “I have to admit, the government has lagged behind in its understanding and support or the (start-up) sector. That's something we'd like to change going forward.”
In summary, whether the Filipino tech start-up industry will soar in the future or not, what seems clear is that the country appears to have laid the groundwork for the industry to succeed and could pave the way for other emerging nations.


Asian business start-ups  
It bodes well for prospective businesses in the Philippines that there is currently a resurgence in technology-orientated start-ups elsewhere around the Pacific rim. Here is our overview of some of the more exciting developments.
An Indonesian innovation, BrandClozet offers Indonesian users a weekly service, offering flash sales of both local and global labels. BrandClozet is run by its founder, Detty Wulandari, affiliated to Fazzione. This organization has been offering flash sales to members since 2012.
ReferralCandy is an app that has been developed by Anafore, a business start-up operating from Singapore. This has been designed to allow users to implement ‘refer a friend' type programs, using the platform of email marketing. ReferralCandy is integrated with major e-commerce resources, such a Magento and Shopify. An oversubscribed funding round recently saw 778,000 being raised in US dollars for this start-up.
Cinnamon is a start-up based in Japan. They pitched a popular photograph manipulation app, Seconds, at the Startup Asia Singapore conference recently. In addition, they have also announced receipt of $1.5 million worth of funding, received from CyberAgent Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, Incubate Fund and TSB Innovation Partners. This welcome injection of cash has arrived just in time for Cinnamon's launch of PicChat – the revamped version of Seconds, the latter having been removed from Google Play and the App Store.
ITviec, based in Vietnam, is an IT-specific recruitment agency that has been ticking over nicely since its inception last July. ITviec can be relied upon to provide interesting background information on the IT industry's trends, that is of use to technologically-driven employers and employees beyond Vietnam.
Kelas Cinta
Indonesia's KelasCinta (which translates as love class) are aiming to be a one-stop answer for dating and relationship needs. It is the brainchild of offline training company, Hitman System, who have been educating Indonesian singletons since 2006!
Based in Malaysia, Apzillo allows application developers to promote the apps they are working on through the advertising medium of dedicated website space. In this way hits can be transformed to more user-generated revenue.
Art Loft

Singapore's Art Loft, launched at the end of last year, is a website for the renting and buying of various types of art. It was instigated by an art enthusiast, along with the founders of a Singapore start-up called Soldgers. The latter had previously dabbled in the penny auction business. Art Loft currently has over 500 piece of art listed in the site, and are actively looking at ways of generating more interested investors.
Asian economy overview  
Almost 60% of the planet's population live in Asia. At the time of counting we're talking about 4.2 billion people. That's a vast number of people, many of whom are working hard towards ensuring the economies of their respective countries flourish – or at least ride the uneasy currents of the post global meltdown.
These billions of people are spread across 46 different nation states, and together they form the world's fastest-growing economic region. The largest Asian economy is that of China, the formerly insular sleeping giant that has undergone a radical transformation in recent years. In global terms, China's trading prowess is only bettered by the United States of America.
Asian economies have seen some spectacular booms in recent years. South Korea underwent the so-called 'Miracle of the Han River', between 1961 and 1996. During this period its economy expanded from around 30 billion in the early 1960s to a figure approaching a trillion dollars by the end of the 20th century. Other Asian countries that have enjoyed similar booms include Japan, who underwent its so-called economic miracle up until the 1990s, and China, which continues to enjoy an expansion in its commercial prowess.
Asia in no different to any other part of the world in that its component parts differ vastly in terms of wealth and trading clout. The reasons for this are many and varied themselves. The sheer size of Asia means that countries vary tremendously in their industries and potential workforces and work practices. Added to this equation are factors such as cultural differences, environments, historic ties and variations in types of government and economic infrastructure.
In terms of gross domestic product, the largest economies in Asia are China, Japan, Russia, India, Indonesia, the Philipines, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. For all that these neighbouring countries are separated by often vastly diverse cultural and sociological make-ups, there are many constants that are equally likely to create the ideal conditions for sustainable and profitable trade partnerships. The increasing utilization of technology, that had the ability to transcend national frontiers, means that many enterprises are integrating across cyberspace, with project teams straddling nations in a way that political entities can only dream of.
When it comes to trading, firms are turning to the global marketplace via the so-called information superhighway (the web to you and I). This is the virtual arena where companies can advertise their wares and make large amounts of capital without the need to operate at ground level. As Western nations increasingly turn to the Far East, with its strong emphasis on value for money and customer-orientated service, trade routes and the possibilities for commercial union will become ever more diverse.
Asian markets – trends  

