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Archive for April 14th, 2014

Startups & Bitcoins — Hot Topics Among Young Singaporeans on Social Platforms: ThoughtBuzz Releases YOUNG SINGAPORE Report for the BFSI Industry

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SINGAPORE, April 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — ThoughtBuzz’s “YOUNG SINGAPORE” series’ latest report on the BFSI Industry, revealed that stocks (26%), insurance (21%) and startups (20%) were hot topics discussed by young netizens across the country. The report, based on research by ThoughtBuzz, the social media analytics’ arm of TO THE NEW, analyzed the social media conversations around banking, financial services and insurance sectors.
Startups & Bitcoins — Hot topics among Young Singaporeans on social platforms
Startups & Bitcoins — Hot topics among Young Singaporeans on social platforms
Singapore being a regional financial and investment hub, majority of the netizens discussed stocks and foreign currency investments. Discussion about Bitcoin trading is seen as a rising trend, where the conversations revolved around Bitcoin trading activity and tax eligibility in Singapore.
Earlier this year, The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) announced that Singapore-registered companies that buy and sell Bitcoins or exchange the virtual currency for other goods and services must pay taxes for these transactions. Many short and medium term investors welcomed the move and shared their opinions on the vulnerabilities of Bitcoin trading across social channels.
Singapore government’s efforts in promoting Singapore as a startup hub are generating good interest. Conversations around startups make up 20% of the social discussions. Netizens shared news and information about operations and managing business functions within a startup. Startups in Singapore are particularly interested in the crowd-funding model, incorporating E-Commerce in their services or creating an innovative tech product.
Commenting on the report finding, Ashok Patro, COO, ThoughtBuzz said, “Companies in the BFSI sector cannot operate in the traditional way anymore. They need to listen, understand and engage with customers across social channels to tap Young Singapore. As our study reveals, players that are not embracing social channels are losing the opportunity to learn about their customers. These constitute major indicators for consumer needs, opinions on existing products and services, overall market sentiment and missing out on this is simply asking to fail.”
About ThoughtBuzz:
ThoughtBuzz, a TO THE NEW group company, provides a comprehensive listening and analytics platform for organizations of all sizes. With over 100 clients under its belt, the company delivers insights for their businesses with a comprehensive analytics platform and insight solutions such as Full Spectrum Analysis, Social Intelligence Matrix and Digital Audit backed by statisticians, analysts and researchers. ThoughtBuzz can provide real business value to your organization at all stages of social media activity. It supports social media content in 13 languages including English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysian languages. For more information, visit:
Founded in 2010, TO THE NEW is a social and mobile first digital services provider, delivering a comprehensive range of services across marketing, content, technology and analytics. TO THE NEW houses digital brands like Ignitee Digital, IntelliGrape Software, Tangerine Digital, Techsailor and ThoughtBuzz under its umbrella and has rapidly grown to emerge as one of the leading digital service provider, delivering integrated digital solutions to help clients connect with digital consumers and drive tangible business performance.
TO THE NEW employs over 600 people across Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Guangzhou. For more information, visit:
Source: ThoughtBuzz

Written by asiafreshnews

April 14, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Purity from Nature Chocolate Couvertures Launches in Asia-Pacific

