Calling all singers

SHOW off your vocal talents at Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa’s first singing competition.

Held at its Fun, Interactive and Play outlet, heats begin on Sunday, with a its second round on July 31 and the final heats on Aug 14.

After each heat, singers will be picked to compete in the grand finals on Aug 28.

“The hotel has joined forces with Maverick Media Productions to discover and celebrate the best local talents on the island,” said director of food and beverage M. Kalai.

“The contest is open to solo and duo acts. Entries are free and deadline for submissions is today.

“‘FIP’s Got Talent’ was created as a platform for singers to showcase their talents.”

Each performer is required to prepare two songs — an upbeat and a slow number — in English, Malay
or Mandarin.

At least one of the songs must be sung in English. The aggregate scores from both performances will determine the results.

Competitors will be judged on vocal quality, pitch and tone, as well as stage presence and costume.

The winner will receive RM2,000, a trophy and a three-day, two-night stay at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa in Penang. The winner will also perform at a selected event at the resort.

The runner-up will receive RM1,500, a trophy and a two-day, one-night stay at the resort while third place prize is RM1,000, a trophy and a buffet dinner for two at Spice Market Café.

Other finalists will receive a buffet dinner for two at Spice Market Café.

For details, call 04-888 8650.


Unlimited, a seven-piece band from Indonesia, made their debut in Penang at the Hard Rock Hotel in Batu Ferringhi recently.

The band will be at the cafe until end of next month.

Established in 2011, Unlimited has travelled to Singapore and Thailand to showcase their talents.

Their rendition of songs are mostly classic rock and a touch of retro to bring back the good old days.

“Our forte is a wide range of new and old hits, popular among guests,” said band leader and bassist, Oniel.

“All of us just want to play music and enjoy ourselves in the process. When we play familiar numbers, we can see patrons tapping their feet and singing along.”

Anif is on lead vocals with Mala and Vinar providing female vocals. Hendra is on keyboard, Noky on lead guitar and Anju plays the drums.

“My favourite drummer is Phil Collins, who is also a versatile singer,” said Anju.

Catch Unlimited from 10.15pm daily except on Tuesdays.

Whirlwind Penang trip

Some 40 employees from Singaporean firm TTG Asia Media Pte Ltd had a fun-filled team building programme at the Sunway Georgetown Hotel in Penang recently.

The company is known for publishing travel guides and maps as well as organising travel programmes tailored for leisure, luxury and corporate.

It also organises international trade events, and has offices in major Asian cities.

For many participants, it was their first trip to the island and they had their fill of delicious hawker fare the state is
famous for.

Activities in their team-building programme included following the heritage trail, hitting popular food spots and a visit to Penang Hill.

They also participated in a treasure hunt, visited places with street art and joined in local cultural activities.

Heading the team was managing director Darren Ng.

“Since my last visit here in 1993, it was a pleasant surprise to see how much infrastructure and development has taken place.”

Meanwhile, hotel general manager Ben Ho Chang Peng and his team helped ensure their guests had a
memorable outing.

“We are glad to host our guests from across the causeway.”

Participants were feted to a Hawaiian themed buffet dinner at the hotel, which included a karaoke session and lucky draw.

Also present was state Tourism Development and Culture chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang who belted out several Mandarin songs.

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Biting into free burgers

Office workers and passers-by along Beach Street came by a pleasant surprise when they were presented with free burgers courtesy of Hard Rock Cafe in conjunction with its 25th anniversary in Southeast Asia.

Dubbed the “World Burger Tour”, the journey started in Singapore and stopped over at Malacca before reaching Penang.

The Hard Rock burger truck is expected to head to Bangkok and Pattaya, Thailand before making its way back to Sentosa, Singapore.

A few hundred people savoured the juicy Miami Cuban burgers as they were distributed in town. Later, the truck stopped by Gurney Drive to fete shoppers and tourists.

“It was a pleasant surprise to get delicious, free burgers. My friends and I were passing by Gurney Drive when we noticed a small line in front of the truck,” said Siti Aishah Kassim who works at a nearby mall.

