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Archive for March 31st, 2011

Scandinavians at the Top, Russia, Turkey and South American Countries Score Low in English Language Skills

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— EF Education First’s English Proficiency Index reveals wide gaps in English skills across the world —

LUCERNE, Switzerland, March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — EF Education First, the world leader in international education, today unveiled the first comprehensive index ranking the proficiency of English among a broad population in 44 countries and territories around the world where English is not the native language.

The EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) is the first index that compares the English ability of adults in different countries. The index uses a unique set of test data (see methodology) from over two million people across 44 countries who took free online English tests over three years (2007-2009).

Asia’s performance was lower than expected especially in light of the amount spent on private English training. Moreover, although European countries tend to perform very well, Spain and Italy lag far behind others in Western Europe. EF’s English Proficiency Index also shows an interestingly strong correlation between a country’s English ability and its national income per head. There are also high correlations with levels of education and with export strength.

“In today’s highly competitive global economy, English language proficiency is a basic skill and has never been more important for the entire workforce,” said Bill Fisher, President of EF’s online learning division Englishtown. Mr. Fisher added: “For developing countries to compete successfully in global industries and capitalize on the business outsourcing boom, the ability to produce large numbers of skilled graduates who are able to communicate in English, must be a top priority.”

The full country results included in this inaugural index are at http://www.ef.com/epi/ef-epi-ranking/. For interactive graphs and more analysis, please visit: http://www.ef.com/epi/ .

The 44 countries and territories represented in the inaugural EF EPI illustrate the wide range of English skills around the world today. Comparison of countries to their neighbors, trading partners and closest allies provides a fascinating study in divergent national priorities and educational policies across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

A few of the key findings for these regions include:

— English proficiency in Asia is surprisingly low
Despite its British colonial legacy and reputation as an English-speaking
nation, India is today no more proficient in English than rapidly improving
China. Indeed although it is very difficult to estimate the number of
English users in each country, today the two countries have an
approximately equal number of English speakers, with China poised to
surpass India in a few short years.

— Spain and Italy lag behind Western Europe
Northern Europe is remarkably strong in English, containing all but one of
the highest proficiency countries in the world – but this is not the whole
picture. Today, over 90 percent of all students in Europe study English as
part of their required schooling. In addition, many multi-national
companies and factories in Europe have adopted English as their workplace
language. However, proficiency in Spain and Italy is considerably lower
than in other western European countries.

— Spanish beats English as an international language in Latin America
Latin America is the weakest of all regions, with an average English
proficiency score barely surpassing the low proficiency cutoff. In part
this is explained by the importance of Spanish to the region. A shared
language already allows for some international trade, diplomacy, and travel,
possibly lessening the motivation to learn English.

— Countries with higher English levels have higher gross national incomes per
capita
The EF EPI shows a strong positive link income and English levels. This is
a case of both cause and effect. Richer countries have more to spend on
education-including English, the lingua franca of the global economy. In
the longer term, more English education boosts average national income by
improving economic opportunities.

Country Sites & Methodology
For additional details on select markets ranked in the EF EPI and for the study’s complete methodology, please visit: http://www.ef.com/epi/ .

About EF Education First:
Established in 1965 with the mission to “break down barriers in language, culture, and geography”, EF is the world’s leading international education company that has helped over 15 million students to learn a new language and travel abroad. With a network of 400 schools and offices worldwide, EF specializes in language training, educational travel, academic degrees, and cultural exchange programs. For more information please see http://www.ef.com.

Media inquiries, please contact:
Eric Feng
Tel: +852-2111-2370
Email: epi@ef.com

SOURCE EF Education First

Written by asiafreshnews

March 31, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Business & Finance

Embracing Green Business Opportunities, Fostering the Development of Low-carbon Cities

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2011-03-30 18:30
MIECF OPENS ON THURSDAY

MACAU, March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ —

Hosted by the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region, the 2011 Macao International Environmental Cooperation Exhibition and Forum (2011 MIECF) will open this Thursday at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel. The event will run for three consecutive days, from March 31 to April 2. Chief Executive of Macao SAR, Mr. Fernando Chui Sai On will officiate at the opening ceremony. MIECF will gather the world´s top environmental government officials and experts and academics in the field to discuss the latest environmental issues and will be a meeting point for leading and well-known domestic and overseas exhibitors to create opportunities in the environmental business.

Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) and Macao Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) will act as host coordinators for the event. As in the past, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People´s Republic of China have consented to be the special supporting organizations. The event also include as co-organizers, the governments of the 9 provinces in the Pan-Pearl River Delta and the Government of Hong Kong SAR. MIECF is an exhibition and forum event of the highest level in the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region.

MIECF´s main theme for this year is “Green Opportunities — Low Carbon Urban Development”, to promote “Green Cities, Smart Technology, Sustainable Growth”, in line with the emission reduction strategy of the Central Government and the environmental policies of the Macao SAR Government. Through a series of professional exhibition and convention activities, along with the Green Business Cooperation Day, business matching sessions, Green Public Day and a wide array of other interactive activities, MIECF aims to promote local, regional and international cooperation and to share the latest environmental technologies and solutions, aiming to create business opportunities to the enterprises, disseminate the green spirit and to act an exchange platform between governments entities and academic institutions.

Mr. Joschka Fischer,Former Vice Chancellor and Former Foreign Minister of Germany, will deliver a keynote speech on “Decoupling Growth and Emissions — a Roadmap to a Prosperous Decarbonized Future”. Keynote address by another important keynote speaker, Mr. Klaus Toepfer, Former United Nations Undersecretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, will be presented on the next day (April 1).

The exhibition and business matching activities of this year´s MIECF will be held for three consecutive days. A series of activities and forums in connection with the Green Business Cooperation Day will be held in the afternoon of the first day. Other forums will take place on the second day, while the last day — April 2 (Saturday) is reserved for Green Public Day, when members of the public are welcome.

This year´s MIECF will exhibit important products of the green industry, including solar energy, biomass energy, wind energy, hybrid energy systems, electric cars and hybrid vehicles, charging stations, battery and battery storage solutions, building technology, facilities management, smart grid, waste disposal, water conservation, air pollution control, noise control, project financing and consultancy.

Besides the Macao Pavilion, the Pan-Pearl River Delta Provinces and Regions Zone, the European Pavillion, the United States Zone and the International Exhibition Zone, several business associations and chambers of commerce related to the environmental sector have set-up their respective exhibition zones inside the venue, including the Macao Association of Environmental Protection Industry, Macao Energy Saving Association, Macao Ecological Society, Macao International Green Industry Union, Green Environment Protection Association of Macao and “Macau, China — Centro para o Estudo e Desenvolvimento da Industria das Energias Renovavaveis entre Asia-Pacífico e America Latina”.

At 2.30 p.m. on the first day of the MIECF (March 31), a series of activities related with the Green Business Cooperation Day will be held, including forums, networking cocktail party and protocols signing ceremony. Green Forum will comprise two major themes, namely: “Exploring Green Market Business Opportunities” and “Opportunities in Green Sectors: E-Mobility”. Experts and senior representatives of the world´s leading enterprises were especially invited to make an in-depth exploration around these issues. Speakers will include Tongfan Co., Ltd. (China´s Top 100 IT enterprise), EDP Internacional, Beijing Origin Water Technology Incorporation Company, Wal-Mart (China) Investment Co., Ltd., BWM, Scania, BYD, GIZ, CEM (from Macao), Zotype, Zhuhai Jetco and CLP, as well as representatives of the Chinese and foreign governments, and also environmental organizations and business representatives.

Green Business Cooperation Day is jointly organized by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM), AICEP Portugal Global, Macao Chamber of Commerce, European Union Chamber of Commerce in Chinam European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, the American Chamber of Commerce in Macau, the American Chamber of Commerce in South China and the European Union Business Information Programme.

Since its inception in 2008, MIECF has been successfully held for three consecutive years in Macao. There has been a continuing growth in the number of exhibitors, exhibition area and the number of professional representatives present. Last year´s MIECF attracted altogether 5,990 representatives of companies from 47 countries and regions, the exhibition venue was 13,400 square metres and the number of exhibitors totalled 362. This fully demonstrates the successful role played by MIECF as an important green platform for South China and the Pan-PRD Region.

MIECF TO DISCUSS ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES – CREATING A LOW-CARBON CITY LIFE IN MACAO THROUGH JOINT EFFORTS

Grand opening of the 2011 Macao International Environmental Cooperation Exhibition and Forum (2011MIECF) will take place this Thursday (March 31). The event will be held for three consecutive days at the Venetian Macao-Resort Hotel. MIECF comprises several activities, including exhibition, business matching and several conferences under the Green Forum. Part of the conferences will be held on the second day. Top government officials, experts and academics in the field of environmental protection from all over the world will gather at the MIECF to discuss the latest environmental issues.

