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Shipping and transport firms enjoy streamlined services

A new start-up, Giztix.com, which has won three major start-up pitches and competitions this year, has an ambitious dream of being a global platform for supply-chain systems.

It won a Thailand ICT Award in the Start-up Category, the Digital Winners Award from DTAC Accelerate Batch 3, and Echelon Thailand 2015’s Start-up LaunchPad award. It also walked away with the title of Most Promising Start-up.

Sittisak Wongsomnuk, 25, Giztix.com’s chief executive officer and co-founder, said it started offering services in September by positioning itself as an e-marketplace for logistics services to pinpoint addresses for shippers and transport providers. It can help shorten a logistics service’s quotation period from two hours in the domestic market, 10 hours in Asean market, and two days for with Europe or North America to nearly real time.

It provides lists and details of shippers and transport providers so users can quickly and easily find logistics services.

The service is provided free of charge to shippers, and its revenue comes from commissions and transition fees charged to transport providers that get customers via Giztix.com.

Shippers can source the transport providers verified by Giztix.com and quickly get transport and freight clearance, while transport companies have a greater opportunity to get customers easily. They can increase revenue by not needing to invest in technology and sales procedures.

Giztix.com currently serves around 100 shippers and more than 100 transport companies, 20 of the latter in Thailand. The rest are in mainland China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Sir Lanka, Britain, Australia and the United States.

The competitive advantage of Giztix.com is to offer easy ways to handle logistics for both shippers and transport providers. The shipper can compare prices, while the transport company can sell its services anywhere.

Sittisak said Giztix’ platform made the logistics services enjoyed by large companies available to smaller firms at an affordable cost.

Next year, Giztix.com aims to have more than 10,000 active users per day, of which 80 per cent are shippers and the rest transport providers. It also expects to be available in 15 countries with total transaction value of US$10 million (Bt357 million).

He said Giztix.com aimed to cash in on the high potential logistics value in Asean, a market worth around $20 billion and which is expected to grow by 2-6 per cent per year.

From being an e-marketplace for logistics services, Giztix.com by mid-2016 plans to extend its service to cover the whole supply-chain system through partnerships with large e-commerce service providers.

“We aim to be the platform hub of the global supply chain system through integrating Giztix.com with international e-commerce players such as Alibaba and Priceza.com,” Sittisak said.

He said Giztix.com was seeking venture-capital fund-raising worth $300,000 for team expansion. It is also applying for support from the Board of Investment.

It plans to launch a mobile application early next year.

Out of 100 applications, 15 teams were selected to make their pitch in front of judges on the first day of “Echelon Thailand” in Bangkok. Five start-ups were shortlisted to make a presentation in front of a live audience and a panel of five judges. They were Ardent Capital CEO Adrian Vanzyl; Linear Venture founding partner Harry Wang; Andrew Kvalseth, head of the strategy and innovation division of Total Access Communication (DTAC); Gobi Partners investment director Victor Chua; and GREE Ventures associate Albert Shyy.

As part of the grand prize, Giztix received three years’ access to BizSpark, BizSpark Plus and $120,000 worth of Azure credits from LaunchPad prize sponsor Microsoft. These prizes will allow Giztix to access software and tools like Visual Studio and Office, alongside training courses and a vibrant technology community.

Additionally, the Giztix team received a pair of tickets to “Echelon Asia Summit 2016”, and an exhibition booth at the international summit to be held in Singapore next June.

Echelon is Asia’s premier technology and business conference that celebrates the start-up industry and its change-makers. It is organised to convene the region’s tech space, investors and influencers to discuss Asia’s emerging trends and ascend to a higher value proposition.

Asean to see surge in M&A

Posted by pakin On October - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

More Japanese and Chinese firms are expected to merge with or acquire companies in Southeast Asia in the coming years, as the region remains attractive with high potential for economic growth and a large and relatively young population, according to Deloitte.

The intended slowdown in China has not diminished Deloitte’s bullish view on the region. It is looking to spend “tens of millions of US dollars” a year to hire financial experts and talent in the region.

“Asean is Deloitte Global’s main target of business expansion in 2016,” Chaly Mah, chief executive officer of Deloitte Southeast Asia, told a press conference in Bangkok yesterday.

“Because of the potential for Southeast Asia’s 620 million people, which is considered to be a big consumer market, we are seeing major international corporations that are starting to make acquisitions.”

Many Japanese companies are buying into the consumer-type business in Southeast Asia so that they can gain access to the future potential of the region, he said.

Quoting the International Monetary Fund, he expects the region’s economy to expand from US$2.5 trillion to $4.3 trillion and eventually become the fourth-largest in the world by 2020.

Singapore economy falls in Q2

Posted by pakin On July - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Singapore’s economy contracted more than analysts predicted last quarter, underscoring the weakening outlook for Asian nations amid sluggish global growth.

Gross domestic product fell an annualised 4.6% in the three months through June from the previous quarter, when it expanded a revised 4.2%, the Singapore Trade Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. The median in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 1.5% contraction.

Growth in global trade has slowed in the last few years after outpacing world expansion for decades, according to the International Monetary Fund. A commodities slump, China’s slowdown and uneven recoveries in the United States and Europe have damped the exports that power many Asian economies.

“Manufacturing has been the weakest link,” said Irvin Seah, an economist at DBS Group Holdings in Singapore. “With the uncertainties in the global economy, I don’t think economic conditions are likely to improve in the near term.”

