Beijing’s new mega airport will challenge Air China’s dominance

Like ancient warlords, China’s three biggest airlines have dominated their regional cities: Air China Ltd. controlling Beijing, China Eastern Airlines Corp. holding sway in the financial center of Shanghai, and China Southern Airlines Co. ruling the roost down in export gateway Guangzhou. Until now.

Rising on a plain south of Beijing is a mega airport that is about to change the balance, bringing all three head to head in the capital as it becomes the world’s biggest aviation hub.

The new airport, due to open in 2019, has been designated by authorities as the hub for members of the SkyTeam alliance, a global group of airlines that includes China Eastern and China Southern. The two Chinese carriers will each be allowed to capture 40 percent of the airport’s passengers, gaining coveted time slots to Europe and the U.S. in Air China’s backyard.

“This is an absolute game-changer for China Eastern and China Southern,” said Corrine Png, chief executive officer of Crucial Perspective in Singapore. “Having all the SkyTeam alliance members under one roof will enable seamless flight connections.”

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The invasion of Air China’s regional rivals has repercussions beyond China. As well as dominating their home bases, the big three Chinese players have each carved out a position abroad. Air China, through its Star Alliance ties with Deutsche Lufthansa AG and United Continental Holdings Inc., commands many of the routes to Europe and North America. China Eastern is the biggest carrier to Japan and South Korea. And China Southern is strong in Australia and Southeast Asia.

With access to more slots in Beijing, China Southern and China Eastern would potentially get more access to lucrative North American routes while their SkyTeam partners would get better access to the Chinese capital. In addition, China Southern, the nation’s biggest airline, would be able to draw traffic from its Southeast Asian links to fly via Beijing to the U.S.

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Tom Cruise says Top Gun 2 in the works

SYDNEY – Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise revealed Wednesday he plans a sequel to the cult action film Top Gun, with filming set to begin next year.

Rumours have swirled for years that he would revisit the 1986 movie that made him a household name, and Cruise finally spoke out while in Australia to promote his latest flick “The Mummy”.

Asked by a Channel Seven breakfast TV host about whether a second instalment of the action drama was on the cards, he replied: “Yes, it’s true.”

“I’m going to start filming it probably in the next year.

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“It’s happening, it’s definitely happening.”

The original Top Gun, which also starred Val Kilmer, Kelly McGillis and Tim Robbins, received mixed reviews but was a huge commercial hit.

Directed by Tony Scott, Cruise played hotshot US Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who has a dangerous and reckless flying style.

He struggles to balance life, responsibility and a love affair while competing at the Navy’s fighter-weapons school.

Source – TheNation

Tests find Samsung’s S8 phones more prone to screen cracks

Samsung’s latest phones feature big wraparound screens and lots of glass. They also appear to break more easily, according to tests run by SquareTrade, a company that sells gadget-repair plans.

The nearly all-glass design of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus makes them beautiful, SquareTrade said, but also “extremely susceptible to cracking when dropped from any angle.”

Samsung had no comment.

The new phones have received positive reviews from The Associated Press and other outlets. Samsung says advanced orders for the S8 were 30 percent higher than that for the Galaxy S7 phones. The company didn’t release specific figures. The S8 starts at $750, which is about $100 higher than the S7.

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SquareTrade said Monday that cracks appeared on screens of both the S8 and S8 Plus after just one face-down drop onto a sidewalk from six feet. The phones had similar problems when dropped on the backs and sides.

Unsurprisingly, both models did well in water-drop tests. The phones had some audio distortion, but that is typical and temporary. The S8 has water-resistance features.

SquareTrade didn’t test the phones’ battery, the source of problems that led to a recall of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phone.

Source – TheJakartaPost

 

Harley-Davidson throttles into #Cambodia

Harley-davidson, the iconic and globally recognised US motorcycle manufacturer, will soon be roaring into Cambodia with the country’s first dealership set to open in the next few months.

Located across from the Phnom Penh International Airport, the Harley-Davidson dealership is expected to open this June, according to Steve Beattie, general manager of Harley-Davidson Phnom Penh. The franchise rights for Harley are owned by HGB Group, a local investment firm that already has a foothold in the Kingdom’s luxury motorcycle and automotive market.

Beattie was quick to note that the famous motorcycle line is more than just a brand name and has over the decades evolved to invoke a lifestyle among avid Harley-Davidson riders worldwide. He hopes that the showroom will act not only as a dealership but provide a place for riders and enthusiasts to gather before cruising on the Kingdom’s roads.

“The whole point with Harley-Davidson is that it is not purely motorcycle focused,” he said. “When you buy a Harley-Davidson, you then make it your own. You will spend time, thought and money on making that bike something that is very personal for you.”

Cambodia already has a few Harley-Davidson riders who are well acquainted with the brand and they will form the company’s core customer base, Beattie explained. The group will then primarily target the more affluent segment of the population who can afford the costs of high-end motorbikes and gear, he added.

“We are tapping into an existing market with the existing riders because they are our core customers,” he said. “They are the guys that have supported the brand in Cambodia despite not having a dealership, but obviously we also want to broaden that appeal and we want to encourage new customers.”

The dealership will be comprised of a shop offering a wide array of Harley-Davidson motorcycles as well as brand merchandise, accessories, spare parts, riding gear and a full-service mechanic that will be able to handle customisation demands.

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#Shanghai may build new airport for business flights

Shanghai is considering building a new business aviation airport to meet the rising demand for business jets in the city, an official from the Shanghai Airport Authority said on Tuesday.

“In addition to the existing business aviation bases, Shanghai is also planning a new business aviation base elsewhere in the city,” said Jing Yiming, president of the Shanghai Airport Authority, at the opening of the three-day Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition.

“The market potential of Shanghai’s business aviation is huge, where we’ve seen more than 20 percent year-on-year growth in the sector during the past few years. So far, a total of 67 general aviation enterprises and 371 general aviation aircraft have been registered with the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s East China Regional Administration,” Jiang Huaiyu, an official from the administration was quoted as saying by the Shanghai Observer.

“So it is necessary for Shanghai to have an independent airport handling business and general aviation,” Jiang added.

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Currently, the second business aviation base at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is under construction, and is expected to become operational in 2018.

There were 900 turbine helicopters and 450 business jets in China as of 2016, with compound annualized growth rates of around 6 percent and 9 percent, respectively, over the past decade, said Charles Park, director of marketing analysis and planning of Honeywell Aerospace.

Read also: Top 10 world’s busiest airports

Wang Qi, vice-president of China sales and chief representative of ATR, said the development of general aviation will create opportunities for less populated airports.

“About 92 percent of passengers are concentrated in the top 50 of the nation’s 219 airports, while the bottom 100 airports only handle 1.6 percent of the total passenger flow, where general aviation can play their role,” said Wang.

The concept of general aviation is not limited to business needs, said Liao Xuefeng, chairman and CEO of China Business Aviation Group. “A variety of non-commercial actives including agricultural aviation and rescue can benefit from it.”

According to Bill Schultz, senior vice-president of business development in China for Textron Aviation, China’s general aviation market offers diversified jet demand.

The 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) has a similar supportive trend in areas including tourism, air mapping and emergency rescue, he said.

According to the guiding rules of the State Council on promoting the development of the general aviation industry, issued in 2016, China plans to build around 200 new general aviation airports between 2016 and 2020, bringing the nation’s total to about 500.

This article appeared on The China Post newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post

Verizon to take ‘Oath’ as new company to run Yahoo, AOL

Verizon Communications will create a new company called Oath after it completes its $4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo and melds the troubled internet company with its AOL operations.

Oath will oversee Yahoo and AOL after the deal is completed. The Yahoo and AOL brands are expected to survive, although Verizon says it won’t provide any details about its plans for Oath until this summer.

“You can bet we will be launching one of the most disruptive brand companies in digital,” AOL said in a Monday statement.

Tim Armstrong, AOL’s top executive, posted a tweet Monday indicating Oath will manage more than 20 different brands.

Verizon is counting on the combination of Yahoo and AOL to help it sell more digital ads, even though the two internet pioneers had been struggling on their own.

Yahoo originally agreed to sell its online operations to Verizon for $4.8 billion after years of unsuccessful attempts to boosts its revenue. It had to slash the price after discovering that two separate hacking attacks had stolen personal information from more than 1 billion user accounts.

The security breakdown marked the two biggest breaches in internet history, raising concerns that people might start using Yahoo less frequently and reduce the opportunities to show ads.

Verizon plans to take over Yahoo’s email and other online operations sometime between now and June 30. After the deal closes, Yahoo’s cash and lucrative stakes in Asian internet companies Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan will be controlled by another new company called Altaba.

Source – TheJakartaPost

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Cambodia – New mobile app blazes trail into cashless payments

Cambodian software development firm Pathmazing officially launched its Tesjor mobile application for meal ordering yesterday, aiming to kickstart digital payments in the country by only offering cashless transaction options.

The application allows users to order food from 85 restaurant outlets in Phnom Penh for dine-in, pick up or delivery. The platform is backed by several digital payments options, including partnerships with Wing, Pay&Go, Acleda Bank, as well as integration with ABA Bank’s newly developed PayWay payment gateway that enables payments for Visa and MasterCard holders.

Steven Path, CEO of Pathmazing, said during the launch ceremony that the primary purpose of the app was to place Cambodia on a trajectory towards a more digital economy and widespread e-commerce activity.

He added that Tesjor was currently the only platform in the country that relies entirely on digital payments.

“Today, we believe that e-commerce is at the launching pad, and we are going to experience explosive growth, especially in the next couple of years,” he said. “What we believe, in order to accelerate e-commerce, is that we need to require e-payments.”

Tesjor aims to instil trust in online payments to help steer customers away from their reliance on cash and spur the growth of digital payments and e-commerce, Path explained.

United States Ambassador William Heidt emphasised during a speech for the event that Tesjor was developed by Cambodians and represented a source of pride for the burgeoning tech sector in the Kingdom.

“The launch of Tesjor is great news for Cambodia’s tech sector as well as concrete proof for one very important thing, and that is that the ingredients for successful tech ventures are now in place in Cambodia,” he said. “This is an app that I am pretty sure is going to revolutionise the dine-in and carry-out business in Cambodia, and eventually the tourism business too.”

Tesjor, which translates to “tourism” in Khmer, also intends to position itself as a platform for tourists visiting Cambodia through which they could pay for nearly all their expenses directly on the app. Minister of Tourism Thong Khun has endorsed the application for its potential benefits to the country’s tourism sector.

Rolls-Royce brings its malefic Black Badge to the Bangkok International Motor Show

Rolls-Royce brings its malefic Black Badge to the Bangkok International Motor Show.

Billed as the alter-ego of the world’s leading super luxury brand, the Rolls-Royce Black Badge makes its Southeast Asian debut this week, with the Wraith model showing its star quality to visitors at the 38th Bangkok International Motor Show.

According to Rolls Royce, Black Badge speaks to a younger, more assertive customer, the people they call the “rule breakers” and the “disrupters”, those that work hard in the day and commit the same intensity to play once darkness falls.

“Southeast Asia is now a global hub for highly successful young entrepreneurs, who have broken away from tradition to make their own mark in the world. Rolls-Royce Black Badge is presenting a darker and bolder proposition to suit this new attitude,” says Paul Harris, regional director for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in the Asia Pacific region.

“These clients are assertive, demanding and unafraid to take charge. Black Badge is the perfect bespoke answer to this distinctive, decisive and dynamic breed of owner-drivers without compromising the sublime Rolls-Royce driving experience.”

Starting from Bt35 million depending on the bespoke specification, the metamorphosis of the Rolls-Royce Wraith into its Black Badge alter-ego starts with the intensity of the black. Multiple layers of paint and lacquer are repeatedly hand-polished in the most exacting process ever developed for a solid colour. The result is a black that’s darker than night, sinister but sensuous and above all smart.

The Wraith Black Badge also includes a sophisticated centrepiece – aerospace-grade aluminium-threaded carbon fibre composite surfacing. Threads of aluminium just 0.014mm thick are woven together and bonded with carbon fibre through a painstaking process, resulting in one of the world’s most innovative and super-luxury materials.

Black Badge holds the ground with exclusive composite carbon fibre and lightweight alloy wheels, developed over four years, featuring 22 layers of carbon fibre laid in three axes and folded back on themselves to create 44 layers of strength. Further strength is added via a 3D forged, aircraft-grade aluminium hub, which is bonded to the rim using titanium fasteners.

And while the intense black will appeal to many, customers can specify whatever colour they want for the exterior and interior of their Rolls-Royce Black Badge.

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Supercar caravan marks Ferrari’s 70th anniversary

FERRARI importer Cavallino Motors is staging a caravan of 70 Ferraris from Bangkok to Ayutthaya Historical Park on March 25 today to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Italian sports-car brand.

Making its appearance in Thailand is the LaFerrari Aperta, a hybrid supercar. Only 209 cars will be built and one is available for Thailand.

Cavallino Motors enjoyed 60-per-cent sales growth during the past two years, which it attributes to improved after-sales facilities, and plans to open more centres in the future, said Voravud Bhirombhakdi, the company’s vice president.

“Establishing more integrated service centres is the goal,” he said.

 It is also offering restoration services for cars older than 20 years, offering certificates from the Ferrari factory in Italy, which helps boost resale value.

In terms of unit sales, managing director Nondhamalee Bhirombhakdi said, the company’s growth each year is driven by the popularity of models among the Ferrari fan club in Thailand. This depends on the price – a higher-priced model tends to lead to a more niche client base |but revenue per unit will be higher. 

The company offers a wide range of models, including vehicles for everyday life such as eight-cylinder models – California T, 488 GTB and Spider – as well as 12-cylinder models such as GTC4 Lusso and the newest 812 Superfast, she said. 

The company can also arrange financing deals to meet customers’ budgets, in line with the goal to increase trade-ins of second-hand Ferraris for new models. 

As many as 60 per cent of sales come from new customers introduced by existing customers, Nondhamalee said.

Source – TheNation

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Netherlands, Vietnam sign 49 food security contracts.

Hanoi – Forty-nine contracts were signed during the two-day regional conference on food security in Hanoi, which ended Thursday, the Netherlands’ deputy minister of agriculture said.

The Netherlands has three major contracts, which includes a commitment to an investment package worth 150,000 EUR (US$ 162,000) to develop a seafood index and governance, thereby supporting seafood companies in Asia towards achieving sustainability in aquaculture, Sonnema said.

The European nation will also help Vienam implement a project aimed at cutting down post-harvest losses. Both countries will also sign a protocol on enhancing co-operation in food security, she said.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường said the conference focused on steps to promote co-operation between countries to overcome challenges, on creating a sustainable agricultural sector, and on contributing to ensure food security and safety amidst climate change.

At a press conference in the Capital on Thursday, Sonnema said her country, with its experience, expertise, technology and capacity, can help Vietnam build a sustainable agricultural sector.

She spoke about the common grounds the two countries have to enhance co-operation in agricultural development – both sides export agricultural products and both face challenges caused by climate change, especially in water management for agricultural production.

During the Dutch minister’s four-day visit to Vietnam, from March 20 to 23, many events were arranged to boost partnership between Vietnamese and Dutch enterprises, laying the foundation for strengthening economic and trade links between the two countries in the future.

Source – VNS

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