News Snippets: 4 July 2018

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Highlights:

  1. Najib pleads not guilty, Trial to start in February 2019
  2. WTM London 2018 Turns Spotlight On Asia
  3. MAS calls for caution amid ‘euphoria’ in Singapore property market
  4. Amazon Announces Prime Day 2018
  5. Digital Banking Provider Neat Announces US$2M Funding Boost

Najib pleads not guilty to CBT, abuse of power over RM42 mln SRC funds
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak pleaded not guilty today in the High Court to three charges of Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) and one count of abuse of power over funds totalling RM42 million belonging to SRC International Sdn. Bhd. Judge Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak set 19 days from February 2019 for the trial. He allowed Datuk Seri Najib bail of RM1 million in two sureties and ordered him to surrender his two travel documents to the court. The judge also set 8 August for case management and for the hearing of an official application by Datuk Seri Najib for an order to prohibit the media from publishing polemics on the merit and charges faced by him. Datuk Seri Najib was brought to the High Court after the case was transferred from the Sessions Court earlier today.

WTM London 2018 Turns Spotlight On Asia
WTM London 2018, the leading global event for the travel industry, will be the world’s local meeting place as the event adopts an increased regional focus with a dedicated Asia hall and evolves into seven co-located events under one roof. WTM London has about 5,000 exhibitors from 182 countries and regions, holding almost one million business meetings with 10,500 senior buyers. With about 100 sessions taking place and input from 350 senior industry experts, the WTM London Asian Region will be hosting almost 186,000 on-stand meetings from 7,799 industry professionals interested in the region at this year’s event. WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “About 50,000 people attend WTM London every year, with almost one million business meetings leading to £3.1 billion in industry. The Asia region of WTM London is growing phenomenally just as the region attracts more and more visitors.” According to UNWTO figures, in terms of the number of tourists, Asia saw a record of 324 million tourists in 2017, a 6% increase on the previous year. Asia is one of the most dynamic regions in the world, with international tourist arrivals expected to reach 535 million by 2030 – up from about 207 million in 2010 – driven by economic growth and a rising middle class with more disposable income.” World Travel Market World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises six leading B2B events across four continents, generating more than $7bn of industry deals.

MAS calls for caution amid ‘euphoria’ in Singapore property market
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said the “euphoria” in the Singapore property market calls for caution. MAS managing director, Ravi Menon said while the resurgence in property prices and rise in the number of transactions over the past year is welcomed, it should not decouple from economic fundamentals. He made the comments on the back of the release of the central bank’s annual report. He added that the central bank remains mindful of the demand and supply dynamics in the local market. The central bank is also reminding individual property investors to be cautious of debt servicing burdens and avoid taking on too much leverage when buying a house. Banks also have to be careful when underwriting and should perform stress tests for future scenarios, said Mr Menon. Mr Menon said the MAS, alongside the Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of Finance, are closely monitoring developments in the residential property market and remain committed to ensuring a sustainable market.

Amazon Announces Prime Day 2018
For the first time ever, Amazon’s highly-anticipated annual shopping event, Prime Day will be available for Singapore Prime members. Prime Day will start on July 16, 12pm SGT and end 36 hours later on Tuesday, July 17 11:59 p.m. SGT. Members in Singapore join members in the US, UK, Spain, Mexico, Japan, India, Italy, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Australia, Netherlands and Luxembourg, in shopping deals across kitchen, grocery, toys, automotive, electronics, home improvement, office supplies and even stock up on everyday essentials.

Digital Banking Provider Neat Announces US$2M Funding Boost
Neat, a Hong Kong-based digital alternative to a traditional bank, today announces a US$2M funding round from Singapore-based investor Dymon Asia Ventures, and Portag3 Ventures based in Montreal –  the latter making its first investment in Asia. Neat also announces the full launch of its ‘Neat Business’ product, an alternative to a traditional corporate bank account for entrepreneurs, startups and corporates who need a current account for their business that is dynamic and easy to use. Neat Business follows Neat’s personal offering launched in 2017. Neat Business solves a problem faced by startups and entrepreneurs around the world who require options different from or in addition to traditional banks and corporate bank accounts. Neat already has customers in more than 100 countries with a new business signing up every 20 minutes. Neat’s customers include online digital businesses in the IT, e-commerce and consulting industries. Neat Business offers a multi-user business account- accompanied by Mastercard debit cards- that provides businesses anywhere in the world with a dedicated Hong Kong bank account number. It takes just 10 minutes for a company to complete the online sign-up. Neat provides an alternative to a traditional bank account for individuals, startups and SMEs. The first of its kind in Asia, Neat makes bank branches redundant and offers a radically modernised customer experience. Neat’s mission is to take away the obstacles entrepreneurs face in dealing with traditional financial institutions: the paperwork, bureaucracy and long waiting times. Neat believes in making things easier for startups and SMEs around the world.

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