Explore Issue 6 of APAC Outlook Magazine, the B2B magazine for the APAC region.

Latest 06 Corporate Stories

PacificLight Power

Electrifying the competition With their brand new state-of-the-art electricity power plant, PacificLight Power Pte Ltd, together with its retail arm PacificLight Energy Pte Ltd, are in the process of securing a bigger customer base and the brand recognition they deserve Writer Emily Jarvis Project manager Ben Wigger PacificLight Power Pte Ltd is an electricity power generation company that owns and operates an 800MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plant with an investment value of over SGD$1.2bn. "We have one of the most efficient combined cycle plants operating in Singapore and this has enabled us to compete effectively in the liberalised electricity market," explained Yu Tat Ming, the CEO of PacificLight Power. The plant, located on Jurong Island in Singapore, is one of the highest efficiency plants in the region. Critical to the plant's operation is a continuous supply of fuel, namely natural gas. PacificLight Power has a long term fuel supply arrangement with BG Singapore Gas Marketing Pte Ltd for its supply of LNG and is currently the largest consumer of LNG in Singapore. BG delivers LNG to the recently built LNG terminal that is operated by Singapore LNG Corporation Pte Ltd. The terminal was completed in May 2013 and to date the supply chain has worked seamlessly. "Having a reliable and proven fuel supply from BG gives us comfort that the supply chain will remain strong." PacificLight Energy Pte Ltd is a licensed electricity retailer selling electricity to eligible consumers in Singapore. Currently, any non-residential consumer whose consumption is at least 10,000 kWh per month

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India International Insurance

The Ayes have it India International Insurance celebrates 25 years of underwriting and maintaining a superb claims record Writer Emily Jarvis Project manager Sheridan Halls India International Insurance, or III was incorporated in Singapore in November 1987, by amalgamating the four Indian state run Non-Life Insurance companies, which were operating independently in Singapore for decades. In his in-depth interview with us, CE and MD of III, Mr Ravindra Kumar stated that "this was certainly a more sound and viable option to pool resources to create a robust unit with a strong market presence." III is now owned by the five Indian Government-run General Insurance companies, namely GIC Re, New India Assurance, National Insurance, Oriental Insurance and United India Insurance, and continues to grow from strength to strength. A quarter of a century later, the company is exploring new avenues to cater to the ever-changing Insurance market environment. Kumar states that they are "evolving to stay ahead of the competition." Financial Strengths Kumar emphasises that "our main financial strength is that we have been rated by Standards & Poor as A-with a stable outlook. For the past few years, this achievement has provided us with the much needed market edge over our competitors." III has a very strong Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 300, which is much higher than the regulatory requirement. Today, III's total assets are valued at S$700 million, with a shareholder's fund of over S$300 million and investible funds of about S$650 million. A History of Success Over the last few years, III have

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M&W Group

Centennial Anniversary Marks a Continued One-Stop Service M+W Group recently celebrated 100 years of providing technology-related construction solutions for international clients Writer Emily Jarvis Project manager James Mitchell M+W Group is the leading global engineering, construction and project management company in the fields of advanced technology facilities, life science and chemicals, energy and environment technologies and high tech infrastructure. From concept development to turnkey services, the company manages projects of all sizes ensuring rapid realisation, high quality standards and cost-effective completion. With its competence to link process and automation technologies and complex facilities to integrated solutions, M+W Group primarily focuses on leading companies in the fields of electronics, photovoltaics, life science, chemicals, energy, automotive, security, IT and telecoms, as well as research institutes and universities. 2012 was an excellent year for the company, generating an order intake of €3.58billion and a revenue stream of €2.38billion, in addition to celebrating its 100th anniversary; growing from a small outlet in Germany, into a major international player. M+W Thailand are a significant player in M+W Group. They are a major global international company providing a full range of consultancy services; from project inception through to concept design, site selection detail design, specialised processed designs, construction management, testing and commissioning. Asia Outlook spoke to the current Operations Manager for M+W Thailand, Brian Doyle. "The true M+W way" Over the last two years, M+W Group have re-focussed the Thailand sector of the business, moving from a more localised trade towards targeting international clients in what Doyle calls the "true M+W way."