It's not new to 2018, but growth in Asia is heating up. Asia has become the world's largest theme park market. CNBC: The World Bank raised its economic growth forecasts for developing East Asia and Pacific for this year and 2018. The worth of the mobile contents market in Asia is expected to reach 41.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. IMF: Growth will remain strong at 5.4 percent in 2018, as the region continues to be the leader of global growth. Forrester: Asia Pacific Tech Market Outlook For 2017 To. 2018. The Region's Tech Spending Will See Moderate Growth In 2017 Before Accelerating To Almost. 6% Growth In 2018. Forbes: For the first time in 2018, more than half of world's 3.6 billion internet users will reside in Asia Pacific.

Business analysts are casting one eye back to recent history, as well as considering how recent market developments are panning out. One thing that can be looked upon with fairly universal agreement is the fact that the Far East, in tune with the globe in general, has slowly but surely shaken off the worst of the ill-effects of 2008's worldwide recession. This was an event of far-reaching consequences, sending shock waves throughout international commerce. The return to a semblance of normality has been painful in many places, but at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Asia felt the worst effects of the global economic downturn, to varying degrees. There were many different factors that affected the rate at which recovery was possible. European trading partners experienced severe problems in the euro zone, and the mighty commercial giant of the USA underwent its own lengthy periods of fiscal uncertainty. However, 2015 proved to be a far more settling time for business aspirations around the Pacific Rim, and in the Philippines.
Statistical monitoring from various commercial authorities demonstrated that international trading was at least beginning to fluctuate between negative and positive trends, after several years of graphs meandering ‘below the fault line'. Banks remain cautious when it comes to lending to business clients, particularly those wishing to start up new enterprises. But the good news for entrepreneurs is that the numbers of loan applications being accepted is on the rise, even if this is a gradual trend, in most sectors, and across borders. Asia has traditionally nurtured a careful, conservative business ethos. But this degree of caution is a prime driver in the fact that any recovering, once it begins building momentum, is liable to be much stronger than if there were a series of ‘quick fixes' being applies across the board.
One litmus test of Far Eastern economies is in the commercial property market. Most market analysts, when writing reports on the Asian marketplace, are agreeing that business confidence is returning, and this is reflected in the leasing sector. By studying trends over previous years, the longer-term indications are that real estate requirements are far more likely to show signs of increasing over the next three quarters, compared to the sluggish figures ingathered from the previous three.
With the knock-on effects of the Western European and American economies picking up, the Philippines, and indeed, the Pacific Rim in general, have good reason to feel more optimistic about the Asian markets in 2016 than at the comparable point last year.