Another lucky passer-by was K. Kumar who was on his way home when he stopped to collect burgers.

“I am glad I used Gurney Drive as there was not much publicity on the promotion,” he said, adding that it was a unique campaign by the brand.

Hard Rock Hotel general manager John Primmer said the road tour was a way of thanking customers and the public for their support.

“We are glad it was well received. It is a recognition of the Hard Rock brand.”

Primmer said Hard Rock Cafes around the world will give away burgers in conjunction with the celebration.

Watch out for India’s next generation of tycoons

NEW DELHI — As India’s richest men hit their 60s and beyond, succession questions about the next generation of tycoons will increasingly emerge in a country where business is still dominated by family-run enterprises.

Bloomberg has profiled some of these young guns of corporate India, selecting those who are 35 and under, based in India, have a public profile, and whose billionaire fathers are valued at more than US$2 billion (RM7.8 billion). Some have started their own ventures and avoided their fathers’ shadows. Others have pitched their tents inside the family enterprise. Here’s a look at them:

Isha and Akash Ambani

Isha and Akash are the 25-year-old, twin brother-and-sister scions of India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. They’re being groomed as the future of Reliance Industries Ltd, their father’s US$42 billion conglomerate, as the company diversifies beyond energy and refineries into consumer-facing businesses.

Both were appointed to the boards of new venture Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, as well as Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, in 2014. Reliance Jio, which will start operations later this year, has received funding of more than US$20 billion from the parent group and has plans to offer 4G mobile-phone services to 70% of India.

Isha, a former McKinsey & Co consultant, also launched Reliance group’s e-commerce foray into fashion retail — called Ajio — at this year’s Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai, India’s version of runway shows in Paris and Milan.

Roshni Nada

The only daughter of technology billionaire Shiv Nadar, 34-year-old Roshni is chief executive officer and executive director of HCL Corp, the US$7 billion holding firm for a group that includes listed HCL Technologies Ltd and HCL Infosystems Ltd. Roshni returned to India in 2008 after a stint as a news producer at Sky News UK and soon took up the role.

Roshni is also a trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, which has set up a university, engineering colleges, schools and VidyaGyan academies that mentor bright students from poor Indian rural families. Her goal is to try to level the playing field and create opportunities for all Indians, she said in a November interview. “VidyaGyan must produce a prime minister for India,” Roshni said. “VidyaGyan must produce a few Nobel laureates for India.”

Adar Cyrus Poonawalla

The 35-year-old son of India’s seventh-richest man, Cyrus Poonawalla, is associated with two contrasting superlatives: Asia’s largest vaccine maker and one of India’s largest stud farms. After completing undergraduate business management studies at the University of Westminster in the UK, Adar stepped into his father’s shoes and expanded the Serum Institute of India Ltd’s operations across 140 countries, making it the third-largest vaccine producer in the world.

When he’s not making life-saving serums combating diphtheria, measles, hepatitis or mumps — jabbed into roughly 65% of world’s children — Adar can be found breeding race horses or customising cars. Adar once fashioned an S-Class Mercedes into a winged Batmobile after his son asked him if Batman and his ride were real.

The spending spree hasn’t diluted the focus at Serum. Adar’s vision is to triple revenue to 120 billion rupees (RM7.1 billion) over the next seven years, and add products including a rotavirus vaccine that can protect against as many as five strains of the pathogen. Next up: initial public offering?

Kavin Bharti Mittal

The 28-year old son of Sunil Bharti Mittal inherited the entrepreneurial bug from his father, who started out at 18 making bicycle crankshafts and importing portable Suzuki generators before creating Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s top wireless carrier.

Kavin, at 20, founded AppSpark to develop applications for the mobile phones. In 2009, AppSpark launched an iPhone application, Movies Now, to help users buy film tickets on the move.