With regards to the Forum, the number of sessions has been increased from five sessions (last year) to seven sessions this year and will cover an analysis on the experience gathered from the development of low-carbon cities in different parts of the world, as well as the development of urban planning of Macao en route to be a city with low carbon emission. The Organizers have especially invited researchers from home and abroad to share the results of their research and their practical experience. The Green Opportunities Forum will start in the afternoon of the very first day, during which the speakers will focus on two major themes, namely: “Exploring Green Market Business Opportunities” and “Opportunities in Green Sectors: E-Mobility”.

On the other hand, on April 1, there will be more sessions of the Green Forum, including “Urban Planning and Eco City Development”, which will be held in the morning, when the speakers will discuss about the importance of improving urban planning for a sustainable development in an high-speed development scenario, and debate on how urban planning can create eco-city development programs. In the “Low Carbon Urban Industries: Sustainable Tourism”, discussions will focus on how to create a low-carbon urban environment and the regional positioning and sustainable development of Macao as a world tourism and leisure centre. Representatives from the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the PRC, APA — Agencia Portuguesa do Ambiente, from Portugal, PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) and the Environmental Protection Bureau of Beijing Municipality will be the keynote speakers.

In addition to the above-mentioned two sessions, there will be three more sessions under the Green Forum, including “Green Buildings: Foundations of a Low Carbon Future”, “Clean Energy & Smart Grid” and “Green Chemical Forum”. It is hoped that through the above topics discussions, practical experience from Mainland China and overseas will be introduced to Macao, while creating conditions for Macao to become a demonstration platform for environmental technology.

Furthermore, from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the same day, Mr. Klaus Toepler, former Deputy Secretary-General Former United Nations Undersecretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme will deliver his keynote address.

GREEN PRODUCTS FROM SEVERAL COUNTRIES ON DISPLAY AT THE MIECF – GREEN BUSINESS MATCHING TO PROMOTE ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT

The 2011 Macao International Environmental Cooperation Exhibition and Forum (2011MIECF), which will be held from this Thursday to Saturday (March 31 to April 2), at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel, has attracted the participation of 324 companies from 24 countries. The Organizer believes that this year´s edition of the MIECF will derive significant business opportunities to the exhibitors from all over the world.

The exhibition venue of this year´s MIECF has been increased to 16,500 square metres, where a vast array of environmental products and services related to renewable energy, green transport, energy efficiency and environmental protection will be on display, including solar energy, wind energy, electric cars and hybrid vehicles, charging stations, battery and battery storage solutions, building technologies, green building materials, smart grid, waste management and water resources protection.

In addition to the Macao Pavilion, the Pan-Pearl River Delta Provinces and Regions Zone, European Pavilion, USA Zone, International Exhibition Zone, several business associations and chambers of commerce related to the environmental sector have set-up their respective exhibition zones inside the venue, including the Macao Association of Environmental Protection Industry, Macao Energy Saving Association, Macao Ecological Society, Macao International Green Industry Union, Green Environmental Association of Macao and “Macau, China — Centro para o Estudo e Desenvolvimento da Industria das Energias Renovaveis entre Asia-Pacífico e America Latina”.

On the other hand, several well-known domestic and international car manufacturers and brands, including BYD, BMW, Mitsubishi Motors, Yutong, Zotye, Zhongda, Jinglong, Zhonda Jiling and GreenWheel will participate in the MIECF as exhibitors. Furthermore, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, from Japan, Lamor and CCI, from Finland, Sonkyo Energy, from Spain, EDP, from Portugal, Bayer, from Germany and Taiwan Solar Energy will also showcase their respective products at the MIECF.

In order to allow exhibitors and participants to make full use of the functionality of the Macao business service platform, the Organizer will continue to provide free business matching services. A procurement area has also been installed at the venue, and well-known local hotels, such as Galaxy Macau/StarWorld Macau, Grand Lisboa/Hotel Lisboa Macau, Melco-Crown (COD) Hotels Ltd., MGM Macau, the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel, Wynn Macao Resort will set-up their respective procurement counters at the site. Besides, several government departments and public institutions will take part in the green business matching sessions.

The business matching sessions held last year have achieved remarkable results. 416 sessions business sessions were arranged, resulting in the signing of 24 protocols. The signing parties were from Macao, Mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Brazil, Portugal and other countries.