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Launch follows increasing consumer demand for pure, intense and traceable chocolate
SINGAPORE, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Cacao Barry®, the world’ leading gourmet chocolate brand, today officially unveils the next generation of chocolate couvertures, Purity from Nature, at its Asia-Pacific launch.
The product launch of Cacao Barry’s Purity From Nature on 9 April in Singapore featured creations from four renowned chefs in Asia Pacific
The product launch of Cacao Barry’s Purity From Nature on 9 April in Singapore featured creations from four renowned chefs in Asia Pacific
Pure and intense, the Purity from Nature chocolate couvertures — Ocoa™, Inaya™ and Alunga™ — stemmed from a rising demand for premium chocolate by artisans, chocolatiers and pastry chefs.
Worldwide, demand for chocolate is growing and sales for it is forecasted to expand from S$105 in 2010 to S$124m billion in 2016. A major driver for this increase is Asia, whose demand will hold a 20 per cent share in the global market for chocolate in 2016 (Markets and Markets, 2011).
“The chocolate palate is growing more sophisticated and consumers are beginning to demand from chefs an authentic and intense chocolate flavour. We are also seeing a trend where consumers increasingly value the importance of traceability when making their choices,” said Pascale Meulemeester, Vice President, Global Brands Marketing.
Cacao Barry knows every farmer and every bag of cocoa beans is 100% traceable. Dedicated to helping farmers achieve and maintain the exacting level of excellence, Cacao Barry trains farmers; making sure that only the best fully sun-ripened cocoa fruits are picked.
Following the harvesting of beans, fermentation is a crucial step in awakening and extracting the best flavours. Years of painstaking research resulted in the Q-Fermentation method, in which specific micro-organisms naturally present in the plantation brings out the most outstanding purity and intensity from beans.
“The perfect couverture should be unrivalled in purity and intensity, a height which Purity from Nature has achieved. These chocolates have been designed for specific applications and allows me to freely express myself in my desserts,” said Janice Wong, Owner and Founder of 2am:dessertbar and 2am:experience in Singapore.
In the lead up to the officially launch, Cacao Barry collaborated with renowned chefs on “Creative Day” to create extraordinary recipes which incorporate local ingredients with Purity from Nature. The Singapore experience was documented here:
Purity from Nature products are available in most Asian countries through Cacao Barry’s authorised distributors.
About Cacao Barry® (
By constantly inventing and reinventing Pastry and Gastronomy, France gave its name and mark to this art. It is a tradition envied by the whole world, centered around creativity, innovation, and above all passion. Since its creation, Cacao Barry has been entirely committed to this heritage. It all started with the quest of its founder Charles Barry, who travelled to Africa in 1842 to seek out the best cacao bean varieties for his first true connoisseur’s chocolate. In 1923, the company was catapulted into the international arena, making Cacao Barry the first to investigate cacao cultivation in Latin America and other continents. Whether with the first range of rare-origin chocolate couvertures, the highly sought-after aromatic refinement of the first Plantation Millesimes or the introduction of the Or Noir Lab in 2007 – a service offering chefs the opportunity to create their own signature chocolate – Cacao Barry has constantly raised the bar, setting new standards for the chocolate industry.
Today Cacao Barry provides the most complete palette of products, to all passionate chocolate craftsmen around the world: chocolate and couvertures, pralins, origins and exclusive plantations, inspiring them and opening doors to new creative experiences. Besides, Cacao Barry offers the widest international community of chocolate professionals, Ambassadors’ Club and Chocolate Academies to support craftsmen and chefs on their quest for perfection.
Press Contact
Aina Osman
Regional Marketing Manager
Gourmet Asia Pacific
Source: Cacao Barry

Written by asiafreshnews

April 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Baha Mar Executives, Chinese Ambassador Discuss Development of China-Bahamas Tourism Ties

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— Officials Discuss Potential for Expanding Airlift, Increasing Awareness Among Chinese Travelers in Mainland, Abroad

NASSAU, The Bahamas, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Executives of Baha Mar, the $3.5 billion integrated destination resort project, met with China’s Ambassador to The Bahamas to discuss the potential for increased tourism between The Bahamas and China, which is now ranked as the world’s biggest-spending nation on international travel.

Sarkis D. Izmirlian, Baha Mar’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tom Dunlap, Baha Mar’s President, and Robert D.L. Sands, Senior Vice President-Administration and External Affairs, met recently with His Excellency Yuan Guisen, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Along with other issues, the officials discussed the ongoing development of airlift from cities in mainland China, outreach to potential Chinese visitors, and raising awareness among travel agents and consumers of the ease of travel between the two countries.

The discussion followed the announcement in December 2013 of a Bahamian-China visa accord, which allows mutual 30-day access to Bahamian and Chinese passport holders without requiring a visa.

“Our ties with China will be key in helping to diversify The Bahamas’ global tourism base,” Mr. Izmirlian said. “We’re grateful for the Chinese Government’s ongoing efforts to further develop relations between our countries. It’s particularly important to Baha Mar, which stands to benefit by providing a unique travel experience—an authentic Bahamian resort offering the full complement of luxury accommodations, golf, gaming, spa treatments and access to one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.”

By offering the full complement of luxury shopping, fine dining, nightlife, outdoor adventures, art and culture, Baha Mar is designed to compete with the best the world has to offer.

China’s burgeoning middle class and affluent citizens have become highly influential global travelers, buoyed by the country’s recent economic growth. In 2012, Chinese surpassed U.S. and German citizens to become the world’s top international tourism spenders, with 83 million people spending BSD$102 billion on worldwide travel, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). By 2015, 100 million Chinese are expected to travel abroad, the organization reported.

