Thailand plans to boost tourism through bitcoin holders: Crypto wrap

Thailand plans to boost tourism through bitcoin holders: Crypto wrap
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Updated 29 November 2021

Thailand plans to boost tourism through bitcoin holders: Crypto wrap

Thailand plans to boost tourism through bitcoin holders: Crypto wrap

RIYADH: The Tourism Authority of Thailand is working with the country’s regulators to make it easier and more convenient for visitors to spend cryptocurrency in the country, Bloomberg reported.

Thailand is laying the groundwork for becoming a positive crypto community with the aim of attracting cryptocurrency holders and promoting tourism in it.

The country is also hoping to recover some of the $80 billion in tourism revenue lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

The plan is already being discussed with the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission, the Bank of Thailand, and Bitkub Online Co., the largest crypto exchange in the country.

The authority will create a new unit next year to handle the issuance of its crypto tokens, produce a wallet, and build a new tourism ecosystem, according to Bitcoin.com.

However, Thailand does not currently recognize cryptocurrencies as legal tender.

Adoption

Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, has revealed that he is buying more Bitcoin and ether in response to the alarming rise he sees in inflation.

Meanwhile, Blockchain protocol Moonlift has unveiled a new name and a new product release as part of a large-scale rebranding initiative.

The blockchain project will be known as MoonLift Capital and will launch a decentralized exchange that will enable token exchange and liquidity mining features, Bitcoin.com reported.

MoonLift is a community-driven project that aims to provide users with passive income using blockchain technology.

The blockchain protocol also provides a one-stop solution for upcoming crypto projects across marketing, fundraising, and community building services.

MoonLift Capital is also backed by numerous partners and advisors. One of the biggest names is the DeFi startup guide LaunchZone.

MoonLift Capital will offer new projects to Launchzone, providing them with a favorable position to launch their tokens via IDO.  

Daily trading

Bitcoin traded higher on Monday rising by 4.75 percent to $56,926 at 6:38 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether traded at $4,313, up 5.80 percent, according to data from CoinDesk.


French construction design firm Clestra Hauserman opens regional HQ in Riyadh

French construction design firm Clestra Hauserman opens regional HQ in Riyadh
Updated 16 min 51 sec ago

French construction design firm Clestra Hauserman opens regional HQ in Riyadh

French construction design firm Clestra Hauserman opens regional HQ in Riyadh
  • Today, the Clestra Hauserman Group has offices in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman

RIYADH: A French construction and design firm opened its regional headquarters in Riyadh on Tuesday, in a 50-50 partnership deal with Saudi holding company, Zuhair Al-Habib Group.

Known internationally for their eco-friendly partitions, Clestra Hauserman’s decision to open a regional office in the capital city comes one year after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the Riyadh Strategy 2030 plan. 

“Saudi Arabia is our biggest market and as of this year I can say that 80 percent of our business comes from here,” said Farid Habbas, Middle East Director of Clestra Hauserman.

“It was a natural move for the firm that we were happy and ready for. Our firm will now have direct access to the local economy, which will help us gain financial and geographic opportunities,” he told Arab News.

Clestra Hauserman, which had been based in Dubai, joins more than 40 multinational companies that are moving to Riyadh.

The plan includes a policy stating that government and state-backed institutions will no longer sign any contracts with foreign entities from 2024 unless their regional headquarters are based in the Kingdom.

The policy, which paved way for a regional headquarters attraction program, aims to help make “Riyadh one of the ten largest city economies” in the world.

Founded in 1913, the French firm has had a regional presence for more than 40 years, specializing in the manufacture and installation of prefabricated demountable partitions. Its first project in Saudi Arabia was with Aramco in the 1970s and the firm extended its regional presence via the undertaking of airport projects and numerous educational buildings and corporate offices all over the Gulf area.

Today, the Clestra Hauserman Group has offices in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.

“At Clestra, we develop and design our products from scratch, then completely fit out empty buildings from zero to completion,” Habbas told Arab News. “Our work extends to maintenance and after-sales services for all our clients, where we can be on-site for any adjustments needed within 24 hours.”

Habbas said what makes their products special is their move-and-removability, and likened it to the moveable block system made by Lego — the size of partitions can easily be adjusted by adding or removing panels.

