Freebie Offers Free Call Time in Exchange for Advertisements
Thailand has over 90 million mobile subscriptions and yet, has a population of 66 million. As a consequence of the mobile penetration rate exceeding the population, companies across the world begin to consider the new and innovative prospect of trading advertisements in exchange for free minutes for the customer. Partnering with Thai Telco AIS, Freebie offers free minutes on phone calls for users who opt in to listen to adverts. Customers can dial *115 to listen to a voice ad in exchange for two minutes of free calling. For the brands that take part, it is a chance to gain exposure that is specifically targeted at particular demographics. Freebie is not the only service of this kind. There are developments across the world looking at similar methods, including replacing the ringing dial tone with an advert in exchange for up to 15 minutes of free air time. Korea-made AdLatte launched in Thailand last year, a service that gets people to watch ads on their mobile, who convert them into a variety of rewards. Launched in October 2013, Freebie reached 200,000 subscribers in the first three months, with over 100,000 ad views daily by the end of last year. 15 to 20 brands are now participating, including those involved in banking and food and drink sales.
China Halves Its TB Problem
Survey data suggests that China has more than halved its tuberculosis (TB) problem, with rates falling from 170 to 59 per 100,000 population. The Lancet report says that the success of the falling rate is due to a huge expansion of a community-based disease control programme. Other countries could also adopt a similar approach, says the World Health Organisation. China is a major contributor to the global TB pandemic, accounting for more than one-tenth of worldwide cases. The Lancet report is based on a 20-year long analysis of national survey data, it has revealed the progress that China has made reducing the burden, BBC News reports. TB prevalence in China fell by 57 per cent by 2010, tripling the reduction of the previous decade. "One of the key global TB targets set by the Stop TB Partnership aims to reduce tuberculosis prevalence by 50 per cent between 1990 and 2015," lead researcher Dr Yu Wang, from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, said. The 2014 World Health Assembly will look at eliminating TB and setting ambitious new targets which could include a 50 per cent reduction in tuberculosis prevalence between 2015 and 2025. "This study in China is the first to show the feasibility of achieving such a target, and China achieved this give years earlier than the target date." Giovanni Battista Migliori from WHO said other countries could learn from China: "The results from China show the feasibility of achieving such a target by aggressively scaling up the basic programmatic elements…
Flappy Bird Game Taken Down
UPDATE: On Saturday, Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen tweeted that he will remove the game from Android and iTunes marketplaces within 22 hours. "I am sorry Flappy Bird users, 22 hours from now, I will take Flappy Bird down. I cannot take this anymore," the owner tweeted. True to his word, the game has now been removed. The game was free and supported by advertisements, with Nguyen reportedly earning $50,000 a day. Although the game was released in May of last year, it shot to mainstream only recently and became the most popular app downloaded on iTunes for many weeks. Recently, there have been criticisms relating to the originality of the game, the intended audience and the origin of its suspiciously Super Mario-inspired visual styling. It is said this is why the game was taken down, but in a reply to a follower, Nguyen also stated it was because people were "overusing" the app. It is hard to say whether this means 'abusing' or 'addicted to', it is speculative. Within hours of the game disappearing, listings on Ebay selling phones with the app installed are causing a stir. Some used handsets are going for in excess of $650, just because they have the game installed. It should be noted that the price for a brand new iPhone 5S is $750, meaning some people are considering paying through the nose for a now historical game.
Dollar Breaks ¥110 for First Time in 6 Years
The dollar broke the ¥110 barrier for the first time in more than six years on Oct 1st, following a string of generally upbeat US data and expectations of more Bank of Japan monetary easing. The greenback soared to ¥110.09 in late morning Tokyo trade, its highest level since August 2008 and up from ¥109.64 in New York, as investors turn their attention to a key US jobs report later this week. The dollar has been rising against the yen and euro as the US Federal Reserve's stimulus tapering policy increasingly diverges with expectations for fresh easing moves by Japanese policymakers and the European Central Bank. In other trading, the euro weakened to US$1.2614 against US$1.2631 in the US, while the single currency strengthened to ¥138.67 against ¥138.50. "Even after crossing the 110-line, the dollar-yen may gain a bit more," said Yuzo Sakai, manager of FX business promotion at Tokyo Forex & Ueda Harlow. Hopes for an earlier-than-expected US interest rate hike have been drawing investors back to the dollar amid signs that a recovery in the world's number one economy was taking hold. But the employment figures on Friday will be crucial to cementing that optimism after US consumer confidence fell for the first time in four months and weakness in Chinese manufacturing stoke renewed fears about the global economy. The surprisingly weak US data came after the economy grew at the fastest pace since 2011 in the second quarter, expanding at an annualised rate of 4.6 per cent, and reversing a contraction in the…
Free Wi-Fi at 28 MRT stations from mid-2014
From mid-2014, commuters at 28 MRT station platforms across Singapore will enjoy free Wi-Fi connection. The trial is implemented by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) as part of the Land Transport Master Plan initiatives to provide better service on the public transport network. Wireless@SG will be introduced at the platforms of all North East Line stations and 12 other stations with high commuter usage. The 12 major stations are Jurong East, Raffles Place, City Hall, Dhoby Ghaut, Bishan, Serangoon, Buona Vista, Outram Park, Paya Lebar, Orchard, Choa Chu Kang and HarbourFront. LTA said the trial is aimed at enhancing wireless connectivity for commuters while they wait for the trains. Wireless@SG is a wireless broadband initiative by the Infocomm Authority of Singapore that aims to extend broadband access beyond homes, schools and offices to public places. Users can enjoy free and seamless wireless broadband access with speeds of up to 2mbps. LTA said tenders for the implementation of the Wireless@SG trial will be called on Wednesday, and the service will be progressively available from mid-2014. LTA added that it will monitor the trial for two years before deciding if the service will be extended to other MRT stations. - CNA/gn
