Android Pay launches in Singapore

Android Pay being used to make a purchase. Source: Straits Times.com

Android Pay launches in Singapore but faces an uphill battle. Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are already widely adopted in the Singaporean market and penetration of contactless POS systems (the tapping system that is integral to Singapore debit cards payments) is also not as high as it should be. Lastly, most cheaper Android phones simply do not have the right functionalities, which requires at least a version 4.4 KitKat and near field communications (NFC) capabilities, reported Forbes today.

Most interesting is the ecommerce potential. Google will launch Android Pay for in-app purchasing in the coming months and has announced Deliveroo, Grab, Shopee, Singapore Airlines, Uber and Zalora will be integrating in-app payment via Android Pay into their services.

Singapore will be the first Asian market to gain access to Android Pay with Singaporeans able to load Visa and  Mastercard credit and debit cards from six banks including DBS and Standard Chartered onto their android smartphones.

A version of this appeared in Forbes on June 27. Read the full article here.

 

The Singaporean government mobile app called “OneService” will optimize public services with a one-stop user interface where users may report municipal issues such as pest control, cleanliness, sewer problems, among others, reported Tech in Asia. The real feat was in the process itself.

Singaporean Government mobile app OneService

OneService App. Source: Tech In Asia

Data organization across traditional institutions

The project was delayed for many years due to the difficulty of organizing and aggregating information across various government institutions.

“…it’s not just five agencies. It’s more like 85 agencies. Trying to put all the rules together is the kiss of death,” says Chan Cheow Hoe, the government chief information officer at the Infocomm Development Agency of Singapore (IDA) who has been working on this project since 2014.

…it’s not just five agencies. It’s more like 85 agencies. Trying to put all the rules together is the kiss of death.

The team overcame the bureaucratic tangle by creating a separate “engagement layer,” meaning that the  databases remain separate in each agency, but data would be shared back and forth between the engagement layer and the agencies itself. Users deal with one interface, which avoids the problem of molding data collection process into one streamlined entity.

 

One service to rule them all, one service to bind them

The Singaporean Government OneService mobile app has laid the groundwork for further digital integration – a “whole government API”, which is a network of pipes that will allow data to flow easily, within agencies, the government and the public.

Singaporean Government mobile app OneService

Singapore’s API structure. Source: Tech In Asia

Read the full article and more on the API on Tech in Asia here.

SingPost Releases New Code of Conduct

Source: SingPost

Postal Service Operator, Sing Post announced that five of the company’s directors have resigned. This comes after the news of CEO Wolfgang Baier and Deputy Chairman Goh Yeow Tin’s abrupt departures. Chairman Lim Ho Kee and Non-Executive Director Tam Yam Pin are also not seeking re-election once their term ends at the end of July.

In May, Director Keith Tay also stepped down after a corporate governance audit report found that his interest in a 2014 acquisition was not disclosed. Although the company has remained tight lipped about reasons behind the directors’ resignations, the pattern is indicative enough.

SingPost’s announcement comes after the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) said it was investigating SingPost for possible breaches of the Companies Act.

Four remaining directors will re-seek election at the next Annual General Meeting in July.

“The SingPost saga has shown that perception is as important, if not more important, than the reality, when corporate governance is called into question,” said Joyce Koh, Executive Director of Singapore Institute of Directors to Straits Times.

The slew of resignations have caused SingPost to introduce a new code of business conduct and ethics for its board of directors. The new code of conduct will require the identification and disclosure of conflicts of interest, maintaining confidentiality and reporting unethical behavior. Directors will also now be expected to serve for no more than six years on the board.

Following the internal reshuffle, it shows that directors should never get complacent in their positions, and companies can benefit from internal audit or regular self-assessment

A version of this appeared in Channel News Asia on June 16. Read the full article here.

Carro Raises Funding

Carro raises funding of $5.3 million for its online marketplace for buying and selling cars. The Singapore-based platform will use the Series A to expand in Southeast Asia. The company launched only in November 2015 and has welcomed ten different investors from across Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and China.

There are plenty of classifieds that help car owners sell their vehicles online, but Carro aims to stand out from the crowd with a services-focused offering. That’s to say that it doesn’t simply focus on sales,

Carro calculates the price and likely time to sell a vehicle — a nice hook to nab potential sellers — a virtual showroom option for dealers and a consumer-to-consumer marketplace.

Looking to next year, Carro CEO Aaron Tan admits that the company will have to decide whether to continue its focus on Southeast Asia, a nascent but high-potential digital market with over 600 million consumers, or battle for market share in more established Western markets.

“Classified sites are more like channels,” he said. “We use them to promote [our own sales.] When you look at classifieds versus marketplaces, [there’s] not that much in terms of competition.”

Approximately three-quarters of Carro’s traffic comes from mobile. However, with tens of thousands of dollars in purchases at stake, mobile tends to be for browsing with most consumers preferring to buy on a tablet or laptop after doing more research before parting with their hard-earned cash.

A version of this appeared in Tech Crunch on June 13. Read the full article here.