“We’re not just selling a product, we’re selling a solution. We believe that Saudi Arabia is in need of the type of flexibility we can bring with our products and expertise, and not to mention the sustainable aspect of reusing our partitions again and again.”

One of their notable projects is at King Saud University, which has more than 200 kilometers of partitions made by the French firm that have been in use for more than 40 years — which speaks to the durability of the product, the secret of which lies in steel and aluminum.

Habbas added that the firm has plans to open a small factory in the first stage, followed a by a larger one in the second, in addition to carrying out workshops that aims to provide knowledge, expertise and training to employees, a move that should provide many jobs.

Fahad Al-Rasheed, CEO of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City said that by 2030 the regional headquarters program will contribute $18 billion to the local economy and create around 30,000 new jobs.

Since the announcement of the Saudi Vision 2030, as well as plans such as the Riyadh Strategy 2030 and the National Investment Strategy, the metropolis has flourished into a regional hub for businesses, trade and plentiful investment opportunities.


Emirates Islamic profits soar by 271% in 2021

Emirates Islamic profits soar by 271% in 2021
Updated 10 sec ago

Emirates Islamic profits soar by 271% in 2021

Emirates Islamic profits soar by 271% in 2021
  • The bank’s total income rose in 2021 by 15 percent to reach 2,398 million dirhams, buoyed by strong operating performance

RIYADH: UAE’s Emirates Islamic reported a jump of 271 percent in net profits to reach 823 million dirhams ($224 million) in 2021, after incurring a loss of 482 million dirhams in 2020, according to a report released by the bank on Wednesday.

The bank’s total income rose in 2021 by 15 percent to reach 2,398 million dirhams, buoyed by strong operating performance. The bank attributed this solid growth to higher non-funded income and major reduction in the cost of risk, driven by strong economic recovery, according to the statement.

Operating profit improved 20 percent year-on-year, expenses rose by 10 percent to reach AED 1.191 billion, non-performing financing ratio improved to 8.2 percent with a significant coverage ratio at 115 percent while total assets remained sturdy at 65 billion dirhams, the report showed.

“Emirates Islamic maintained healthy liquidity and strong capital ratios, enabling the bank to grow customer financing by 4 percent in line with improved economic activity,” said Hesham Abdulla Al-Qassim, chairman of Emirates Islamic and vice chairman and managing director of Emirates NBD.

Customer financing which grew 4 percent, reached 42.6 billion dirhams, while customer deposits increased by 1 percent reaching 47.3 billion dirhams.

The successful issuance of their $500 million 5-year Sukuk was well received by the global investment community, validating strong investor confidence in their financials and growth outlook, and the favorable outlook for the UAE economy, he added.


Who’s coming to Saudi Arabia’s LEAP conference

Who’s coming to Saudi Arabia’s LEAP conference
Updated 27 January 2022

Who’s coming to Saudi Arabia’s LEAP conference

Who’s coming to Saudi Arabia’s LEAP conference
  • The event will host workshops and sessions based around the future of IT including, education, financial technology, electric cars and smart cities

RIYADH: Organizers of the LEAP conference in Saudi Arabia will host more than 400 speakers across six conferences during the three-day event.

Speakers will attend from a range of international and local organizations — such as Visa, Ericsson, JP Morgan, Cisco, and Huawei, as well as stc, NEOM, and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

The event will host workshops and sessions based around the future of IT including, education, financial technology, electric cars and smart cities. Other specialized sessions, called Orbital Talks, will host speakers on these specific industries and topics:

• FinTech

• Future energy

• Creative economy

• Health technology

• EduTech

• Smart cities

• Retail

• The fourth industrial revolution

There will also be a startup pitch stage that will see entrepreneurs bid to attract seasoned investors. The winner of the pitch contest will receive a cash prize for their new business.

Some of the conference star speakers include:

Börje Ekholm

• President and CEO of Ericsson

• Appointed on Jan. 16, 2017

• Board member of Alibaba, Nasdaq, Trimble, and Royal Institute of Technology

Olayan Al-Wetaid

• Group CEO of Saudi Arabia’s stc

• Has over 22 years of experience in telecom

• Has held multiple board positions across several stc subsidiaries

Roberto Carlos

• FIFA World Cup-winning football player

• Former Real Madrid player

• Launched Ginga Scout, a software system connecting players with coaches across the globe

Joseph Bradley

• CEO of NEOM Tech & Digital Co.