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Merx Construction

Project Management Never Looked So Good With the project management market only just emerging in Asia, Merx are always looking for ways to achieve smarter productivity Writer Matt Bone Project manager James Mitchell Merx is an independent consultancy business formed in 2001, in Singapore. Merx is a specialist project management company that also has strong competencies covering construction management, cost management and client representation. Merx provides professional services to support clients and deliver projects across the construction and real estate sectors. Merx has wholly-owned offices located in Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur and operates throughout Asia. Since 2001, Merx has gone from strength to strength. In the early days, there were many hours spent explaining to clients that their services as project managers were necessary, as this type of services was unheard of in Singapore. Over time, Merx has built up a great reputation as a reliable provider of integrated project management and client services and have become an industry leader in Asia. Some of Merx's recent clients include global companies TAG Heuer, J.P. Morgan and Porsche Design. William Forwood, Managing Director of Merx said of the company's rise to market leader: "For me, we have grown over the last few years because we remained true to our founding ethos; independent with a 100 per cent customer focus. We make sure that we maintain our integrity, passion and drive for every project we undertake no matter the size." Building on Solid Growth 2011 provided Merx with a very good financial basis from which they have

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Singapore Named the World’s most Expensive City

Over the last decade, Singapore has been moving up the ranks of the world's most expensive cities to live in. The country has topped 131 cities globally to become the number one in 2014, reported the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The high cost of running a car combined with the city's strong currency, the Singapore Dollar (SGD), alongside soaring utility bills have contributed to obtaining the top position. Additionally, Singapore is the most expensive place in the world to buy clothes. The previous most expensive city was Tokyo, who topped the list in 2013. Other cities in the top five include Paris, Oslo, Zurich and Sidney; Tokyo have now fallen to sixth place. The top ten cities in 2014 are all Asian and Australasian cities, as well as a few European countries. "Improving sentiment in structurally expensive European cities combined with the continued rise of Asian hubs, means that these two regions continue to supply most of the world's most expensive cities," the editor of the EIU report Jon Copestake stated. "But Asian cities also continue to make up many of the world's cheapest, especially in the Indian subcontinent," Copestake continued. Although Tokyo have fallen from the top of the list, they still retain the top spot for the cost of groceries and everyday food items. Most other Asian cities at the top of the list are also there for this reason. At the other end of the spectrum, India's major cities –including Mumbai and New Delhi – were found to be among the least expensive

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Bangalore’s Waste Disposal Could be Helped by Cloud Computing Software

Bangalore could benefit from a cloud-based technology network, which will make garbage disposal and recycling more efficient, provide better working conditions for people who collect and separate the garbage, and lead to city streets that don't double as dumps. The city's garbage problem comes from its two-decade transformation into India's technology capital, so it seems appropriate that a new plan to clean up the mess is coming from an executive at one of the city's technology companies. The cloud computing solution has been developed by Prashant Mehra, who is currently testing the platform privately via the Bangalore-based company Mindtree. "Bangalore generates about 6000 tonnes of solid waste every day of which 15 to 20 per cent is dry and recyclable," Mehra of Mindtree stated. This is a result of an expansion in the city's population from 4.3 million people in 2001, to about 9.6 million as of 2011; transforming a calm and relatively small city into a glass-walled hub of technology companies seeking skilled labour at lower prices than they would pay in other countries. Currently, the Bangalore municipal authority (BBMP) appoints contractors to collect unsorted garbage and takes it to landfills on the outskirts of the city. However, these landfills are almost full and nearby residents have complained of illnesses brought on by their proximity to this level of waste. Also, there are no strict policies in place to separate recyclables and other kinds of dry waste that can be collected, sold and reused. 2012 saw the municipal garbage collector strikes in Bangalore, which resulted