Singapore’s manufacturing shrank an annualised 14% in the second quarter from the previous three months, Tuesday’s data showed. Construction contracted 0.2%, while services fell 2.6 in the same period.

The economy’s contraction is the worst since the third quarter of 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg based on previously reported figures. Analysts at Barclays Plc and Merill Lynch lowered their growth forecasts for Singapore for this year and next, following Tuesday’s report.

The sluggish growth could trigger more monetary policy action by Singapore’s central bank, some analysts said. The authority unexpectedly eased in January.

“The weaker-than-expected GDP release raises the risk of a policy shift in October,” analysts at Nomura Holdings Inc said in a research note on Tuesday. “With core inflation below the target range, a weaker property market and bank lending, the GDP release could increase market expectations for easing.”

The outlook elsewhere is also weak, with the International Monetary Fund last week cutting its forecast for global expansion this year. China’s second-quarter economic growth may have slowed to 6.8% from 7% in the first three months, according to the median estimate of a Bloomberg survey ahead of data due Wednesday.

Singapore’s economy expanded 1.7% in the second quarter from a year earlier, after growing a revised 2.8% in the previous three months. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey was 2.4%.

Tuesday’s data are advance estimates computed largely from figures in the first two months of the quarter and may be revised later, the ministry said.

Sanchi Stupa A HIDDEN GEM

Posted by pakin On June - 22 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

FEW THAIS KNOW ABOUT THIS ANCIENT BUDDHIST SITE IN MADHYA PRADESH

LORD BUDDHA never honoured Sanchi Stupa with a visit but the World Heritage site is still regarded |as one of the outstanding Buddhism stupas in India.

The authorities in Madhya Pradesh designated the complex of stupas as a tourism site but it is not well known among Buddhists, notably ones from Thailand.

Some Buddhists from Southeast Asia countries such as Cambodia and Thailand have visited the site although very few of them made a second visit, according to a local tourist guide.

Besides monks and nuns from Sri Lanka who occasionally stay nearby and are isolated from the local community, there are no Buddhist religious activities in the area and there is no significant Buddhist population in Madya Pradesh state. Therefore, no Buddhist life or culture exists anywhere in the state, even at Sanchi.

Buddhists in Madya Pradesh are mostly neo-Buddhists, a sect established by BR Ambedkar in the 1950s, according to Anthony de Sa, chief secretary of the Madhya Pradesh government. “But they don’t believe and practice [in the same way] as people in the northeast of India who have practised the religion for more than 2,000 years or who are like what you see in Southeast Asia,” he said.

Sanchi Stupa has no religious function these days. It is a standalone Buddhist monument.

“Yes, people can come and worship here but neither flowers nor candles are allowed,” an official said.

People come here to see the architecture, as it is a masterpiece of Buddhist art and archaeological heritage, and not for religious purposes.

Originally built by the Mauryan Dynasty’s Emperor Asoka more than 300 years after the death of Lord Buddha, the stupa served a religious purpose until the 12th century.

Sanchi was not the home of Asoka, either, but the site was chosen since it was located on a hill or, as many have said, because it was the birthplace and home of his queen, Devi, who gave him a son, Mahindra, and a daughter, Sanghamitra. Asoka later commissioned his children as missionaries to Sri Lanka where they managed to convert the monarchy and others to Buddhism, and thus make Sri Lanka one of the Buddhism centres of the world today.

Unlike other Buddhism sites in India such Bodh Gaya and Savatthi, the Sanchi Stupa has a less direct connection to Lord Buddha because he never visited the area before or after becoming Lord Buddha.

It is believed that Asoka put Buddha’s relic in the Great Stupa, while the relic of two disciples of Buddha, Mandgalyayana and Sariputra, was found in the innermost chamber of stupa number three. The relic was sent to London during British colonial rule before it was returned to be kept in a modern temple built by the Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka, which is adjacent to stupa number three.

The temple is open to the public only once a year, on the last Sunday of November. “We are well aware that it is a relic of the two since Bali script records their names in stupa number three,” an official said.

If one misses the chance to see the relic, there are many other things to see in the Sanchi Stupa complex. The Great Stupa, also known as stupa number one, is regarded as the oldest stone structure in India – 36.5 metres in diameter and 16.4m high. At the four gateways, stories and symbols of Buddha and Buddhism are portrayed in sandstone.

Among many other things, the Asoka pillar lies close to the southern gateway of the Great Stupa. Emperor Asoka had a similar pillar elsewhere but this one is the finest. Unfortunately, it is said to have been broken down by a local landlord and the lion capital of the pillar is now kept in a museum. Four lions are the dominant feature on the Indian national emblem.

Adjacent to the western gate is a Buddhist Vihara, which was a place for monks to live and study. From the temple ruins, a path was paved to stupa number two, which stands at the edge of the hill. Its most striking feature is the stone balustrade that rings it.

For non-Buddhists and those not interested in the religious features of the stupas, the architecture reflects the close relationship between the Indian and Greek civilisations and is well worth viewing. Pillars and columns, as seen in many buildings in the stupa complex, were influenced by the Greeks. Even statues of Lord Buddha look like Greek’s gods, rather than the Indian native that he was.

Unlike many other attractive sites, Sanchi Stupa is rather quiet and calm as it is somewhat isolated from communities. No vendors can be found selling souvenirs outside the complex but it is still worth a look.

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