Chinese travelers have helped to make Macau and Singapore the world’s fastest-growing gaming resort destinations. Macau’s gaming revenues soared to BSD$46 billion in 2013, far surpassing the BSD$6.5 billion generated by Las Vegas Strip resorts, according to data from government and Wall Street sources.

About Baha Mar
Baha Mar, which is scheduled to open in December 2014, is set on 3,000 feet of white-sand beach just 12 minutes from Nassau’s newly expanded Lynden Pindling International Airport. The resort will feature an elite collection of hotel brands with gaming, entertainment, private residences, shopping and natural attractions that reflect an authentic Bahamian experience. The Baha Mar Hotel, with 1,000 rooms, is the centerpiece of the resort. A 700-room Grand Hyatt, a 300-room Mondrian, and the 200-room Rosewood Hotels & Resorts® and the 694-room Melia complete the extraordinary accommodations at Baha Mar.

Amenities will include the 18-hole, 72-par championship Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Baha Mar, 200,000 square feet of combined state-of-the-art convention facilities including a 2,000-seat performing arts center and an art gallery with the largest curated collection of Bahamian art; more than 30 restaurants, nightclubs and bars; two spas, including the 30,000-square-foot destination spa ESPA at Baha Mar; designer retail boutiques, a beachfront sanctuary with native Bahamian flora and fauna, several distinctive pool experiences and a private island.

For more information, please visit
Source: Baha Mar

Written by asiafreshnews

April 14, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

International Seaweed Expo Kicks Off on Wando Island

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Seaweed expo-opening

WANDO, South Korea, April 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly 5,000 tourists, government officials and businessmen from around the world gathered on this island off South Korea’s southern coast Friday to attend the world’s first international seaweed-themed expo.

Under the theme of “seaweeds and their role in mankind’s future,” the Wando Seaweeds Expo 2014 kicked off its month-long run on Wando Island. At the opening ceremony, Kim Jong-sik, the governor of Wando and the chief of the event’s organizing committee, said that the goal of the expo is to foster the development of the seaweed industry. “Let’s make history by successfully hosting the world’s first seaweed-themed expo and eventually develop the seaweed industry and dominate the international seaweed market,” Kim said.

Some 60 companies from more than 20 countries showcased new technologies, products, materials, and services related to the seaweed industry at the expo’s main exhibition hall. Besides the main hall, four other halls such as “experience sites,” were opened where visitors touched and saw various seaweeds such as kelp, sea mustard, and laver. There will be various workshops, exhibitions and forums held during the 31-day expo, including discussions among experts and officials from companies dealing with the marine plants about the future course of the seaweed industry, the organizers said.

The committee expects the number of attendees to top its goal of 700,000 throughout the event, including some 640,000 locals and 30,000 foreigners. The organizing committee said the expo will be a great opportunity to explore Wando since ticket holders are allowed free admission to tourist attractions near the island.