• Served in senior roles at Cisco Systems for over 15 years

• Also worked for C3 Communications, AT&T, and Pacific Bell

Stephen Carter

• Group CEO of Informa

• Former UK minister of communications

• His career has spanned the private and public sectors

Ahmad Al-Khowaiter

• Chief technology officer of Saudi Aramco

• Joined Aramco in 1983 and has since held various technical roles in oil and gas production

Eugene Kaspersky

• CEO and co-founder of Kapersky

• Renowned cybersecurity expert

Tony Chan

• President of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or KAUST

• Has a PhD in computer science from Stanford University

Siim Sikkut

• Government chief information officer of Estonia

• In charge of the country’s digital government and innovation work


Iconic London store Fortnum & Mason looking to expand into Qatar in time for World Cup

Fortnum & Mason, an upmarket shop in Piccadilly that counts Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles among its customers, wants to expand into Qatar. (Shutterstock)
Fortnum & Mason, an upmarket shop in Piccadilly that counts Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles among its customers, wants to expand into Qatar. (Shutterstock)
Updated 26 January 2022

Iconic London store Fortnum & Mason looking to expand into Qatar in time for World Cup

Fortnum & Mason, an upmarket shop in Piccadilly that counts Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles among its customers, wants to expand into Qatar. (Shutterstock)
  • 315-year-old store counts Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles among its customers

LONDON: One of London’s most popular department stores is in talks to open a branch in Qatar ahead of this winter’s FIFA World Cup, according to a Sky News report.

Fortnum & Mason, an upmarket shop in Piccadilly that counts Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles among its customers, is believed to be discussing a franchise opportunity with partners in the country.

The company’s chief executive, Tom Athron, wants to continue the brand expansion which took place under his predecessor, Ewan Venters, which included a first outlet in the Gulf, in Dubai, which closed in 2017.

The 315-year-old store, which is owned by a branch of the Weston family, already has a store in Hong Kong, and partnerships in Australia and Japan.

“As part of our strategy, we are exploring opportunities to expand both online and internationally, the Gulf being a region we’d like to look at again,” a spokesman for Fortnum & Mason said.

Fortnum’s business was hit badly during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has seen strong growth in its online business, and the firm hopes expanding into Qatar ahead of the World Cup in November could raise the brand’s global profile.


US car makers and medical suppliers warn chip shortage will last for more than six months

US car makers and medical suppliers warn chip shortage will last for more than six months
Updated 26 January 2022

US car makers and medical suppliers warn chip shortage will last for more than six months

US car makers and medical suppliers warn chip shortage will last for more than six months

RIYADH: US businesses are worried that the global semiconductor supply shortage is set to last for at least six more months, according to report put together by the country's Department of Commerce.

The White House was urged to push ahead with a $52 billion plan previously submitted to Congress to stimulate semiconductor makers and encourage them to build factories in the US, Bloomberg reported.

The report, released on Tuesday, was based on information taken from more than 150 companies in the semiconductors supply chain, and stated that the global shortage of chips will persist until the second half of 2022 as: “there is a significant, persistent mismatch in supply and demand for chips.”

The most affected industries by the shortage include automakers, consumer electronic, medical devices, broadband, and auto industries.

Even though the government does not have many alternatives in hand to solve the current issue, US officials will focus on resolving bottlenecks in those supply chains, and investigate claims of chips price gouging for some types of semiconductors, the report said.

Average inventory level fell from 40 days to fewer than 5 days, resulting in no room for error, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a briefing with reporters discussing the findings of the report. The median demand for chips was 17 percent higher in 2021 than in 2019, coupled with disproportionate increases in supply.

Disruption in the supply of semiconductors, which plays a key factor in determining the country’s inflation level, could threaten to help swing Congress to Republican control in November’s midterm elections.

Many firms have been recently expanding their operations in the US, with Intel Corp. announcing it is building the world’s biggest silicon-manufacturing site in Columbus, Ohio, worth $20 billion, and expected to become operational in 2025.