Digital dating etiquette  
Using online technology has definitely revolutionized the way people in the 21st century approach dating. It has made it so much more convenient to fit this aspect of modern life into otherwise hectic schedules. Approaching potential partners via websites also allows for a degree of caution. However, it is important not to get too carried away with shortcuts offered by the online experience. Like anything else through the years, just as technology has involved so has the etiquette associated with it. So here is a list of common and do's and don'ts associated with digital dating etiquette.
Regardless of the potential importance any text message has, you should always stay focused on the task in hand. If you are on a first date, avoid the temptation of checking your mobile every few minutes. Similarly, don't text while you are in the middle of a social situation, such as a meal or a drink. Singular texts can quickly develop into conversational threads, which can prove to be extremely distracting for the person you should be trying to impress.
If you are expecting some crucial call or text, at least give your partner a heads-up, explaining the nature of the communication, and why it is so important than an immediate response is required. When the call comes in, apologize and leave the table or bar area in order to quickly deal with the call. This is the most important aspect – don't leave a dinner date high and dry while you get involved in some serious conversation. You must be able to prioritize, explaining to the caller, if needs be, that you will call them back later, only you are right in the middle of something at the moment. A good pointer is to leave your phone or silent or vibrate mode to avoid it detracting your attention.
When it comes to arranging a date, make the contact through an actual call, rather than a text. Even if you have been pursuing a relationship through a dating site, via a series of emails or text messages, actually make the effort to speak to someone is surefire way of getting to know them better. When you actually go out on your first date, the ice will have already been broken. You have already sowed the seeds for an effective and respectful arena of communication.or vibrate mode to avoid it detracting your attention.
Honesty is a policy to be observed at all times. If you are entering an online dating scenario in the spirit of meeting someone with the potential to become a good friend, or perhaps even a long-term partner, then there is absolutely no point in inventing a tissue of lies about yourself. The moment the truth comes out, the other party will discover they have found out you possess one of the worst traits possible: untrustworthiness.
When it comes to using social media, it is best to avoid tagging your date on your Facebook page, or other sites. On the one hand, this will avoid the temptation to invite comments from your friends – which might have an adverse affect on how you perceive your date. And think of what would happen if you date happened to come across comments made by a third party, who perhaps had neglected to implement the appropriate privacy setting on their Facebook. It also avoids giving the impression that you are more interested in boasting about your ‘trophy' date than genuinely wanting to get to know the person.
Fun apps for Asian dating  
The good news for your singletons looking for relationships - or even just fun dates in Asia - is that there is a diverse range of apps available to satisfy your every need. Here we roundup a selection of some examples which are proving to be particularly popular.
Originating in Singapore, LoveByte is a extremely popular messaging app aimed at couples. Amongst its functionality is the ability to create photo albums and save dates, as well as adding milestones such as the ‘first ever date' or special anniversaries. LoveByte includes a cool feature that allows its customers to send scratch-cards bearing secret messages. LoveByte is also available on iOS and Android.
South Korea-based Between is an app that is exclusively aimed at couples. It is intended to create an intimate one-on-one space where lovers can share chats, videos and snaps, as well as sending emoticons to each other. It is available on both Android and iOS.
Japan has always been a hotbed of app development, with many eagerly anticipated new releases hitting the market on a regular basis. Pairy is no exception, a social networking app aimed at allowing couples to record their favorite relationship moments for posterity. They also have the facility to communicate with their partners on this platform without having to sift through their many other social media accounts. This is particularly helpful when they want to send direct messages without having to be overly concerned about sorting out the various privacy settings. Much of the functionality over laps with LoveByte and Between, in that it has albums which can be shared, a chat facility, customizable calendars, as well as a data planner. Pairy is available on iOS and Android platforms.
Vibease is a sex vibrator that is compatible with either Android or iPhone devices. It can be controlled by the female or her partner. Within the privacy of her own home, the woman can view her ‘fantasy download' on her smart phone. This is a mood-enhancing video footage that buzzes in synchronicity with the vibrator. When joined by her lover, an interface along the lines of WhatsApp becomes available, allowing for some erotic interaction, with an app that can be remotely controlled. This is an example of the depth of innovation that is currently being applied to the design of apps in the Far East. A lot of imagination is being employed to take software - aimed at making aspects of modern life more convenient – to the next level in terms of what it can actually do for the individual. The mind fairly boggles when we try to imagine the types of facility that might be available for the dating market over the next decade or so!
Global business developments - drone deliveries  