Hwang in-uk


Written by asiafreshnews

April 14, 2014 at 3:09 pm

RCI(R) Hosts First Korean Global Hotel Tour & Seminar in Singapore

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SINGAPORE, April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — RCI®, the global leader in vacation exchange, and part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands (NYSE: WYN), recently hosted its first Korean Global Hotel Tour and Seminar in Singapore. The conference is jointly organized by RCI Asia Pacific and Business Hotel Forum, the biggest non-profit hotel association in Korea.
About 30 guests from hotel groups and developers in South Korea were present at the conference, such as the Korea Tourism Organization, ERA Korea, Asia Asset Management, IlJin Sam Young Global, Hando Investment, HanSeung Investment Development, Taejo Construction, and PK LAND Development, among others.
The half-day conference focused on the growth, development, trends and opportunities in the hotel and tourism-related real estate industries. An array of the hottest topics in today’s marketplace were covered, including the different business models available in the hotel industry, case studies on the success of shared ownership around the world and how they can be successfully introduced into a developers’ menu of recreational real estate offerings.
The conference was conducted by Gavin Cheong, director of Business Development for North Asia, RCI Asia Pacific. Cheong has over 25 years of experience in the airline, hotel and travel industries, and is responsible for developing business for new and existing clients in North Asia.
With his extensive industry knowledge and track record of success, he provided valuable insights to on how developers can further grow their business in partnership with RCI.
“After this seminar, we have a better understanding of the new global hotel industry trend and learned about new business model strategy that we can apply to our hotel business. We see a bright future for the hotel industry in South Korea,” said Jung Sangman, President of Mode Tour REIT. “We really appreciate RCI for organizing this conference for our Business Hotel Forum Members, and we look forward to attending similar events in future.”
South Korea is a booming tourism market with significant double digit growth in the past few years, with a record annual growth of 11.3% in 2012, and 2 million visitors in 2013. The South Korean government has targeted tourism as a major growth area, and shared ownership products may provide an option to the government’s call for the diversification and innovation in tourism products.
“Shared ownership has become main-stream with many hotel developers around the world adopting a mixed-use model. The marketplace is evolving and both developers and hospitality operators are looking at new business models to improve ROI and deliver enhanced operating synergies,” said Adrian Lee, managing director, RCI Asia Pacific.
About RCI
RCI is the worldwide leader in vacation exchange with nearly 4,500 affiliated resorts in more than 100 countries. RCI pioneered the concept of vacation exchange in 1974, offering members increased flexibility and versatility with their vacation ownership experience. Today, through RCI® Weeks, the traditional week-for-week exchange system, and RCI Points®, the industry’s first global points-based exchange system, RCI provides flexible vacation options to its approximately 3.7 million RCI subscribing members each year. RCI’s luxury exchange program, The Registry Collection®, is the world’s largest program of its kind with approximately 200 affiliated properties either accessible for exchange or under development on six continents. RCI is part of Wyndham Exchange & Rentals and the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands (NYSE: WYN). For additional information visit our media center, or The RCI Blog. RCI also can be found on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Media Contacts:
Tania Sim
Source: RCI
Related stocks: NYSE:WYN

Written by asiafreshnews

April 14, 2014 at 2:57 pm

CSA Group and HCT Co. Ltd. Form Alliance to Offer Testing and Certification Services for Electronics and Electrical Appliances

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SEOUL, South Korea, April 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — CSA Group, a leading global provider of standards development, testing and certification services, and HCT Co. Ltd, a leading provider of certification and compliance testing in Korea, announced a new alliance that will enable both organizations to expand one-stop testing and certification services for electronics and electrical appliances, providing Korean manufacturers access to global markets. Mr. Ash Sahi, President and CEO of CSA Group and Mr. Soochan Lee, CEO of HCT officially marked the occasion by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today.

“Our new alliance with HCT is part of our commitment to provide more efficient, cost-effective global testing and certification services to our customers in Korea,” said Ash Sahi, President & CEO, CSA Group. “HCT is one of the leading providers of testing and certification in Korea. Combining the expertise of CSA Group with HCT’s will allow both organizations to provide our customers with the best possible service solutions.”

Through the proposed alliance, HCT will test a wide range of products including batteries, electronics, electrical appliances and medical devices in its state-of-the-art facilities, to the applicable U.S and Canadian standards to support the growing demand for Korean products in North America. Eligible Korean manufacturers wishing to export to North American markets would be able gain the globally recognized CSA certification based on testing carried out locally at a qualified HCT laboratory. This will benefit existing and future CSA Group and HCT customers by reducing travel time and costs associated with testing samples, by shortening turnaround time for reports, and providing a streamlined process for testing and certification to North American standards.

“HCT has grown in the last 20 years to become one of the leading testing and certification labs in Korea,” said Soochan Lee, CEO. “By aligning ourselves with CSA Group, we will continue to grow and adapt cutting-edge technologies to help Korean manufacturers gain a competitive edge in the global market.”

The CSA Group Korea office, located in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, is fully staffed with highly qualified engineers who strive to provide efficient and cost effective local testing and certification services. The alliance with HCT expands the coverage of CSA Group’s electronics and electrical appliance testing and certification services and allows CSA Group to meet the growing needs of Korean clients wishing to access the global marketplace.

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit membership association dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. Its knowledge and expertise encompass standards development; training and advisory solutions; global testing and certification services across key business areas including hazardous location and industrial, plumbing and construction, medical, safety and technology, appliances and gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability; as well as consumer product evaluation services. The CSA certification mark appears on billions of products worldwide. For more information about CSA Group visit

About HCT Co. Ltd.

