• Tekun Nasional to Assist 35,000 Micro Entrepreneurs In 2018
  • Supernewsroom, Cradle in partnership to accelerate startup success
  • Batik Air Launches Jakarta-Kota Kinabalu Direct Flights
  • Bali offers up to 50 percent discounts to tourists
  • Singtel and EDMI to develop IoT-driven smart meters in Singapore
  • Hong Kong employees’ retirement savings fall short by about HK$2 million
  • Bitcoin not yet proven as credible currency: Japan FM

Tekun Nasional to Assist 35,000 Micro Entrepreneurs In 2018
The National Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund (Tekun Nasional) aims to assist 35,000 micro entrepreneurs in 2018 with an allocation of RM500 million as provided for in the Budget 2018. Director/Chief Executive Officer Datuk Baharom Embi said of this amount, RM450 million is for 31,000 Bumiputera entrepreneurs and the balance of RM50 million for 4,000 entrepreneurs from the Indian community. Meanwhile, Tekun Nasional is now offering a maximum financing of RM100,000 compared to RM10,000 in its early years of establishment. Datuk Baharom said the priority is for existing borrowers with a dynamic business capability, who are competitive and have the ability to move to a higher level, alongside a good repayment track record. From its establishment in 1998 to date, Tekun Nasional has channelled RM4.93 billion to 399,335 entrepreneurs through its product financing.

Supernewsroom, Cradle in partnership to accelerate startup success
CRADLE, a leading startup influencer in Malaysia announced a strategic partnership with Supernewsroom, Asia’s first media digital platform, in an effort to further drive the growth and propel startups to success. The partnership aims to provide media exposure for startups which in turn will expand market opportunities and improve their businesses. The first of its kind initiative in Malaysia, this strategic partnership merges the expertise and extensive experience of the startup industry that Cradle possesses, with Supernewsroom’s capability and proficiency in maximising media exposure, ultimately generating publicity especially for entrepreneurs. Bringing solutions to all startups and small businesses, Supernewsroom provides an integrated digital public relations services. Since its launch in 2015, Supernewsroom has helped many businesses to reach out to the right media and for their stories to be heard by readers and audiences by providing cost-effective digital PR services. Cradle will support Supernewsroom in terms of its marketing efforts to its approximately 800 startups and partners. Some of the activities that are lined up includes monthly talks on ‘PR for Startups’ and pro bono PR consultancy services which will be provided to startups under Cradle by Supernewsroom. (DNA)

Batik Air Launches Jakarta-Kota Kinabalu Direct Flights
Batik Air has launched twice-weekly direct flights from the Jakarta Soekarno – Hatta International Airport (CGK) to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI), as part of efforts at expanding its international network. Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) Managing Director, Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said according to MAHB’s records, BKI’s total passenger traffic movement had increased by 11.2 per cent year-on-year to 7.3 million between January and November 2017. “During the same period, the airport also registered 2.3 million international passenger traffic movements, a 22.1 per cent increase from last year.” (Bernama)

Bali offers up to 50 percent discounts to tourists
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has announced that in an effort to boost tourist arrivals during the year-end holiday season, discounts of up to 50 percent would be offered to tourists visiting Bali. The discount policy is part of an effort to boost tourist arrivals to Bali, particularly during the New Year’s Eye festivities, after foreign and domestic tourists have shown reluctance to visit the resort island in light of the volcanic activity of Mount Agung. The discounts would be given to both domestic and foreign tourists, said Arief.
This year, the government targeted 6 million foreign tourist arrivals to Bali, however Arief projected that figure would only reach 5.5 million because of the ongoing volcanic activity. He said the number of tourist arrivals had reached 5 million as of October. Next year, he added, the government targeted 7 million foreign tourist arrivals to Bali. (JT)

Singtel and EDMI to develop IoT-driven smart meters in Singapore
Singtel and global smart metering solutions provider EDMI Limited are collaborating to develop a smart electric metering infrastructure for Singapore. The partners have successfully tested smart electric meters, powered by seamless connectivity on Singtel’s nationwide Cat-M1 cellular Internet of Things (IoT) network. The combination of smart meters with the IoT network enables the secure wireless transmission of real-time meter readings at regular intervals to the power grid. It also allows electricity suppliers to monitor electricity consumption and forecast demand more accurately. (MR)

Hong Kong employees’ retirement savings fall short by about HK$2 million
Most Hong Kong employees on average are expected to fall short by about HK$2 million (US$260,000) for their retirement plan, according to a survey by the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association. Only 23 per cent of Hong Kong employees believe that they would have enough money after retiring from work, according to the survey conducted during the third quarter of 2017. Based on the current living standards, it is expected that a Hong Kong employee would need to save HK$3.1 million when they reach retirement at age 65 so as to enable them to maintain the same level of living after leaving work. (SCMP)

Bitcoin not yet proven as credible currency: Aso
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said that bitcoin has not been proven to be a credible currency and that he would watch its developments in the near-term. He made the remark to reporters when asked about his French counterpart’s comment this week that France would propose a discussion on regulating the virtual currency at a meeting of G20 group of major economies next year. “There’s no fixed definition on whether it’s a currency or not. This issue is a difficult one,” Aso said. He added virtual currencies may be widely used in countries such as China but that they were less common in Japan, where hard currency is still preferred. Bitcoin’s prices have risen more than 1,700 percent since the start of the year, triggering worries about a bubble. (JT)