Visa and Shopee launches campaign to help merchants go digital

Customers are also encouraged to buy local



E-commerce platforms are on the rise lately as the pandemic takes its toll on traditional shopping outlets. To encourage more merchants to go digital, Visa and Shopee teamed up to launch a new campaign for consumers and merchants alike.

They call it Where You Shop Matters and it aims to encourage consumers to support local brands online while encouraging other businesses to go digital. As part of the campaign, Shopee will offer discounts and perks for Visa cardholders buying from local merchants.

In this day and age, local merchants need an online presence to survive. A Visa study showed that 77% of Filipinos believe that it is important for local merchants to have an online presence. For Dan Wolbert — Visa Country Manager for the Philippines and Guam —  the pandemic accelerated a rapid shift to digital payments with small businesses needing a digital transformation to do well.

To help these small businesses get up to speed, Visa will provide a special e-commerce starter kit for growing and managing digital stores. Businesses can also avail of discount rates and free onboarding support on BigCommerce upon setting up their own store. Other perks and packages also include a Microsoft Office 365 Business package and a Google Ads cashback.

Meanwhile, small businesses that also have their own physical stores may avail of free Visa point-of-sale (POS) signage. This will help build trust between local merchants and their customers and further seamless payments once the pandemic is over.

Where You Shop campaign is part of Visa’s broader strategy. The company’s strategy aims to support millions of small and micro enterprises (SMEs) in the Asia Pacific. It has also committed US$ 210 million for emergency relief through the Visa Foundation.

Interested merchants may know more about the campaign by visiting this site.


Facebook took down pro-China, pro-Duterte accounts

Reportedly China-sponsored and inauthentic accounts



With the American presidential elections fast approaching, Facebook is taking an active approach against potential election interference. For one, the social media platform is moderating its content more stringently for misinformation. Now, erring accounts are on the chopping block. Today, Facebook took down pro-China, pro-Duterte accounts in the Philippines.

If you’re worried about a potential violation of the right to free speech, the platform claims that the ban affects “inauthentic Chinese accounts,” according to a new security report. In a list containing more than 200 accounts, most were potentially interfering in Asian and American politics. Facebook also included more than 40 pages, nine groups, and more than 20 Instagram accounts.

Most of the accounts were based in the Philippines, commenting (and supporting) China’s claims on the West Philippine Sea and President Rodrigo Duterte’s actions. They also criticized Rappler. Posts were in English, Filipino, and Chinese.

On the flip side, the smaller chunk of suspended accounts is in the United States, showing support for both Democrats and Republicans.

Whereas the American-based accounts have only around 3,000 followers, the Philippines-based accounts have amassed more than 376,000 followers at the time of suspension. Meanwhile, the implicated groups drew in more than 60,000 followers. The accounts spent US$ 60 on ad spending in Chinese yuan. They also spent a whopping US$ 1,100 in Philippine peso.

Undoubtedly, Facebook is taking a more active approach against political interference. It marks a renewed approach compared to its efforts in 2016. Back then, the platform received a lot of flak for affecting the elections in both the United States and in Southeast Asia.

SEE ALSO: Facebook is paying users to delete their accounts

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PeopleCount by Bosch is made for social distancing

Another smart solution to the challenges of the pandemic



Tech has played a key role in the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic. While we wait with bated breath for a vaccine, tech companies have given us ways to detect the virus, properly contact trace, and limit its spread. Now, Bosch, in partnership with Globaltronics and Philips, launches PeopleCount for social distancing.

PeopleCount is a customizable security system. It lets facility managers track, control, and manage the number of people entering a particular area. This lets them operate efficiently while guiding people to follow and maintain social distancing measures.

What is it exactly?

It uses Bosch’s intelligent camera solution and Philips’ Android System on Chip (SoC) display that allows real-time monitoring  and analysis of people flow with minimal human intervention.

The system can be used for single entrance or multiple entrances simultaneously and displays the data through a simple traffic light system. PeopleCount also keeps customers informed and engaged through both promotional and safety messaging displayed on its system.

Bosch and Philips believe this system can be an effective tool for enforcing social distancing protocols. They see it as a solution that requires minimum investment, is quick and easy to deploy, can be operated remotely, is customer-friendly, and has the ability to record data and statistics.

How does it work?

It functions with three main components: a standalone application as the main control, a camera to track and analyze movements, and a monitor that displays communication for customers.

Bosch’s intelligent camera counts the number of people entering and exiting the facility using its video analytics features. Meanwwhile, the Philips Android SoC display keeps the customers informed with visual alerts prior to entering a facility.

Users can install single or multiple cameras and monitors across different entries or individual stores. The cameras can process information and able to generate the status of occupancy real-time.

This, then will be displayed in any browser-enabled display such as tablet or an android TV. This gives users the advantage of controlling access to various points of a building.

When using multiple cameras, the system can also aggregate the counts from different cameras to monitor the occupancy of individual shops, floors, and even areas covered by multiple entries and exits.

Comes with an alert system

When the occupancy has reached its maximum number, the system can alert or trigger the facility’s building access control system to secure the entrance until the occupancy is reduced.

The system also delivers real time information to the display for customer queue communications, alerting visitors whether they must wait or if they can enter.

The screen display can be used in three formats:

  • The entire screen can be used to signal individuals to wait or enter.
  • It can also be divided 50/50, where one part is used for entry instructions and the other may include promotional or instructional videos and even special products on discount.
  • The third option is the use of a traffic light display for entry management while having a large area of the monitor to display other content.

Bosch and Philips are actively marketing this to private companies. During the launch, they also said they have projects lined up with the Philippine government to rollout this tech.

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The US has temporarily halted the TikTok and WeChat ban



Late last week, Trump finally brought the hammer down on TikTok and WeChat. Supposedly, by Sunday, both Apple and Google should have pulled the platforms from their respective app stores. However, in a late ruling, that’s not happening anymore. As of late Sunday afternoon, the United States has temporarily halted the TikTok and WeChat ban.

In San Francisco, a US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler has ruled in favor of TikTok and WeChat. According to Reuters, the judge found “serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment [or right to free speech] claim.” Further, the ruling states that the bans will not alleviate the government’s cybersecurity concerns at all. If anything, it will only impede the communication between private individuals using the platform.

Yesterday, TikTok officially filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, citing violations in both the right to free speech and due process. Now, the judge’s ruling effectively blocked the ban from taking place. Of note, however, the ruling covers only WeChat.

On the TikTok side of things, the US Commerce Department temporarily halted the order of its own accord. Besides the lawsuit against the administration, TikTok is also in the middle of a finalized business deal with Oracle (whom Trump gave a blessing to).

Though both bans are on hold, the platforms’ futures are still up in the air. With a finalized buyer already, TikTok is looking to form a separate, American-owned corporation, TikTok Global, to continue its operations in the country. Meanwhile, WeChat is still figuring future plans on its own. Trump has also started to question WeChat’s owner Tencent in its other businesses.

SEE ALSO: China would rather shut TikTok down than sell it

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