In 2012, Kavin set up Hike Messenger, an instant messaging service similar to WhatsApp. By June 2014, Hike Messenger crossed 20 million users, catapulted by a privacy feature that lets teenagers flirt in private and hide chats from their parents. By then, it had received at least US$21 million from Bharti Enterprises Pvt Ltd and SoftBank Corp. In August 2014,Tiger Global Management invested US$65 million.

The chat app, which now also allows group calling and file sharing, reached 100 million users earlier this year — a milestone at which he could start talking about “monetisation,” Kavin said in 2014.

Anand Piramal

When the 31-year-old son of billionaire Ajay Piramal joined his father’s group in 2011, he skipped the US$4 billion conglomerate’s flagship healthcare, glass making and fund management businesses. Instead he set up Piramal Realty. He focuses only on Mumbai and its outskirts, resisting the temptation among developers of going national and burning cash.

The soft-spoken scion wants to create a market leader. “There is no Emaar Properties, no Sun Hung Kai in India,” he said in an August 2015 interview, referring to the real estate giants that built big businesses in Dubai and Hong Kong.

Warburg Pincus & Co and Goldman Sachs paid US$417 million last year for small stakes in the company, even though the builder, with 15 million square feet under development, hasn’t completed a single project.

As the group’s executive director, Anand weighs in on strategic decisions and comes up with quirky solutions. One is a program where buyers can sell their homes back to the company if they don’t like them when they’re completed. In India’s oversupplied home market, that’s gutsy.

Aalok Shanghvi

The elder of the two Shanghvi siblings, Aalok is as media-shy as his billionaire father and India’s second-richest man, Dilip Shanghvi. His father is a first-generation entrepreneur who started out as a small-time medicine distributor in Kolkata in the 1980s and went on to set up India’s largest drug maker in Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, which acquired beleaguered peer Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and Israel-based Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd to create a global generics producer with annual sales of US$4.2 billion.

Aalok shares his father’s entrepreneurial streak and founded PV Powertech Pvt Ltd, which has installed solar panels across Europe, Asia and Africa.

Ananyashree Birla

Billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla was forced to take over as the Aditya Birla Group chairman in 1995 when he was just 28. His eldest daughter willingly turned entrepreneur when she was 17.

In 2013, Ananyashree set up her venture, Svatantra Microfin Pvt Ltd to lend tiny loans to rural women for buying sewing machines or starting papadum businesses. In doing so, the teenager declined to join her father’s US$41 billion conglomerate — known for making cement, aluminium, apparel and offering wireless services — to enter microfinance, a field that had sometimes been criticised for high interest rates and coercive lending tactics that were blamed for borrower suicides in India.

Her firm has since expanded to at least 50 branches across India servicing 80,000 borrowers with a loan portfolio of about US$20 million as of April, according to its website. She now plans to launch a premium e-commerce portal that will source inaccessible handicrafts from around the world. Ananyashree and her mother, Neerja Birla, have also started MPower — aimed at helping those with mental health disorders.

Ananyashree has been a state-level chess player, taught herself to play guitar and sports tattoos. Among her five, the one on her left arm says “Conquer”. — Bloomberg

(US$1 = RM3.95)

SGX closed after technical glitch

SINGAPORE — Singapore Exchange Ltd said stocks was halted yesteday morning after a technical malfunction.

The bourse said the suspension, which began at 11.38 am local time yesyerday, was caused by duplicated trade confirmation messages. Singapore Exchange (SGX) failed in two attempts to reopen the market, after saying it would restart trading at 2pm and then 4pm.

“If they don’t get it going today then people are going to be very upset,” said Andrew Sullivan, managing director of sales trading with Haitong International Securities Group Ltd in Hong Kong, before SGX said trading wouldn’t resume for the day. “It obviously hurts their credibility and their reputation as being an international global market that can cope under every situation.”

It’s at least the second malfunction at SGX’s systems in the past year.

In 2014, the Monetary Authority of Singapore reprimanded SGX for two trading disruptions, a blow for the bourse operator under former chief executive officer (CEO) Magnus Bocker. He pledged to review the exchange’s processes to prevent a recurrence. Bocker was replaced July last year by Loh Boon Chye, formerly Bank of America Corp’s head of Asia-Pacific global markets.

“Given the change in CEO and that this has happened again, there may be a bigger problem facing SGX and its back-end systems,” said Bernard Aw, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte. “Some investors could potentially suffer losses if prices move significantly when trading resumes.”

SGX is home to Southeast Asia’s largest stock market, with total capitalisation in the city of US$494 billion (RM1.95 trillion), according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About S$1.6 billion (RM4.7 billion) of shares changed hands on an average day in the past 12 months. The exchange maintains a monopoly on stock trading in Singapore.

“It’s unforeseen and nobody likes this,” said Melinda Sam, CEO of the Securities Association of Singapore. “We just hope that SGX can improve on the technology.”

Kao expects 15% sales by year end

PETALING JAYA — Japan’s home care expert Kao (M) Sdn Bhd (Kao) is targeting 15% growth for its total sales value this year, based on its business expansion plans over the medium term.

The plans include the unveiling of new product looks for some of its products and the introduction of innovative features for their existing product range.

Associate marketing vice president Tan Poh Ling said the group’s business are expected to grow in tandem with the increase in Malaysia’s population of 1.51% per annum, which adds up to 1,268 persons each day or 58.95 births per hour.

“Malaysia labour force has increased 1.8% to 14.5 million last year, as compared to the previous year, as more women enter and stay on in the job market,” she said during the launch of its parenthood campaign yesterday.

Tan also said female participation in the labour market was high, exceeding 58% for the 25-54 prime age group.

“This is attributed to the increase of (overall) female employment which was up by 0.4%, reaching 54.1% last year.”

Company president Fujiwara Masaki said the parenthood campaign will highlight Kao’s role in helping modern parents cope with juggling career and family.

The “Welcome To My Modern Parenthood” campaign will provide convenience and save time for parents.

“Parenthood is an important time for most people. While having a newborn is exciting, it is also stressful especially for modern parents who want the best for their families and the toll taken on parents are considerable.

“This phenomenon is exacerbated as it becomes more expensive in Malaysia to engage maids or helpers. Kao wants to give back to parents some time, convenience and to restore their spick and span homes. Kao aims to be their helper at home,” Fujiwara said.

There are 1.62 million toddlers between 0 to 2.5 years old in the country based on last year’s figures.

In conjunction with its parenthood campaign, Kao Malaysia has introduced its first parenting guidebook called “The Secret to My Modern Parenthood”, which is aimed at helping new parents maximise their enjoyment of parenthood while minimising workload and stress.

The guidebook contains 12 chapters with topics which includes tips from Japan on understanding babies, knowing the importance of fatherhood, family budgeting, environmental hygiene, methods in cleaning household items to testimonials from doctors and parents.

The guidebook helps parents tap into Kao’s modern tools to ease housework and provide proper care to their babies.

“By using Kao’s hallmark products such as Merries, Magiclean & Attack, modern parenthood becomes more enjoyable as parents discover easier, quicker and more manageable ways to perform household chores, leaving them more time to create good memories and smiles,” said Tan.

Tan said Kao recognises the need to educate and provide invaluable insights on parenting and caring for a household.

“It is also meant to help families share the load of parenting which was traditionally undertaken by women,” she said.

Modern fathers who would like to share the load of parenthood with their wives, but are at a loss on what to do, can now refer to Kao’s modern parenting guidebook, she said.

“The campaign and guidebook will definitely give new dads some handy tips,” she added.

HP opens new ink supplies plant

PENANG — HP Inc to opened a new facility in Malaysia today, which will contribute to the production and supply chain management of high-quality ink print supplies for consumers.

“This new HP facility will incorporate a significant amount of patented HP technology in wafer fabrication and circuit integration. This operation will help to upskill technical and engineering talent as well as local suppliers of advanced materials, thereby contributing to the eco-system and industry in Malaysia,” said HP Malaysia managing director Kym Lim.

HP is committed to sustainability and will manufacture ink supplies that have closed loop recycling for plastic. Solvents used in wafer fabrication manufacturing are recycled. Other green building design features include LED lighting and smart building management systems to lower energy use and increase water recycling.

Minister of International Trade & Industry II Datuk Ong Ka Chuan, officiating at the event, said it is noteworthy that this facility will also serve as HP’s worldwide supply chain management headquarters for its consumer ink business.

“The partnership between Malaysia and HP, one of the largest technology companies in the world, has grown over the years.

“The company established its footprints in Malaysia way back in 1939. HP was one of the eight samurais leading the industrialisation era in Malaysia, by establishing its high technology manufacturing here. After various restructuring exercises of HP in Malaysia, its Malaysian operation led to the creation of various high technology companies, such as Agilent and Keysight,”
he said.

Tune Talk aims for more
subscribers with postpaid

KUALA LUMPUR — Tune Talk Sdn Bhd is set to roll out postpaid services in the second half of the year and expand its range of products from its existing prepaid plans, said chief executive officer Jason Lo.

He said the new postpaid offerings are expected to attract around 200,000 subscribers, with the aim of expanding its subscriber base in the next 18 months.

“We will release our postpaid services in the next quarter with an expected take up rate of around 30% of new subscribers. We target to gain around 10,000 subscribers per month.

“We think it is a realistic target for us to achieve and we anticipate to reach the aim within the given period,” Lo said at the launch of the Malaysian Invasion Spirit in Motion (MISIM) yesterday.

He also said that the company would be looking to add roaming services in the future and this will be in collaboration with AirAsia. This is still an on-going development and Tune Talk expects to offer the service to customers in the near future.

“We are still waiting to launch a roaming product via Air Asia which would be coming in shortly. We can leverage on their footprint which is around 60 million passengers for this year,” Lo said.

Tune Talk says it plans to expand into neighbouring countries and it is currently preparing to extend its services to Thailand and Indonesia.

“It shows that mobile virtual network operators can cross borders and offer its services to customers abroad as well,” Lo said.

Currently, Tune Talk has a subscriber base of 1.6 million for its prepaid services and 100,000 customers for pseudo-prepaid, a service which allows users to top-up their mobile phones automatically each month online.

Japan’s leading mall developer
to entice KL shoppers

KUALA LUMPUR — Atre Co Ltd (arte), Japan’s leading shopping mall developer and subsidiary of East Japan Railway (JR East) company, brought 30 Japanese brands to the foyer of Pavilion Kuala Lumpur this week.

With this, both local and tourists patrons can experience a taste of the hustle and bustle of Japan starting from yesterday and ongoing until July 24.

Arte, shopping mall developers, also deals with development and the operation of commercial buildings connected to or within train stations in Tokyo. The exhibition in Kuala Lumpur is arte’s first overseas venture.

“Arte will also consider using market information obtained from the event to expand their business overseas,” chief executive officer Tsugio Sekiji said.

Arte, a success in Japan, holds a unique position within the market as well as the industry through JR East, which provided a business foundation in which arte implemented their business strategies.

JR East, one of the largest railway companies in the world with an average 17.1million daily commuters, created a synergistic consumer effect by developing facilities within and directly adjacent to its stations.

“The development of such facilities boosts the economy of surrounding neighbourhoods and subsequently increased the number of riders at JR East stations,” Tsugio said.

JR East group reported an operating revenue of ¥2.7 trillion (RM723.8 billion) for their financial year 2015 with 9.3% of the revenue contributed by shopping malls and office buildings including arte malls.

The group reported ¥427.5billion in operating income to which 16.9% of the income was from their malls.

“Atre has established 41 stores across Japan with a total annual sale of ¥223.5 million,” he said.

Atre’s mission has always been to create a business platform where everyone is involved, with a business model designed for arte to ultimately increase value and create a new source of revenue for railway businesses.

(RM1 = ¥3.73)

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