So far, the Organizers have collected 539 projects related to environmental investment and agency for environmental products and have pre-arranged 368 business matching sessions for companies from Mainland China, Macao, Hong Kong, Australia and Europe, involving investment projects and interest in the following products: LED energy-saving products, hydroelectric power, sewage treatment, electric cars and lithium battery technology. Relevant information has been uploaded to the official MIECF website – http://www.macaomiecf.com – and to the following on-line business matching service platform: http://bm.ipim.gov.mo. Parties interested to participate in business matching are invited to navigate to the above-mentioned sites, for registration. The Organizer will continue to gather cooperation projects and intention and all enterprises are welcome to submit their projects and intention. We sincerely hope that the Macao SMEs will grab the business opportunities brought about by the MIECF. For further details, please contact the MIECF Commission at (853) 2872-8328.

MAKE A PLEASANT VISIT TO THE MIECF ON APRIL 2 — GREEN PUBLIC DAY

Hosted by the Macao SAR Government, the 2011 Macao International Environmental Cooperation Forum and Exhibition (2011MIECF) will be opened to the public, free of admission charge, on April 2, to mark the Green Public Day. Guided tours will be available at the venue, to present the MIECF concept and also the exhibition venue and respective characteristics. In addition, a series of popular programs specially designed for children and their parents will be available. Macao residents and visitors are welcome to visit the exhibition at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel and participate in relevant activities. Green Public Day is opened from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and admission tickets are available at the venue. Furthermore, the Organizer will distribute to each ticket holder, on a first-come-first-served basis, a fine souvenir.

Green Public Day on April 2 will adopt as its main theme “Environmental Protection Starts with Green Life”. A series of activities suitable for children and their parents, such as green games, experience of electricity generation, exhibition of information on low-carbon, lecture on low-carbon, environmental-friendly magic shows, green wishing tree, photo studio using green screen, etc., have been specially prepared for the visitors. Souvenirs will be distributed at the site, to enhance public awareness to the issue of environmental protection by mean of interactive funny methods, aiming to promote the sharing of the joy of environmental protection in daily life and thereby to stimulate the community to jointly create and enjoy a green life, while promoting the concept of a low-carbon city.

In view of the public interest in eco-cars in recent years, on the Green Public Day, the Organizer will arrange for test riding of electric cars, so that the population could personally experience and feel the characteristics of environmentally friendly vehicles.

On the other hand, in order that the younger generation could also share the concept of low-carbon emission, the Macao Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) has invited 200 school teachers and students to visit the MIECF, and have arranged guided tours to explain to them the MIECF philosophy and the concept of an ideal life with low carbon emission. At the same time, students from Colegio de Santa Rosa de Lima, DSPA´s partner in the “Eco-School Partnership Program”, will deliver a speech on “My Viewpoint regarding Low-Carbon Life”. The speakers, secondary school students, will examine the concept of low-carbon and waste reduction and her attitude towards environmental protection, through her own clothes, food, housing and travel.

To facilitate transportation to the MIECF venue and advocate green travel, the Organizer will provide on the Green Public Day free shuttle bus services to and from the venue. Shuttle bus terminals are located at Avenida Dr. Mario Soares (Macau Square), Avenida Conselheiro Ferreira de Almeida (bus stop next to Pak Vai Bus Stop), and Estrada Marginal do Hipódromo (Royal Supermaket at Hak Sa Wan). The service is available from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the buses will leave every 30 minutes. In addition, four hours´ free car parking service will be available. The Organizer hopes that each vehicle would transport as much number of passengers as allowed by law, to support green travel.

Contact:

MIECF Secretariat
Tel: +853-8798-8675
Fax: +853-2872-7123
Email miecf@ipim.gov.mo
MIECF website: http://www.macaomief.com
SOURCE 2011MIECF

Written by asiafreshnews

March 31, 2011 at 10:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Multi-Screening and Personalization Emerge as Key Asian Trends

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2011-03-30 13:00
Latest industry forum discusses key digital trends in Asia Pacific

Disney engages today’s consumers with the choice, flexibility and convenience they want

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Today at The Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific) 4th Digital Media Conference held this year in Singapore, over 200 leading experts from media and technology companies from Asia Pacific and the US came together to discuss the continuing evolution of TV and how it affects the way we look at our businesses and our consumers. This year’s theme “Media R-Evolution: Engaging the Connected Consumer” focuses on what forward-looking media companies are doing to stay engaged with their audiences and address questions fundamental to creating value and launching the next generation entertainment marketplace. Today’s audiences not only expect flexibility in when to watch their favorite TV show, movie or latest sports news, but also access to that content on the platform of their choice whether at home or on-the-go.

“Audience viewing habits have dramatically changed — never before has TV viewing been so personal,” said Rob Gilby, Managing Director, Media Distribution, The Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific) Limited. “Our research tells us that there is a complete shift in consumer expectations and audiences are looking for greater personalization and customization of how they access brands such as Disney, ABC and ESPN. The question we are asking is how to create the most value in delivering the best consumer experience.”

What’s your Screen of Choice?

Asia Pacific is home to over 135 million smartphones, 350 million 3G+ Subscribers, 968 million TV sets, 6.5 million tablets, 800 million internet users and 143 million Facebook Users.(1)A wide scale industry study conducted last year shows that using multiple devices to watch video content is on the rise in Asia Pacific. While the majority of people still watch video content on TV (77%), 63% are watching on a desktop/laptop computer, 38% are watching content on mobile phones and 19% on other hand held devices. (2) The region’s access to digital technology coupled with increased consumption of content on multiple platforms is a great opportunity to provide consumers the best entertainment experience on the screen of their choice.

“We are seeing the continued evolution of television with a rapid uptake from consumers who want multiple ways across multiple screens to connect and engage with their favorite content,” says Gilby.

Whilst viewing content on multiple screens is growing, the use of social media to complement the viewing experience is adding new dimensions to the concept of co-viewing. No longer do viewers have to watch TV in the same room to share the experience. Social media provides a platform for viewers to share opinions and commentary about their viewing experience with peers, family and friends on digital platforms and in virtual communities.(3)This further deepens the consumer experience, providing multiple touch points for consumers to interact with their favorite content, stories and characters.

Primetime is all the Time

Consumers are no longer confined to a scheduled viewing time. Digital platforms and devices offer flexibility for consumers to watch TV whenever they want. This is especially appealing to time-poor and younger consumers who require more flexibility in their free time, preferring to watch TV at a time that suits their lifestyle.(4)

In 2010 Disney did four major deals in Asia Pacific, including India and Indonesia- home to 2 of the top 5 populations in the world – to distribute content to mobile phones, through online and video-on-demand with traditional terrestrial and pay-TV.

“Technology is a natural part of consumer’s lives and the smart digital devices that exist today and the ones we haven’t yet seen provide opportunities for us to deepen our relationship with the viewer. At Disney, incredible content and innovation go hand in hand and we’re focused on finding new ways to take our compelling stories and characters to more audiences while enhancing the viewing experience,” adds Gilby.

In Malaysia, Disney Media Distribution works with Astro, Media Prima and TM Net. Disney Channel is available from Astro via mobile video (loop) services on Astro Mobile TV. Media Prima offers Disney TV content available for Malaysian fans to catch-up online via Ton.Ton.com.my, a leading edge video portal. TonTon comScore ranks 6th in Malaysia, and 32nd overall including international sites as of January 11, 2011. In addition, TM Net, which launched IPTV service HyppTV last year, offers Disney feature films available via VOD (video-on-demand).

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, interactive media and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 Company, had annual revenues of over US$36 billion in its most recent fiscal year. For more information about The Walt Disney Company please visit: http://corporate.disney.go.com/

About Disney Media Distribution

Disney Media Distribution is responsible for the distribution of The Walt Disney Company’s program content and channels to free-to-air, cable and satellite broadcasters and mobile, broadband and VOD platforms across Asia Pacific. The program portfolio includes quality feature films, critically-acclaimed scripted and reality series, ABC news programming, live action and animated kids content, and prestigious specials such as the Academy Awards(R). Disney Media Distribution also oversees channel distribution of the much-loved Disney Channel and Playhouse Disney to all major pay TV platforms in the region.

Note:
(1)Source: IDC Asia/ Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker Q4/10, Pyramid Research (Jan 2011, Informa Telecoms & Media, Yankee (Dec 2010), http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats3.htm, http://www.socialbakers.com/facebook-statistics/
(2)Source: Synovate Young Asians Survey 2010- Device to watch video content at least once a week- universal (sample), 8-24 year olds: 25,612,200 (12,302).
(3)Source: Disney Media Distribution / TNS; The Future of Media 2008, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Australia
(4)Source: Disney Media Distribution / TNS; The Future of Media 2008, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Australia

SOURCE The Walt Disney Company

Written by asiafreshnews

March 31, 2011 at 10:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized