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ACCEL is the No. 1 Filipino Sportswear Brand

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I was recently privileged to sit down with Paolo Ortiz who is the second generation of the families running and managing the top Filipino sportswear company in the country which is more popularly known for its primary sports brand – ACCEL (pronounced /əkˈsel/).  I met him at his main warehouse in Pasig City and together with three other journalists and bloggers, we all casually talked to Paolo to hear his thoughts and experiences regarding the company and brands they have given to the Filipino public since its inception in 2002.

Hey! I remember owning a pair of ACCEL rubber shoes. Back then, probably around 2005, I always thought Accel was an international brand. “Well, what didn’t I know then?” So, I should shout, “Proudly Filipino!”

There are presently 342 outlets nationwide of Sporteum Philippines, Inc., the company that manufactures, markets and sells the ACCEL line of sportswear, most of which are concession-oriented and outright stores, while around 10 are company-owned specialty boutique shops. By research, I also found out Lazada is also selling the ACCEL brand though I do not know if it is a direct sale from Sporteum. But no franchising for now.

The sportswear brand ACCEL is more known for its rubber shoes (Yep! That’s old school terminology, kiddos!), particularly in the area of Philippine basketball since Sporteum has been a licensee of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) for quite some time – jerseys, caps, sports sandals and bags.

Besides sports shoes, Accel also has sports sandals, shorts, indoor shoes, basketball shoes, caps and other accessories as its more marketable brand categories. You have past and present ACCEL endorsers like Asi Taulava, Manny Pacquiao before he became famous, including the likes of Bearwin “DaBear” Meily (Filipino actor), Rey Saludar (boxing), Dennis Orcollo (billiard), Engelberto Rivera (bowling), Onyok Velasco (boxing), Treat Conrad Huey and Ceil Mamiit (tennis), La Salle Green Archers (2007 83rd UAAP), Gilas Pilipinas, Maico Buncio (superbike), Gary David (basketball), Natasha Alquiros (women’s football), and Diego Dalisay (tennis).

As prominent is ACCEL to men’s sports, the sportswear company is now aggressively marketing its women’s line for the past two years, starting with women’s sport shoes and following it with women’s sports apparel – footwear, sports sandals, apparel, leggings, sports bra and more.

While interviewing Paolo Ortiz, I learned that he actually finished with a degree in Landscape Architecture and ventured out on his own before joining the family business two years ago. Sporteum was founded by three families, namely the Ortiz, Laroza and Go families, with Willie Ortiz more known with the ACCEL brand. Prior to setting up Sporteum, these three sportswear industry stalwarts actually came from another well-known sportswear company, Rubber World, which as I recall was the first distributor of Adidas in the country. This only means these founders have been in sportswear industry for decades.

ACCEL has only one market – the Filipino market. They are competing head-on with internationally known brands like Addidas and Nike but are priced well below these expensive sportswear products so that the average Filipino can afford ACCEL – with equal quality and durability to the international brands. A local brand, World Balance, may well be its direct local competitor but ACCEL outpaces it in variety, availability and affordability. This is because ever since they started, Sporteum’s goal was to be the No. 1 Filipino sports brand. Today, I believe that to be very true.

A new addition to the ACCEL brand is not a sub-brand but rather a new technology, which they call Quantum Plus (or Quantum+ as it is popularly labeled). This is a patented technology inside select ACCEL sportswear products that provides a healthy balance of ionized charge. Something similar to magnets and infrared (IR) in wearables like bracelets and necklaces, Quantum Plus balances out the negative charges for us urban dwellers; rural folks have a balanced diet of these charged ions. From sport shoes to apparel, Quantum Plus is (still) in its promotional stage despite being launched sometime early 2014. Wearing something with Quantum Plus is like placing nature’s energy in your shoes to boost your stamina, whether it involves casual sports or extreme ones. If you go to one of ACCEL’s outlets, the Quantum Plus products are visibly labeled with a large, prominent tag. Of course, there are no scientific or medical claims for endurance and strength but global research will tell you a balance of charged ions can provide a healthy balance for the body. In fact, one of the interviewers attested giving her extra endurance on her regular jogs when she started using ACCEL with Quantum Plus.

The prevailing market of ACCEL products have always been the Gen X (generation), seeing that the company began as the official licensee of PBA in its early days. But Sporteum is slowly developing products for the Millennial market, especially the women’s segment. Besides conducting surveys for new and upcoming designs, they also rely on feedback from their endorsers and other athletes.

September next month is the anniversary of ACCEL. Paolo says they have promotions in store which he did not want to reveal – not just yet. Sporteum will continue to add Quantum Plus in more of their products and continue to support Filipino sports with the likes of PBA, UAAP, NCAA, Shakey’s V-League, PBA D-League, Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Sportswriters Association, PBA Press Corps and the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps.

For more information, visit www.accelsports.com or follow them at Facebook and Instagram.

Source of text from an interview with Paolo Ortiz, Operations Director of Sporteum Philippines, Inc.

Photos by @raffypekson

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Written by Raffy Pekson II

August 21, 2016 at 6:50 pm

Posted in Business & The Economy, News & Articles, Small Business & Entrepreneuring, Sports

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F5 Networks Release BIG-IP Version 12 for Cloud and Security

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F5 Networks (NASDAQ: FFIV) expands the company’s hybrid platform of services with the release of its latest software which improves the agility, security, and performance of cloud application deployments. BIG-IP® version 12.0 makes it simple for customers to unify hardware, software, and managed service resources as well as help realize IT efficiency and cost savings.

As a direct response to organizations looking to deploy services in hybrid environments, BIG-IP® version 12.0 takes advantage of F5’s application delivery services by combining physical and virtual resources to better support cloud and hybrid scenarios. This approach allows customers to transition workloads to cloud environments as needed and incorporate technologies like HTTP/2, while maintaining the same visibility, security, and control of traditional infrastructures.

“Organizations in the Philippines are ready for cloud/hybrid deployments, and they welcome innovations that help realize IT efficiency and cost savings,” said Oscar Visaya, Philippines Country Manager, F5 Networks. “F5 is instrumental in helping customers take advantage of the benefits of the cloud without sacrificing security, flexibility or savings, in an evolving application delivery environment.”

F5 Networks’ BIG-IP 12.0 unifies hardware, software, and managed service resources to realise IT efficiency and cost savings.

F5 Networks’ BIG-IP 12.0 supports customers deploying cloud and hybrid IT architectures.

F5 Networks’ BIG-IP 12.0 provides reliable access in all types of IT environments with single sign-on (SSO).

F5 Networks’ BIG-IP 12.0 ensures superior protection with the largest DDoS vector spectrum and increased attack visibility.

F5 Networks’ BIG-IP 12.0 ensures improved SSL capabilities for comprehensive security.

F5 (NASDAQ: FFIV) provides solutions for an application world. F5 helps organizations seamlessly scale cloud, data center, telecommunications, and software defined networking (SDN) deployments to successfully deliver applications and services to anyone, anywhere, at any time. F5 solutions broaden the reach of IT through an open, extensible framework and a rich partner ecosystem of leading technology and orchestration vendors. This approach lets customers pursue the infrastructure model that best fits their needs over time. The world’s largest businesses, service providers, government entities, and consumer brands rely on F5 to stay ahead of cloud, security, and mobility trends. For more information, go to f5.com.

Follow F5 Networks via @F5networksAPJ on Twitter or visit them on LinkedIn and Facebook for more information about F5, its partners, and technologies.

Source: Press release from Ardent Communications.

Image from f5.com.

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GMR-Megawide Consortium Bids to Manage 5 Airports in Philippines

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The Philippine government in December 2012 initiated an international competitive bidding process for the management and development of the Mactan Cebu International Airport or MCIA. In December 2013, GMR Infrastructure in partnership with Megawide Construction Corporation of Philippines emerged as the highest bidder after offering a bid premium of 14.4 billion Philippine Pesos (approximately US$ 320 million). The consortium, called GMR Megawide Consortium (GMCAC), has taken full operational control for the renovation and modernization of MCIA in November 2014.

Now, GMCAC is in a race with five other companies to acquire operations of five other airports in the country worth 108.19 billion Pesos or US$ 2.4 billion under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.

As defined by www.ppp.gov.ph, PPP is a contractual agreement between the Philippine Government and a private firm targeted towards financing, designing, implementing and operating infrastructure facilities and services that were traditionally provided by the public sector. It embodies optimal risk allocation between the parties – minimizing cost while realizing project developmental objectives. Thus, the project is to be structured in such a way that the private sector gets a reasonable rate of return on its investment.

These PPP projects include the development, operations and maintenance of the five regional airports. The airports involved are located in the following cities:

  • Bacolod-Silay
  • Iloilo
  • Davao
  • Laguindingan
  • New Bohol (Panglao)

GMR was founded by G.M Rao of India and has since then evolved as a major player in the global infrastructure sector, particularly in high growth areas such as airports, energy, transportation and urban infrastructure. GMR operates two airports in India and one in Cebu, 15 power generation assets, 6 operations highways, a foray of property development and construction, promotion of sports teams, and various corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects in education, health and hygiene, and community development.

Megawide Construction Corporation is a publicly-listed construction firm in the Philippines and is recognized for its use of advanced construction methods and technology. The company’s brand of engineering excellence has turned it into the country’s leading construction firm. Its vision, innovation and commitment of a group of young, dynamic and highly trained engineers. Megawide projects include residential, office and commercial, hotels and casinos, PPP and social infrastructures, mixed use and industrial infrastructures. Michael Cosiquien is Megawide’s Chairman and CEO while Edgar Saavedra is its President and COO.

Sources: moneycontrol.com | gmrgroup.in | megawide.com.ph | ppp.gov.ph

Title photo from commons.wikimedia.org.

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More Foreign Banks Open in the Philippines

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The entry of more foreign bank opening to operate in the Philippine can only mean increased competition to the local banks. The latter will have to find more creative ways to keep their customers away from their foreign rivals. They could partner with these foreign imports, improve their service specific to the Filipino habits and lifestyles, or tap into the market which really doesn’t benefit from all these new foreign banks – the low income consumers and small businesses.

Recently, the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas or BSP (Philippine Central Bank) has allowed the entry of four new foreign banks into the country, on top of the 28 now operating. These four new foreign banks are:

  • Cathay United Bank
  • Industrial Bank of Korea
  • Shinhan Bank
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

The 28 foreign banks now operating in the Philippines are the following:

  1. ANZ Banking Group
  2. Bangkok Bank
  3. Bank of America
  4. Bank of China
  5. Bank of Singapore
  6. Barclays Bank
  7. BNP Paribas
  8. Citibank
  9. DBS Bank
  10. Deutsche Bank
  11. ING Bank
  12. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank
  13. J.P. Morgan International Finance
  14. Japan Bank For International Cooperation
  15. Korea Development Bank
  16. Korea Exchange Bank
  17. Mega International Commercial Bank
  18. Mizuho Bank
  19. Rothschild (Singapore)
  20. Standard Chartered Bank
  21. State Bank of India
  22. Taiwan Cooperative Bank
  23. The Bank of New York Mellon
  24. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
  25. The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank)
  26. The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC)
  27. UBS
  28. Wells Fargo Bank

Source: GMA News Online | Wikipedia.org

Title photo from Wikipedia.org.

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Reader’s Digest Votes SM Supermalls Best Mall

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Reader’s Digest, the book Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers grew up with, has again cited SM Supermalls as the most valued and preferred shopping mall brands in the Philippines for the fourth year in a row. SM Supermalls was awarded the Platinum Trusted Brand in the Shopping Center category last June 30, 2015 under the annual Trusted Brands Survey conducted by Reader’s Digest.

SM Supermalls is the largest shopping center operator in the Philippines, providing shopping, dining and entertainment options to millions of shoppers daily in over 50 malls in the Philippines and six in China. Delivering the ultimate in family fun mall experience is the brand promise of SM Supermalls and it partners with the best local and global retailers.

SM Supermalls, owned by SM Prime Holdings, Inc. and was started by Henry Sy, Sr. in 1958 as Shoemart, with a store in Manila. In the 1960s Shoemart expanded its shoe store chain. It is one of the pioneers in the new urban centers in Makati and Cubao. By the 1970s, Shoemart was a full-line department store, shifting its name from Shoemart to SM. In the 1980s, the company diversified and ventured into the supermarket and home appliance store business. It opened the first “Supermall” store in 1985 in Quezon City called SM City North EDSA.

Read more about it at EPR Retail News.

Title photo via wikimedia.org.

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Is the Philippines Ready for CIPURSE™ and the OSPT™ Alliance

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When I first got the invite to attend the launch, presentation and workshop of the OSPT™ Alliance, I thought the first two letters represented “open source,” the development model that promotes universal access via a free license to a product’s design or blueprint, and universal redistribution of that design or blueprint, including subsequent improvements. You see, I also work for a Filipino IT company GoAutoDial Inc. which develops and distributes an open source telephony software solution for small and medium enterprises, especially contact centers. But as it turned out, the OSPT™ Alliance is not about open source software. It is about open standards.

Akin to the likes of IEEE or ISO standards, OSPT™ or Open Standard for Public Transport is all about providing the standards, guidelines and specifications to help the transit fare collection community move towards the next generation of secure, cost-effective, and flexible fare collection solutions based on an open standard. As part of its mission, it developed the CIPURSE™ open standard for secure fare collection systems. It is a not-for-profit and vendor-neutral industry alliance supported by members from five continents covering the whole transport value chain and beyond.

Founded by smart card manufacturers Giesecke & Devrient GmbH (G&D) and Oberthur Technologies and chip suppliers Infineon Technologies AG, and INSIDE Secure S.A. (formerly INSIDE Contactless) in January 2010, the OSPT™ Alliance collectively defined the CIPURSE™ standard.

The CIPURSE™ Certification Program documentation can be downloaded by anyone and an FAQ page is accessible to know more about OSPT™ Alliance and CIPURSE™. The CIPURSE™ specification is available to full members, associate members and evaluators. The CIPURSE™ software development kit (SDK) gives you the tools that you need to begin developing transit solutions. Members and evaluators can purchase the SDK at the OSPT™ Alliance website. White papers, videos and presentation materials are also available.

So, who are using the CIPURSE™ standards?

Let me give you a synapse of the companies and organizations presented during the workshop at The Peninsula Manila last October 14, 2014.

Deutsche Telekom, one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies with 140 million mobile customers, has joined the OSPT™ Alliance as an Associate Member. It is the first mobile network operator to join the alliance, and will work with the other members to help broaden support for the CIPURSE™ open security standard by the ecosystem of mobile operators, enabling it to gain greater acceptance in that market. With its NFC-capable (near field communication) SkySIM CX SIM card, Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) is providing a key security component for Deutsche Telekom’s digital wallet, known as MyWallet. MyWallet can be used by all Deutsche Telekom mobile network customers with an NFC-capable smartphone. As a security partner, G&D is also supplying the MasterCard PayPass payment application to enable secure electronic payments to be made via the ClickandBuy International Ltd’s virtual credit card system as the first product in Deutsche Telekom’s digital wallet.

SCAL is a product of ATM of Barcelona and Smarting. During the last years, ATM of Barcelona and Smarting have been working closely to develop an abstraction layer that enables system terminals to work with different media types. This abstraction layer is called Secure Card Abstraction Layer (SCAL) and handles all media type technologies involved in the system. SCAL is the outcome of the work carried out by ATM of Barcelona and Smarting in synergy with numerous TO of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona. The main challenge facing Barcelona (a big name which involves the City and the Metropolitan Area) was to prescribe the technology and the fare system for a myriad of different preexistences along with more than 70 transport operators (from big ones such metro or buses of Barcelona, main rail operator, tram, etc., to very little ones with just a handful of buses).

São Paulo Transporte, the municipal body which manages the operation of São Paulo city’s bus lines and Brazil’s largest transport operator, joined OSPT™ Alliance this year as an Associate Member. It currently has 13 million active cards in São Paulo and intends over the next few months to start developing new systems of SAM Cards which will incorporate the CIPURSE™ standard.

ITSO Ltd, the organization responsible for the UK national specification for smart ticketing, joined OSPT™ Alliance last year. The CEO of ITSO during that time mentioned that by working with the OSPT™ Alliance, ITSO will be better able to supply its members with a more diverse set of card products, including AES-based products, which is a solution the OSPT™ Alliance can deliver off the shelf in the form of CIPURSE™. ITSO Ltd. is the non-profit distributing organization that oversees the ITSO Specification for smart ticketing in the UK. ITSO helps its members to set up and run ITSO-compliant smart ticketing schemes, tests and certifies smart ticketing equipment to ensure it meets the ITSO standards and ensures the ITSO Specification is up to date and fit for purpose. ITSO operates the ITSO Security Management System (ISMS), a secure key management and distribution system specifically developed to enable ITSO-compliant smart ticketing systems to be set up.

EMONEY GROUP, a builder and operator of modern digital ecosystems for transport and municipal services in the Netherlands, joined the OSPT™ Alliance also last year. Based in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands, EMONEY GROUP is an international company that designs, builds and operates modern digital ecosystems for transport and municipal services, meeting global and local consumer needs and program owners’ expectations by delivering compelling value propositions to all parties concerned: local government institutions, public services, technology providers and service operators. It intends to help create an open framework for new, standards-based automated fare collection solutions, and lending its support to the CIPURSE™ open security standard, which they are adopting as a key component of public transportation and other applications.

Infineon Technologies AG, Neubiberg, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions addressing three central challenges to modern society: energy efficiency, mobility, and security. They developed the cards are based on a CIPURSE™-compatible contactless security controller which are now being used in different projects in Brazil. These cards provide a convenient and cashless way to pay for services such as taxi rides or use health care. The Infineon security controller used is the only worldwide solution to support both the open CIPURSE™ standard as well as existing Mifare Classic-compatible systems enabling a smooth migration to future-proof CIPURSE™ systems. For this reason, the chip card industry awarded Infineon with the Sesames Award 2012 for the most innovative product in the transport category.

Oberthur Technologies, a global provider of digital security solutions for the mobility space, has unveiled that PEARL, its embedded secure element (SE), has been CIPURSE™-certified. As a member of the OSPT™ Alliance, Oberthur supports this open standard designed for transport authorities but also open to city services. With PEARL by Oberthur and CIPURSE™ present in the next generation of smartphones, end-users are set to be able to get on and off the train, tram or bus by waving their phone in front of a contactless terminal. Present in the payment, telecommunications and identity markets, Oberthur Technologies provides end-to-end solutions in the smart transactions, mobile financial services, machine-to-machine, digital identity and transport and access control fields. With approximately 50 sales offices across 5 continents and 10 facilities, OT’s international network serves clients in 140 countries.

Can Philippine companies and organizations join the OSPT™ Alliance and use the CIPURSE™ standards? Of course! Some of the participants, from banks to telecommunications, information technology and card manufacturers, to name a few, were actually surprised having not heard of the alliance and open standards in mobility and mobile services, and transit fare collection. Though we are a nation of reinventing the wheel all the time – transit cards, expressway toll systems, rewards cards and many more are almost all unique to each company and do not conform to any single standard, I hope this opens the floodgates for Filipino companies involved in mobility and mobile services, as well as transit fare collections and many other similar applications. Joining a global alliance and using a single standard may wheel the country towards are more secure, cost-effective, flexible and interchangeable fare collection solution for all to use.

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References:

OSTP Alliance website – www.osptalliance.org
Infineon Technologies AG – www.infineon.com
ITSO Ltd. – www.itso.org.uk
Contactless Intelligence – www.contactlessintelligence.com
ATM of Barcelona and Smarting – www.smarting.es
The Paypers – www.thepaypers.com

Title photo from Contactless Intelligence.

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Laurent Cremer, Executive Director for the OSPT™ Alliance, presided over the workshop as its host and moderator. (Photo by Ron Villagonzalo of www.wahpinas.com).


There were more than 60 participants who attended the workshop, many of which were vice presidents and C-level officers. (Photo above and two more below by the author.)


OSPT™ Alliance raffled off the new iPhone 6. Awarding the winner, Rudy Harder of AFCS Inc., are Laurent Cremer (left) and Arabelle Jimenez (right), Consultant and Event Manager for OSPT Alliance Manila Workshop.


Cocktails were served at the Lobby Terrace of The Peninsula Manila after the workshop. Seen here in the photo above are (L-R): Laurent Cremer of OSPT Alliance, Christian Senly of EMoney Ventures, Arabelle Jimenez of OSPT Alliance, Yannick Le Goff of Oberthur Technologies, and Bruno Vergnes of EMoney Group.

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Written by Raffy Pekson II

October 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Business & The Economy, ICT, News & Articles, Transportation

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San Miguel Corporation to Bid for World’s 6th Biggest Cookie Maker – United Bisuits

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San Miguel Corporation is eyeing to buy the world’s sixth biggest cookie maker, United Biscuits Ltd. With its 160-year-old McVitie’s brand including Jaffa Cakes and Digestives, Ramon Ang said Wednesday he is interested in bidding for the British snack and cookie maker. Others in the potential buyers list include Kellogg Co.

United Biscuits has a combined sales of €1.10 billion (or $1.42 billion) in 2013.

Read more about it at The Wall Street Jounal.

Photo by Ubcule via wikimedia.org

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