Businesses across the world are increasingly looking to developments in technology that may help streamline their working processes. One area that has been scrutinized with a great deal of interest has been in the field of automated delivery systems. Recent experiments were undertaken in Germany that could indicate a whole new range of possibilities for mail delivery. The potential for this technology in eventually slashing running costs cannot be overstated.
This experiment was performed by a research team from Deutsche Post DHL, the global logistics giant. They carried out a drone delivery by using an unmanned aerial vehicle. The cargo for this unique transfer was a medicine packet weighing approximately three kilograms. The transportation of this simple package was undertaken as part of Deutsche Post's preliminary research into the use of unmanned carriers for the delivery of urgent material.
Researchers were particularly interested in exploring the possibilities for taking mail to areas that, for any number of reasons, were inaccessible to traditional forms of transport. This would obviously be of most benefit to customers living in isolated rural communities, with limited road access, or island-dwelling communities.
The experiment relied on a ‘parcel copter', that was launched across the River Rhine, in Bonn. Cruising to an altitude of 50-metres, it carried its three kilogram cargo for a distance of almost one kilometer.
According to a spokesman from Deutsche Post, Ole Nordhoff: ‘We are at the beginning of the research project'. He was obviously extremely excited at the experiment's successful conclusion, particularly since the ability to transport post this way has the potential to solve a vast range of logistical issues.
Another spokesman for the company underlined the fact that Deutsche Post are now giving serious considering to the use of these unmanned drones, not just for delivery to remote areas, but as a general tool for providing a streamlined service to all customers. Allowing customers to receive items within half an hour or less of purchase would be a revolutionary boost for commerce.
Employing drones for general delivery purposes will remain the stuff of science fiction for some time. But the use of copters to handle urgent deliveries is something that is not only possible, but within the not-too-distant future may well prove to be probable. The use of commercial drones is not widely covered by legislation.
Amazon are excited about Prime Air — a delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles, also called drones. Prime Air has great potential to enhance the services we already provide to millions of customers by providing rapid parcel delivery that will also increase the overall safety and efficiency of the transportation system.


Manila night market  

The so-called ‘night market', held for almost a quarter of a century in Manila's Tutuban Center, has been a magnet for would-be entrepreneurs, and small business exponents wishing to make an extra few dollars for their families. As well as being a bustling street market where a diverse range of wares are displayed, the area is also popular with the many tourists who visit the Philippines' capital. They drop in to the Tutuban, not just in the hope of coming across bargains or holiday souvenirs, but simply to get a taste of the authentic Filipino atmosphere.
Although the wonders of the night market have been imitated in other Filipino population centers, none come close to reproducing the vivid and colourful background of the original market. There are many reasons for its enduring popularity.
A lot of people in the city lead very busy lives, often ruled by the dictates of the nine-to-five treadmill. When they have finished their daily toil and are contemplating the commute, a lot of the shopping malls are already starting to wind down towards closing time. The night market it perfect in this respect, as it offers hassle-free browsing around the stalls at a time that is very convenient for a lot of city dwellers. The range of products on display is another huge draw. Many locals choose to do a lot of their Christmas shopping here due to the sheer variety of items available, and their relative inexpensiveness compared to goods being offered on supermarket shelves. At any time it is possible to come across stalls hawking toys, fashionable accessories, home furnishings, clothes and electronic gadgets of every conceivable description.
The tenants taking advantage of the competitive rates for setting-up shop come from a wide variety of different backgrounds. T-shirts are always popular in the Philippines, either for adults or kids; and clothes stalls are excellent outlets for local manufacturers to sell their wares. One stall owner stated: ‘The designs are good but not expensive'.
The opportunity to reach a wide cross-section of Filipino residents, as well as visitors, means that many tenants have branched out. They might well have kicked-off their fledgling business enterprises with a solitary stall, but the benefits of expansion are there for all to see. Some tenants quickly find themselves having to open another stall, or stalls, in order to cope with demand. Even the most humble Manila resident can find themselves making a considerable little income from the night market, certainly enough to support a family, as well as giving enough to invest in a few home improvements, or perhaps a modest car.
Another reason cited for the market's popularity with entrepreneurs is the community aspect. People get to know neighbouring stall owners, and can swap ideas and observations about consumer trends. There is also a greater sense of security from thieves amongst the closely-packed stalls, with their owners keeping an eye out for each other.
Manila call center news  

As evening falls in Manila and the rush-hour traffic begins to fade, there is an unusual migration occurring in the opposite direction. Hordes of office workers are departing their homes to head into the capital's financial districts to commence work. Welcome to the world of Manila's call centers.
The enthusiastic young men and women who operate in these skyscrapers are known as call center agents, and the majority of their clients live on the other side of the world. This is the reason that their nightshifts are by far their busiest periods. A study undertaken last year discovered that the Philippines employs approximately 600,000 such workers, officially overtaking India as the world's most populous call center operators.
The actual tasks that are performed in these neon-lit buildings cover a diverse range of possibilities. Whether you are an Australian seeking to book a flight, or someone in New York trying to purchase a theatre ticket, or even an irate customer in Western Europe complaining of faults with their washing machine, calling the helpline is much more likely to result in them being routed through to an enthusiastic Filipino than the traditional Indian call center stereotype.
So why have call centers exploded in this way in the Philippines? There are any number of reasons, but perhaps the most obvious one of all are these two: wages are relatively low, ensuring that call center costs are extremely manageable in this part of the world; Filipinos, with their American colonial influence, speak easily-recognizable, international English. This makes them particularly easily understood on the other side of the Pacific, where large numbers of the individuals ringing their lines are doing so from the USA.
There are other reasons for the burgeoning numbers of call centers in the Philippines. Their development followed on from internet telephony – the evolution in this technology meaning that overseas telephone calls were no longer unduly expensive. There is an even more simplistic reason. Filipinos have long taken pride in their traits of being a friendly, charming and approachable people. These characteristics are worth their weight in gold when it comes to having the tools to dealing with large numbers of strangers calling on the telephone on a daily basis.
The industry itself is fast evolving. Despite the fact that there are significant levels of poverty in the country, managers are prepared to invest heavily in the technology, in order that Filipino call centers can find themselves equipped to deal with those in any other part of the world.
According to Raffy David, a director at the Teleserv call center: ‘The Philippines came into this business about ten years ago, around the time of a technological shift to IP telephony'. In other words, this coincided with the likes of free voice services such as Skype, making outsourcing cheap and easy.


Manila – IT security news  

Yes the main news is all about the WannaCry global ransomware attack that kicked off on 12 May 2017 encrypting user files till they paid a fee.

In other recent news emanated from the technology sector in Manila – a local software firm had unearthed the existence of a group of cyber criminals. These unsavoury individuals have been conducting espionage via a particularly virulent strain of malicious software. So far this has spread to an estimated 31 countries, with every indication that this tally is set to increase.

The so-called malware has been given the name ‘careto', this being the Spanish name for ‘mask'. The relatively innocuous-sounding component is actually reckoned to be one of the most advanced of its kind, and computer network managers throughout the world have every god reason to be treating the potential threat from this latest online baddie with the utmost attention.
According to one expert, a spokesman from Kaspersky Labs, who was summarizing a report published on its own computer security website: ‘the mask is one of the most advanced threats at the current time. This and several other factors make us believe this could be a state sponsored operation. We observed a high degree of professionalism in the operational procedures of the group behind this attack, including monitoring of their infrastructure, shutdown of the operation, avoiding curious eyes through access rules, using wiping instead of deletion for log files, etcetera. This level of operational security is not normal for cybercriminal groups'.
Exactly who is behind the mask software remains open to speculation. But the list of intended targets is both extensive and diverse. Over 1,000 IP addresses have been infected to date, with that number growing regularly. By far the most infected country has been Morocco with 380-plus instances, or over one-third of the total mask attacks. Other countries that have suffered similarly have been Brazil with 173 infections, the UK with 109, Spain with 61, France with 52, Switzerland 33, Libya 26, and the USA with 22. Those IP addresses that have been affected include websites relating to government institutions, foreign embassies and diplomatic offices, energy companies, research institutions and private equity firms.
Kaspersky went on to underline exactly how dangerous this type of viral infection could be for the respective network infrastructures. ‘For the victims, an infection with careto is disastrous. The malware intercepts all the communication channels and collects the most vital information from the infected system. Detection is extremely difficult because of stealth rootkit capabilities. In addition to built in functionalities, the operators of careto can upload additional modules which can perform any malicious task. Given the nature of the known victims, the impact is potentially very high'.
The mask has been out there since at least 2007, and could well have infected Windows, Apple, Linux and Android operating systems. This also includes the likelihood of having spread to mobile devices.
Given the increasingly complex nature of malware attacks, it goes without saying that computer security organizations must work doubly hard at keeping one step ahead. As has happened on numerous previous occasions, the lure of the substantial remuneration available from Apple or Microsoft might inspire many of these villains to jump ship and become ex-hackers working for the other side?


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