Chinese manufacturing hits 18-month high
China's manufacturing activity grew at its fastest pace in 18 months in October, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday, with the official purchasing managers' index (PMI) advancing to 51.4 last month from 51.1 in September. The data is another sign of increasing strength in the world's second-largest economy, which grew 7.8 percent in the July-to-September quarter. Manufacturing is a key driver of China's growth and the country has set an overall growth target of 7.5 percent for the year. The PMI index, which measures manufacturing activity in Chinese factories and workshops, is a widely observed monitor of the country's economic health. A reading above 50 indicates expansion while anything below signals contraction. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
China Telecom first-half profit up 15%
Profits at Chinese state-owned telecommunications company China Telecom rose 15.9 percent year-on-year in the first six months of the year, the company has announced. It also recorded double-digit growth in revenues, which jumped 14.1 percent to 157.52 billion yuan. China Telecom said growth in its 3G mobile operation was behind the profit and revenue increase. The number of 3G subscribers in the first half jumped 26.5 percent. "In the second half of the year, we will firmly seize the present golden window of opportunity and focus on accelerating the scale expansion of our strategic 3G services and wireline broadband services," the Hong Kong-listed company said. China Telecom is China's largest fixed line service and third largest mobile telecommunication provider. The mobile telecommunications market is at a fast growing stage with rapid migration to 3G. China Telecom decided not to pay an interim dividend. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
EPL clubs set to adopt goal-line technology
Goal-line technology will be introduced in the English Premier League in time for the 2013-14 season, the Football Association (FA) expects. Last week, football's world governing body Fifa awarded a German-based manufacturer GoalControl the contract to supply goal-line technology at this year's Confederations Cup in Brazil and, provided the performance reaches the requirements, at the 2014 World Cup, also in Brazil. According to reports, English Premier League clubs will meet on Thursday with goal-line technology set to be agreed for next season, 2013-14. The FA also wishes to install the technology at Wembley. "The club meeting is on Thursday so I'm expecting it to go through at that meeting," FA general secretary Alex Horne told BBC Sport. GoalControl uses 14 high-speed cameras around the pitch as part of its GoalControl-4D system. "The GoalControl-4D system works with 14 high-speed cameras (seven per goal) around the pitch at the stadium roof/catwalk," the company's website says. "The cameras are connected to a powerful image processing computer system which tracks the movement of all objects on the pitch and filters out the players, referees and all disturbing objects. The remaining object is the ball and the system knows its three dimensional x-, y- and z-position with a precision of a few millimetres in the coordinate system of the pitch. When the ball passes the goal line, the system sends a vibration and optical signal to the officials' watches. Of course, all camera images of such goal event, and also of all near-goal events, are stored and can be replayed anytime."…
BoJ in aggressive growth move
The Bank of Japan has said it will expand the country's money supply, as it tries to stimulate growth in the world's third-largest economy. The central bank said it would boost its asset purchases, including Japanese government bonds, while pledging to meet a two percent inflation target within two years, aimed at reversing decades of falling prices. The BoJ said it would "enter a new phase of monetary easing both in terms of quantity and quality". Among its purchases would be exchange-traded funds and longer-term bonds, with the latter aimed at pushing down long-term interest rates to encourage companies and individuals to borrow. Japan's economy has been battling more than a decade of falling prices. New governor Haruhiko Kuroda had previously said he would do "whatever it takes" to drive growth. "The BOJ will conduct money-market operations so that the monetary base will increase at an annual pace of about 60 trillion yen to 70 trillion yen," the central bank said in a statement. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
Fukushima plant hit by power failure
Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant has been hit by a power failure, affecting its cooling systems for spent fuel ponds. A statement from operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said the cause of the power failure, which began at 18:57 on Monday, was still being assessed. But it said there is no immediate danger. The outage had hit ponds at reactors 1, 3 and 4, it said, but cooling to the reactors themselves was not affected. It would take four days for the hottest pool to hit safety limits, Tepco said. "We are trying to restore power by then," spokesman Kenichi Tanabe said. In an announcement Tepco said, "Upon investigation, it was found that part of the power supply facilities at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station have stopped due to the incident and the following facilities are currently being suspended." According to the AP new agency, Tepco said it was trying to repair a broken switchboard that could have caused the problem. "In the worst case scenario, we have a system in place to put water into the pools, so we have a double strategy: we have time to find a solution before the temperature gets out of hand and then also the ability to inject water into the pools if needed," Tepco official Masayuki Ono said. Image: © Tepco Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.