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WeChat Pushes to Further Commercialise App

Starting today, Chinese customers of WeChat will be able to buy items through the app. The creators of the social media app, Tencent, have added support for any brands to allow customers to purchase items or services from inside the app. Customers can even use the app in retail outlets, where the user's order in WeChat , will produce a QR code that the in-store employee can scan. The app can also be used purely for online purchasing, in a similar way to Paypal and Ebay transactions. WeChat users in China can find this option inside some of the listed brands' official accounts on the app. It only works with 'service accounts', which are those designed to support companies and retailers in offering things such as loyalty cards, customer service and online selling. Pacific Coffee, a chain of hot beverage stores that rival Starbucks and Costa, provide an option to buy drinks through WeChat if you have an account. Customers can then select the type of drink, the size, quantity and also how they wish to pay. Pacific Coffee have their own prepaid card, so the amount spent is automatically debited to the loyalty card. These ecommerce spending options are available through WeChat's own payment app, WeChat Payments. Additionally, they have a framework for in-app purchases, allowing the app to take the functionality mainstream to all verified vendors. WeChat now need to secure big retailers, ecommerce sites and other companies to make use of this commercial function. The results of this look promising, as there are

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Singapore Hotel Market Hits New Records

Source: Singapore Business Review Hotel investment volumes in Asia reached US$7.5 billion at the end of 2013, up 218 per cent on 2012, defying all industry expectations, according to the latest figures from JLL's Hotels and Hospitality Group. Consequently, this makes 2013 the market's strongest year post the Global Finance Crisis in 2007, when transaction volumes stood at US$10.3 billion, the Singapore Business Review reports. JLL claims that 2014 will be a similar stand-out year, although transaction volumes are likely to fall on the back of limited supply, despite strong demand. Singapore, Japan and Mainland China led the region's growth in 2013, with Japan topping the overall investment volumes at US$2.7 billion, up 480 per cent on 2012, as hotel trading performance improved in line with the expansion of the domestic economy and renewed growth in corporate leisure and travel. 2013 was also a remarkable year for the Singapore hotel market with capital values reaching new records, resulting in transaction volumes of USD 2.0 billion, over ten times that recorded in 2012, predominantly supported by the sale of Grand Park Orchard hotel and Knightsbridge retail, the City's largest single asset transaction to date. In third place, China accounted for around 13 percent of total investment activity, recording USD 1.1 billion of transactions, as recent government announcements to improve access to financing drove investor sentiment over the second half of 2013. Frank Sorgiovanni, Vice President, Research & Strategic Advisory, Hotels & Hospitality, JLL comments on the markets that will receive most investor attention throughout the year, "Japan,

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Shanghai Maths Teachers to be Brought to England

Up to 60 Shanghai maths teachers are to be brought to England to raise standards, in an exchanged arranged by the Department for Education, BBC News reports. With Chinese maths pupils having the highest international test results, the National Numeracy Challenge aims to improve numeracy levels for a million people in England. They will provide master classes in 30 'maths hubs', which are planned as a network of centres of excellence. The announcement comes as a campaign is launched to raise the maths skills of adults, coming as a result of warnings that poor numeracy is costing the UK economy £20 billion per year. The National Numeracy Challenge is providing an online self-assessment test, with help for those lacking in confidence in maths. The Chief Executive of National Numeracy, Mike Ellicock, says that 78 per cent of working age adults have a maths skill that is below the equivalent of a GCSE grade C, and that half this number only have the math skill of a child leaving primary school. In a survey of over 2300 adults, the numeracy campaign found that over a third of thought their level of maths had held them back. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) says that children of poor families in Shanghai are, on average, better at maths than middle class children in the UK. The teachers are expected to arrive from Autumn, when they will share their teaching methods, support pupils who are struggling and help to train other teachers.

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Asia Outlook Issue 6 | APAC Outlook Magazine

Asia Outlook Issue 6, the B2B magazine for c-suite business leaders and executives across the APAC region.

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