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Mobile Money Transfers to M-PESA Subscribers in Kenya Now Available from Western Union Locations in 45 Countries, Territories

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HONG KONG, April 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Western Union (NYSE: WU) today announced that consumers can now send money directly to the mobile “wallets” of Safaricom M-PESA subscribers in Kenya from 45 countries and territories — the first service of its kind in the world.

The expansion of the service to more than 80,000 Western Union Agent locations worldwide follows the successful debut of the offering from Western Union Agent locations and the westernunion.com website in the U.K.

In Asia Pacific, the service will be now available from three countries, including Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The service rides on Western Union’s worldwide network and trusted global “hub” for processing cross-border remittances. It also builds on the unprecedented success of M-PESA, a domestic mobile money transfer service in Kenya offered by Safaricom that has attracted more than 13.5 million customers since its launch in 2007.

“We are pleased to extend our service with Safaricom, and we look forward to adding additional functionality for M-PESA users in the near future,” said Drina Yue, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, Western Union.

The service will allow people to visit one of more than 80,000 Western Union Agent locations in 45 countries and territories across the globe and send funds directly to the mobile “wallets” of M-PESA’s 13.5 million subscribers. Funds are delivered generally in minutes.

The service will likely be welcomed by thousands of Kenyans working abroad. According to the Central Bank of Kenya, Kenyans living outside their home country sent US$642 million home in 2010 — up from the US$609 million sent home in 2009.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said, “Our customers are very proud of the revolutionary M-PESA service, and this partnership sees us pushing new boundaries to continue to keep Kenya at the forefront of the mobile world. Through this partnership, our customers and their friends and families will benefit from affordable, faster and more convenient international remittances, and the money is available to use straightaway for any M-PESA transaction, or can be withdrawn as cash at any of our 24,000 Safaricom agents.”

Western Union offers the Mobile Money Transfer Service in the Philippines with Smart Communications and Globe Telecom; in Malaysia with Maxis; and in Canada with EnStream. Western Union also has agreements with other mobile operators and banks to introduce the service in the future.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions-branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. The Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta-branded services are offered through a combined network of 445,000 Agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2010, The Western Union Company completed 214 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving US$76 billion of principal between consumers, and 405 million business payments. For more information, visit http://www.westernunion.com .

About Safaricom’s M-PESA

The M-PESA service, the first of its kind in the world, was launched in March 2007. As at 31st October, 2010, the service had over 13.5 million customers and over 22,000 Agent outlets countrywide. Over 600 organisations are now accepting Bill Payment via M-PESA.

The service does not require users to have a bank account; an important aspect in Kenya, where millions of people do not operate bank accounts. With M-PESA, account holders can buy electronic funds at an M-PESA agent and send the electronic value to any other mobile phone user in the country, who can then redeem it for conventional cash at any M-PESA agent.

M-PESA customers can hold up to KShs100,000 in their M-PESA account at any one time, and can do transactions of up to KShs140,000 in a day. Between KShs 50 and KShs70,000 can be deposited, sent or withdrawn per transaction.

SOURCE The Western Union Company

Written by asiafreshnews

April 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Business & Finance

Crisis Management to Become More Challenging in the Social Media Age

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Today’s digital age presents as much opportunities as challenges for communications practitioners seeking to effectively deal with crisis

SINGAPORE, April 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Crisis management has always been a difficult task for PR practitioners. A crisis brings about multiple challenges such as the need to respond and make good decisions quickly. Any waste of time translates to increased risk of reputational loss. The emergence of social media has complicated the entire process, requiring practitioners to act faster than ever. Additionally, practitioners will have to start monitoring online for hints of crisis, respond and manage a crisis through new media.

On the other hand, consumers nowadays are increasingly discerning and every action an organisation take can possibly spell disaster for them if they take a wrong step. To earn the loyalty of consumers, organisations must now engage them on a new level so as to build a reputation store in times of crisis.

Charlie Pownall, Lead Digital Strategist at Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific says: “The Internet and social media are profoundly changing the nature and dynamics of issues and crisis management, to the extent that many organisations feel they are no longer in control of their reputations. While it is a myth that companies could ever control their reputations, it is certainly becoming harder to shape perception and behaviour. To minimize risk, organisations must act transparently, be sincere in their actions and engage directly with their audiences.”

To ensure successful engagement, communications practitioners must arm themselves with well-conceived communication strategies. The crisis communications strategy of today must integrate both traditional and new media channels to properly avert a disaster. This ensures that the different channels complement one another.

Neena Moorjani, Director of Media & Public Relations of Pfizer says: “Social media may be a new force to be reckoned with but for most of us in Asia traditional media will continue to dominate the scene for many years to come. Sound and proactive media engagement with newspapers, magazines and TV remain crucial for companies to protect their reputation and advocate positions that advance their businesses. However, the hype around social media has reinforced in the minds of many that the media world in general is a force that must not be ignored in this day and age.”

It is also important to have the mindset that while crises seem threatening, they present opportunities for organisations. A company which responds and communicates in a successful manner earns more supporters and these loyalists can help a company tide through tough times. Companies can also establish themselves as caring organisations to build up their corporate reputation.

To address these emerging issues, a 1-day workshop and a 1-day conference on “Crisis Management & Social Media” will be held on 9 – 10 May in Singapore and 12 – 13 May in Hong Kong, during which attendees can gain insights and hear from real-world practitioners how the new dynamics of crisis have affected them, how to stay prepared in this social media age and how to respond effectively to your stakeholders in times of crisis. Attendees can also gain an understanding of the critical channels to leverage on and engage the brand influencers who matter during difficult times. It aims to provide insights into how communications practitioners can equip themselves with the skills to push the stance of their organisation to a new level and handle a crisis by enlisting the help of social media effectively.

This year’s conference sets in insights from B2B companies like BASF, Deloitte and global B2C brands like Pfizer, SMRT and more. Experts sharing include Neena Moorjani, Director of Media & Public Relations in Pfizer, Genevieve Hilton, Regional Head of External Communiations in BASF, Goh Chee Kong, Vice President of Corporate Marketing & Communications in SMRT and Jane Kneebone, Director of Coprorate Affairs and Communications in Deloitte.
Conference Details:

Title: Crisis Management & Social Media
Date & Venue:
9 – 10 May 2011, Sheraton Towers, Singapore
12 – 13 May 2011, Regal HongKong Hotel, Hong Kong
Organiser : Pacific Conferences

Attachment: Full Programme
Full programme can also be found at: http://www.conferences.com.sg/S1380-Crisis6-01J-J.pdf

About Pacific Conferences

Pacific Conferences (www.conferences.com.sg) specialisesin organisingbusiness conferencesaimed at providing interactive, insightful information and analysis about issues facing businesses in Asia-Pacific. Catered to middle and upper level executives, its events are usually case studies driven with emphasis on providing in-depth and unbiased practical knowledge.

For more information, please contact:

Ms Leah Katigbak
Tel: +65-6372-2216
Email: leah@conferences.com.sg

SOURCE Pacific Conferences Pte Ltd.

Written by asiafreshnews

April 4, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Posted in Business & Finance