POSCO Group Focusing On Green Materials To Achieve Sustainable Growth

Jeong-Woo Choi, POSCO Group CEO

Starting from a small fishing village in Pohang, South Korea more than 50 years ago, POSCO has grown to become one of the largest steel companies in the world. Two of the key reasons behind the company’s success are its focus on sustainable growth and becoming a responsible corporate citizen.

Today, POSCO Group is moving towards becoming a world-class green materials provider and has embarked on many initiatives to make the world greener and reduce carbon emissions.

POSCO Group CEO Jeong-Woo Choi, who recently won the CEO of the Year award at the 10th Global Metals Awards by S&P Global Commodity Insight and was appointed as the Chairman of the World Steel Association, shares the company’s future plans and his thoughts on the importance of sustainable practices and the steel industry’s future direction.

POSCO Group has grown significantly over the past four years. What are your priorities for the company in the near future?

POSCO Group aims to become a world-class green materials provider using innovative technologies that have not existed in the past. These green materials will be used in industries such as future mobility, housing and infrastructure, and will contribute to the realization of future eco-friendly values such as carbon neutrality.

One of the green materials that we are working on is green steel. Currently, we are working on a technology called HyREX or hydrogen reduction, which could significantly reduce carbon emissions in the steelmaking process. By 2028, we hope to build a HyREX demo plant and commercialize the technology by 2030.

The group is also looking at expanding its domestic and overseas production bases for cathode and anode materials in the rechargeable battery material business. We will also start the saltwater-based production of lithium with an annual capacity of 50,000 tons in Argentina in 2025. This will play an essential role in helping the group achieve its goal of 300,000 tons of lithium production by 2030.

Another priority for us is to grow the secondary battery material business, which is also one of our fastest growing businesses. Last July, we held an investor relations event for the secondary battery material business and presented our 2030 goals for significant materials such as nickel (220,000 tons), cathode material (610,000 tons), and anode material (320,000 tons). We also target to achieve KRW 41 trillion (US$30.8 billion) in revenue by 2030.

POSCO Argentina lithium demo plant

How important is Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) to POSCO Group? What are the ESG initiatives promoted by the company?

POSCO Group has implemented the management philosophy of corporate citizenship since 2018. In July 2019, the corporate citizenship charter was released, with the details and the practice principles elaborated. The charter mainly embraces what ESG stands for.

We have also established the ESG discussion committee, where key management, including CEOs of the holding and operating companies, participates every quarter to debate and discuss the responsive measures on ESG issues such as climate change, safety, diversity, and inclusion, which are considered crucial by our internal and external stakeholders.

An advanced governance system is also set up to detail what was discussed and report the result to the board of directors and ESG committee before it is communicated to stakeholders. We plan to develop the process further.

How important is Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) to POSCO Group? What are the ESG initiatives promoted by the company?

POSCO Group has implemented the management philosophy of corporate citizenship since 2018. In July 2019, the corporate citizenship charter was released, with the details and the practice principles elaborated. The charter mainly embraces what ESG stands for.

We have also established the ESG discussion committee, where key management, including CEOs of the holding and operating companies, participates every quarter to debate and discuss the responsive measures on ESG issues such as climate change, safety, diversity, and inclusion, which are considered crucial by our internal and external stakeholders.

An advanced governance system is also set up to detail what was discussed and report the result to the board of directors and ESG committee before it is communicated to stakeholders. We plan to develop the process further.

You have been recently appointed as the Chairman of the World Steel Association. What are some of your key priorities in this new role?

POSCO Group CEO Jeong-Woo Choi (left) was appointed as the Chairman of the World Steel Association.

Many countries, companies and organizations have set the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. However, the practical methods and technologies we have currently fall short of meeting this target.

Instead of partially modifying the process based on current technologies and facilities, we need to develop new technologies for commercialization and set up the relevant facilities covering raw materials for product manufacturing.

In addition, the materials used for new facilities need to be produced with carbon neutrality and supplied to steel mills. It is another challenge to the new supply channels for carbon-neutral raw materials.

To overcome the challenge, the World Steel Association plans to develop ongoing projects in each category and try a new approach. First, we plan to strengthen the sharing of technology innovation among steel companies and promote cooperation with other industries to create a carbon-neutral ecosystem. We will hold conferences for industry players to keep abreast of the progress on carbon neutrality and new technologies such as HyREX.

Second, we plan to design an intelligent safety solution that can fit a new decarbonized production process. The new carbon-neutral steelmaking process has been developed and is headed toward commercialization. In this regard, we must proactively prepare for a unique and potential industrial risk.

Third, we plan to define the standards for green steel. There is rising demand and interest from various industries for green steel. However, there are no common criteria or standards for this.

In determining the standards for green steel, we plan to involve steel companies, customers and third-party independent certification institutes in the discussion. In addition, we plan to define green steel within a set timeline by considering a roadmap for developing carbon neutrality technology.

Last but not least, we will try to secure the supply network of eco-friendly fuel and raw materials for green steel production. We plan to create a venue where not only global raw material partners but also renewable energy and hydrogen producers and relevant associations can discuss while sharing information about a broad scope of topics, including demand forecast, procurement risk, and each country’s policy direction. In addition, we will strive to enhance the recyclability of steel by standardizing the categorization system for steel scraps.

You were also named CEO of the Year at the 10th Global Metals Awards by S&P Global Commodity Insight. What was your initial reaction?

POSCO Group awarded “Metals Company of the Year”, “Industry Leadership Award: Steel”, “Deal of the Year” as well as “CEO of the Year”.

While I am honored to receive the award, I need to reiterate that this achievement is possible only with the dedication of all the employees of the POSCO Group. Hence, I want to share this recognition with all the executives and employees of the group, too.

I hope that all of us at POSCO Group will remain committed to making POSCO a good corporate citizen and to building a better, more sustainable future together. 



Steering Business Growth By Focusing On Well-Being

 Thiti Thongbenjamas, President of DTGO Prosperous and Hansa Susayan, Chairman of DTGO Prosperous

For DTGO Prosperous (DTP), a global investment company, keeping true to its “for all well-being” business philosophy is crucial to its future growth as it aspires to become a true global investment firm.

DTP President Thiti Thongbenjamas says the philosophy of “for all well-being” places a strong emphasis on sustainability via innovation, as well as generating positive impact for the stakeholders, customers and community.

“Global expansion is a key driver in achieving our commitment to social and environmental responsibility,” Thongbenjamas says.

Walking the Talk

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the hospitality sector suffered a huge blow due to lockdown measures, which eventually resulted in staff layoffs and wage cuts.

However, DTP, which acquired 17 hotels comprising various well-known brands across the U.K. in October 2019, decided to retain all of its 1,200 hotel staff and maintain their salaries—a policy that was applied across the DTGO group of companies, including sister company Magnolia Quality Development Corp, one of Thailand’s leading property developers.

“We are in the business of people. With the acquisition, the employees are effectively our family. During challenging times, families don’t give up on each other; instead they take care of one another,” Thongbenjamas says.

The decision to keep all of its employees in the U.K. proved wise, as the hotels reaped the benefits when international borders reopened and lockdowns were lifted. DTP’s hotels were able to go at full speed immediately and serve their guests at full capacity.

More importantly, the decision has also opened more doors to new opportunities and potential partnerships that would play a key role in helping DTP achieve its expansion plans.

Driving Business Growth

DTP is focusing on brownfield projects and high-potential assets in order to generate stable and sustainable income for the group and its investors.

It has four business pillars: global investments, asset management, fund management, and venture capital and innovative investment. Its global investments business pillar is mainly responsible for investing in brownfield property assets. Its asset management pillar is largely responsible for improving its existing assets’ value with the aim of generating stable income.

Its fund management business pillar is responsible for raising capital and recycling capital in order to grow its portfolio. Meanwhile, its venture capital and innovative investment arm generally focuses on identifying potential startups that can generate long-term returns and synergize with the group’s business.

DTP currently has more than US$650 million of assets under management (AUM), including the 17 hotels in the U.K.

“By end-2025, we hope to grow our AUM to approximately US$5 billion. It may sound aggressive, but it is achievable, especially when you have a vibrant monetizing and capital recycling plan with the right partners,” Thongbenjamas says.

To achieve the goal, DTP would need to make progress in all four business groups.

Well-Being For All

Besides giving its 1,200 staff the much-needed “umbrella” during the Covid-19 pandemic, DTP also took steps to ensure that it did not neglect the community in which it operates.

The company organized various programs and activities to engage with the local community, including providing assistance and relief to the homeless.

DTP also takes environmental-related issues seriously, as it embarks on various initiatives to increase the adoption of renewable energy. It applied heat-to-power conversion technology to minimize environmental impact and reduce energy cost. It also has plans to install solar panels to further boost its efficiency.

These value enhancements, coupled with improved operational efficiency and assets have helped increase the hotels’ valuation. Today, the hotel portfolio is valued around 16% higher than when it was acquired back in late 2019.

Becoming a True Global Company

The acquisition of the 17 hotels in the U.K. was just the start of DTP’s global expansion plan. Over the next three years, the company aims to penetrate other European markets, as well as the U.S. and Asia.

Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham Brindleyplace, U.K.
Crowne Plaza Glasgow, U.K.

It is also looking to acquire and invest in student accommodation properties, in particular, those located in Australia, Germany and the U.S. DTP also plans to acquire retail properties and offices. Meanwhile, DTP is in talks to invest in various technology companies. “We are finalizing M&As with them. These companies are expected to play a synergizing role for DTGO Group’s technology and metaverse ecosystem,” he says.

Once everything is finalized, it will increase the group’s investment portfolio, which includes the American-based biotechnology company Life Biosciences and the Korean-based artificial intelligence company Mind AI.

While eyeing global opportunities, Thongbenjamas will also be keeping a close watch on Thailand.

“We will concentrate a lot on our backyard. In the coming year, there should be more opportunities for good value hospitality assets in Thailand. This is an opportunity for us to further grow our portfolio and our commitment to Thailand’s tourism, especially in popular tourist destinations such as Phuket,” he says.

Riding on Its Successful REIT Momentum

Besides seeing its U.K. hospitality business gaining traction and valuation, 2022 is a momentous year for DTP as it launched its maiden real estate investment trust (REIT) called DTPHREIT.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Chester, U.K.

DTPHREIT, which is a buy-back REIT, invests in hotels and serviced apartments in high-potential areas, including Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard Serviced Residences and U Khao Yai Hotel.

Investors of the DTPHREIT are expected to receive annual returns of 7% and the DTPHREIT will sell these properties back to their original owners when the investment period is over. The REIT was well-received as the securities were oversubscribed during the initial offer period.

“While we know that investors will enjoy the stable high return that the REIT has to offer from our high-quality assets, we were still surprised by the strong response from the investment community as this is our first REIT fund,” Thongbenjamas says.

The company is in discussions with other property owners about possible subsequent launches of similar buy-back REITs, and it is also exploring the possibility of launching a private equity fund in the near future.

Business of People

While there are big plans for each of DTP’s business pillars in 2023 and beyond, Thongbenjamas says the company will remain disciplined in its investment strategy and ensure that all its ventures, investments and acquisitions meet three criteria.

First, the assets will help the group to achieve a diversified portfolio. Second, it is able to monetize the assets by generating stable income or getting a windfall via divestment. Third, the assets are able to synergize with the group’s businesses.

“At the end of the day, we are in the business of people. Hence, it is important to always give back to society and the community,” he says. “That’s why we have a policy of contributing 2% of our topline to social and environmental causes, which is consistent with our ‘for all well-being’ motto.”


Cyan Partners Dtac To Offer Cybersecurity Protection In Thailand

Frank von Seth, CEO of cyan, Markus Cserna, CTO of cyan and Dr. Wolfgang Reckendorfer, Chairman of Dr. Reckendorfer & Partners

Trusted Cybersecurity Specialist

cyan Digital Security, one of the leading cybersecurity providers in Europe, has been playing a key role in safeguarding mobile devices and their users from cyber threats for many years.

Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, cyan has partnered with several mobile network operators in different countries to protect millions of devices and users across the globe with its growing portfolio of modern cybersecurity solutions.

According to Frank von Seth, CEO of cyan, one of the key reasons the company is able to grow its client base consistently is the way it designs its cybersecurity solutions. “Cybersecurity solutions often tend to be large and complex, but cyan has designed its solutions in a way that allows mobile carriers to easily deploy the service and protect their customers at the mass level,” von Seth says. “We are able to win the trust of telecom companies due to the simplicity of our solutions.”

Launch of dtac Safe

This year, cyan and dtac launched dtac Safe, a value-added cybersecurity service aimed at protecting dtac’s customer base of 19.6 million. Under the partnership, cyan’s cybersecurity solution is integrated as an SDK within dtac’s existing app, which customers already have on their smartphones. Hence, no additional downloads or ongoing updates are needed. Users can activate dtac Safe with just a few taps and it starts protecting their device instantly.

“The digital landscape in Thailand is transforming at a fast pace with more users sharing personal information and making transactions online. Therefore, it’s essential to protect users and give them peace-of-mind while browsing online. This is where dtac Safe comes in—a mass cybersecurity product at a very affordable price,” says Alexandra Reich, the former CEO of dtac.

Raising Awareness, Driving Growth

According to Independent IT-Security Institute, 450,000 new malwares are found each day. Cyberattacks keep evolving on a day-to-day basis which requires cybersecurity providers to keep up with these developments and be one step ahead. “Today, we are seeing an increasing number of attacks against individuals. By just mistakenly pressing a button or a wrong link, cybercriminals potentially could have full access and control of your phone, and you may need to pay a ransom to regain control of your device,” says von Seth. With its own research centers and patent protected methods, cyan is able facilitate its Threat Intelligence to predict future threat development patterns and hence offers a future-ready protection for subscribers.

Although mobile users in Thailand are tech-savvy, and aware of the risk of cyberattacks, no one is immune to the shape-shifting nature of cyberattacks. Which is why it’s essential to have a service like dtac Safe that protects you in the background without you ever having to worry about clicking the wrong link or losing your data online. With dtac Safe, you have an invisible guard making sure you can enjoy your online journey unbothered.

To help drive the awareness of the importance of cybersecurity, dtac & cyan are working together on educating users on conscious cyber threat awareness and introduce attractive plans and packages to dtac subscribers. “We hope to make dtac Safe a cornerstone cybersecurity product that protects all users,” von Seth says.

Expansion in Sight

“Asia is a huge opportunity and an exciting market for us.” With the success story of dtac, cyan is gearing up to partner with other MNOs in the Asia Pacific region. “We are already in talks with key players in countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore,” adds von Seth.

This year, Dr. Reckendorfer & Partners helped cyan establish a regional office in Thailand to provide dedicated technical and go-to-market support for their Asia Pacific partners. “With our modern cybersecurity solutions and years of expertise in Western & Asian markets, we believe we are a perfect partner for MNOs in Asia,” says von Seth.



Indonesia Staging A Strong Comeback

Indonesia has proven to be resilient in the face of challenges on multiple fronts, from geopolitical tensions to rising inflation and interest rates. Buoyed by robust demand for its natural resources, a vibrant digital sector and surging foreign investments, Southeast Asia’s largest economy has weathered the global turbulence to put itself back on a growth trajectory.

The country’s economy is expected to grow by 5.4% in 2022, and by 5.0% in 2023, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) released in September. The Asian Development Outlook 2022 update notes that robust consumer demand has more than offset lower government spending, while demand for Indonesia’s commodity exports has also been healthy, supporting growth and generating a fiscal revenue windfall.

“The Indonesian economy is coping well with threats to growth. Consumer spending is robust and commodity exports have boomed,” says Jiro Tominaga, ADB Country Director for Indonesia.

Reflecting this growing optimism over Indonesia’s outlook, foreign direct investments spiked by almost 64% in the third quarter of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021, boosted primarily by development of resources processing. Indonesia’s Minister of Investment Bahlil Lahadalia says the economic slowdown in China, one of its biggest partners, would not affect the flow of investment into the country.

A Tech Resurgence

Indonesia’s burgeoning digital economy is also regaining its momentum, driven in part by the country’s technology startups, whose innovative solutions are helping to overcome high distribution costs and provide access to goods and financial services to more Indonesians.

Indeed, amid an uncertain environment for the global technology sector, Indonesia’s startups continue to attract the attention of investors seeking new avenues for returns. In particular, industry watchers believe that the country’s early- to growth-stage investments present an attractive risk-reward profile for investors.

Indonesia is now home to a rising number of tech unicorns such as Traveloka, Xendit and Akulaku; local startups raised US$9.4 billion in 2021, almost three times the US$3.42 billion raised a year earlier. Indonesian venture capital (VC) firms have also been actively investing in the sector, further fueling growth.

One leading investor in the tech startup space is Alpha JWC Ventures, Indonesia’s first independent and institutional VC firm. Established in 2015, the firm’s total assets under management have grown to around US$700 million across three funds. Its portfolio of over 70 companies features four unicorns and 27 centaurs, with valuations of between US$100 million and US$1 billion.

Indonesia has also seen some of Southeast Asia’s most prominent public listings this year, including GoTo Group, the country’s biggest technology company. As of 10 November, the Indonesia Stock Exchange has recorded 54 new listings in 2022, exceeding 2021’s total.

The Return of Travel and Spending

Meanwhile, the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions and the reopening of borders are proving a boon for the country’s hospitality and consumer sectors. Amid this recovery, the first Langham Hotel in Southeast Asia opened its doors in downtown Jakarta.

The ultra-luxurious Langham, Jakarta sits on the uppermost stories of a skyscraper in the Sudirman Central Business District, with upscale shopping and entertainment nearby. Staying true to its roots, the property pays homage to the refined British elegance of the iconic Langham Hotel in London.

Growing confidence in the economy is also giving a boost to consumer spending. Fitch Solutions forecasts real household spending in Indonesia to grow by 4.8% year-on-year in 2022, an improvement from the 2.2% growth recorded in 2021. While household spending will moderate slightly downwards in 2023, growth is expected to remain strong at 4.7% next year.

As the largest and most successful bread company in Indonesia, PT Nippon Indosari Corpindo Tbk. is well-positioned to meet rising demand for its market-leading bread and cake products under its flagship brand Sari Roti.

To capitalize on the buoyant consumer sentiment, the company announced plans to enter the chocolate spread and chocolate milk business, after observing that Indonesian consumers had developed a strong affinity for Sari Roti’s chocolate flavor.

Healthy Demand for Natural Resources

Indonesia’s resources sector is expected to be another beneficiary of the recovering global economy. In particular, palm oil prices are projected to strengthen as demand increases for its use in food and biofuels. Indonesia is a major exporter of the commodity.

The uptick in palm oil is benefitting Indonesian producers such as PT Sumber Tani Agung Resources Tbk (STAA), which has established itself as a leading and sustainable player in the palm oil industry. Founded 50 years ago, the company has leveraged its expertise and experience to consistently deliver superior results to its key stakeholders.

STAA is now venturing into the downstream business to fuel growth, and is constructing a refinery and fractionation plant in Dumai, Riau. Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan says Indonesia’s exports could surpass US$300 billion by 2024, as the country regulates the exports of a range of commodities to encourage investment in local downstream industries.

Meanwhile, sustainability has become a priority for many businesses in Indonesia. The country’s largest integrated energy company, Pertamina, is incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into its operations as it views ESG and sustainability as fundamental to its future growth.

While threats to growth still abound, Indonesian businesses are riding the economy’s resilience to position themselves for long-term success as the effects of the pandemic fades into the background.

Malaysia On Track For Further Growth

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

In its latest report, Bank Negara Malaysia noted that the country saw a stronger growth of 8.9% in the second quarter of 2022 compared to 5% in the first quarter.

It attributed this strong showing to an increase in domestic demand, underpinned by the steady recovery in labor market conditions and ongoing policy support. The central bank also said the higher growth was reflective of normalizing economic activity as the country moved towards endemicity and reopened international borders.

The country’s Finance Ministry said foreign direct investment flowing into Malaysia in Q2 2022 remained positive, totaling US$3.63 billion (RM17.3 billion), buoyed by sectors such as manufacturing, financial and insurance, wholesale and retail trade primarily from the United States and Singapore.

Malaysia’s trade performance has also seen an uptrend. The Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation noted that trade surged by 56.7% to US$55.7 billion (RM265.7 billion) compared to August 2021.

Bright Outlook for Local Companies

As recovery gains momentum, Malaysian companies, such as Silverlake Axis, have also done well and experienced marked growth this year despite the impact of the pandemic. The company has a strong reputation in Southeast Asia and counts over 40% of the top 20 banks and three of the five largest financial institutions in ASEAN among its customers.

But despite its success, the Singapore-listed company has recognized the need to diversify its business and adapt to new market demands. The company is developing cloud-based and software-as-a-service solutions to compete more effectively with newer financial technology companies. It has also successfully made inroads into Thailand with these new products, with Indonesia as its next growth target.

Another company that is diversifying into new business is Gentari, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PETRONAS, which has identified the world’s need for clean energy demand within three important areas: renewable energy, hydrogen and green mobility.

The newly-formed company aspires to be a low carbon hydrogen producer that will supply its hydrogen value chain to industrial, power and transportation customers in domestic and export markets. It has plans to build an overall energy capacity of 30 to 40 gigawatt in key markets by 2030 through utility-scale projects across solar, onshore and offshore wind, and battery storage.

Open for Business

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s international financial center, the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), has opened its doors to three financial institutions—Affin Bank, HSBC and Prudential Assurance.

The 70-acre development has been benchmarked against the most stringent international standards and offers a unique proposition to potential investors and tenants as it employs biophilic designs, which bring in natural light and better air circulation.

These innovative designs support the future of work, where workers want to be agile and mobile and have seamless connection between outdoor and indoor spaces. TRX also emphasizes sustainability, with 23% of the district dedicated to green and open spaces and where the buildings are sustainably-designed and user-oriented.

Looking forward, Malaysia’s future looks bright following the country’s transition to the endemic phase and the opening of international borders. Its economic growth is expected to be supported by more vigorous economic and social activities, as well as strong domestic and foreign demand.

“While external demand could face headwinds from slower global growth, the Malaysian economy will continue to be supported by firm domestic demand. Growth would also benefit from improving labor market conditions and higher tourist arrivals, as well as continued implementation of multi-year investment projects,” says Nor Shamsiah, Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia.

The Pursuit Of Chronometric Perfection

As a watchmaker, François-Paul Journe’s track record for innovation and mechanical ingenuity is unparalleled. The three-time winner of the industry’s highest honor, the Aiguille d’Or, really needs no introduction. From the Astronomic Souveraine to the Chronomètre à Résonance, F.P.Journe’s creations are testimony to the deep, lasting impact the independent watchmaker has etched on contemporary Haute Horlogerie.

When it comes to timekeeping accuracy, one timepiece in particular has come to epitomize the very essence of the precision wristwatch—the Chronomètre Optimum.

The origins of this watch hark back to the 1980s when a youthful and idealistic Journe began obsessing over the “ideal” wristwatch. Even then, he knew exactly what it would be. Minimalist. Simple. A time-only watch with just a power reserve indicator. The Chronomètre Optimum’s synthesis of simplicity and precision would later serve as a fundamental pillar of F.P.Journe’s chronometric research. Many years would nevertheless have to pass before the young watchmaker would be in a position to turn concept into reality.

“The basic premise was to make a watch with less internal friction, a constant force on the escapement to ensure isochronism, and an escapement without lubrication to ensure stability,” says Journe.

The premise may have been basic but delivering on chronometric perfection demanded the watchmaker leverage and build on the knowledge base and technical expertise of past masters such as Breguet, Berthoud and Janvier while simultaneously driving new technological solutions of his own.

What he finally achieved was nothing short of horological brilliance. For starters, Journe knew his new movement would have twin mainspring barrels mounted in parallel. This layout ensured power delivery would be stable. Next, he created a constant-force mechanism called the Remontoir d’Égalité. This mechanism comprised an intermediate spring that equalized the forces acting on the escapement, further enhancing power transmission stability.

The idea that followed was nothing short of revolutionary. Instead of the traditional lubricated escapement wheel, Journe developed a system that used two escapement wheels. This design would come to be known as the High-Performance Bi-axial Escapement or EBHP. Put simply, a two-wheel system meant frictional forces could now be distributed rather than concentrated, thereby enabling the escapement to operate without lubricants.

In 2001, Journe set the wheels in motion for his new wristwatch with initial sketches. Six years and countless refinements later, the blueprints were finalized. In 2012, Calibre 1510 pulsed its first mechanical heartbeat as a complete caliber.

Traditional, Time-Tested Aesthetics

The blued steel hands indicating hours, minutes and power reserve are definitive of an F.P.Journe and in the Chronomètre Optimum may be set on a dial of white or red gold. The movement itself is constructed of 18K rose gold and features a 70-hour power reserve with a constant-force remontoir on display on the dial face. At the back, the movement flaunts a deadbeat seconds as defined by a seconds circle screwed onto the movement’s bridges. The two-part case is adorned with F.P.Journe’s iconic knurled crown, a design inspired by a silk rope.

The Chronomètre Optimum comes in 40- or 42-mm sizes, equivalent to 48.50- and 52.70-mm lug-to-lug configuration. Case thickness is 9.50-mm and available in either platinum or 18K red gold. Dials are either white or red gold and the timepiece is secured via leather strap.

The Hour Glass is the exclusive retailer of F.P.Journe in Singapore, Australia and Thailand.


Translucia Metaverse Gaining Momentum With Global Collaboration

Building a successful metaverse is challenging as it requires a large amount of investment and the buy-in of various ecosystem players.

Despite the challenges, Bangkok-based T&B Media Global is showing that it is committed to building Translucia, a metaverse project in which it is investing US$300 million.

Collaboration on a Global Scale

In September, Translucia added four world-leading partners—Sunovatech, Sygnum, Economics Design and Black Flame—to develop its metaverse ecosystem. With the four additions, Translucia now has six partners committed to the project.

According to Dr. Jwanwat Ahriyavraromp, Founder and CEO of T&B Media Global, collaborating with these world-leading partners will play a critical role in transforming Translucia into a virtual world worth over US$3 billion.

Sunovatech, based in New Delhi and specializing in 3D modeling and rendering design, will be responsible for helping to develop 3D assets and environments for visualizing Translucia by using its unique Unreal Engine technology development and specialists.

Switzerland-based Sygnum, which is also the world’s first digital asset bank, will help create Translucia’s financial structure. At the same time, Economics Design, based in Singapore, will be working closely with Sygnum to build Translucia’s economic infrastructure.

Chinese creative company Black Flame, which specializes in visual design and has worked on blockbuster animations such as Ne Zha and The Monkey King 2, will help create digital assets such as landscapes, avatars, architectures, environments and holistic concepts, and will also contribute to Translucia’s story creation.

Earlier this year, Translucia teamed up with Two Bulls, a creative technology development company, to launch the Metaverse Research and Development Center in Melbourne with an initial investment of US$100 million to research new technologies to bridge the real and virtual worlds.

Ahriyavraromp has been very pleased with the progress of Translucia, as the metaverse is able to attract the interest of many global players. “Much like the Internet, we knew that the metaverse can’t be built by one entity. We have always expected that we’d work with hundreds, if not thousands, of talented people around the world to help bring Translucia to fruition. We just didn’t anticipate how many super talented and passionate people we’d find so quickly!

“The partners joining us believe that we are all able to make a difference by working towards reducing inequality and Translucia promises to be a magnifier of the good we hope to share with the world.”

Integration is Key to Success

Like most technologies, such as cloud computing and mobile telecommunications, integration plays an important role in the success of a technology.

Understanding that there are other metaverses being developed by other players globally, Ahriyavraromp explains that the partners will also be working towards enabling Translucia to “perfectly integrate with other metaverses.”

He says Translucia aims to develop an ‘infinite universe’ capable of interconnectivity with other metaverses leveraging Web 3.0 capabilities. He further adds that the Translucia metaverse will have shared infrastructure, utilities, technologies, hardware and software.

“Integration is key and it’s also the core function of Internet technology. If metaverses don’t integrate, it will greatly hinder adoption of the metaverse technology because the user experience would not be seamless,” he points out.

“For instance, a reader is enjoying this article on their most favorite news website. Once done, if they have to disconnect from the Internet and log into a different Internet to enjoy another article on a different news site, that would be a horrible experience, and no one would want to do that. Likewise, the experience would be the same if metaverses didn’t integrate.”

Building the Right Purpose

While technology and integration play important roles in the success of a metaverse, Ahriyavraromp says another key factor, which may be the most important factor of all, would be to ensure the metaverse serves a purpose for users and the community.

“Translucia is a metaverse designed to contribute to the economy and society by transforming the way we live and experience life. Unlike other metaverses, Translucia focuses on creating happiness, not only from external sources, but also internally from one’s mind and body.”

When it is completed, Translucia will comprise four key levels: Central Translucia, Pillars of Nature, Nature’s True Home and Beyond Boundless.

According to Ahriyavraromp, Central Translucia—also known as the Central Hub of Limitless Opportunities—is a place where you can pursue various interests, and where dreams can become real. The Pillars of Nature comprises various fascinating ecosystems, including flora and fauna, to be explored and discovered, while in Nature’s True Home, users have access to a “hidden realm of nature’s wonders and enchantments” that, Ahriyavraromp says, is “a special world where you can choose your destiny as nature’s guardian.”

As for Beyond Boundless, Ahriyavraromp describes it as “a place where the mind and soul will find rest and be lifted by those we love and trust.”

“At the very core of Translucia’s value proposition is an engine that will convert goodness into wellness, prosperity and, ultimately, happiness. In this sense, ‘goodness’ is defined as being good to others, to the world, and to yourself.”

More Partnerships Ahead

Translucia currently has many of its building blocks in place—from the synergies between the real and virtual worlds, the environment, to the financial infrastructure. However, Ahriyavraromp is confident that more elements can be included into the metaverse.

In fact, with the right technology in place—both hardware and software—the metaverse could be used to improve one’s health, financials, and mental wellbeing.

“Anything is possible in the world of metaverses,” Ahriyavraromp claims.

He says that by focusing on individual goodness, Translucia isn’t just a tech company as it is shifting focus from traditional P&L (Profit and Loss) to include each individual’s Purpose and Legacy.

He adds that the process of creating the Translucia metaverse platform has been an exciting journey and a rewarding one so far. “What has made this journey so rewarding is that we’ve been able to meet so many wonderful people who share the same vision and values as we do.

“We’re looking for IoT technologies and partners who have the AI and hardware to help bring this engine to life, translating actions in the real world into benefits in the virtual world and vice versa.”


Timely Reveal

With a stunning new geometry and an all-new Manufacture movement, Hublot’s Square Bang Unico made a timely entry at Watches & Wonders 2022 in Geneva, joining Hublot’s family of tonneau-shaped watches, round watches and the unconventionally shaped Master
Pieces series.

Inspired by the iconic Big Bang and Chairman Jean-Claude Biver’s “Art of Fusion” philosophy, the Square Bang Unico symbolizes Hublot’s ethos of being “the first, unique, and different” and exemplifies the synthesis of functionality, architecture, design and unique materials.

Its shape, at first a challenge for the R&D department, displays Hublot’s technical expertise while maintaining some traditions from 1980. As CEO Ricardo Guadalupe said, “The square watch is a very specific object most watchmakers dare not tackle. This is a divisive, disruptive and unconventional shape no one has known how to rework for decades. Hublot decided to get to grips with the shape to explore its power and create a unique timepiece.”

It offers a lesson in geometry, beginning with the HUB1280 Unico Manufacture movement, a 354-component automatic chronograph set at 4Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour). It has a power reserve of 72 hours.

With mechanical movements round and difficult to integrate into square cases, Hublot skeletonized the dial to work around it and, rather than concealing it, they displayed the remarkable power of the HUB1280, which follows the Meca-10 and Tourbillon movements. An oblong bicompax display at 6 o’clock reveals the chronograph’s inner mechanics, along with a column wheel.

A further challenge was the modular construction of the case. Hublot’s DNA is reflected in the 42mm sapphire crystal case—with a central housing and upper-lower plate for a variety of combinations—that reveals the dial and the movement. In addition to being functional, the six distinct screws on the bezel contribute to the overall aesthetics of the Square Bang Unico; “ears” (bezel lugs) on both sides of the watch give balance to the design while protecting the case.

The square shape presented another issue: the difficulty in making it water-resistant. Hublot pulled off this challenge and made the watch water-resistant to 100 meters.

The Square Bang Unico is even ergonomically perfect, providing wrist comfort. The textured “chocolate-square” strap enhances its uniqueness, and the One Click system lets you switch between rubber, alligator and soft-touch leather straps quickly.

As with all Hublot timepieces, the finishing is impeccable. The screws are sandblasted and polished. Chronograph push-pieces have rubber “chocolate squares”, and the rhodium-plated or 5N gold-plated hands, depending on the model, are polished.

At its launch, Hublot presented five 42mm Square Bang Unico models. The All Black, limited to 250 pieces, combines shades of black on all surfaces, alternating between polished and satin finishes. Ceramic and titanium meet here, from the polished black case and bezel to the structured rubber strap and black-plated titanium deployant clasp.

The other four are: a solid titanium piece, a titanium with ceramic bezel model, a King Gold with ceramic bezel model, and a full King Gold timepiece. Each comes with a black rubber strap and a folding clasp that matches the material of the case.

The Hour Glass is the exclusive partner of Hublot in Southeast Asia.


Delivering The Future

Kawal Preet, AMEA President, FedEx Express

Supply chain disruption continues to be a pain point for businesses around Asia and the world. Many industry sectors continue to experience supply chain bottlenecks, raw material and component shortages, infrastructure issues, and continued rotating lockdowns in countries still managing the pandemic.

Within this issue, however, lies an opportunity. By collecting and using data that is continuously generated within and around the supply chains, they can be made smarter, more predictable, and controllable. This benefits FedEx, as well as its customers.

“Data and technology hold the key to unlocking and building better insights, increasing visibility and improving customer experience,” says Kawal Preet, President of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region at FedEx Express. “It’s no longer just information about the package, but also the environment in which the package is traveling that we’re collecting to generate those insights, and ultimately giving more control to our customers.”

Connecting Physical and Digital Networks

Every day, more than 20 million packages move through the FedEx network. Each one of them is scanned around 20 times before reaching its destination, moving in a combination of aircraft and delivery vehicles. FedEx teams around the globe need to be able to act quickly and decisively to ensure packages are delivered at the right time, and to the right place.

FedEx recognized early on how data drives innovation. Today, the analytics center in Singapore works closely with FedEx Dataworks, which is steering the company’s digital transformation using data to help optimize internal operations. The teams use machine learning, artificial intelligence and other advanced analytical methods to improve complex processes, prevent problems or make decision recommendations in real time.

“We are transforming our business to operate at the intersection of physical and digital networks, and to create even more value for our customers,” says Preet.

Big Data Powering Smart Logistics

Among the solutions recently developed is a near real-time package monitoring system that enables customer service and operations teams to anticipate issues, and take action to prevent shipments from being delayed. Predictive algorithms are used to prepare customs clearance information, ensuring that shipments can be delivered as soon as they arrive in their destination country.

In addition to parcel scanning, a sensor device can be placed inside a package or a container to transmit location, temperature and other data related to the status of the package to various types of access points throughout the FedEx network. This enhanced real-time visibility helps FedEx and its customers plan the next steps in their supply chain—for example, making sure that engineers are on site at the right time, ready to receive and install a critical spare part.

As supply chain disruptions look set to continue for the foreseeable future, logistics teams need to be able to think and act with agility. Real-time visibility into the progress of shipments in transit helps to ease some of the stresses of keeping a business on track.

“Using technology and ever greater amounts of connected, continuous and contextual data, we are transforming the way we operate,” says Preet. “Tapping into the full potential of data analytics can help us improve efficiency, reduce errors, avoid problems and increase transparency. And most importantly, deliver more intelligent supply chains for our customers.”

Connecting The World Intelligently

Global technology company Qualcomm has played a key role in pushing the boundaries of what is possible for the mobile industry over the past three decades. Today, the company continues to set the pace of innovation for the mobile industry, but this Nasdaq-listed multinational is now looking to execute on its self-proclaimed “biggest opportunity”—the mission to enable everyone, and everything, to be intelligently connected.

As industries around the globe undergo digital transformation, Qualcomm is fast becoming the partner of choice to enable this transition. A key reason for this is the company’s leading technology roadmap, which was founded in mobile, but is now relevant to all industries that are looking to intelligently connect their worlds. Artificial intelligence, cameras, connectivity, audio, video, security, GPUs and CPUs are no longer technologies that are relevant only to mobile devices—now they are being used more broadly to develop next-generation automobiles, smart homes, smart cities and smart factories, among others.

One of the key enablers of this digital transformation is 5G. According to U.S.-based business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, 5G revenue in Asia-Pacific (APAC) is expected to grow from US$2.13 billion in 2020 to US$23.89 billion in 2025. With the huge potential in 5G, Qualcomm, a leader in 5G technologies, is confident that it can grow its business in the APAC region beyond smartphones. The company has developed its flagship Snapdragon 5G-enabled platforms for mobile, but also for mobile computing and auto, as well as for networking and fixed wireless access.

“Since 5G has started to be deployed in more countries, we’ve seen various applications for it that have been impacting the way people work and live,” says Jim Cathey, Chief Commercial Officer at Qualcomm. “Given that 5G is still in its infancy, we see more developers and companies investing to create solutions that would harness the technology to improve lives and livelihoods, and we have the technologies to help them do that.”

Jim Cathey, Chief Commercial Officer, Qualcomm

A Leader in Mobile Technology

Even as it banks on 5G to drive growth in APAC, Qualcomm continues to reinforce its leadership position in the mobile space. The company’s mobile business is expected to continue expanding on the back of the 8.4 billion smartphones that global market intelligence firm IDC expects to be shipped between 2021 and 2026. Furthermore, analysts forecast that nearly 6 billion 5G smartphones will hit the market between 2020 and 2026.

Qualcomm’s success in this segment has been driven largely by its flagship Snapdragon mobile platforms, which provide consumers with a superior mobile user experience across a wide range of devices, from entry-level offerings to the latest high-end flagship devices.

S.T. Liew, Head of APAC, Qualcomm

“Snapdragon mobile platforms from Qualcomm Technologies are synonymous with premium Android. With leading-edge innovation and breakthroughs, they are designed to offer the most immersive, intelligent and connected mobile user experiences deployed in some of the world’s most popular smartphones,” says S.T. Liew, Qualcomm’s Head of APAC.

Apart from Snapdragon’s exceptional performance and features, OEMs are also able to benefit greatly from the platform’s seamless integration, which can help reduce the time and cost to develop devices. As Qualcomm offers different tiers of Snapdragon platforms, OEMs are also able to offer mobile devices across different price points.

“The technological leadership, design flexibility and power efficiency of Snapdragon mobile platforms come from relentless research and development [R&D], proven engineering expertise, superior global customer support, and a user-centered design approach. Consumers can enjoy immersive experiences, lightning-fast connectivity and cutting-edge performance with devices powered by Snapdragon,” explains Liew.

Always On, Always Connected

The PC market is yet another key growth driver for Qualcomm in APAC. The traditional PC market, made up of desktops, notebooks and workstations, registered a 15.9% year-on-year increase, reaching about 120.3 million units in the region.

Qualcomm is making its mark in this space through the use of its groundbreaking Snapdragon compute platforms, which power Always On, Always Connected PCs by combining the best of mobile phones with the performance of PCs. The pandemic accelerated demand for such devices, as more people worked from home, and schools conducted classes remotely.

“The Snapdragon compute platforms equip mobile PCs with powerful performance and efficiency, delivering the ability to connect to fast and secure cellular network connectivity, and boast advanced camera and audio features that enable devices perfect for use for enterprise and for education,” says Liew.

Even as pandemic restrictions ease, an IDC study among APAC working professionals found that more than 56% of employees still prefer flexible work arrangements that allow them to operate remotely.

In the education space, some countries continue to conduct distance learning as they adjust to a post-pandemic normal. Through its partnership with The Dariu Foundation, Qualcomm witnessed firsthand the positive impact that its devices had for more than 100,000 students learning remotely across 80 beneficiary schools.

To thrive in this new normal, workers and students are seeking mobile experiences that match the capabilities of their smartphones and PCs; keeping them securely connected to their organizations while enhancing their output. Snapdragon powered devices are able to deliver the connectivity, security and productivity that users seek in a world of remote work.

Says Cathey: “With all of these in mind, we see a lot of opportunities to further strengthen our foothold in the APAC region.”

Qualcomm’s Market-leading Solutions

Qualcomm 5G Industrial IoT

Qualcomm is at the forefront of wireless R&D on the road to 5G Advanced and beyond, developing technologies to meet the demanding requirements for Industry 4.0, and collaborating with leading industrial automation companies today to advance industrial efficiency with the power of 5G.

Qualcomm Automotive Solutions

Qualcomm provides advanced scalable cloud connected platforms for automotive telematics and connectivity, cockpit and driver assistance & autonomy solutions from leveraging its one technology roadmap spanning low-power, high performance compute, multi-modal connectivity, and AI to deliver the Snapdragon Digital Chassis.

Snapdragon mobile platforms

Synonymous with Premium Android, Snapdragon mobile platforms are designed to offer the most immersive, intelligent, and connected mobile user experiences so consumers can enjoy the most immersive experiences, lightning-fast connectivity, and cutting-edge performance with devices powered by Snapdragon.

Snapdragon compute platforms

Combining the best of the smartphone with the performance of Windows PCs and Chromebooks, delivering speed, power, and performance with multi-day battery life, 4G LTE and 5G connectivity experiences; enterprise, education, and everyday end-users can have the freedom to connect, compute, and communicate from anywhere.