HCT is an officially designated International Certification and Calibration Agency that provides only the best quality services in the field of product certification and testing; and equipment calibration and repair; and product research and development. For more information about HCT visit

CSA Group Sales Contact
SW Jeong CSA Group Media Contact
CSA Group – Korea Office Pino Chen
+82 2 527 1717 +86-21-54261199-822

Source: CSA Group

Written by asiafreshnews

April 14, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Business & Finance

MetLife Announces Completion of Share Purchase Agreement with IGI in Pakistan

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HONG KONG, April 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — MetLife announced today that American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) had completed the First Closing under the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) entered into with IGI Insurance Limited (IGI) in Pakistan. The SPA was signed on January 21, 2013 and is in respect to the sale of ALICO’s majority shareholding in its subsidiary in Pakistan, American Life Insurance Company (Pakistan) Limited (ALICO Pakistan), to IGI.

With the completion of the First Closing, IGI acquired 34,838,687 ordinary shares in ALICO Pakistan (representing approximately 69.6774% of the total issued capital of ALICO Pakistan). Under the SPA, IGI will acquire ALICO’s remaining shareholding in ALICO Pakistan (representing approximately 12.2960% of the total issued capital of ALICO Pakistan) at the Second Closing in accordance with the terms of the SPA.

Established in 1953, and listed on the Karachi and Lahore Stock Exchanges, IGI is a leading general insurance company in Pakistan and a flagship organization of The Packages Group, a major business house in Pakistan. It is among the top four general insurance companies of Pakistan and provides a wide variety of risk covers including fire, marine, motor, health, home, travel and engineering.

About MetLife
MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates (“MetLife”), is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs. MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit

Source: MetLife Asia Pacific Limited

Related stocks: NYSE:MET

Written by asiafreshnews

April 14, 2014 at 10:29 am

Posted in Business & Finance

Unisense FertiliTech A/S Expands Patent Portfolio

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AARHUS, Denmark, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Unisense FertiliTech A/S announces that the company has been awarded a USA patent for design aspects of their EmbryoSlide® culture dish. The dish is used in conjunction with the EmbryoScope™ time-lapse system for optimal culture of human embryos during IVF. Similar design patents have been awarded in Europe, Japan, and India and are expected in China, Brazil, and Israel.


During IVF, embryos are routinely removed from an incubator in order to assess embryo quality and to evaluate the embryo with the highest potential to make a baby. The EmbryoScope™ time-lapse system incorporates a highly stable incubator with an integrated microscope and imaging system. The system automatically identifies and focuses on the embryos which are placed in the EmbryoSlide® culture dish, and acquires images in multiple focal planes to create time-lapse movies of embryo development. These movies are used by medical professionals to determine which embryo(s) are best suited for transfer.

High image quality is extremely important for accurate time-lapse analysis to ensure that cell division events and other morphological events can be observed. A key to obtaining good image quality is the need to hold the embryos in a confined area to allow optimal imaging. The unique culture well design allows embryos to be grown in a defined space without the possibility for an embryo to drift into a neighboring well. Each well is specifically identified to prevent inadvertent transfer of the wrong embryo. Finally, the design optimizes temperature stability as the culture dishes are housed in a precisely engineered heating arm. These unique features are patent protected in Europe, USA, Japan and China.

Mai Faurschou, Patent Manager at Unisense FertiliTech, states “this design patent is a welcomed addition to our IP portfolio, and ensures that we can maintain a leading edge in image acquisition, embryo handling and embryo evaluation”.

Unisense FertiliTech continues to expand its intellectual property rights for methods and inventions developed to improve clinical practice in assisted reproduction. Vagn Rasmussen, Chief Commercial Officer states “Our active patent portfolio represents the company’s ongoing development program which focuses on bringing innovative new technologies to clinics worldwide”.

About Unisense FertiliTech A/S

Unisense FertiliTech A/S was founded in 2003 in Aarhus, Denmark, as a subsidiary of Unisense A/S, to develop technology to improve human embryo culture and evaluation in assisted reproduction. The company has developed and manufactures the EmbryoScope™ time-lapse system which has been used for more than 135,000 patient treatments in over 40 countries worldwide. The Embryoscope™ time-lapse system is CE marked as a Class II medical device in Europe, and is the only IVF time-lapse system which is FDA 510K cleared for clinical use in the USA.

Contact info:

Mai Faurschou, Patent manager –

Francesca Bahr, Marketing manager –
Source: Unisense FertiliTech A/S

Written by asiafreshnews

April 14, 2014 at 12:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized