Alphabet unveils its advanced AI model Gemini

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has introduced Gemini, its most advanced AI model to date, in order to compete with OpenAI and Meta's Llama 2 for leadership in the artificial intelligence (AI) field.After the merger of its AI research units, DeepMind and Google Brain, Alphabet formed a unified division named Google DeepMind, led by CEO Demis Hassabis. Gemini is the first AI model developed under this consolidated framework.Gemini has been fashioned as a "multimodal," enabling it to comprehend and process various forms of information simultaneously, including text, code, audio, images, and video.Gemini is being offered in three distinct sizes: Ultra, designed for highly complex tasks, Pro, intended for scalability across a broad spectrum of tasks,Nano, tailored for on-device applications.Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said: "These are the first models of the Gemini era and the first realisation of the vision we had when we formed Google DeepMind earlier this year. This new era of models represents one of the biggest science and engineering efforts we’ve undertaken as a company."Gemini Pro will be accessible to developers through the Gemini API in Google AI Studio and Google Cloud Vertex AI starting from December 13. Conversely, Gemini Nano will be available to Android developers through AICore, a new system capability introduced in Android 14. This capability will be rolled out on Pixel 8 Pro devices, with plans to extend support to other Android devices in the future.The new kid in the AI block may herald intense competition and a rat race for top position in the Gen-AI space.Earlier, it was reported that Google had delayed the public debut of Gemini to January. Tech news website The Information revealed that Sundar Pichai opted to cancel a set of Gemini events in California, New York, and Washington. This decision came after the company identified issues with the AI's reliability in handling certain non-English queries. The planned events were poised to be Google's most significant product launch of the year.

New partnership to deliver smiles to BOUNZ members

UAE-based lifestyle loyalty program BOUNZ has announced a strategic partnership with Smiles, providing a collective membership base of five million with a unique opportunity to access two distinct loyalty programs. Members can now use their accumulated points interchangeably across a wide range of partners, creating a versatile loyalty experience.BOUNZ members can seamlessly integrate their Smiles account directly within the BOUNZ app and choose to redeem their existing Smiles points for BOUNZ and vice versa.Smiles, one of the largest lifestyle engagement programs in the UAE, has more than four million registered members and is open to all citizens, residents, and visitors of the UAE. Smiles offers everyday rewards to its members through earn and redemption of Smiles points for Etisalat by e& services, food and grocery deliveries, home services as well as dining, shopping, entertainment, wellness, and travel benefits.Customers who wish to redeem offerings within the extensive BOUNZ partner network but may not have enough points can now convert their Smiles points, either partially or entirely, to unlock exciting benefits and rewards. They have the option to convert 4,000 Smiles to 1,000 BOUNZ, or alternatively, members can convert 2,000 BOUNZ to 1,000 Smiles.“From instant savings at over 35 partners covering groceries, travel, dining, jewellery, electronics and more to the convenience of paying telephone, utility, and internet bills and buying gift cards, BOUNZ remains firm in its commitment to continually enhancing the holistic loyalty experience it is renowned for. This timely collaboration with Smiles makes earning and interchanging BOUNZ and Smiles Points super-easy so members can get even more out of every shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences,” said Tarek Damerji, Partner, and Co-Founder of BOUNZ.“In recent months, BOUNZ has significantly improved its offerings with the launch of its state-of-the-art app and an expanded suite of exclusive benefits and personalized offers for members. An exciting new addition to the Smiles Rewards Exchange network, we are confident that this partnership will resonate with members seeking variety and convenience, while also providing both parties with the opportunity to use collective data-driven insights to shape and develop their respective consumer engagement strategies,” said Antonio Ricciardi, Senior Vice President, Consumer Intelligence and Engagements at etisalat by e&.

Meta announces default end-to-end encryption for Messenger

Meta has announced a significant milestone in prioritizing user privacy and security with the rollout of default end-to-end encryption for personal messages and calls on Messenger and Facebook. This initiative is accompanied by a suite of new features designed to empower users with greater control over their messaging experience.While Messenger has offered the option for users to enable end-to-end encryption since 2016, Meta is now taking a bold step forward by defaulting private chats and calls across Messenger to be end-to-end encrypted. The comprehensive implementation of this feature has been a meticulous process, requiring years of investment, testing, and a dedicated team of engineers, cryptographers, designers, policy experts, and product managers.Throughout the development process, Meta has introduced new privacy, safety, and control features, including delivery controls that empower users to choose who can message them. Additionally, the introduction of app lock, alongside existing safety features such as report, block, and message requests, underscores Meta's commitment to creating a secure online environment.Collaborating closely with outside experts, academics, advocates, and governments, Meta has identified potential risks and implemented mitigations to ensure that privacy and safety are paramount. The company acknowledges the importance of this collaborative effort in building a robust and secure platform.The implementation of end-to-end encryption adds an extra layer of security, ensuring that the content of messages and calls with friends and family is protected from the moment they leave the sender's device to the moment they reach the receiver's device. This means that neither Meta nor any third party can access the content of the communication unless explicitly reported by the user.These new features are available for immediate use, although it may take some time for Messenger chats to be updated with default end-to-end encryption.

AI regulation is top of mind for UAE businesses, new research reveals

Alteryx, Inc. (NYSE: AYX), the Analytics Cloud Platform company, released findings from new independent research revealing the key AI plays that will shape enterprises of the future. The research, titled Defining the Enterprise of the Future, uses data from 2800 IT and business decision-makers globally to draw the three-year roadmap for how enterprises will operate in an era of AI-delivered intelligence. Innovation and regulation play an equal role in shaping the future enterpriseInnovation is naturally playing a key role in shaping the future enterprise. Nearly two-thirds (59%) of UAE business leaders say their investment in advanced technology will increase. Eight in ten (82%) say that AI is already impacting what their organisation can achieve, while 45% state they will invest in advanced technologies such as AI to respond to the changing market environment.  AI is clearly making its way across the enterprise, with 49% of respondents expecting that the use of AI will be pervasive across all sectors and business functions. Yet, this has raised some important ethical considerations around data privacy (47%), transparency (40%) and data governance (36%), which has shifted the narrative around regulation - moving from being a dirty word to becoming a hot topic for businesses. Most UAE business leaders (87%) believe that regulations and standards around AI usage - including generative AI - should be developed within their sector as it transforms the business landscape. Nearly nine in ten (93%) believe that such policies would help businesses implement AI responsibly, and half (50%) worry about the possibility of legal and ethical consequences from not having an ethical AI framework in place. AI is shaping the key skill sets of the future enterprise  Despite concerns around regulation, AI is significantly impacting the key skill sets of the future enterprise. While most businesses envision an AI-driven future for the enterprise, 35% are most excited about AI Automation in data analysis, 29% advancements in AI and ML, and 27% the increased data volume and variety as helping to achieve this.  To be prepared for this increasingly complex, data-driven future, more organisations are moving away from hiring people who are highly skilled in a single area of expertise towards hiring people who can contribute across a range of functional areas. Almost three-quarters of UAE business leaders (73%) state it is more important for their employees to be multi-skilled than specialised in one area. While hard (technical) skills, such as AI and ML (28%), computer software (27%) and data analysis and mining (25%), continue to be important, there is now a higher demand for soft skills like digital literacy (26%), team leadership (26%), and critical thinking (19%). Having the right AI tools will help these employees manage the increasing volume and variety of data and find the competitive edge their organisations need.  “There is no single solution to success, but the research highlights some key plays UAE business leaders need to home in on to build a truly AI-driven enterprise. Regulation will play a key role in the successful implementation of AI and will be just as much of a priority as innovation is for leaders,” said Karl Crowther, VP of MEA at Alteryx. “Laying the foundations for generative AI requires a business-wide approach to data-driven decision-making that empowers the entire workforce to take full advantage of the technology while offering confidence and assurance to the business that it is safe and secure to embark on this journey. Accessible, self-service analytics and automation technologies are the force multiplier that will empower the workforce to jump on the AI train confidently and companies to move forward on their generative AI journey safely.”

Qashio, YallaCompare launch 'Qashio Insurance' for SMEs

Qashio, a multi-award-winning fintech company providing financial tools, corporate cards and expense management solutions, has launched ‘Qashio Insurance,’ its own branded health insurance, in partnership with YallaCompare.Qashio Insurance is a cost-effective solution with a simplified and automated digital health declaration process, taking less than a minute to complete.This initiative marks the inception of the first and only fully online health insurance journey for SMEs of all sizes, from freelancers to companies with a workforce of up to 25,000 employees, enjoying the same benefits and pricing as large enterprises, offering a digital-first approach that is faster, transparent and more cost-effective than traditional insurance models. The platform's digital efficiency enables applications to be processed immediately on the spot, 10x faster than conventional methods, which rely on paper and wet signatures.The platform comes at a time when the MENA health and medical insurance market is experiencing significant growth driven by increasing demand from the healthcare sector, population growth, and demographic shifts. In the UAE, which has over 557,000 SMEs, health insurance is mandatory for its residents and all employers must provide health insurance to employees and their dependents.'Qashio Insurance' challenges the status quo by offering up to 25% more affordable rates compared to the market. The platform presents three tiers of coverage, allowing businesses to find the right plan to suit their unique requirements. Furthermore, an installment payment option is available, providing the financial flexibility that modern SMEs demand.Armin Moradi, Co-founder and CEO of Qashio, stated: “Qashio is privileged to be able to support the growing SME sector with Qashio Insurance, further simplifying otherwise complicated and lengthy processes. Qashio’s mission is to empower SMEs with a streamlined, cost-effective way to manage their health insurance needs. The platform that have taken close to a year to develop is a testament to our dedication to innovation and our unwavering support for SMEs as well as Enterprises.'"Luke Craven, CCO of YallaCompare, remarked: “The launch of 'Qashio Insurance' represents a significant milestone in our journey to provide comprehensive, user-friendly, and efficient services. Our partnership with Qashio embodies the synergy of expertise and shared vision.”

Elite Pearl Charter reveals December campaign

Elite Pearl Charter, a leading yacht rental company, has unveiled its innovative December campaign, presenting a diverse selection of yachts and boats across various locations in Dubai. The campaign features exceptional offers on luxury yachts, picnic boats, and fishing boats, catering to both tourists and residents. Throughout the month, customers can choose from a range of options, ensuring a personalized experience, from luxurious yacht tours to fishing excursions, allowing them to appreciate the breathtaking views of Dubai and its mesmerizing skyline against the crystallized waters of the Arabian Gulf.To usher in the new year with style, Elite Pearl Yachts invites guests to celebrate the end of 2023 aboard their vessels while gazing at the beautiful Dubai Sky Stars. Revel in the scenic beauty of popular attractions like Dubai Marina, Burj Khalifa, and Atlantis, set against the backdrop of the Arabian Gulf. This unique experience promises a joyous and unforgettable time.As the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve in 2024, guests can groove to the beats of DJ music and welcome the new year with a memorable celebration.The luxury yacht services encompass a variety of options, including speed boats. The pricing is determined by the yacht's capacity, with a minimum booking requirement of six hours.The company claims that all its yachts feature fully air-conditioned interiors, ensuring comfort regardless of the weather. Whether you prefer the upper deck for panoramic views or the sunbed for soaking up the Dubai sun, each yacht provides a delightful experience. The back deck, equipped with seating and a table, is ideal for alfresco dining or enjoying cocktails against a stunning backdrop.

Dubai Shopping Malls Group unleashes a cash-fueled shopping extravaganza

Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG) is gearing up for an exhilarating Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) 2023-24 with an incredible opportunity for shoppers to win big. As part of its DSF initiative, DSMG is set to award a staggering AED 1 million in cash prizes to lucky shoppers.Starting from December 08, 2023, and running through January 14, 2024, shoppers spending AED 200 or more at any of the participating malls stand a chance to be among the 25 fortunate individuals to win substantial cash prizes. These shortlisted shoppers will be invited to the DSF main stage, where they will have the thrilling opportunity to spin the wheel for a chance to win cash prizes starting at AED 10,000 and increasing through denominations of 15,000, 20,000, 25,000, 30,000, and 40,000.The weekly draw dates are scheduled for December 17, 24, and 31, 2023, and January 7 and 14, 2024, adding anticipation and fervor to each week of the DSF.Majid Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Shopping Malls Group, commented, "As we usher in a new year, we want to reward our valued shoppers for their continuous support. We are thrilled to elevate the shopping experience during the Dubai Shopping Festival by offering the cash prizes. We look forward to seeing the joy and thrill on the faces of the lucky winners as they spin the wheel and take home the prizes. Join us in this grand celebration of joy, luxury, and good fortune!”This campaign is an ode to the spirit of DSF, promising an unforgettable journey where every spin could lead to a life-altering windfall. Participating malls include: Al Barsha Mall, Al Bustan Centre, Al Ghurair Centre, Al Khail Gate Community Center, Al Nahda Mall, Al Warqa City Mall, Arabian Center, BurJuman Mall, Barsha South Mall, Bay Avenue, Dubai Festival Plaza, Etihad Mall, Karama Center Shopping Mall, Marinascape Mall, Motorcity Mall, Mudon Community Centre, Nad Al Hamar Mall, Reef Mall, Serena Marketplace, Shorooq Community Centre and Silicon Central Mall.For more information on the participating malls and details please visit .

KlugKlug announces exponential growth targets by 2025

KlugKlug, a global SaaS platform for influencer marketing, has announced its plans to broaden its operational footprint and attain unprecedented growth by the conclusion of 2025. Throughout the preceding year, KlugKlug has achieved notable success, realizing nearly a twofold increase in revenue and client engagement, positioning the company as a key player in the influencer marketing industry. Presently, with a flourishing business approaching the $1 million mark, KlugKlug is aiming for a remarkable 10 to 12 times expansion by 2025. The company has strategically positioned itself in the market, garnering substantial momentum in the FMCG sector and establishing strong connections with Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands and long-tail influencers. As of October 2023, KlugKlug has established partnerships with 75 clients. The company is planning to significantly broaden its clientele, aiming to exceed 500 clients across diverse regions by the year 2025. Presently operational in India, Indonesia, and Dubai, KlugKlug is committed to expanding its presence to three pivotal regions by 2025—Southeast Asia (comprising Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines), the Middle East (encompassing Dubai, Abu Dhabi, GCC countries, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and North Africa).Commenting on this, Kalyan Kumar, Co-Founder and CEO of KlugKlug, stated, "As we look ahead, we're pretty stoked about where KlugKlug is heading. The growth we've seen recently is exceptional, but we're just getting started. Thinking about 10 to 12 times more growth by 2025 is pretty exciting. We're not just sticking to where we are – we're spreading our wings into new places, connecting with more people and brands. The plan is simple: keep doing awesome stuff in the influencer world and see where it takes us." Vaibhav Gupta, Co-Founder and CPO of KlugKlug said, "As we outline our future plans, we're keeping things straightforward and focused. It's not just about stretching our presence into Southeast Asia and the Middle East; it's about refining the way we operate. KlugKlug is more than a company; it's a positive force for change. We're enthusiastic about what lies ahead and how KlugKlug is positioning itself as a significant player in the influencer marketing scene."The exponential growth in client acquisition reflects KlugKlug's ability to foster strong and enduring relationships with its clients. The company's unique approach to influencer marketing has resonated with a diverse range of brands, from established FMCG giants to emerging D2C players. KlugKlug's expansion plans are not just about reaching new markets but also about deepening connections with clients and providing them with solutions tailored to their specific needs.Founded by Vaibhav Gupta and Kalyan Kumar, KlugKlug utilizes AI and machine learning-driven data to identify and explore influencers, deliver precise audience insights, and furnish intelligence regarding global influencers across popular social platforms. The platform presents an all-encompassing solution for campaign management, performance tracking, and data analysis, thereby enabling brands to engage in influencer marketing seamlessly.

90% of UAE consumers surveyed are at risk of responding to scammers

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Over-confidence is leaving consumers in UAE open to becoming victims of fraud, according to Visa’s annual Stay Secure study released today. Despite more than half of respondents (61% vs. 56% global average) claiming to be savvy enough to sidestep online and phone scams, the reality is that nine out of ten (90%; similar to global) are likely to disregard the warning signs that suggest online criminal activity.Conducted by Wakefield Research in countries across Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMEA), Visa’s 2023 Stay Secure Study finds that just over one in two people (54%) in the UAE has been a victim of a scam at least once compared to the global average of 52%. Even more alarming is that 17% of the victims have been tricked multiple times, against the global average of 15%.“In today’s digital-first world, scams are evolving in sophistication with criminals using new approaches to trick unsuspecting consumers. Whether it’s a parcel held up at customs, a streaming subscription claiming to have expired, or a free voucher for a favorite brand, scammers are adopting extremely persuasive tactics to deceive their victims. With the rapid growth in digital payments, it is essential now more than ever that consumers in the UAE understand the language of fraud and act with a high level of caution. We thank our partners at Dubai Police for their support in bringing our important education campaign to local consumers,” explains Neil Fernandes, Visa's Head of Risk for Middle East and North Africa.The Stay Secure Study is a part of Visa’s annual Stay Secure Campaign, which reflects Visa’s commitment to raising consumer awareness, strengthening education, and building confidence to combat social engineering threats. The campaign aims to pave the way for a secure and seamless digital payments experience.“Costly Confidence”: The Disconnect Between Awareness and ActionKey Findings of the Visa Stay Secure Study:Knowledgeable or naïve. It is concerning that those who consider themselves more knowledgeable are more likely to respond to a requested action from scammers compared to those who say they are less knowledgeable, including a positive news (79% to 74% for UAE vs global 74% to 67%) or urgent action (72% to 61% for UAE vs global 65% to 55%).People worry about the vulnerability of others. While respondents feel confident in their own vigilance, over half (51% vs. 52% globally) are concerned that their friends or families will fall for a scam email offering a free gift card or product from an online shopping site. Over a third (33%; vs 36% global) of respondents are concerned about children or minors, as well as retired people falling prey to online scams.What makes people suspicious. In addition to notices involving orders, product offers, or feedback, people are most suspicious of password requests. Less suspicious types of communications are updates regarding delivery or shipping (just 45% listed as a top three source of suspicion; 42% globally), marketing communications regarding a sale or new product offering (44% vs. global 41%), or an invitation to provide feedback on a recent experience (42% vs global 37%) – all of which can be used by scammers.Overlooking telltale signs. Only 60% (vs global 57%) reported looking to ensure a communication is sent from a valid email address, while 51% (vs global 52%) will check if the company name or logo was attached to the message. Fewer than half of correspondents look for an order number (40%; global 45%) or an account number (45%; global 43%). Interestingly, only 29% vs 33% globally look to ensure words are spelt correctly. Decoding The Language of FraudScammers try different approaches to craft messages that appear genuine and compel recipients to take immediate action. The Visa Stay Secure Study identified prevalent patterns in the language most associated with scams – and how vulnerable respondents in the surveyed countries are.Orchestrating Urgency: Cybercriminals often feign urgency to spur people into action, such as clicking a link or responding to a sender. Up to 37% of respondents (compared to 40% globally) will fall for messages about a security risk, such as a stolen password or a data breach, while a notice from a government entity or law enforcement can trick 35% (vs 36% global).  Sharing Positive News: 77% (vs 71% global) of respondents would take action if a message had a positive hook, like “free gift,” “you’ve been selected,” or “you’re a winner.” Gen Zers are more likely to act on a giveaway (38% vs 39% global) than a notice from the government (30% vs 31% global), while 42% (vs 44% global) of respondents would click on a link or reply to a message that offered a financial opportunity.Action Required: 66% (vs 60% globally) would respond to action-required phrases though respondents are most suspicious of requests to reset their password.Spot The Signs: Education and Awareness to Catch Scams in ActionThe survey corresponds with the launch of Visa's eight annual "Stay Secure" social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram (@VisaMiddleEast, @DubaiPolicehq) in partnership with Dubai Police.Consumers can better protect themselves by taking a few extra moments before clicking, including understanding the language scammers use.Among simple but effective best practices:Keep personal account information to yourself.Don’t click on links before verifying that they’ll take you where they say they will.Regularly check purchase alerts, which provide near real-time notification by text message or email of purchases made with your account.Call the number on corporate websites or the back of your credit and debit cards if you are unsure if a communication is valid.

ADNEC Group acquires French tour and holiday operator Karavel Group

ADNEC Group, the international business and leisure tourism group, has acquired Karavel, the French tourism group, from Equistone Partners Europe, one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors.Karavel is one of the largest tourism groups in France, offering travel packages to Europe, the Middle East and Africa through its online and offline distribution network.This acquisition reflects the active deployment of ADNEC Group’s strategy to geographically diversify its core sectors. It will strengthen the group's international expansion while enhancing Karavel’s growth and expansion into new markets and provide access to ADNEC Group’s portfolio of assets and expertise in the tourism sector. This strategic move will also support the tourism vision of Abu Dhabi to promote the emirate as a global destination for cultural, leisure, and business tourism.Karavel will join ADNEC Group’s established tourism portfolio which includes Tourism365 and its subsidiaries Capital Experience, Capital Travel, Capital Holidays, Etihad Holidays and Capital Drive, as well as driving greater economic impact to Abu Dhabi and the UAE. Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Group Chief Executive Officer of ADNEC Group, said: “The acquisition of Karavel is an important strategic step for ADNEC Group as we deliver on our global expansion strategy and reaffirms our commitment to support the tourism objectives of Abu Dhabi. Karavel’s history of success in delivering tours and holidays to customers in France across destinations in Europe and the Caribbean complements ADNEC Group’s ambitions for growth in Europe where we already have a presence.“We see great synergies between our European and Middle Eastern tourism offerings, promoting cross-cultural holiday exchange, and will work closely with stakeholders including the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi to enhance our cluster and create a champion for tourism in Abu Dhabi.”Alain de Mendonca, CEO of Karavel said: “We are honoured to have been acquired by ADNEC Group at such an exciting stage in Abu Dhabi’s growth. The opportunities that come with joining ADNEC Group are significant, and we look forward to working together to bring our shared vision to life, delivering unforgettable holiday experiences and building a tourism brand which successfully bridges Europe and Abu Dhabi. We would like to thank Equistone Partners for their support and are very excited for the next stage in our journey.”Guillaume Jacqueau, Managing Partner and Country Head for France at Equistone Partners Europe, said: ”We are proud to have worked with Karavel to support its continued growth and maintain its strong identity as a leading European tourism platform. After providing the company with the necessary resources it needed during the COVID-19 pandemic to assure its developments, the group is now ready to take a decisive new step in its development. Thanks to our ongoing support, Karavel has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround, evolving into a dynamic group with promising international potential. We wish them all the best for the next stage of their journey with ADNEC Group.”Completion of the deal remains subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

Dubai Chamber of Commerce announces establishment of CRBC

Dubai Chamber of Commerce, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, has announced the establishment of a new Business Council to represent the interests of Costa Rica’s business community in the emirate. The formation of the ‘Costa Rican Business Council in Dubai’ is a strategic move designed to enhance trade ties and strengthen connections between the two markets.The chamber welcomed a delegation featuring His Excellency Dr. Arnoldo André Tinoco, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Costa Rica; His Excellency Francisco Chacón Hernández, Ambassador of the Republic of Costa Rica to the United Arab Emirates; and founding members of the council for a special meeting to discuss the council’s formation. The dialogue focused on strategies for collaboration to unlock the full potential of the new business council, which will deliver a host of benefits for companies in both Costa Rica and Dubai.His Excellency Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, stated: “The establishment of the Costa Rican Business Council in Dubai represents another significant step in enhancing the trade and investment relationship between the business communities in our respective markets. This collaborative effort comes as part of our ongoing drive to ensure a supportive, enabling, and world-class business environment in Dubai. We look forward to working together to boost bilateral trade and promote cross-border opportunities for business and investments.”The value of non-oil trade has been growing steadily and reached USD 58.7 million in 2022, representing an impressive annual growth rate of 19%. Bilateral trade and investments are set to increase further following the launch of the new Business Council. Earlier this year, Costa Rica also entered into preliminary CEPA negotiations with the UAE, paving the way for building a significant and influential platform that will further cement the economic relations between the two countries.Covering markets of strategic importance to Dubai, Business Councils serve as valuable platforms for companies in the UAE and abroad to connect, collaborate, and build mutually beneficial partnerships. Operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the councils drive advocacy efforts, secure legislative enhancements, and build bridges of cooperation with business communities across the globe.Business Councils are non-profit organisations comprising companies, business owners, and industry experts that represent the interests of companies from specific countries operating in Dubai. The councils work in cooperation with the chamber to promote bilateral trade and investments between businesses in Dubai and the market represented by each council.SHA

M2L Concepts to host inaugural Winter District at Jumeirah Emirates Towers

 M2L Concepts, a leader in entertainment, leisure and technology, is hosting the Winter District, a festive market and entertainment extravaganza set to captivate the heart of Dubai, in collaboration with Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Scheduled to take place from 14 December 2023 to 5 January 2024, from 2:00 pm to 2:00 am every day, the event is poised to be an unforgettable experience. Hosted at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Plaza Terrace, against the stunning backdrop of the iconic Museum of the Future, the Winter District promises an enchanting festive season for all. Entry to the event is free, with some activities carrying a fee, ensuring that the spirit of the season is accessible to everyone.The Winter District will feature an array of activities and experiences that cater to all age groups. From Christmas Trees to a snow fight zone, the festival is designed to capture the essence of winter joy. The stage will come alive with live music, complemented by a variety of food and beverage options and retail vendors. A special area will be set aside for entertainment for kids, including a Snow Play Area, opportunities to Meet & Greet Santa, a Carousel, and a Ball Pit, ensuring that the little ones have their share of festive fun.Adding to the festivities, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, known for its luxurious ambience, will host extraordinary Christmas and New Year's Eve experiences. The Winter District marks the first-ever such event at this location, promising a market that offers gourmet food and drink options, handmade crafts, artisanal gifts, and a plethora of activities including carnival games, a giant advent calendar, and a unique Chocolate Bar.Thomas Gateff, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at M2L Concepts expressed excitement about this new venture, stating, "After the resounding success of previous events like the Ramadan Majlis and the FIFA World Cup activities, which together welcomed over 40,000 visitors, M2L Concepts will recreate that magic at the same iconic location. We pride ourselves in creating memorable experiences for all who come to visit our events. We are confident that the Winter District will be another milestone in our journey, bringing joy and festive cheer to Dubai."The event is curated to transform the Emirates Towers Plaza Terrace into a winter wonderland, complete with a huge Christmas tree, gigantic snowmen, and festive lights, providing perfect 'gram-worthy moments against the views of the Museum of the Future. To keep visitors warm and satisfied, a selection of food trucks will be offering delicious bites and sips.As excitement builds, more details about the Winter District are set to be announced in the coming weeks. M2L Concepts, known for its innovative approach to temporary activations, is dedicated to crafting unique and impactful experiences, and the Winter District is poised to be a highlight of Dubai's festive season.

iCubesWire elevates Erick Maalouli as Business Director for Dubai, KSA markets

iCubesWire, a leading global Ad Tech platform, has announced the elevation of Erick Maalouli to lead its business development and strategic planning operations in the Dubai and Saudi Arabia markets. This move is aligned with iCubesWire’s strategic expansion plans and its commitment to asserting its dominance in the region. Erick Maaloulitakes the lead in one of the most fast-paced industries as the Business Director for iCubesWire in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. With a career spanning over 15 years in media and sales management, Erick has a proven track record of driving growth and innovation. His tenure at organizations like Choueiri Group andBayut&Dubizzleis marked by transformative leadership and strategic prowess in marketing, client servicing, and team management. Commenting on the role, Sanjeeda Khan, Co-Founder&Chief Growth Officer, MENA region, iCubesWire, states, “Erick’s elevation is followed by our focus on creating strategic and innovative leadership. Erick’s deep expertise and strategic approach to the Ad Tech industry make him the ideal choice to drive our growth initiatives in these key markets. His leadership is critical as we continue strengthening our market share and delivering cutting-edge solutions.” Erick’s appointment at iCubesWirespeaks of his exceptional ability to create strong client relationships, spearhead effective sales operations, and consistently achieve customer retention success. Under his leadership, iCubesWire has seen a substantial expansion in the MENA region, onboarding renowned clients across diverse sectors and strengthening its position as a leader in ad tech solutions. Erick Maalouli, the appointed Business Director, expressed his strategic outlook, “I am delighted to take on this challenge. With an emphasis on leveraging our advanced Ad Tech platform, creative content studio capabilities, and expansive influencer network, we are poised to enhance our offerings and deliver superior value to our clientele in the region. Our goal is to strengthen iCubesWire’s leadership in the marketplace and drive impactful ad tech solutions.” iCubesWire is known for its comprehensive ad tech solutions, including a content production studio and influencer marketing expertise. With a global presence that includes six international offices, a team of over 350 digital experts, and partnerships with over 500 esteemed brands, iCubesWire is eyeing unprecedented growth under the leadership of Erick Maalouli.

Vistage solidifies Middle East presence with new leadership group in Dubai

Vistage, the premier global executive coaching organization, has announced a significant milestone in its international growth with the launch of a new group in Dubai. This expansion further solidifies Vistage's commitment to fostering leadership excellence in the Middle East, showcasing the organization's global impact with a community of 45,000 members across 35 countries.Nathan Farrugia, a driving force in Vistage's Middle East expansion, has played a pivotal role in establishing the organization's presence in the region. Having successfully launched two CEO groups in Dubai in 2022, following accomplishments in Malta, Farrugia's leadership and strategic vision have been instrumental in this continued growth.Continuing the momentum of expansion, Vistage is pleased to introduce Simon Lewis, a distinguished leader with over 30 years of experience, who will chair the newly formed third group in Dubai. Comprising 12 CEOs and business owners, Lewis's wealth of leadership acumen and expertise will undoubtedly enhance the group's dynamics.“Navigating the intricate landscape of the Middle East business environment has been an exciting journey for Vistage. The launch of our new leadership group in Dubai represents not only a significant milestone but a testament to our commitment to cultivating leadership excellence in this dynamic region. The success of our previous ventures in Dubai and Malta fuels our optimism, and I am confident that under the leadership of Simon Lewis, this new group will flourish, contributing to the vibrant tapestry of Vistage's global community.", said Nathan Farrugia, Managing Director, Vistage.With a robust community of 45,000 members across 35 countries, Vistage is renowned for providing unparalleled executive coaching and mentorship, featuring:Personalized Executive Coaching: Led by seasoned leaders like Simon Lewis. Expansive Global Network: Connecting leaders in diverse industries and cultures. Advanced Learning Resources: Exclusive access to innovative business tools and strategies.Members of Vistage are known to consistently outperform their peers, emphasising the effectiveness of the organization's coaching approach.The establishment of the new group in Dubai, under the leadership of Simon Lewis, reflects Vistage's ongoing commitment to expanding its footprint in the Middle East. With plans for additional groups in the future, Vistage aims to become a pivotal force in shaping business leadership in the region.Vistage extends an invitation to CEOs and business executives eager to elevate their leadership journey. Membership in Vistage offers access to a global network of experienced leaders and a wealth of resources essential for success in today's competitive landscape.

Anghami Launches its 2023 in Music Campaign and Reveals Official Music Charts

Anghami, the leading music and entertainment audio streaming platform in the MENA region, has unveiled its highly anticipated annual End of Year campaign, #Anghami2023inMusic. The campaign introduces official 2023 Music Charts and showcases exclusive personalized recaps, providing users with unique insights on their musical journey and highlighting artists’ stats and data.This year’s campaign was not just about numbers, it’s about the stories behind the music. Anghami takes its users on a journey into their own music adventure, from those who know exactly what they want to the discoverers by nature, all while capturing the essence of their mood. Fun remains at the forefront of this campaign, ensuring that users not only gain valuable insights but also enjoy reflecting on their musical choices. The campaign offers an interesting recap of listeners’ year in music, from minutes played and top artists to unique moments, and overall mood, and top songs that defined their year.Artists, too, are a core part of the experience, as they discover remarkable data about their music, fans and regional reach. Access to data insights such as song releases, top streamed songs, total streams, followers count, and growth rate allows them to connect more deeply with their fan communities. This campaign not only strengthens the bond between artists and their fans but also adds an extra layer of engagement to the overall music experience on the platform.The official 2023 in Music Charts reveal impressive trends in both Arabic and International music scenes. The top three Arabic artists—Amr Diab, Ahmed Saad, and Tamer Hosny—continue to influence the regional music landscape. Meanwhile, globally renowned artists such as The Weeknd, Taylor Swift, and Drake top the International charts, showcasing Anghami’s diverse content and user base.One standout in the Arabic charts is the iconic Amr Diab, whose exclusive releases on Anghami consistently topped the charts, including El Hafla and Batamen Alek. Notably, Amr Diab became the most streamed artist of all time on the platform this year, with 1.8+ billion streams and still counting.Cairokee’s Album “Roma,” released in late 2022, left a lasting impact on the charts, proving its popularity throughout 2023. Other standout Arabic albums like “Ma3aya Hatbda3” by Ramy Sabry and “Raye2” by Hamza Namira dominated Anghami charts for months, a rare feat in the ever-evolving music scene.International hits also take center stage, with “Calm Down” by Rema & Selena Gomez securing the coveted #1 spot for the second consecutive year—an unprecedented achievement in Anghami’s history. Miley Cyrus’s “Flowers” and “Creepin'” by Metro Boomin, The Weeknd & 21 Savage round out the top three.Beyond individual preferences, Anghami reveals remarkable statistics, with users streaming music for a staggering 23.15 billion minutes in 2023. Egyptian Pop emerges as the top genre gathering over 2.2 billion streams, while Arabic Indie gaining more popularity with a total of 448 million streams.Salam Kmeid, Head of Content Marketing at Anghami, commented: “Our mission is rooted in delivering precise insights, offering fans a deeper understanding of their musical preferences and listening habits. We also strive to empower artists and creators in celebrating their milestones and building stronger connections with their fanbase. As we look back to the past year, we wrap up 2023 with key achievements in both music and podcasts that we share with our Arab community around the world.”As Anghami remains steadfast in its mission to recognize and support up-and-coming talents, the platform also acknowledges Viral Artists in 2023, including AlShami and Nawal among others, contributing to a fresher and promising trend into the MENA music scene.#Anghami2023inMusic continues to resonate and make waves, offering users and artists alike a rich experience of insights and results, while reaffirming Anghami’s commitment to being at the forefront of the music streaming experience in the MENA region.

Rayna Tours teams up with MoEngage to elevate customer loyalty

Rayna Tours, the leading tour operator in UAE, has partnered with MoEngage, a marketing automation and customer engagement platform.Founded in 2006, Rayna Tours primarily focuses on serving the UAE as its primary market, with secondary markets including India, GCC countries, the USA, the UK, Europe, and Canada.With this new partnership, the leading tour operator plans to leverage data-driven insights for personalized customer engagement, improve user experiences, and boost loyalty.“Travel is a significant investment, and travellers seek confidence in their choices. Meaningful engagement, with personalized interactions and transparent information, builds trust. Engaging customers throughout their journey ensures their needs are met, leading to satisfaction, return bookings, and referrals. This is where we think our partnership with MoEngage will be fruitful”, said Rajkumar Gaikwad, Business Head, Rayna Tours.Using MoEngage’s intelligent platform, Rayna Tours aims to increase customer retention, drive higher booking conversion rates, and ultimately boost revenue. “Our experience with MoEngage has been positive, empowering us to optimize engagement strategies and drive better outcomes in the travel industry. By leveraging MoEngage's insights and engagement capabilities, we anticipate a measurable impact on our bottom line”, said Rajkumar, Business Head, Rayna Tours.“We are stoked to be the proud partners of Rayna Tours. The brand has always kept a customer-centric approach and with the help of our partnership, we further plan to strengthen it”, said Sweta Duseja, Director of Customer Success at MoEngage.Rayna Tours joins the growing list of 1200+ global companies across 35 countries, such as Azadea Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Azadea, Jazeera Airways, Alsaif Gallery, Apparel Group, Airtel, Ola, Oyo, and Mashreq, that trust MoEngage to deliver a consistent experience across multiple devices and touchpoints.

Podeo and Rotana sign breakthrough partnership

Podeo and Rotana Media Services have signed a strategic partnership to monetize podcasts hosted on Podeo, the largest podcast platform in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA).Rotana Media Services (RMS) is the advertising and marketing arm of Rotana Media Group, the world’s Arabic media conglomerate with a vast network of TV channels and radio stations, and the possessor of the largest Arabic movie and music library. Podeo joins RMS’s media representation portfolio, including Radio, TV, Streaming, and Outdoor. It is primarily owned by Saudi Billionaire Prince Al Waleed bin Talal.This multi-year deal designates Rotana as the advertising representative for Podeo, effectively connecting 50,000+ creators and publishers on Podeo with a broad spectrum of sponsors and advertisers. Through Podeo’s ad tech, advertisers will reach millions of listeners on multiple platforms simultaneously with unparalleled precision and targeting.Adding a new dimension to this partnership, Rotana Podcasts will be hosted on Podeo, benefitting from its exclusive distribution network."This alliance marks a transformative moment for podcasting in the MENA region - we’re uniting with the most influential and respected media powerhouse to tackle the foremost challenge faced by creators and publishers: effective monetization," said Stefano Fallaha, Founder and CEO of Podeo ?????. "RMS's proven track record will enable us to maximize the revenue and recognition that podcasters rightfully deserve. This partnership marks a pivotal achievement in our commitment to propel the exponential growth of the thriving podcast industry, and continuously deliver on our mission.”The CEO of Rotana Media Services, Nezar Nagro, said, "Rotana Media Services’ accomplished track record will enable us to solidify the rights of podcast content creators and increase their revenues. This partnership represents a significant achievement in our commitment to drive the exceptional growth of the thriving podcast industry in the region, which we consider part of our mission and social responsibility." He added, expressing his happiness, "We are delighted to initiate this partnership with Podeo, which marks a revolution in the podcast content distribution and monetization landscape in the region. We are confident in the success of this collaboration which will create an unparalleled platform for content creators, advertisers, and listeners alike, strengthening Rotana's vision and role in delivering exceptional value and innovative opportunities in the media landscape as a whole."Earlier last month, Podeo signed a historic industry-exclusive partnership with Anuvu, marking Podeo as the sole platform delivering Arabic podcast content to in-flight passengers globally, a testament to its powerful influence and impact in the podcasting world.

Qatar Airways touches down in Yanbu

 Qatar Airways, the multiple award-winning airline, has landed today its first resumption flight at Yanbu, the airlines’ eighth connection in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The non-stop service will operate two weekly flights on Wednesday and Sunday.To mark the resumed operations, passengers onboard the aircraft received special menu cards with exclusive design that reflects the distinctiveness of the occasion. Upon touchdown at Prince Abdul Mohsin bin Abdulaziz International Airport, water cannons saluted Qatar Airways flight QR1216 with showers of affection, signifying the renewed connection between Yanbu and Doha.Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, said: “We’re pleased to welcome Yanbu back into our extensive network, comprised now of eight Saudi cities. This highlights our commitment to increasing travel options for passengers in the Saudi market, which remains one of the key global markets for Qatar Airways. We look forward to connecting travellers to and from Yanbu to over 170 destinations across the globe, while offering them an unrivalled travel experience onboard our state-of-the-art aircraft and through our multiple award-winning hub, Hamad International Airport.”Offering two weekly flights to Yanbu, the new route aims to facilitate both business and leisure travel, further reinforcing Qatar Airways’ dedication to connecting travellers from six continents to some of the most sought-after destinations across Saudi Arabia. The addition of Yanbu operations compliments the airlines’ over 120 weekly flights to eight Saudi cities including AlUla, Dammam, Gassim, Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh, and Taif, Yanbu.Located on the Western Coast of Saudi Arabia, Yanbu, a coastal gem on the Red Sea, is renowned for its rich history, archaeological sites, and serene beaches. Known as the “Capital of Diving”, Yanbu represents a haven for all divers thanks to the vibrant underwater world thriving beneath its shores.Passengers in Saudi Arabia traveling from Yanbu will enjoy seamless connectivity to over 170 destinations worldwide, including destinations in China, Europe, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and the United States.Tickets for flights to Yanbu are now available for booking through the Qatar Airways website, mobile app, and travel agencies.

Brenda Kassir appointed as Strategy Director at Cheil MEA

Brenda Kassir has been appointed as Strategy Director at Cheil MEA. Brenda Kassir brings with her a wealth of experience in research and communications, particularly in the MENA region. With over two decades of experience and 18 years dedicated to the MENA region, she has demonstrated a commitment to building customer-focused brands and communication strategies.Brenda's diverse expertise across various industries makes her a seasoned strategist capable of addressing complex business and design challenges. Her appointment as Strategy Director reflects Cheil MEA's dedication to delivering innovative marketing solutions and exceptional brand experiences to their clients.In her statement, Brenda expresses enthusiasm about working with the team at Cheil, highlighting their charm, intelligence, and the agency's unique structure, offering, and culture. She looks forward to contributing to the next stage of growth for the company and the brands they work with in the MENA region.Cheil MEA anticipates that Brenda Kassir's insights and creativity will play a crucial role in shaping the agency's strategic direction and achieving its goals in the market.

Platinum Guild India unveils 'Men of Platinum' in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Platinum Guild India brings ‘Men of Platinum’ – its unparalleled luxury jewellery collection for men, to the UAE. Unveiling Men of Platinum in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, this marks the debut of the brand in the region and is set to elevate the standard of style. The Men of Platinum collection brings classic elegance to the forefront, celebrating the naturally white radiance and exceptional rarity of one of the world’s most precious metals - platinum. Designed for discerning lovers of fine jewellery, exquisite craftsmanship and striking design, the Men of Platinum range is sleek, distinctive, and quite unlike any other.Thirty times rarer than gold, and born white, platinum retains its true white through time, and it’ enduring legacy has long been celebrated by royal families and revered by luxury jewellers globally.Crafted from 95% pure platinum and inspired by the metal's intrinsic strength and stature, the Men of Platinum collection pays homage to men of unwavering character. Each exquisite piece in this collection captures the spirit of individuals who lead with unwavering values, honouring self-belief, resilience, compassion, and courage. Just as platinum stands untarnished through the passage of time, these statement pieces are destined to be treasured for generations to come.The Men of Platinum jewellery range spans a collectible array of platinum chains, wristwear and rings. From engraved patterns to symbolic motifs, every piece is woven around the narrative of character, resilience, courage, compassion, and inclusivity – making it more than just a statement of style, but a powerful expression of identity and purpose.Platinum’s story of origin is as unique as the men that favour it. Born of the stars, platinum came into existence due to a meteorite crash billions of years ago. Even today reserves of platinum are limited making it a truly rare and precious metal. Connoisseurs of taste choose this celestial white metal, as a mark of status and a true symbol of success. Its designs are innovative and reflective of international trends. Solid, yet aerodynamic forms marked with statement textures and indestructible links, come together to create a range that displays versatility, strength, and poise. Defined by sleek contours and understated matt lustres, this bold dynamic collection is the perfect complement to those men who are able to hold their own amidst a crowd. These designs effortlessly transition from business settings to a Saturday brunch and are apt to mark personal milestones.Vaishali Banerjee, Managing Director – PGI, India, said: “We are excited to unveil the Men of Platinum branded collection in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The brand promises contemporary pieces, designed to cater to the refined taste of the fashion-conscious individuals of the UAE, and we hope that it captures the hearts of our customers, offering them the perfect additions to their wardrobes.”

Green glamour: A peek into sustainable brands in the Middle East

The Middle East is renowned for numerous attractions, but what truly sets it apart from other nations is its exceptional appeal as a shopping destination. The proverb ‘Shop till you drop’ fits well for the city of Dubai in the Middle East. Its reputation as a shopper’s paradise is well-supported by the towering malls that dominate the cityscape, showcasing the city’s flourishing retail industry. It's fascinating to see how the Middle East’s shopping scene has evolved, not only with its global brands but also with the rise of homegrown brands, each carving its own niche. The growing emphasis on sustainability among local brands adds an additional layer of significance to the Middle East’s shopping landscape.In this article, Adgully Middle East aims to spotlight some of the homegrown brands that have embraced sustainability. Although we have the limitation of space to cover all such brands, we seek to provide readers with a glimpse of the diversity and sustainability initiatives prevalent among local brands in the Middle East.• Bambah Boutique: Bambah, a Dubai-based fashion line and boutique founded by Egyptian entrepreneur Maha Abdul Rasheed in 2010, is now celebrating its 12th year. The brand has been successful in capturing the hearts of its customers since its inception. Bambah is known for exuding femininity, elegance, and bold signature shapes in its designs. The brand reflects a modern and refined aesthetic that resonates with today's woman. The combination of these elements has contributed to Bambah's popularity and appeal in the fashion industry. Bambah Boutique emphasizes sustainable practices in its production processes, including the use of eco-friendly fabrics and ethical manufacturing.<img src='\7b9a60fedaa0951c88fff5930c259254.png' class='content_image'>• Eurthlin: Situated in Dubai, Eurthlin places a strong emphasis on sustainability and ethical practices. The commitment to using vegan materials and adopting environmentally friendly processes is pivotal in addressing the fashion industry's environmental impact. Opting for faux leather instead of animal leather and integrating GOTS-certified organic cotton for linings, Eurthlin not only advocates for cruelty-free luxury but also actively contributes to fostering a more sustainable and eco-friendly fashion landscape.• Earthly: Earthly, based on its commitment to eco-friendly materials and the creation of effortlessly stylish clothing and accessories, strives not only to enhance the wearer's experience but also to contribute to the conservation of our planet's resources. This ethos aligns seamlessly with the growing awareness and demand for sustainable and ethical fashion. The brand meticulously selects fabrics that excel in eco-friendliness, considering factors such as water consumption, biodiversity, soil enrichment, and waste reduction. In a remarkable initiative, Earthly plants a tree for every product sold through a partnership with One Tree Planted, further emphasizing its dedication to environmental conservation. Founded by Esha, a growth strategist, and Palak, a designer and creative director, both with 14 years of combined experience in corporate settings, the brand channels their expertise into creating a label that champions slow fashion, small batch sizes, and the use of sustainable materials.• The Camel Soap Factory: The Camel Soap Factory stands out by offering a distinctive range of skincare products that spotlight natural ingredients, with camel milk as a central component. The brand is unwavering in its commitment to sustainability, opting for minimal packaging and steering clear of harmful chemicals in its products.The brand's origin story traces back to Stevi Lowmass, the Founder & CEO, who, during her time in Dubai at the turn of the 21st century, noticed a dearth of authentic, locally crafted souvenirs. Disappointed by the prevalence of items manufactured in countries like India or China in gift shops, she recognized a gap in representing the true essence of the region. This realization sparked Stevi's determination to create souvenirs that genuinely reflected the unique culture and heritage of the UAE. Stevi's initial exploration into cold process soap making, driven by a desire to offer an alternative to mass-produced, non-local items commonly found in gift shops, eventually led to the establishment of The Camel Soap Factory. Today, the brand not only provides skincare products but also serves as a testament to the authenticity and rich heritage of the UAE.<img src='\ee9147f14c1df2e37f25cfcde24a54eb.png' class='content_image'>• Bil Arabi: Launched in 2006, Bil Arabi stands as a modern jewelry brand that transcends traditional norms by imbuing its designs with introspective messages and profound meanings. The brand seamlessly blends traditional Arabic calligraphy with contemporary design elements, utilizing recycled metals and ethically sourced gemstones in the process. Bil Arabi caters to expressive generations, offering distinctive and visually striking jewelry that carries layers of significance. The brand's hallmark lies in the versatility of its creations, each piece representing true craftsmanship that celebrates individualism. What sets Bil Arabi apart is its ability to overcome geographical boundaries, positioning itself as one of the most captivating brands to emerge from the Middle East. Embracing novelty, Bil Arabi consistently introduces fresh perspectives, ensuring its continued prominence at the forefront of the jewelry scene.• THRYVE: IFFCO Group has introduced its first 100% plant-based meat, "THRYVE," to the Saudi market. Positioned as the region's leading venture in providing nourishing, sustainable, and healthy local plant-based meat products, THRYVE™ draws inspiration from the unique flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine. This recent launch is in active alignment with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and the Kingdom's Sustainability Vision 2030, both of which prioritize enhancing sustainable food security and fostering innovation.Rizwan Ahmed, Executive Director of IFFCO Group, expressed excitement about the launch and the introduction of THRYVE™ plant-based products in the Saudi market. He emphasized the active support for Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, citing the transformative nature of this plant-based product in promoting healthier and more sustainable eating habits in the Middle East. Ahmed further highlighted that this initiative contributes to the development of a local, regenerative, and eco-friendly food value operation. The venture aligns with IFFCO Group's overarching vision of "Investing in the Future," aiming to provide a resilient and sustainable food chain continually.<img src='\619a7ea44e84da4f9800c3971fc67b66.png' class='content_image'>• Kibsons: In an era where sustainability is a paramount consideration in business, Kibsons' unwavering commitment to sustainable growing and shopping aligns seamlessly with the global movement towards more eco-friendly practices. This dedication not only benefits the environment but also exemplifies a responsible and forward-thinking approach to business practices. By championing smarter thinking for a kinder and healthier planet, Kibsons not only meets the immediate needs of today's consumers but also actively contributes to building a positive and sustainable future. The role played by Kibsons in encouraging a shift towards sustainable practices in the food industry, both locally and through online food delivery services, is essential for fostering a more responsible and conscious community.One notable practice is Kibsons' collection of delivery boxes from customers' homes, which are then sanitized at the facility and reused, effectively preventing packaging wastage. This demonstrates Kibsons' commitment to reshaping the way people shop and encouraging a more thoughtful and sustainable approach to consumption, thereby promoting a kinder and healthier planet.• Switch Foods: It is a delicious plant-based meat brand that not only prioritizes individual health but also celebrates local cuisine while facilitating a smooth transition from conventional meat. This vision is aligned with sustainability goals and encourages conscious food choices. It aims to lead the MENA region’s transition to a sustainable future by inspiring and enabling people to make conscious food choices that have a positive impact on their health, that of their loved ones, and the planet at large.• Toyshare: ToyShare stands as an innovative online platform rooted in the principles of the sharing economy, providing a sustainable solution to the environmental repercussions of discarded toys and books. At its core, the platform is driven by a mission to save the planet from unnecessary waste, specifically addressing the issue of outgrown toys that frequently find their way into landfills or oceans.The unique approach of ToyShare involves a blend of environmental sustainability, community engagement, and educational enrichment. By facilitating the sharing of toys and books, ToyShare aspires to make a positive impact not only on the planet by reducing waste but also on the lives of children. Through this platform, the emphasis is not just on the exchange of items but on creating a community-driven initiative that promotes responsible consumption and contributes to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.• Up-fuse: Up-fuse's commendable effort to use recycled materials, particularly plastic, in crafting a diverse range of products such as handbags, streetwear, shoes, and back-to-school items represents a significant stride in reducing environmental impact. The accomplishment of recycling over one million plastic bags, 400,000 bottles, and 400 tires is a noteworthy contribution to the reduction of plastic pollution and waste. The brand's commitment to manufacturing all products using ecological and recycled materials underscores its dedication to environmentally friendly practices. Up-fuse's approach aligns seamlessly with the principles of the circular economy, wherein materials are repurposed and reused to extend their lifespan, thereby reducing the demand for new resources. This not only addresses pressing environmental concerns but also plays a pivotal role in raising awareness about sustainable practices within the fashion industry. Up-fuse stands as a commendable example of how conscious choices in material selection and production processes can lead to positive environmental outcomes.We will keep on coming up with such listicles to update our readers about the latest developments in the middle-east market. Stay tuned for more!

Savola Foods teams up with Egyptian Food Bank to extend support for Gaza's food

 Savola Foods - Egypt announced its active participation in the Gaza Relief Campaign initiated by the Egyptian Food Bank. The primary aim of this campaign is to stand in solidarity with Gaza residents by providing essential food support to address their substantial challenges in securing necessary nutritional needs.In a first step towards this cause, the company has contributed to providing support, by signifying a preliminary action among several forthcoming initiatives directed at aiding the affected families in Gaza. This commitment aligns with Savola Foods - Egypt’s dedication to supporting societal and humanitarian causes."Savola Foods’ collaboration through its Egyptian subsidiaries, and the Egyptian Food Bank reflects our collective effort to stand alongside the people of Gaza,” Sameh Hassan, CEO of Savola Foods, stated. “We firmly believe this partnership represents an indispensable humanitarian duty, where the provision of essential sustenance remains a vital mission that we continuously uphold. Furthermore, our cooperation with the Egyptian Food Bank comes in recognition of its leading role in the relief campaign for Gaza."Hassan further added: "We hope that these contributions will provide the necessary support and aid needed by the people in the Gaza Strip. We urge everyone to join hands in this humanitarian endeavor, striving to ease the burdens faced by those in dire need. We strongly believe in the significance of forging communication bridges and enhancing cooperation between the private sector and civil institutions to alleviate the crisis in Gaza.”In the same context, the CEO of the Egyptian Food Bank, Mr. Mohsen Sarhan, expressed his pleasure with the collaborative efforts between Savola Foods - Egypt and his organization, saying: “The situation in Gaza is extremely difficult, and the civil society, represented by the National Alliance and the Food Bank, is working to deliver vital humanitarian support to the people of Gaza. This partnership has resulted in the provision of a number of aids to the Gaza Strip, which will greatly contribute to easing the ongoing hardships experienced by the population in Gaza.”Mr. Karim Baraka, General Manager of Savola Foods - Egypt, added, “Savola Foods - Egypt’s involvement in these efforts comes as part of the "Masafat Al-Sikka" relief campaign launched by Egypt, operating under the Egyptian National Alliance for Civil Development Work to assist the people of Gaza. This participation exemplifies the human values cherished by the company and its enduring commitment to continuous societal support.”Savola Foods acknowledges the importance of the private sector’s effective societal role, recognizing its profound impact on the development and progress of all countries in which it operates, including Egypt. The company's specialized departments are actively engaged in fulfilling this role professionally. Moreover, the establishment of the "Savola World Foundation," an initiative that operates systematically to ensure effective impact, stands as a testament to the company's deep-rooted commitment to its societal responsibilities.

GCC luxury re-commerce market to grow 10-15% by 2026

Chalhoub Group today published its comprehensive circularity report, entitled ‘Circular Fashion Potential in the GCC’. The report is the first of its kind in the region and delves into the evolving landscape of circular fashion while highlighting consumer behaviours as well as the potential and growing trends within the luxury re-commerce sector in the GCC.The report is part of Chalhoub Group’s efforts to integrate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into its business model and target to achieve Net Zero by 2040. The research reveals key regional insights while highlighting the transformative shift in the convergence of sustainability with luxury, leading to the evolvement of consumer choices and industry norms.Estimated at USD480-500 million in 2022, the GCC luxury re-commerce market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10% to 15%, reaching USD 760-780 million by 2026. The largest luxury segment in value is watches (accounting for about 50% of the market size), followed by jewellery (16%), handbags (13%), apparel (12%), and footwear (10%).Consumers show a significant shift towards circularity along all price levels, with one-third of GCC consumers having already purchased pre-loved items, and another third planning to do so. The most sought-after categories that consumers purchased in the past 12 months, include bags (20%), watches (18%), and jewellery (16%). The driving factors behind these purchases lead with affordability (43%), followed by investment potential (42%), and access to limited editions (40%). Additionally, 70% of consumers stated having resold items in the past year, mainly to make money (42%) and finance new purchases (41%).In terms of purchasing channels, online and offline prove to be almost equally important, with 58% mainly online purchasers. For clothes, shoes, and bags, peer-to peer platforms are amongst the top channels of choice, while specialist retailers are chosen for watches. When it comes to non-purchasers, concerns about authenticity (39%) and item conditions (39%) represent the top two key barriers to buying pre-loved items. Furthermore, GCC consumers seem more inclined to re-sell than to purchase pre-loved items (31%). Three out of four respondents revealed that they have re-sold fashion items in the last year, and a similar number, 73%, consider the re-sale value before purchasing a luxury item.Patrick Chalhoub, Group President at Chalhoub Group said: “Sustainability remains at the heart of our operations and our Circularity Report is more than an analysis; it reflects our ongoing commitments to embracing more sustainable business models as we aim for our Net Zero target by 2040. We will continue to stress the importance of alignment among policy makers, regulators, brands, retailers, and customers as we keep our focus at the initiative level driven by interested brands and consumer affinity.”Florence Bulte, Chief Sustainability Officer commented: “Our comprehensive research spanning the entire GCC region underscores the importance of circularity in the fashion sector, an industry which accounts for approximately 10% of global CO2 emissions. By embracing sustainable business models and focusing on circular initiatives, we are responding to the increasing consumer demand, paving the way to Net Zero and actively embedding sustainability into the core of our business.”Andrea Fetzer, Strategy Director commented: “The report highlights the dynamics of the GCC re-commerce luxury market, valued at USD480-500 million in 2022 and projected to grow ~15% annually. This growth reflects evolving consumer behavior and an increasing adoption of circular business models by luxury brands and retailers globally. This is the first report of this kind done in the Middle East, leveraging desk research and data from publicly available sources, but also 15 interviews with key players in the ecosystem, along with a proprietary survey of 1,300 consumers across the GCC. At Chalhoub, we will leverage these insights to make informed business decisions, particularly in our experimentation with new business models for our brands, and to fortify our investment strategy.”

AWS announces Amazon Q to reimagine the future of work

At AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an, Inc. company (NASDAQ: AMZN), announced Amazon Q, a new type of generative artificial intelligence-(AI) powered assistant that is specifically for work and can be tailored to a customer’s business. Customers can get fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take actions—all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems.Providing information and advice to employees to streamline tasks, Amazon Q can accelerate decision making and problem solving, and help spark creativity and innovation at work. Designed to meet enterprise customers’ stringent requirements, Amazon Q can personalize its interactions to each individual user based on an organization’s existing identities, roles, and permissions. Additionally, Amazon Q never uses business customers’ content to train its underlying models.“Generative AI has the potential to spur a technological shift that will reshape how people do everything from searching for information and exploring new ideas to writing and building applications,” said Dr. Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of Data and Artificial Intelligence. “AWS is helping customers harness generative AI with solutions at all three layers of the stack, including purpose-built infrastructure, tools, and applications. Amazon Q builds on AWS’s history of taking complex, expensive technologies and making them accessible to customers of all sizes and technical abilities, with a data first approach and enterprise-grade security and privacy built-in from the start.Generative AI chat applications have captured the public’s imagination and helped people understand what is possible, but there are still barriers that prevent people from using these solutions at work. Specifically, these chat applications do not know an organization’s business, data, customers, operations, or employees—the work they do, who they interact with, what information they use, and what they can access.Trained on 17 years of AWS knowledge and experience, Amazon Q transforms the way developers and IT professionals build, deploy, and operate applications and workloads on AWS. Customers can access Amazon Q through a conversational interface from the AWS Management Console, documentation pages, their IDE, and over Slack or other third-party chat apps.Amazon Q is an expert on patterns in the AWS Well-Architected Framework, best practices, documentation, and solution implementations, making it easier for customers to explore new services and capabilities, get started faster, learn unfamiliar technologies, architect solutions, troubleshoot, upgrade applications, and more.Amazon Q is an expert on a customer’s businessOrganizations are sitting on vast amounts of information spread across multiple documents, systems, and applications. From finance and human resources to marketing and sales, employees across every organization collectively spend hours every week searching internal sources for information, piecing together analyses, writing reports, building presentations, or adapting content for different customers or audiences. Generative AI can help solve these challenges, but the general-purpose solutions available today are not connected to internal resources and do not understand a company’s existing identities, roles, and permissions to determine which resources an employee should have access to for their work.Above all, Amazon Q provides answers and insights that are accurate and faithful to the source material and knowledge a customer provides it, and customers can use additional administrative controls to block entire topics and filter both questions and finalized answers using keywords. Administrators can also limit certain responses to specific employees or data sources.Amazon Q provides generative AI-powered assistance across Amazon QuickSight, Amazon Connect, and AWS Supply ChainWhile many use cases and industries will benefit from the transformative potential of generative AI, the solutions available today are often generic and do not have the specific context needed to carry out domain-specific tasks.Amazon Q is available to customers in preview, with Amazon Q in Connect generally available and Amazon Q in AWS Supply Chain coming soon. To learn more about Amazon Q, visit commences KSA operations to meet growing travel demands, the UAE’s leading travel management company, takes a significant step forward by officially launching its operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, aligning with the transformative goals of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030. The office was inaugurated by Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Thani and Sachin Gadoya, Founders of, in the presence of eminent guests from the travel's entry into the Saudi Arabian market strategically targets corporate clients, contributing to the Kingdom's burgeoning tourism and corporate travel sector. The organization aims to deliver tailored travel solutions, seamless booking experiences, and dedicated support to meet the unique needs of businesses in Saudi Arabia.Commenting on this strategic move, Sheikh Al Thani said, 'Saudi Arabia has experienced an extraordinary surge in tourism revenue, surpassing 37 billion Saudi riyals in the first quarter of 2023. This exemplifies the Kingdom's commitment to diversify its economy beyond oil. Aligned with this momentum, our new corporate office in KSA is an integral part of our regional expansion strategy, poised to meet the escalating travel demand of our discerning customers. Since our inception in 2007, has consistently grown, and this new office propels us toward long-term success."The new office premises is centrally and strategically located in Aknaz Center, Tahliah Street, Al Olaya in Riyadh and includes a state-of-the-art, multilingual contact centre, which will offer’s customers dedicated 24 X 7 support.Sachin Gadoya expressed enthusiasm, stating, "Our entry into Riyadh indicates a significant milestone for With an unwavering commitment to our corporate clientele, we are eager to contribute to the growth and efficiency of travel management for businesses in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the leisure sector will soon benefit from musafir’s innovative offerings.”As part of's growth strategy, the company recently unveiled a new logo, symbolizing a fresh phase of innovation and customer-centric travel services. The redesigned logo underscores's commitment to staying at the forefront of the ever-evolving travel industry.

Sunset Hospitality Group opens SUSHISAMBA in Abu Dhabi

Sunset Hospitality Group (SHG) announces yet another major milestone with the opening of a new SUSHISAMBA restaurant, in collaboration with Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers.Founded 12 years ago and with presence in 16 countries, SHG owns and operates more than 50 venues through its diversified hospitality lifestyle brands; including hotels & resorts, restaurants, beach clubs, and more. Bringing the acclaimed hotspot to Abu Dhabi is a natural expansion for SHG, signifying the Group’s rapidly expanding portfolio and culinary innovation.Inspired by the cultures and cuisines of Japan, Brazil and Peru, SUSHISAMBA has already built up a legion of fans across the world, including London, Las Vegas and Dubai. In 2021, SHG brought SUSHISAMBA to the Palm Tower, Dubai, for its UAE debut, and after successful operations, SUSHISAMBA Abu Dhabi is set to arrive onto the capital's culinary scene by April 2024.Celebrating Japan, Brazil, and Peru, SUSHISAMBA is born from the unique energy and bold spirit of these three distinct and fascinating cultures. Built on an enticing mix of history and pure imagination, SUSHISAMBA honours the stories of the Japanese travelers who emigrated to Peru and Brazil in the early 20th century.Found on the Podium 1 of Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers, SUSHISAMBA Abu Dhabi is designed by Lazaro Rosa Violan, a Spain based design studio. The venue will span across two floors. On the first floor, guests will find a restaurant and a terrace, while a second floor will house a private dining room, bar, an infamous SAMBAROOM and a terrace offering a beautiful view of the Arabian Sea. The interior will be welcoming and intriguing while combining Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian influencers together.Encouraging guests to unwind, enjoy life and celebrate with friends and loved ones, the contemporary dishes are presented with artistic flair and a touch of tasteful theatrics. Led by Culinary Director Kyung Soo Moon, SUSHISAMBA’s eclectic menu is crafted with impeccable skill and premium ingredients, with many products sourced directly from Japan and Latin America. Spanning everything from traditional Japanese tempura and sushi, to Peruvian anticuchos and seviche, each delicate yet satisfying dish is meant to be shared and appreciated with loved ones. Packed with incredible spices, wonderful aromas and creative contrasting flavours, food connoisseurs are treated to signature dishes such as most popular Chilean Seabass anticuchos made with white miso and chives, Asevichado roll, Ultimate sushi and sashimi platter featuring signature rolls, everyone’s favourite Black Cod, Sea Bream Seviche with green chilli, coriander and cancha corn, and Japanese doughnuts just to mention a few.The ideal place for guests to let their hair down, celebrate special occasions or simply gather and catch up with friends, the magnificent beverage menu spans bespoke concoctions such as SAMBA Negroni, SAMBA Melon Sour, Signature Caipirinha, all crafted by the team of expert mixologists. A fully immersive, 360-degree experience, SUSHISAMBA’s upbeat vibe is maintained throughout the week with show stopping live entertainment from incredible samba dancers, DJs and musicians."We take immense pride in the announcement of SUSHISAMBA's opening in Abu Dhabi, which symbolizes a remarkable achievement in the ongoing growth and expansion journey of Sunset Hospitality Group. The opening of SUSHISAMBA Abu Dhabi is a testament to our dedication to delivering extraordinary experiences and innovative culinary offerings to our global audience." - Antonio Gonzalez, Chairman and Group CEO of Sunset Hospitality Group.

Renault unveils a series of new models in the Saudi Market

Wallan Trading Company, the Renault Group’s official distributor in the Kingdom, unveiled its newest models during its participation in the Riyadh Motor Show, held at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh on December 5 - 9, 2023.The two new models which will be introduced to the Saudi market for the first time, Renault Arkana and Renault Taliant, are distinguished through their unique designs, high-end equipment, and advanced technologies, which align with customers’ needs and aspirations in the Kingdom. Fahad Al-Wallan, Chairman of Wallan Trading Company, said:” We are excited to announce our participation in the Riyadh Motor Show alongside our new partner Renault. This collaboration marks a significant step towards expanding our business in Saudi Arabia and diversifying our offerings in the market. The innovative models we have unveiled today for Renault are tailored to meet our Saudi customers' evolving needs and desires, providing them with world-class vehicles from Renault”.Jerome Pannaud, Managing Director of Renault operations in Africa-Middle East and the Asia Pacific, commented: “We are thrilled to announce that our customers in Saudi Arabia can now enjoy Renault models that cater to their needs. The Saudi Arabian market holds great significance for Renault Group, and our partnership with Wallan Group will undoubtedly lead us to a successful journey in showcasing Renault's innovative line-up”.Visitors to the Riyadh Motor Show can see the distinguished lineup of Renault models for 2024, which suit several social categories and budgets.Renault ArkanaThe Renault Arkana model belongs to the compact multi-use coupe category, distinguished by its elegant, sporty exterior design and bold front grille bearing the new Renault logo. It is 4,568 mm long, 1,821 mm wide, 1,571 mm high, and has a wheelbase of 2,720 mm, which places it in the C-SUV category. Its spacious cabin and elegance also distinguish it. The Renault Arkana offers the consumer the following options: Evolution, Techno, and Esprit Alpine.The Techno class provides superior standard interior design, including Renault's Easy Link multimedia system, which connects wirelessly to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a 9,3-inch high-resolution screen. Esprit Alpine's highest grade has an exterior body with a prominent color gradient, an aerodynamic wing matching the color of the car’s body, and sports wheels.Renault Arkana has a 1.3-liter four-cylinder turbo engine that generates 155 horsepower at 5,500 rpm. The car can accelerate from rest to 100 km/h in 9.1 seconds, and its maximum speed reaches 205 km/h.  Renault TaliantRenault Taliant is built on the CMF-B platform of the Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi alliance. It is characterized by its spaciousness compared to competing cars in its class, with a length of 4396 mm, a width of 1848 mm, a height of 1501 mm, and a wheelbase of 2649 mm. Its back trunk has a capacity of 528 liters.Renault Taliant has two options, Evolution and Techno, that include a front-wheel drive system. It has an economical 1-liter turbo, 3-cylinder engine, 100 horsepower, and a torque of up to 160 Newton meters, a 6-speed manual transmission, a maximum torque of 142 Newton meters, and CVT variable speed transmission.Depending on its class, the Renault Taliant has a multimedia center with an 8-inch touch control screen, Apple CarPlay and Android, automatic climate control, cruise control, and light and rain sensors.As for safety and security specifications, the Renault Taliant includes a non-lock braking system (ABS), an electronic braking force distribution system (EBD), an electronic stability system (ESP), a hill start assist system (HSA), and a traction control system, in addition to a wide range of features, including four airbags, rear camera, front and rear sensors, cruise control, front and rear sensors and Bluetooth.Renault Megane E-TechAlthough the Megane E-Tech electric is not amongst the new model launches in the Saudi market, it is a demonstration of Renault’s expertise in the EV world. Renault applied a new : “sensual tech” design language.” It has an innovative, compact design on the outside and a unique, ample spaciousness inside. Its dimensions combine the specifications of crossover hatchbacks. , Megane E-Tech electric has hidden door handles and 20-inch wheels. The Megane E-Tech electrics length is 4,200 mm, its width is 1,860 mm, its wheelbase is 2,685 mm, and its height is 1,505 mm.It is built on the fully electric AmpeR Medium platform (previously CMF-EV), which offers the opportunity to increase an electric vehicle's energy efficiency and range while reducing charge time. It also ensures a great interior space and dynamism on the road through its direct and precise steering.Megane e-tech reaches a new level of sustainability with it's zero-emission engine range and upholstery made of recycled materials. Additionally, some of the lower parts of the dashboard are made of recycled plastic, which has also been used in several dashboard components. 95% of the car will be recyclable.Renault Megane E-Tech is equipped with an electrically excited synchronous motor (EESM) that weighs only 145 kg, generating 220 horsepower and 300 Nm. The car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 7,4 seconds.Megane E-TECH Electric offers a choice of two battery capacities: 40 kWh for a range of 300 km (WLTP cycle) and 60 kWh for a range up to 470 km (WLTP cycle, depending on each version), depending on the version.In Europe, It is equipped with intelligent driver assistance systems, such as the Active Driver Assistant system, which combines “proactive, adaptive cruise control” with “stop and go” designs and a “lane keeping assistant.” This was provided by an intelligent speed limiter system, collision avoidance system, and off-road driving system that Includes Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Sports Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) with Emergency Lane Keeping Assist (ELKA), and Rear Automatic Emergency Braking (Rear AEB).

BingX appoints Vivien Lin as Chief Product Officer to elevate user experience

BingX, a global leading cryptocurrency exchange, announced the appointment of Vivien Lin as its Chief Product Officer. This strategic decision underscores BingX's commitment to empowering crypto traders with continuous breakthroughs in its products and services. Vivien Lin will also take the role of Global Spokesperson of BingX, fostering transparent communication and strengthening its connection with global crypto communities. Vivien's background in trading, product management, and market development spans nearly a decade, with a focus on forex and equity derivative products, through key roles at reputable institutions such as Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas, and Deutsche Bank. Additionally, Vivien has years of experience in well-known crypto exchanges as leaders of financial products, risk management, and new product development, along with a deep understanding of product life cycle and go-to-market strategy. As Chief Product Officer, Vivien Lin will play a pivotal role in steering BingX's product development strategy over futures, spots, and assets management. Meanwhile, she will represent BingX at prime industry events and regional meetups where she will share her and BingX's distinctive insights on relevant topics. Vivien adeptly employs her comprehensive understanding of the company's operations to facilitate communication among users and partners, fostering potential connections and collaborations. The Board and Executive Team commented on Vivien's appointment: "As we welcome Vivien Lin into her dual roles, we celebrate not just the addition of an accomplished professional but a visionary leader. Vivien's extensive experience coupled with her profound understanding of global markets makes her the best fit to embody BingX's values and vision in global forums. Under her leadership, we anticipate reaching new heights in delivering cutting-edge products and enhancing our user experience with the broader community."Vivien Lin conveyed her excitement, stating, "I am thrilled to assume the roles of CPO and Global Spokesperson at BingX, which enables me to fortify the connection between our innovative offerings and our valued user community. My belief in the philosophy of clarity and simplicity, both in product development and communication, drives my commitment to breaking down complexities into accessible terms for everyone. I am poised to ensure that BingX's vision for excellence and user-centric innovation resonates effectively with our global audience."Vivien's appointment marks another big move towards further bridging the gap between blockchain and traditional finance, ensuring that BingX users continue to benefit from the dynamic merger. BingX looks forward to a future that is not only marked by technological innovation but also by a deep understanding of user needs, setting the stage for a transformative journey ahead.

Booth Club ME launches in the UAE, bringing globally renowned Megabooth

The spotlight is now on the UAE as Booth Club ME, the much-anticipated regional extension of the iconic European photobooth innovator Megabooth, announces its grand launch in the heart of the United Arab Emirates. Founded by Lee Hoppen, the visionary mind behind Megabooth, Booth Club ME aims to revolutionise events across the region with its unparalleled and quirky photo experiences. Born in England by a ragtag group of creative minds, Megabooth is already well known for its innovative take on events and now Booth Club ME will be replicating this ingenuity in the UAE.  Megabooth has carved its name in the industry, working seamlessly with acclaimed brands such as Disney, Netflix, adidas, Lamborghini, Spotify, Dior, YouTube, and more across Europe. It has also partnered with a series of renowned events such as the BAFTAs and BRITs and the company’s booths have hosted celebrities like King Charles, Gordon Ramsey, Stormzy, Ed Sheeran, and Jonathan Ross. The success story of Megabooth is one fuelled by a relentless pursuit of innovation and creating immersive experiences that captivate audiences. Now setting its sights firmly on the UAE market, Booth Club ME is here with a range of three distinctive product lines, each designed to elevate events to unforgettable levels. Each experience is unique, but still boasts the same quality and thrills that people have grown to love. Featuring different options to suit a variety of occasions, everyone will be sure to find the booth that perfectly suit their needs.   First up is the Classic Booth, which has been crafted for semi-permanent installations, retail campaigns, and experiential tours. Boasting a sleek wooden structure and a clean interior that evokes intimacy and nostalgia, and featuring the latest iPad functionality for sharp and clear photos plus a touchscreen display for previews, editing, and enhancements, this booth leaves no stone unturned for creating unrivalled memories.  Next in line is the Digital Booth, designed to transform simple movements into hilarious sequences of photos processed in lightning-fast time. Offering the option to share sequences as short movies in various formats, including the popular Boomerang feature, with data capture and a real-time digital gallery, this is the booth for those seeking to up their photo capturing game.  Finally, the Photo Pod is ideal for private events, product launches, office parties, award ceremonies, and weddings. Quick to set up with photo, gif, and video capabilities, studio-quality lighting, and instant printing and email sharing, this is your ticket to a truly unforgettable occasion.   To add to the incredible line-up available, Booth Club ME proudly introduces AI-enhanced photobooths, pioneering real-time photo and video enhancement and editing—a first in the region. These photobooths harness the most recent innovations in AI technology to help users have a completely immersive experience that goes beyond the ordinary.  Lee Hoppen, Founder and CEO of Megabooth, expressed his excitement about Booth Club ME's launch in the UAE, stating, "The UAE is among the most dynamic event markets globally, and we're thrilled to bring Megabooth's innovative experiences here. Our goal is to transform ordinary events into extraordinary memories, and we're confident that Booth Club ME will set new standards in event entertainment and engagement." Lee Hoppen's journey as an entrepreneur and innovator began with a passion for events, leading him to create pioneering ventures that revolutionised event photography and experiences. From humble beginnings capturing moments in nightclubs to securing investments on BBC's Dragons' Den, Lee's vision has been to create immersive, unforgettable experiences. With its base in Dubai, Booth Club ME is set to disrupt the market by offering cutting-edge, bespoke photo experiences that elevate marketing activations, brands, and events. As Lee looks to the future, he envisions further expansion across the wider GCC region and beyond, making every event an unforgettable experience. Booth Club ME is ready to mesmerise the UAE with the magic of Megabooth. For businesses, brands, and event planners seeking to add a touch of innovation and creativity to their events, Booth Club ME invites you to be part of this extraordinary journey. For more information check out Booth Club ME on Instagram and for more information on Megabooth check out its Instagram @megabooth or website at

Meteora Developers joins forces with World Tennis League as Title Sponsor

The World Tennis League (WTL) has today announced prominent luxury real-estate developer, Meteora Developers as title sponsor of the tournament’s second edition, taking place in Abu Dhabi this December.The strategic partnership will see Meteora Developers support and enhance the growth of World Tennis League across the UAE as the event moves to its new home at Yas Island’s Etihad Arena.Running from 21st to 24th December, season two of the event will feature the world’s top tennis stars, including current WTA World Number One, Iga Swiatek.Founded and led by real-estate and financial visionary Praveen K. Sharma, along with experienced construction magnate, Omar Al Omour, Meteora Developers has established a reputation for excellence across the real estate development sector for its highly sophisticated planning and superior quality construction. Its portfolio includes more than 1,000 under-construction units across five projects in Jumeirah Village Circle and other premier locations across the Emirate.Praveen Sharma, founder and CEO of Meteora Developers, said: “We are thrilled to serve as the title sponsor for the World Tennis League, where excellence meets the spirit of competition. Just as in real estate, success in tennis is about strategy, precision, and a commitment to delivering unmatched experiences. This partnership aligns perfectly with our ethos built around providing 'Elevated Privileges', and we look forward to a smashing collaboration on and off the court.”Rahul Saxena, Chief Operating Officer of World Tennis League, said: “We are delighted to welcome Meteora Developers as the official title sponsor of the World Tennis League for our second season.“Across their 15-year history, they have become one of the leading luxury real-estate developers in the UAE, bringing excellence to the industry and we look forward to collaborating with our new title sponsor to deliver what promises to be an unforgettable event – both on and off the court in a few weeks’ time.”Organisers have confirmed a stellar line-up of tennis stars and musical artists for the unique sporting and entertainment event, taking place between 21st to 24th December at Yas Island’s Etihad Arena. The 16-player line-up includes Women’s World No.1 Iga Swiatek, World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka, as well as World No.4 Elena Rybakina. Men’s World No.3 Daniil Medvedev headlines the field, which also includes Andrey Rublev and Stefano Tsitsipas.Following the tennis action, fans can look forward to witnessing some incredible music acts on stage, with award-winning music icons including 50 Cent, Akon, Ne-Yo, UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Trojan Sound System and The Original Wailers featuring Al Anderson set to perform at this year’s event.Tickets are now on sale via the Etihad Arena website as well as Platinum List and Virgin Megastores. With tickets selling fast, fans can find more details on

Ooredoo, Zain, TASC Towers create $2.2bn tower company

Mobile voice and data services operator Zain has disclosed the finalization of definitive agreements involving Ooredoo Group, Zain Group, and TASC Towers Holding, establishing the most extensive tower company in the MENA region through a cash and share transaction.The expanded tower company, comprising around 30,000 towers, possesses an estimated combined current enterprise value of $2.2 billion (€2bn). In the newly restructured entity, Ooredoo and Zain will maintain an equal substantial stake of 49.3% each, achieved through an asset and cash equalization process. The founders of TASC will retain the remaining shareholding through Digital Infrastructure Assets and continue to oversee the business operations.Anticipated to generate run-rate revenues close to $500 million annually, the tower entity is expected to achieve an EBITDAaL (after leases) of over $200 million annually upon the completion of closures in various countries, including Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Algeria, and Tunisia.This transaction signing represents a significant milestone in realizing crucial aspects of both Ooredoo and Zain's strategies, emphasizing the evolution into smart telcos and the creation of a value-focused portfolio.Functioning as an independent tower company and harnessing the collective assets of Ooredoo and Zain, TASC will provide Passive Infrastructure as a Service (PIaaS) through a partnership model. This offers mobile network operators a capital-efficient alternative for building, owning, and managing their passive infrastructure in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable manner. The partnership model is designed to meet the needs of other mobile network operators aiming to cut costs, reduce carbon emissions, and address the rising demand for sites driven by double-digit growth in mobile data consumption across the region.Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo, MD and Group CEO, Ooredoo; Bader Al-Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman & Group CEO; and Iyad Mazhar, Founder & CEO of TASC, said in a joint statement: “This pioneering deal embarks us on an exciting journey together as it results in the establishment of the region’s largest independent Tower company, placing the MENA region on the world telecom tower map. It also positions the region as an advanced player in the global telecoms landscape, and we anticipate wide-ranging positive implications for the region – from economic growth and upgraded connectivity to technological improvements and increased global relevance.”“This strategic transaction will unlock significant shareholder value through higher earnings multiples, as well as ensure capital efficiency, optimising balance sheets for our respective companies and creating new possibilities for investors. The deal also demonstrates our joint dedication to supporting the reduction of the region’s carbon footprint, contributing to our vision of reshaping the telecommunications sector by building a more sustainable ecosystem and ensuring a better-connected future for our communities across the region,” the CEOs said.Ooredoo and Zain will retain their respective active infrastructure, encompassing wireless communication antennas, intelligent software, and intellectual property related to managing their telecom networks.The expected timeline for completing this transaction envisions initial market closings in 2024. The phased implementation, tailored for each market and conforming to regulatory environments, is contingent on regulatory approvals, with Ooredoo's tower network in Oman undergoing a standalone process.

Riyadh hosts GSMA M360 MENA: 5G boosts regional GDP

GSMA M360 MENA commenced today at the Fairmont Riyadh, marking the beginning of two full days of keynotes, summits and networking focused around shaping the digital ecosystem in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA). The annual event, supported by host sponsor stc, convenes leaders from across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries to explore the strategies, collaboration and policies that will accelerate the MENA region's digital-first future. Key themes that will be discussed at this year's event include the transformative power of AI, IoT and edge computing, cybersecurity threats and approaches, digital inclusion and future opportunities for 5G.Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, said: "We are delighted to be here in Riyadh for M360 MENA and to witness some of the amazing innovation taking place in the city. Indeed, Vision 2030 is taking off across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the beauty is that connectivity lies at the heart of it all. M360 MENA is our chance to champion these achievements in mobile connectivity and celebrate the ambitious vision for the digital economy in the entire region."The Mobile Economy MENA Report 2023At M360 MENA, the GSMA launched the Mobile Economy MENA 2023 Report which revealed 5G's GDP contribution is expected to reach $60bn in 2030, representing 13% of the overall annual economic impact of mobile in the region.The report spotlights the latest trends shaping the mobile ecosystem in MENA, the mobile industry's regional impact, and priorities that will fuel the industry's future growth in the region.Other key findings include:5G will account for half of total mobile connections in MENA by 20305G is gaining momentum in MENA, driven by the launch of new networks and the rapid expansion of existing networks. However, 4G will remain the dominant technology in the region in the medium term, accounting for more than 50% of total connections until 2026.Continued MENA mobile growth through to the end of the decadeThere are currently 415 million unique mobile subscribers in MENA, which will rise to 550 million by 2030. Mobile internet users will grow from 330 million today to 425 million in 2030.Commercial 5G deployments in MENA have been varied At the end of November 2023, 23 mobile operators in nine markets across MENA had launched commercial 5G services. Despite growing momentum behind 5G in North Africa, commercial 5G remains absent in the region, reflecting the challenging situation with spectrum which has not yet been assigned in any North African country.5G SA and 5G-Advanced will be at the heart of 5G's next phaseBy June 2023, six operators in MENA had already rolled out 5G SA networks, contributing to 15% of the global total. Operators in MENA have also begun planning for 5G-Advanced.The shift to circularity is gathering momentumIn response to escalating concerns regarding the generation of e-waste and the unsustainable depletion of natural resources, the concept of circularity has surged to the forefront of the agendas for policymakers and industry stakeholders. This amplified focus on sustainability is particularly evident in view of the region's role as the host for the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.Presented by the GSMA, M360 is a series of global events that unify the regional mobile ecosystem. The events aim to discover, develop, and deliver innovation that serves as the foundation for positive business environments and societal change. The events facilitate inspirational keynotes, thought-provoking panel discussions and insightful case studies across mobile technology and adjacent industry verticals.M360 MENA follows a full year of the GSMA's M360 event series in 2023, which this year has included M360 Eurasia, M360 LATAM, M360 UK and M360 APAC.For the full M360 agenda, click here. To download the Mobile Economy MENA Report, please click here.

Infoline LLC clinches top honor as customer experience leader at OER Awards

 Infoline, the Sultanate of Oman’s premier tech-innovation company, is thrilled to announce its recent accolade as the Customer Experience Leader of the Year at the prestigious OER Corporate Excellence Awards. With a robust legacy spanning over two decades, Infoline has consistently been at the forefront of Oman's business landscape, embodying a commitment to innovation and excellence that has propelled it to the summit of the industry.The OER Corporate Excellence Awards organized by Oman Economic Review magazine, stands as a testament to the pinnacle of industry recognition. The prestigious awards highlighted organizations and individuals who have demonstrated exemplary performance, innovation, and commitment to excellence. Infoline's triumph at this distinguished award show not only underscores its position as a leader in its industry but also affirms its dedication to elevating the standards of customer experience and overall business excellence in the region.Expressing gratitude for the recognition, Muadh Al-Omairi, Vice President- Commercial,Infoline, stated, "We are honored to receive this award, which underscores our firm commitment to delivering transformative experiences. This accolade not only reaffirms our dedication to excellence but also reflects the collective hard work of the entire Infoline team. We sincerely thank our valued clients and partners for their trust and collaborative spirit, which have been integral to our shared success. As we celebrate this achievement, we are energized to persist in our journey of innovation and pushing boundaries. This award is more than just recognition; it is a testament to our relentless pursuit of unparalleled customer experiences and our commitment to continually raising the bar of excellence in every facet of our operations."Infoline's triumph is anchored in a diverse array of business process management services, spanning contact center outsourcing, digital customer care, IT solutions, enterprise solutions, analytics, technology consulting, and dashboards. Bolstered by a well-established footprint in the Sultanate, Infoline consistently pioneers cutting-edge tech innovations, providing a comprehensive range of high-quality Knowledge Process Outsourcing solutions tailored to the dynamic requirements of the Omani market. These strategic workshops represent an investment in its workforce, harnessing the momentum generated by the company's ongoing operations in Oman to propel it into the next phase of growth and expansion.

UAE business executives emphasize customer retention at EngageMint Dubai

Forward-thinking businesses worldwide, particularly in highly digitalized economies like the UAE, are subscribing to retention-led growth. It’s a digital-first approach that emphasizes retaining customers with the same determination as acquiring new ones by harnessing data, deriving insights, personalizing customer engagement, driving repeat purchases, and fostering loyalty. The recently concluded EngageMint Dubai saw CXOs, CMOs, marketers, and executives of leading organizations discuss customer retention and bring varied, nuanced, sector-specific perspectives. Mohamed Sayed Abd Elsalam, Group Head of CRM, Loyalty, Partnerships and Customer Analytics at MAGRABi, an eyewear retail chain, said: “MAGRABi streamlines retail operations by syncing in-store profiles with online signups, thus achieving a seamless visibility of offline purchases online.” Elsalam belongs to a growing base of executives who are devising experience-oriented omnichannel retail strategies with marketing technologies (MarTech) as the centrepiece. WebEngage, a leading marketing automation company and the host of EngageMint, said that brands integrating offline and online channels are geared toward optimizing their marketing efforts and tailoring them to the unique expectations of each customer. Several studies have established that such personalized engagement often translates to a good customer experience, which, in turn, helps achieve higher retention. In light of growing acquisition costs globally and dwindling revenues, retention is being viewed as a sustainable route to profitability. Under the overarching theme ‘Unlock New Horizons in Retention’, WebEngage provided a platform for retention-first thinkers to share their thoughts. Acquisition Vs retention“Acquisition can be easy, but retention is quite complex. As often as not, certain audiences engage with your brand for, say, a year and then make lifestyle changes. If the brand cannot align with the customer’s evolved expectations, it creates room for churn,” said Omar Al Ashi, Founder and CEO of Urent, a peer-to-peer vehicle-sharing platform. Shyam Sunder, VP - Marketing & Executive Committee Member,, a travel distribution platform, noted that acquisition and retention cannot be in silos, underscoring the need for an integrated approach with both online and offline capabilities.The integrated approach to retention marketing, characterized by the use of AI analytics, journey designers, and campaign orchestration tools, is a speciality of WebEngage. Its Retention Operating System offers all those capabilities in a single stack, providing businesses with a convenient and cost-effective means to harness data, analyze it, derive insights, orchestrate automated campaigns, and measure outcomes. Marketing automation, WebEngage said, is an essential tool for companies hoping to orchestrate personalized campaigns at scale. Executives of organizations that cater to a multitude of customers agree. Marketing automation is synonymous with efficiencyAhmed Atta, Head of Ecommerce at StoreUs, an online retailer, said that automation should be prioritized over manual operations. “Enhance your marketing strategy by leveraging a pricing tool rather than comparing with rival brands daily/monthly. Address fulfilment issues like out-of-stock items with consignment modules, positively impacting customer retention,” Ahmed added. “I’d try to understand customer personas from a marketing POV, using analytics to learn the right way to approach each persona. And then automate the marketing campaigns,” opined Mohamed Sayed Abd Elsalam of MAGRABi.  Sayed also revealed that repeat customers drive more revenue, making it vital to understand the reasons why customers return and apply the findings to other segments. Ahmed Atta added that retention, not just acquisition, should be the brands’ focus from day one. Such affirming views on retention by leading customer-facing brands reflect the general direction that the regional business ecosystem is taking. As retention essentially requires brands to become customer-centric and experience-led, its uptake in the UAE is a welcome development — one that complements the government’s vision of a knowledge-based economy.By providing such key takeaways and bringing unique perspectives from brands harnessing marketing technologies for growth, EngageMint ended its final edition of 2023 on a high note. Encouraged by the overwhelming response, WebEngage is set to reprise the edition in Dubai next year, when the government’s continued business-friendly initiatives are expected to create more favourable conditions for brands to unlock greater value and engage customers meaningfully.

Mindware announces strategic partnership with Vectra AI in ME and Africa

Mindware, a leading value-added distributor (VAD) in the Middle East and Africa, has announced its new strategic partnership with Vectra AI, the leader in AI-driven cyber threat detection and response.Kicking-off the alliance, Mindware will be furnishing sales and pre-sales skilled resources to ensure the correct positioning of the Vectra AI platform. Moreover, the distributor will offer professional services to ensure the successful implementation, integration, and value-delivery of the Vectra AI platform at customer premises.Nicholas Argyrides, Vice President - Gulf at Mindware, comments: “We are excited to add Vectra AI to Mindware’s rapidly-expanding cybersecurity portfolio and provide our partners with yet another market-leading technology vendor. Their advanced threat detection and response capabilities not only enhance our security offerings but also significantly empower our channel partners to proactively mitigate cyber threats. With Vectra AI on board, we've taken a giant leap forward in our commitment to safeguarding our clients' digital assets and ensuring a secure business environment.”Mindware is constructing a state-of-the-art lab facility, equipped with the latest Vectra technologies for real-world simulations and hands-on customer experiences. It is also channelling resources into rigorous training programs, ensuring that the team earn Vectra-specific certifications, making them well-equipped to consult, implement, and support these solutions.Vectra AI is the front-runner when it comes to AI-driven threat detection and response for hybrid and multi-cloud enterprises and it continues to experience exponential growth in the Middle East and Africa region, primarily attributed to its strong value proposition. The increasing interest among CISOs and security buyers has attracted a high number of leading system integrators and Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) to seek “Resell” and/or “MSSP” partnerships with Vectra AI.“Vectra AI is a channel-centric company. The selection of a value-added distributor is a critical decision, not only to our own success, but also to that of our partners and ultimately end customers. An ideal Vectra AI VAD should not only be able to knit together and manage more channel partnerships to drive reach, but should also be able to drive sustainable growth by engaging channel partners and ensuring Vectra’s platform relevance in their propositions and services,” says Taj El-Khayat, Area VP - South EMEA for Vectra AI.“Mindware’s wide-reach, strong and deep ties with the channel ecosystem in the region, coupled with its clear human-centric investment approach, make the company a great partner for Vectra AI. Mindware is clearly capable of not only bridging, but also driving Vectra AI platform’s value to the region’s partners, as well as end customers,” Taj concluded.

WAM enhances global confidence at World Media Summit with credibility

The Emirates News Agency (WAM) has participated in the fifth edition of the World Media Summit (WMS) in the city of Guangzhou, China, with the participation of more than 450 media outlets.Themed "Boosting Global Confidence, Promoting Media Development," the 5th WMS is co-hosted by Xinhua News Agency and the provincial governments of Guangdong and Yunnan.Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi, Director-General of the Emirates News Agency (WAM), affirmed the summit's significance as a crucial international platform for high-level exchanges and collaboration in the media field.During his participation in a seminar about enhancing global trust in media, Al Rayssi emphasised that establishing global trust for any media outlet requires a commitment to credibility in reporting facts and producing journalistic content. This commitment also involves adhering to objectivity in editing diverse media materials and disseminating them among various audiences and demographics.Al Rayssi added that the development of media institutions is linked to the rapid changes in the communication and media sector. It is also related to developing the capabilities and skills of professionals in this vital sector, especially in light of the multiple abilities provided by digital media platforms and artificial intelligence.He highlighted that WAM broadcasts its news in 19 languages and utilises social media platforms to engage with audiences. Additionally, the agency uses the "WAM News System" as an innovative internal system to manage and monitor daily media operations. Al Rayssi also mentioned ongoing developmental projects within the agency that employ algorithms and artificial intelligence for news production and digital content creation.Speaking on the significance of Global Media Congress, Al Rayssi shed light on the significance of promoting media joint action, sustaining coordination and unifying efforts in delivering media messages aimed at meeting the needs of various media institutions, developing societies, and achieving the happiness of peoples.Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, the Global Media Congress was launched from the United Arab Emirates to the world in 2022 under the theme “Shaping the Future of the Media Industry".He explained that the second edition of the Congress 2023 focused on sustainability, innovation and the latest technologies in media, sports media, as well as youth, education and the future of media. It achieved qualitative accomplishments with the participation of 160 prominent speakers in the media industry, attracting 23,924 visitors from various countries, representing a 76.5% increase compared to the first edition last year.A total of 172 countries participated in the event, including 31 countries participating for the first time, and the actual space reserved by institutions and companies reached 32,000 square meters.

FlyNow Aviation pioneers CO2 neutral mobility solutions at COP28 Summit in Dubai

FlyNow Aviation, a trailblazer in sustainable mobility solutions, proudly announces its participation in the upcoming COP28 Summit in Dubai. The company is honored to be participating as one of the sustainable startups in the Green Zone at COP28 to showcase its revolutionary CO2 neutral Mobility Air Vehicle and its mission towards environmental responsibility.FlyNow Aviation seeks to redefine city mobility by prioritizing CO2 neutrality. With a keen focus on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market, FlyNow aims to contribute to the ambitious goals of UAE to cut emissions by 40% by 2030, positioning itself as a key player in the global effort to combat climate change. According to Jurgen Greil, CEO, FlyNow Aviation, "We take pride in being a sustainable startup contributing to the environmental cause. Traditional transportation modes like cars, trucks, buses, and even air conditioning units contribute significantly to CO2 emissions. While the shift to electric vehicles is considered a solution, it comes with limitations such as traffic congestion and resource-intensive production. At FlyNow Aviation, we aim to make a lasting impact by relieving car traffic globally. FlyNow Air Vehicles offer a comprehensive solution, reducing environmental footprints, addressing traffic challenges, and providing a safer alternative to the traditional mobility.”FlyNow Aviation competently positions itself as a game-changer in the mass manufacturing segment of the global mobility sector. The introduction of FlyNow Air Vehicles, featuring a coaxial rotor system, holds the promise of significantly reducing car traffic, noise pollution, CO2 emissions, and traffic jams worldwide. FlyNow’s innovative approach allows for higher load capacity with less power consumption.With its already secured certifications, it is setting an example for others navigating the certification process. FlyNow stands out as a leader in the industry.“Economics, as the study of positive trade-offs, is key to bringing vital solutions and technologies to market. At FlyNow, we go beyond tackling traffic and emissions; we provide a one-stop solution to increase efficiency, reduce noise pollution, and save valuable resources, including wealth." Greil added.Amid escalating environmental concerns, FlyNow Aviation aims to demonstrate its dedication to a holistic CO2-neutral ecosystem.

E-commerce enabler Flextock bolsters Saudi presence

Flextock, a leading e-commerce enabler in the Middle East, is solidifying its presence in the region. Co-founded by CEO, Mohamed Mossaad and COO, Enas Siam, the start-up launched in January 2021 and witnessed remarkable results shortly after expanding into Saudi Arabia. This enabled the tech-centric company to 10x its Year-over-Year (YoY) net revenues last year while also more than doubling its gross profit margin by leveraging technology and scale.KSA is one of the world's 10 fastest-growing e-commerce markets[1]. Witnessing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.01%, it is projected to grow from a market size of $11.83 billion in 2023 to $23.80 billion by 2028[2]. The strength of this market, and its promising potential moving forward, has accelerated Flextock’s growth. In one year, the company has successfully acquired hundreds of merchants and currently dispatches thousands of orders daily.A play on words combining flexibility and stock, Flextock started by addressing inefficiencies within warehouses before evolving to be a complete enabler for e-commerce merchant growth. The company leverages the power of technology to provide a three-in-one service which entails solutions related to logistics, sales, and fintech. While several companies offer one or two of these services, Flextock is a market first as it provides all three of these solutions to propel merchants into a realm of unparalleled empowerment.From a logistics standpoint, Flextock can be easily integrated into existing stores to efficiently manage the entire order fulfilment cycle, process inbound inventory, and provide the most effective last-mile experience; the company prioritizes accuracy and cost-effectiveness in storing inventory, ensuring clients can effortlessly scale their operations and track orders at the simple tap of a button. Regarding sales growth, Flextock offers merchants access to various channels to effectively grow while reducing reliance on traditional social media advertising.Mohamed Mossaad commented: “Our comprehensive approach underscores a commitment to providing efficient and reliable services for seamless e-commerce operations while enabling all parties to profit. In a geographic area grappling with challenges in these operational landscapes, our overarching goal was to offer a targeted solution that would comprehensively support the region’s ongoing shift from traditional retail to e-commerce; we have achieved this vision by recognizing a regional lag, jumping on the opportunity to propel this transition, and prioritizing the success of businesses and merchants before our own. Our mission is to be a solution-oriented platform, prioritizing our merchants above all else - because we believe that as we help merchants grow their sales, our business will also flourish, and the industry as a whole will benefit. It’s a win-win-win situation that is dependent on merchants thriving and we are proudly leading the charge.”Flextock is a hub for a diverse range of users, accommodating micro-brands and large-scale retailers. The company’s commitment to inclusivity is evident in the customization of its services and products to meet the needs of e-commerce merchants. The platform strategically spans more than 10 industries with an emphasized focus on cosmetics, home accessories, fashion, and electronics. Amidst its ongoing regional expansion, Flextock's cutting-edge technology and strong presence in KSA and Egypt solidify its position as a solution-oriented leader in the dynamic e-commerce landscape across the region.

Wallan Trading Company celebrates partnership with Renault

Riyadh: Wallan Trading Company a leading player in the Saudi automotive sector has signed a strategic partnership with Renault Group. The partnership will see Wallan Trading Company serve as the official distributor of Renault Group’s world-class products and services in the Kingdom.The agreement was announced at a special ceremony hosted in Riyadh on 4 December 2023, with the engagement bringing French and Saudi dignitaries and representatives of both entities together to mark the launch of the new partnership. Notable attendees and guests included Jerome Pannaud, Managing Director of operations in the Africa-Middle East and Asia Pacific region, Renault; and Fahd bin Saad Al-Wallan, Chairman of Wallan Trading Company. During the ceremony, the Wallan Trading Company presented its plans for the future, which include opening 6 showrooms and 10 maintenance centers in different cities by the end of 2024 that will offer sales and spare parts services.Jerome Pannaud, Managing Director of Operations in the Africa-Middle East and Asia Pacific region, Renault, said: “Saudi Arabia is home to a sophisticated auto industry, with Saudi consumers being some of the most discerning auto enthusiasts in the world.A leading market with a growing presence on the global stage, Saudi Arabia is of the utmost importance to us. We are pleased to have partnered with Wallan Trading Company, a leading proponent of Saudi auto excellence. Wallan’s proud history, vast resources, and expansive network make the company the perfect partner for us a partner that enables us to serve our customers better in the Kingdom and wider region.” He added: “Our strategic partnership will increase our sales in the Saudi market by introducing leading-edge offerings, including our latest models, uniquely designed to meet the needs, preferences, and demands of our customers. We will also work closely with Wallan Trading Company to support and empower employees with greater access to advanced technologies and value-added services to deliver an enhanced customer experience.”Fahad Al-Wallan, Chairman of Wallan Trading Company, said: “We are delighted to have established a strategic partnership with the Renault Group, whose cars are renowned for their advanced designs and innovative technologies. This alliance between our companies will enable us to offer the best products and services to the automotive market in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.He added: “We are excited to explore the opportunities ahead. We plan to expand our reach during the coming period by opening more advanced centers in several regions so that Renault can remain close to its customers and provide greater access to the most innovative products, services, and spare parts”.

Ted Sarandos unveils Netflix's expansion strategy and $600 bn market opportunity

Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos unveiled the streaming giant's transformative journey and outlined a strategic vision for global expansion, backed by a massive $600 billion market opportunity. Sarandos's address at the 2023 UBS Global TMT Conference zeroed in on Netflix's pivotal role in the rapidly evolving entertainment landscape, with a spotlight on the company's ambitious plans to capture a substantial share of the lucrative market across pay TV, film, games, and branded advertising.Netflix's futureLooking forward, Sarandos outlined Netflix's strategic plan:Diversifying content offerings with a focus on non-English language content, games, sports programming, and live events. Strengthening connections with fans through innovative experiences like "The Bridgerton Ball" and "The Squid Game Trials."Exploring new revenue streams through advertising while maintaining competitive pricing. Sarandos positioned Netflix to seize a significant share of the $600 billion market opportunity, highlighting the company's current underrepresentation:Sarandos highlighted the dynamic nature of the entertainment industry, identifying streaming as the linchpin for modern entertainment and emphasizing its role in shaping consumer choices and industry growth. The transformative impact of streaming resonated throughout Sarandos's address, showcasing not only the fulfillment of consumer demands but the unprecedented global opportunities it has unlocked:A surge in TV and film production, contributing to job creation and an expansive content library. Empowered creators globally, enabling their stories to transcend cultural boundaries. Successful penetration of local narratives into global markets, exemplified by hits like "Wednesday" and "Squid Game."Transformative journeySarandos acknowledged Netflix's challenging shifts—from DVD to streaming, from a US-centric approach to global expansion, and from second-run titles to original content. These strategic moves, however, have yielded significant returns.Since the global launch in 2016:Substantial investment in content, with annual content amortization tripling to $14.5 billion. A fivefold increase in operating margins, soaring from 4% to 20%. A remarkable turnaround in free cash flow, from negative $3.3 billion in 2019 to an estimated $6.5 billion in 2023. The business of streaming: Sarandos emphasized the robustness of the streaming business model, evident in Netflix's consistent growth and financial success.Consumer-centric approach : In his closing remarks, Sarandos underscored the enduring importance of a consumer-centric approach. Member satisfaction, he emphasized, remains the linchpin for sustained growth, revenue generation, and brand strength in the highly competitive streaming landscape.

Turkish Airlines and Riyadh Air sign strategic cooperation MoU

Turkish Airlines (TK) and Riyadh Air (RX) have agreed a Strategic Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding to offer a comprehensive range of benefits for guests traveling between the Kingdom, Türkiye and points beyond their Riyadh and Istanbul hubs, as well as lay the ground for deeper future collaborations. Guest of both airlines will be able to take full advantage of each carrier’s worldwide network through a comprehensive interline and codeshare agreement that will allow customers to seamlessly connect between and combine sectors operated by either Riyadh Air or Turkish Airlines.Turkish Airlines Chief Investment & Technology Officer Levent Konukcu and Riyadh Air CEO, Tony Douglas, signed the agreement at a ceremony on the sidelines of the ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN 2023) held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The intention of both carriers is that benefits will be made available to guests as soon as possible after Riyadh Air launches operations in mid-2025 and is subject to regulatory approvals by relevant authorities.The close cooperation will allow members of each carrier’s loyalty program to earn points or credits when traveling on codeshare services operated by the other, with both airlines also exploring opportunities to develop a broader loyalty agreement covering both global networks. In addition to offering a comprehensive range of guest benefits, the MoU also commits Riyadh Air and Turkish Airlines to work together to explore and implement broader synergies and efficiencies across the value chain, touching areas such as aviation related services, cargo and digital development.Turkish Airlines Chief Investment & Technology Officer, Levent Konukcu stated: “We are happy to start our relationship with Riyadh Air, a promising new player in the aviation industry. This Memorandum of Understanding is more than a collaboration; it’s a bridge between Türkiye and Saudi Arabia, further strengthening our ties. It's also an opportunity to expand our reach and offer our guests more choices and convenience. We believe this partnership will not only benefit our customers but also contribute significantly to the tourism and business sectors of both countries.”Riyadh Air CEO, Tony Douglas said: “This agreement is another very significant step in the evolution of Riyadh Air as we partner with the world’s largest global airline by destinations served. Our close relationship will open up seamless connectivity via the global-leading hub at Istanbul Airport to some 130 destinations worldwide, especially within Türkiye, Europe and the Americas and accelerate our network footprint through the market-leading, guest-centric, digitally focused and like-minded global airline brand that is Turkish Airlines.”Douglas added, “Bilateral agreements with established network airlines are extremely important to Riyadh Air and there are significant benefits to this partnership, our passengers can enjoy greater connectivity to the world and deeper access to Türkiye, while an increased flow in volumes of tourism, religious and business travel into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is anticipated. Turkish Airlines is a world class aviation brand, and we are proud that they wish to play a part in the Riyadh Air story.”The establishment of Riyadh Air is in line with PIF’s mandate to unlock the capabilities of key sectors locally to drive the diversification of Saudi Arabia’s economy. The airline will also support the Saudi Aviation Strategy's broader vision, and enable the National Tourism Strategy, unlocking Saudi Arabia's cultural and natural attractions to international tourists and creating new jobs.

Abu Dhabi T10 begins it’s journey into the blockchain

Abu Dhabi T10 has already revolutionized cricket with the introduction of the fastest format – and now they begin their journey into the blockchain. T10 Global has partnered with Snowball Money, a platform aimed to make it easier for people toenter the exciting world of Cryptocurrency and Web3. The Go-to-Market strategy begins with gifting the 1 billion+ Cricket fans worldwide with physical and digital rewards. All it takes is a quick scan of the QR code conveniently showcased on screens during TV and digital broadcasts of tournament matches, as well as on the official Abu Dhabi T10 social media platforms. Upon joining, every fan will receive an exciting digital reward, and even a chance to meet players, acquire autographed jerseys, own game-used bats and earn additional physical awards. To seize this opportunity, visit and apply to join the waitlist.The blockchain serves as a secure and transparent platform to unite fans, promising a revolution in how they interact with the sport of cricket. Through the digital rewards system, fans can earn rewards, engage in decision-making processes, and participate in sports-themed fan games. Registration into the Abu Dhabi T10 blockchain via the QR code is free of charge, ensuring that the guaranteed rewards can be utilized by fans in various ways. This marks the introduction of a groundbreaking Sports and Entertainment Digital Rewards Programme, providing fans with unprecedented benefits.Speaking on this partnership, Shaji Ul Mulk, Chairman, T10 Sports Management, added: “It has been our constant endeavor to innovate in cricket. Our journey began with the introduction of the fastest format of the game, which has now proven to be one of the most entertaining and exciting formats in cricket. Fans world over have embraced it and love it and we have made it truly global. The next phase of transformation for us now lies in blockchain that can enable our T10 fans to be involved in an extensive sports and entertainment rewards programme and we are pleased with our partnership with Snowball Money that can enable this for us. We urge every fan to scan the QR code so they can avail these exciting rewards and be part of the sport and entertainment revolution with us.”Further detailing the partnership with T10 Global, Snowball Money CEO Mr Parul Gujral said, “We allow people to become their own bank and get exposure to and also earn a variety of different cryptocurrencies. We have moved from the old internet world to the new internet world called Web3. The whole idea of Web3 is that every single participant that is bringing value to the ecosystem gets rewarded and gets to become an owner of the system. We believe in the power of cricket to bring people together, and with blockchain, we're building bridges in the digital world. The initial QR code is just the first phase and there are several exciting things to come."Abu Dhabi T10 2023 will be broadcast on CricLife3 available on Etisalat, Elife IPTV, Switch TV, and Starzplay in UAE-MENA. It will also be aired in Pakistan on channel A Sports and live streamed on TapMad. Indian fans can watch the season on Viacom Sports 18 2 (Hindi) and on Jio Cinema app. The tournament this season, will also air on Supreme TV in Sri Lanka, on BT Sport in the United Kingdom, on ESPN in the Caribbean, on Willow TV in North America, on T Sports in Bangladesh, and Fox Sports in Australia. Cricket fans in UAE can buy the Abu Dhabi Season 7 Tickets online for just AED 10 via:

Reputation House launches MENA headquarters in Dubai

Reputation House, a global leader in Online Reputation Management (ORM), celebrated the official inauguration of its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Headquarters based in Dubai, marking a pivotal moment in the company's expansion strategy. The launch underscored Reputation House's deep-seated commitment to the MENA region.The company launch also introduced ‘Check Reputation’, a revolutionary product designed to transform the landscape of online reputation management.Check Reputation Data MiningBy collecting millions of gigabytes of data from diverse online sources, Check Reputation guarantees a thorough examination, leaving no crucial information overlooked. Utilizing an in-house AI service, the collected data undergoes meticulous analysis. The results are then presented in a clear and accessible format, offering valuable research insights. Beyond mere reporting, Check Reputation takes a proactive approach, crafting targeted strategies to actively enhance and improve the online reputation of individuals and organizations.Dima Raketa, CEO, Reputation House, expressed enthusiasm about the MENA Headquarters launch, saying, "Our journey in the region is a testament to our dedication to empowering individuals and organizations to shape their digital narrative positively. Choosing Dubai as MENA base to leverage city’s advanced digital infrastructure.”Providing insights into Reputation House's vision for the region and the substantial investment, Dima Raketa said, "Revolutionary product ‘Check Reputation’ allows access to gathered data about the object, making reputation management easier for the audience. Online reputation stands as the most critical aspect, where a brand’s exceptional products may go unnoticed, and the virtual image can diverge from reality. Reputation, rather than being elusive or beyond control, serves as a canvas for individuals and entities to vividly showcase what they bring to the table.”He added, “In the digital era, everyone possesses the ability to mold their online presence, bridging the gap between the real and virtual realms. At Reputation House, we believe in demystifying reputation and empowering clients to authentically shape their digital narrative."With a firm focus on becoming an industry leader in the MENA region, Reputation House's suite of products, including ORM, Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM), and the Reputation House App, empowers clients to take control of their online narrative.Looking ahead, Reputation House announced its next strategic move – an expansion into Saudi Arabia in 2024. This decision aligns seamlessly with the company's strategy to cater to the growing demand for reputation management services in the region.

More than 100 climate tech startups to showcase at COP28 UAE

More than 100 climate tech startups will showcase their work at COP28 UAE’s Start Up Village in the Green Zone.Operating in diverse sectors such as sustainable transport and agriculture, solar energy, and several others, these startups offer innovative solutions that can contribute to a low-carbon future.The participation of these startups demonstrates the wide range of solutions being explored and positions COP28 as a key platform for advancing sustainable technologies.The COP28 Presidency emphasizes the important role that the private sector and technology can play in delivering climate action on the required scale.Climate technologies could at least double their contribution to global growth, while removing up to 25 billion tons of carbon emissions annually.Recognizing the importance for breakthrough technologies to achieve deeper decarbonization, the COP28 Presidency has been highlighting that research and development is urgently required to bring down costs for existing and emerging technologies.To further the involvement of the private sector startups, COP28 is hosting a dedicated Technology and Innovation Hub. This platform provides the private sector with an invaluable opportunity to share best practices and showcase their contributions in addressing the climate crisis.Here are some of the startups with their amazing products to tackle climate change, which will be on display at their kiosks at the Startup Village.Mazi Mobility: Pioneering Sustainable TransportMazi Mobility, a Kenyan-based mobility company, is dedicated to promoting sustainable transport as a tool to advance the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. With a focus on showcasing the transformative potential of e-mobility solutions, the company aims to reduce emissions and foster sustainable living.In a significant partnership, Mazi Mobility and the Zayed Sustainability Prize have joined forces to launch an electric bike journey from Nairobi to Dubai. Spanning an impressive distance of 7,500 km, this journey will cover two continents and five countries, symbolizing a commitment to sustainable practices on a global scale.SolarSpace: Transforming Solar EnergyArizona-based startup, SolarSpace, is showcasing its advanced solar energy technology at COP28, featuring the M8 solar tracker. Weighing 1,500 kg and measuring 660 cm x 335 cm x 460 cm, this stationary exhibit minimizes solar reflections.Large mirrors focus sunlight onto a small focal point reaching 1,000°C in less than 8 seconds. This heat is converted into sound waves, and sound waves into electric power or cooling.The system is based on freeze dry (sublimation) methods. Sublimation is when a solid (ice) changes directly to a vapor, skipping liquid (water) phase. The system freezes the water, puts it under vacuum and introduces heat. At about -5°C ice is fully evaporated without reaching a boiling point and condensed, while all solids are left dry in a powder form.The system is solar powered, modular, grid-independent, deployable system that can be deployed at any remote location and can be used for brackish groundwater or seawater. The technology has no filters to replace or chemicals to add, making its operation simple, durable and cost effective, reducing cost.RedSea: Sustainable Agriculture for Global Food SecurityRedSea products and technology significantly reduce fresh-water and energy usage, enabling profitable agriculture in arid conditions and high-temperature environments. This innovation extends the growing season in regions that traditionally experienced only seasonal farming, ultimately increasing yield.The mission of RedSea is clear: to Feed the World Sustainably. This commitment is fulfilled by substantially reducing crop inputs in commercial farming, making it feasible to cultivate previously unsustainable regions like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and the GCC. The technology is already delivering benefits to farming communities in these areas.RedSea's impact goes beyond agriculture—it contributes to saving water, addressing food security, reducing emissions, and enhancing the profitability of mid to low-tech farming operations.FlyNow Aviation GmbH: Revolutionizing Urban MobilityFlyNow Aviation GmbH focuses on social, economic, and ecological sustainability through its lightweight and efficient electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL).An eVTOL aircraft utilizes electrical power for vertical hovering, take-off, and landing. These vehicles are optimized for electrical propulsion with battery-powered systems, offering a greener, safer, faster, quieter, and more efficient alternative to helicopters or traditional automobile taxis.Designed for urban mobility, the personal air vehicle provides eco-friendly transport for both cargo and passengers over short distances. Visitors can immerse themselves in virtual flights at the event, showcasing the company's dedication to innovation and sustainability.PLATFARM: Transforming Agritech in the MENA RegionPLATFARM, a UAE-based agritech company, is improving agribusiness in the MENA region with its data platform. Leveraging AI and satellite imagery, PLATFARM facilitates daily data-driven decisions, optimizing irrigation, and reducing the reliance on fertilizers and pesticides. Committed to sustainability, the platform provides real-time insights, improving crop management and resource conservation for a more sustainable agricultural future.GARBALISER: Improving Agriculture and Clean Energy in the UAE and LebanonGARBALISER employs innovative technology to transform biowaste into liquid natural fertilizer and renewable water. This advancement helps sustainable practices, addresses environmental challenges, and contributes to eco-friendly agriculture and water resource management.ECOLOO: Pioneering Sustainable Sanitation TechnologyAt COP28, ECOLOO showcases its cutting-edge biological sanitation tech. Their enclosed, waterless system prevents pollution and contamination while converting waste into odor-free liquid fertilizer for organic farming. It uses special formulated bacterial culture to treat and vanish human waste and transform urine into natural liquid fertilizer that is odor free, pathogen free and full of nutrients.ECOLOO says it not only saves gallons of water but also eliminates sewage costs. The company is set to unveil a new net-zero approach for commercial and residential buildings and factories during the event.The Startup Village is located in the Green Zone that will be open to the public from 3 -12 December. The Green Zone will serve as the central hub for action and will welcome all attendees. It will be open to the public, private sectors, media, youth, NGOs, as well as delegates and guests of the UNFCCC-managed Blue Zone for two weeks. Entry to the Green Zone from 1 - 3 December is by invitation only.

Digital asset tokenisation: Transforming financial infrastructure

Authored By Manhar Garegrat, Country Head, India & Global Partnerships, Liminal - Custody Solutions The transformative power of digital technologies is reshaping how we perceive and manage assets. At the forefront of this revolution is asset tokenization, a concept poised to revolutionize issuance, ownership, transfer, and management of tokenized assets. This innovative approach involves representing real-world assets, from real estate to intellectual property, as digital tokens on a blockchain network. These tokens act as digital proof of ownership, enabling secure and efficient transactions within the global financial ecosystem. Critical to the success of this transformation are the underlying infrastructure of smart contract, digital asset custody and wallet infrastructure platforms. These platforms provide the foundational infrastructure for the secure storage and transfer of these valuable tokens, ensuring the integrity of the tokenization process. The Promise of Secure Storage & TransferDigital asset custody is the safekeeping and management of digital assets, employing robust security measures like multi-signature wallets and advanced encryption techniques. This fortification protects assets from unauthorized access and loss, instilling confidence among investors and promoting wider adoption of digital asset tokenization. Efficient transfer of digital assets is a crucial aspect of tokenization, enabling seamless transactions across borders and platforms. Custody platforms leverage blockchain technology for real-time asset transfers, eliminating intermediaries and reducing transaction costs. This not only accelerates settlement times but also enhances liquidity for investors. Real-Time settlements, clearing & custody/storageDigital asset tokenisation introduces real-time settlements, a departure from traditional systems with lengthy clearing processes. Blockchain enables instantaneous transactions, eliminating intermediaries and reducing counterparty risks. This capability revolutionizes finance, offering unprecedented speed and efficiency. Clearing, the verification and finalization of transactions, benefits from blockchain's immutable record, ensuring transparency and reducing errors. This automated clearing process streamlines tokenization, appealing to both institutional and retail investors. Custodial storage safeguards digital assets, ensuring their security. Custody platforms provide secure solutions, including advanced encryption and multi-signature wallets. This commitment to security fosters trust among investors, encouraging participation in the tokenisation ecosystem. Growing adoption of tokenisation in money markets and treasuriesThe trend of tokenisation is gaining momentum in money markets and treasuries, particularly among asset managers and issuers. This growing adoption underscores tokenisation's ability to streamline asset management, enhance yield generation, and improve overall market liquidity. As more financial entities recognise the benefits, the broader financial ecosystem stands to gain from increased efficiency and transparency. Real-Time settlement and clearing: A transformative impactTokenisation's impact on settlement and clearing processes is transformative. Leveraging blockchain technology enables real-time transaction execution, eliminating the need for intermediaries. This not only significantly reduces settlement times but also lowers associated costs. The efficiency gains translate into a more agile and responsive financial system, benefiting both investors and market participants. Emerging role of digital asset custody platformsIn the realm of tokenized assets, digital asset custody platforms like Liminal play a crucial role in safeguarding and managing assets. These platforms provide secure storage solutions, employing advanced security protocols and multi-signature wallets to protect assets from unauthorized access and loss. As custodians of trust, these platforms contribute to the broader adoption of tokenisation by ensuring the security and integrity of digital assets. Collaboration between traditional banks and Web3 playersThe collaboration potential between traditional banks and web3-focused players is substantial in driving further innovation and adoption of tokenization. Traditional banks bring stability, regulatory expertise, and access to institutional investors. On the other hand, web3 players contribute technological agility, community engagement, and a profound understanding of decentralized finance (DeFi) principles. While several major banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, BNY Mellon, UBS, and Standard Chartered, are venturing into this space, highlighting the growing demand for digital asset solutions and the commitment of traditional banks to financial innovation; there is a strong need for collaborative efforts to create a synergistic ecosystem that combines regulatory compliance with technological innovation. Key themes emerging in tokenisation and real-world asset spaceSeveral key themes are shaping the tokenization and real-world asset (RWA) landscape: ?     Growing Focus on Professionally-Managed Products: The industry is witnessing a shift towards professionally-managed tokenized products, indicating a maturation in the market. ?     Increasing Adoption of Digital Asset Mechanics: The embrace of digital asset mechanics is becoming more pronounced, reflecting a broader acceptance of the digitisation of financial instruments. ?     Exploration of Alternative Product Strategies: Innovations such as Hamilton Lane's digitally-native private equity share classes showcase the industry's exploration of alternative product strategies, offering new avenues for investment and liquidity. Digital asset trends in 2023: A glimpse into the financial futureThroughout 2023, there was a sustained presence of significant trends in the digital asset space across both retail and institutional sectors. The year maintained the momentum seen in 2022 concerning investment banking activities, as major financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, UBS, HSBC, and ABN AMRO, actively engaged in the issuance of digital bonds. Illustratively, Goldman Sachs, after hinting at a $104 million European Investment Bank (EIB) pilot, formally introduced the Goldman Sachs Digital Asset Platform (GS DAP) in January 2023, following HSBC's launch of the Orion platform two months prior. GS DAP took the lead in orchestrating the issuance of a $102 million digital Green Bond in collaboration with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). Anticipations are high for additional issuances involving actively participating banks like Societe Generale, EIB, Santander, and Union Investment. Noteworthy is Union Investment's acquisition of 15 additional basis points ($156,000) as the primary buyer of Goldman's inaugural EIB issuance. This trajectory is projected to gain momentum with larger-scale issuances and the comprehensive implementation of end-to-end digital processes, including onboarding, servicing, and management. ConclusionDigital asset tokenisation is set to revolutionize asset ownership, transfer, and management. As traditional banks and new-age web3-focused players converge, their collaboration will create a thriving tokenisation ecosystem. Traditional banks provide stability and regulatory expertise, while web3-focused players bring innovation and a deep understanding of decentralization. By collaborating effectively, these two groups can build a vibrant tokenisation landscape that benefits all stakeholders. With growing adoption in money markets and treasuries, real-time settlement efficiencies, and the emerging role of digital asset custody platforms, the trajectory of tokenisation is set for continued growth and impact on the financial landscape.

Viola Outdoors’s progressive digital transformation launches on National Day 23

Viola Outdoor, a division of Viola Communications and the leading provider of out-of-home cross-platform media solutions in Abu Dhabi, is utilizing space on its digital media assets, from bridge-banners and taxi-tops to the brand new digital totems and digital hoardings introduced across the city this week, to provide a city-wide platform of celebration for the United Arab Emirates as it marks its 52nd National Day on December 2nd.Ammar Sharaf, founder and CEO of Viola Communications, expressed his pride in the company’s policy of community engagement, joining in as the whole country celebrates National Day, saying, “I am thrilled to announce this initiative, which comes in line with our commitment to reinforcing a spirit of unity. As an Abu Dhabi home-grown organization, Viola Communications has always believed in the power of creativity to inspire and bring people together in a reflection of the UAE leadership’s guidance, and by presenting the UAE flag as the first introduction to our new digital assets, alongside our existing bridge-banners digital network and exclusive digital taxi-tops, we are amplifying the true essence of our nation’s citizens, supporting their wish to express appreciation for the UAE’s leadership and celebrate the diverse aspects of the UAE’s heritage and cultural richness. We understand that National Day is a significant milestone that binds us together as a nation, and we wanted to contribute in a meaningful way. By launching the capital’s digital transformation mega project on this special occasion, we strengthen the sense of pride and unity among citizens, a value that we share at Viola, and by focusing our content on this National Day, we are honouring our nation.”Viola’s digital out-of-home assets are highly visible examples of the company’s digitalization process across the capital and this week sees a leap in the expansion of DOOH, as Viola Outdoors’s assets now include digital hoardings and unique free-standing totem road-side displays, all of which are located in prominent areas across the capital.

Comma signs a strategic partnership agreement with ALTER in Saudi Arabia

 "Comma," one of the top Saudi public relations and event management agencies, and ALTER, a prominent creative and innovative communications agency based in the United Kingdom, have signed a strategic partnership agreement in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As per the terms of the agreement, which was concluded on the sidelines of the 37th America's Cup AC37 that recently wrapped up in the city of Jeddah on the shores of the Red Sea, Comma, through its branches in the Saudi capital Riyadh and Jeddah, implements, executes, coordinates and offers local support for ALTER's businesses as well as the needs of its clients in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In addition to that, Comma collaborates in managing major sporting events, conferences, and other events that take place in the Kingdom.The CEO of ALTER, Mr. Richard Moore, stated: "Comma was selected due to its established history of providing excellent services to clients across multiple industries and its prominence in public relations. Mr. Moore concluded his remarks by praising Comma's successful collaboration in carrying out the public relations plan for the 37th America’s Cup in Jeddah. He also noted that this partnership fully aided in the plan's implementation and emphasized the tremendous work done by the Saudi Sailing Federation and the Saudi Ministry of Sport to organize this international event, which led to the formation of this strategic partnership. We are optimistic that ALTER and Comma will continue to collaborate in the future as they develop inventive and creative public relations strategies for our clients in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.Mr. Fadi Faisal Majzoub, CEO of Comma, welcomed the strategic partnership with ALTER and stated, "The partnership with Alter is an important step in Comma's track record of accomplishments, and we will collaborate as a specialized team to achieve more successes for our clients in the future stage”. Mr. Majzoub also stressed that partnering with an experienced leading London based agency in the field of public relations and communications to expand its activities within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will undoubtedly contribute to the execution of successful and distinctive marketing campaigns and keeping pace with the most significant advancements in the Kingdom’s social and economic trajectories, as well as taking part in the vital role played by the private sector in bolstering the country's economy in accordance with goals of Vision 2030.Towards the conclusion of his remarks, Mr. Majzoub expressed his gratitude for the success of the America's Cup PR campaign, which is the oldest sporting event in the history of international competition, dating back to 1851. He further added that this demonstrates Comma’s capacity to plan outstanding projects for local, regional and international events held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Samsung partners with actress Emma Myers and Team Galaxy to open up ‘Epic Worlds

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today unveiled the complete final cut of “Epic Worlds,” a unique cinematic project filmed entirely with a Galaxy S23 Ultra, capturing the essence of several distinct film genres and redefining the possibilities of mobile content creation. Almost entirely crowdsourced before being edited together for today’s compilation release, “Epic Worlds” is a testament to the power of open collaboration.At the heart of this new storytelling approach is a short centerpiece film, starring Emma Myers (known for her role in Netflix’s “Wednesday”) on a journey that transitions through the genres of film noir, science fiction, western, fantasy and action thriller. Myers plays the protagonist, but the hero of the piece is the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s Nightography. With an unparalleled ability to capture low-light scenes, Nightography enables clarity and detail that is truly cinematic.What’s more, this central narrative has inspired complementary content. All around the globe, local influencers from Team Galaxy shot their own scenes in reaction. These diverse pieces, all filmed with the Galaxy S23 Ultra, have been woven together with the centerpiece to create the cohesive spectacle that is the complete “Epic Worlds.”“I am so excited that Samsung invited me to be a part of Team Galaxy. Using a smartphone to bring such an incredible short film to life was really amazing, and I totally loved the results and the entire process,” said Myers. “I am drawn to unique projects, so working with Samsung provided me the opportunity to use that creativity more and to encourage others to do the same by creating their own short films. I cannot wait for everyone to see the compilation cut of ‘Epic Worlds’ — it’s a next-level collaboration.”“It’s honestly blown me away,” said Zee Ntuli, director of the “Epic Worlds” centerpiece. “I’ve been incredibly impressed with what this Galaxy device is capable of. What’s really amazed me is how the phone performs in low light. Nightography is just a remarkable feature.”The project follows the success of previous Filmed #withGalaxy campaigns, in which Samsung joined hands with high-profile filmmakers to demonstrate Galaxy’s power to create cinema-worthy content. “Epic Worlds” builds on that legacy with a bold statement that great content creation goes beyond power and image quality — it is also about creativity, community and the collaborative spirit, all of which Galaxy fosters.“Epic Worlds” is an invitation for content creators to harness the power of Galaxy and bring their most imaginative ideas to life. With Galaxy, professional-caliber content creation is available to everyone, everywhere.The final compilation cut of “Epic Worlds” is out now and can be watched here. The centerpiece short film starring Emma Myers can be viewed on YouTube.

Dubai TV premieres “Shark Tank Dubai”

MEMS which serves from within Choueiri Group as the Exclusive Media Representative for Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI), recently announced that DMI’s flagship Satellite TV Channel Dubai TV will become the new home of the global reality-TV hit series “Shark Tank”.The original Shark Tank premiered in 2009 as the American franchise of the international format “Dragons' Den”, a Japanese TV series. It focused on entrepreneurs making business presentations to a panel of five venture capitalists (investors in start-ups) called "sharks", who decide whether to invest in their companies or not. The series has been a massive ratings success across the globe, winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Structured Reality Program four times (2014–2017) in the first four years of that category's existence. In 2012–13, it won Outstanding Reality Program.“Shark Tank Dubai” follows in the series’ acclaimed tradition, presenting a business-oriented reality television series where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their innovative business concepts to a panel of highly successful and influential business titans - “sharks” from the UAE. The show provides a platform for local entrepreneurs to secure investments and form partnerships with the sharks, gaining invaluable resources and guidance to take their ventures to new heights.Speaking on the development, Sarah Al Jarman, Head of TV Channel and Radio - DMI stated that: “Aligned with our ongoing commitment to programming excellence and building a better tomorrow for generations to come, Shark Tank Dubai will deliver the pinnacle of entertainment, inspiration and insights to the budding entrepreneurial spirit which has become synonymous with Dubai and the UAE”.Upcoming on the new season of the show, the featured sharks will include Faisal Juma Belhoul, Founder and Chairman of Ithmar Capital Partners, Amira Sajwani, Founder and CEO of Prypco, Elie Khoury, CEO and Chairman at Vivium Holding, Noor Sweid, CEO at Global Ventures and Yousef Hamad, Managing Partner at BECO Capital – All mainstays of the UAE’s venture capital and business landscape.Also expressing his excitement for the upcoming season, Jean Pierre Tannous, Chief Operating Officer of MEMS stated that “As Dubai TV races forward on its journey of becoming a leading provider of impactful entertainment offerings in today’s digital age, we are very excited about the upcoming season of Shark Tank Dubai, which will not only provide healthy doses of meaningful audience engagement and interaction, but also showcase Dubai and UAE as visionary platforms for entrepreneurs”.

M42 partners with Siemens to enhance energy efficiency across UAE health sector

M42, a global tech-enabled health company headquartered in Abu Dhabi, has partnered with Siemens to boost energy efficiency across the UAE healthcare sector by auditing health facilities for energy efficiency and exploring digitalisation of infrastructure.Decarbonising infrastructure is part of M42's two-fold approach to reduce its carbon footprint. It also includes using preventative tech-enabled health solutions to reduce the number of patients required to visit energy-intensive facilities.The project’s initial phase involves a comprehensive energy efficiency audit of the healthcare facilities operated by M42 across the UAE. These audits are designed to identify opportunities for substantial energy savings and examine means for carbon emission reductions.Siemens and M42 have further committed to discussing and developing a roadmap that will lead to the digitalisation of M42's infrastructure. This digital transformation aims to enhance operational efficiency and improve the comfort of patients, healthcare professionals, and staff at M42's facilities.The partnership will leverage the Siemens Xcelerator platform, setting a standard for healthcare sustainability. By integrating innovative technologies, M42 and Siemens are determined to make a positive environmental and societal impact.The first audit, completed in November 2023, found that one of M42’s healthcare facilities could achieve significant savings in energy costs through heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) retrofits, and through the integration of space management systems via Siemens Enlighted portfolio that centralises energy management into a building management system. Implementing these energy-saving solutions across M42’s portfolio of hospitals and clinics, the largest network in the Middle East, could produce substantial reductions in carbon emissions and increase operational efficiency.According to the international non-governmental organisation Health Care Without Harm, emissions from healthcare facilities make up 17 per cent of the sector’s worldwide footprint. Indirect emissions from purchased electricity, steam, cooling and heating comprise another 12 per cent.Mark McGourty, Group Chief Operating Officer of M42, said: “M42 is at the forefront of tech-enabled healthcare; we're leveraging cutting-edge tools like AI and genomics to treat people, not just patients and focus on health, not just healthcare. Harnessing technology is only part of our strategy. We're also committed to decarbonising our facilities to ensure we can sustainably continue to provide world-class care to those in need. Our collaboration with Siemens demonstrates our dedication to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.“The healthcare sector's carbon footprint is immense, if it were a country, it would rank as the fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. This partnership marks just the beginning. I call upon other healthcare facilities to join us in this critical endeavor of decarbonising their operations, paving the way towards a more sustainable future for the industry and the planet,”Helmut von Struve, the Chief Executive Officer of Siemens in the Middle East said: “We are proud to partner with M42 and are confident that we can develop a roadmap that will improve asset performance and enhance the comfort of patients and healthcare workers in their facilities. This partnership isn’t just about energy savings, it’s about setting a new standard in the healthcare industry for sustainability and operational excellence.”Siemens collaborates with healthcare providers globally to create highly efficient hospitals with smart, optimised processes. Building systems, automation software, and hardware that are part of Siemens Xcelerator, an open digital business platform designed to accelerate digital transformation on a larger scale, allow operators to centralise control of thousands of data points like energy supply, fire protection, HVAC, lighting and access controls, optimising patient comfort, facility safety, and sustainability.

Chalhoub, LVMH, Emaar, Majid Al Futtaim, Aldar unite for sustainability

Chalhoub Group, LVMH, EMAAR Malls Management (L.L.C), Majid Al Futtaim Properties LLC, and Aldar Properties PJSC join forces to create “Unity For Change ” (pronounced UFQ in Arabic, meaning horizon and symbolizing the future), a pionneering partnership among prominent retailers and real estate developers in the Emirates. This alliance is dedicated to defining and achieving sustainability targets.The first partnership of its kind in the Middle East retail sector, between the five leading industry players, focuses on energy efficiency, clean energy, eco-design, water, and waste management, demonstrating a strong commitment to environmental responsibility and achieving each of the parties’ Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.This initiative reflects how to reduce the carbon and biodiversity footprints of the retail sector, with all entities intending to negotiate and execute a formal agreement within the next year.The cooperation specifically aims to enhance understanding and management of energy consumption across the entities’ properties, tenant stores, and landlords’ common areas, while also developing a comprehensive eco-design checklist, polling resources for clean energy purchases to optimize energy consumption, cooperating in chilled water management and air conditioning to enhance efficiency, as well as other initiatives. Additionally, there will be concerted efforts to research green concrete usage to achieve recycling objectives.Patrick Chalhoub, Group President at Chalhoub Group, commented: “In 2022, the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) validated our short-term carbon reduction goals. Achieving these targets requires collaborative efforts and I firmly believe in the power of collective action towards a common goal. We are pleased to collaborate with our partners to enhance our sustainability impact, setting clear objectives for both malls and retail operations. This first of its kind agreement marks the beginning of future partnerships aimed at ensuring a sustainable and resilient future for all.”Antoine Arnault, LVMH Image & Environment, said: “Our 5,600 stores around the world create experiences for our customers that we strive to make as exceptional and as unforgettable as possible. The excellence of our stores extends to their environmental performance. To do so, we need to collaborate with landlords. After having signed a first partnership with Hang Lung in China in 2022, LVMH is proud to sign this second agreement with local partners in the United Arab Emirates. In the context of COP28, this agreement highlights our strong commitment to fighting climate change.”An Emaar Malls Management spokesperson said: "Our participation in this sustainability taskforce further demonstrates our unwavering commitment to environmental and social responsibility in the retail sector. We are focusing on fostering sustainable practices, emphasising the importance of energy efficiency, eco-responsible design, and responsible use of resources. This collaboration is another component of our strategic plan to seamlessly integrate sustainable solutions into our business operations, demonstrating our commitment to cultivating a sustainable future for our communities and stakeholders."Ahmed El Shamy, Chief Executive Officer Majid Al Futtaim Properties, said: “This partnership enhances and accelerates our existing efforts to reach our ambitious target to produce more energy and water than we consume, reaching Net Positive by 2040. We are proud to be a part of this shared commitment, aiming to set a new global standard in sustainable practices and achievements as it relates to retail landlord and tenant collaboration.”Faisal Falaknaz, Chief Financial and Sustainability Officer at Aldar, said: “A key part of Aldar’s science-aligned net zero plan is to decarbonize our retail spaces and other commercial assets. This involves us actively engaging our supply chain and tenants to support their own transition to net zero. The partnership we have announced today provides a framework for Aldar to work closely with an important group of fellow industry leaders who share our commitment to creating environmentally friendly retail spaces that benefit developers, tenants, and our customers.”The joint sectoral partnership between the five parties highlights their commitment to working as a collective unit towards their ambitious goals, and marks a testament to each of their commitments to enhancing their sustainable practices and set a new standard for environmental stewardship in the Middle East’s retail sector.