Home Centre unveils new brand identity, opening of 2 stores in KSA

Home Centre unveils new brand identity, opening of 2 stores in KSA
The firm plans to open new stores in Hail and Makkah, which will take its total number of outlets in Saudi Arabia to 30. (Supplied)
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Updated 07 February 2022

Home Centre unveils new brand identity, opening of 2 stores in KSA

Home Centre unveils new brand identity, opening of 2 stores in KSA
  • Home furnishings retailer celebrates 25th anniversary by revealing new logo, growth proposition

DUBAI: Home furnishings retailer Home Centre has launched a new customer-centric campaign to mark its 25th anniversary celebrations.

As well as the “Inspired by You” campaign, the company has unveiled a new brand logo and proposition as part of its continued growth plan.

With more than 125 stores throughout the Middle East and North Africa region and Indian subcontinent, the firm aims to strengthen its value and provide products, services, and experiences based on customer demands, senior executives said during a virtual event.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen many home dining tables turned into workstations and living rooms becoming playgrounds. The rapid change in consumer habits has resulted in a boom in house moves and home renovations, contributing to making 2021 the Home Centre’s best ever year, its chief executive officer, Sameer Jain, told the online gathering.

The versatility of home spaces had been reflected in the brand’s products, stores, and brand identity with a logo designed to take on many different forms, he said.

Home Centre bosses maintain that Saudi Arabia is an important market for the company with more than 70 percent of its staff (of which 60 percent are women) in the country being Saudi nationals in line with its commitment to Vision 2030 objectives for the diversification of employment opportunities and creation of jobs for women in the Kingdom’s private sector.

The firm plans to open new stores in Hail and Makkah, which will take its total number of outlets in Saudi Arabia to 31 and will be launching a new concept store in Mirdif, Dubai, which is set to be the largest in the UAE at more than 80,000 square feet.

The new stores aim to offer a different shopping experience to customers with inspirational rooms and a strategic layout designed to display furniture and coordinated home accessories in proximity. In addition, the stores offer click-and-collect and personalized design services.

Despite the significant investment in retail stores, Jain told Arab News that e-commerce had seen strong growth over the last two years. He pointed out that being customer-centric meant that “we don’t want to decide how you shop; we want you to decide how you shop.”

He noted that Home Centre was one of the fastest-growing home retail brands in the e-commerce space.

“We started our e-commerce journey nearly seven years ago, and today we have double-digit revenues coming from e-commerce in all our markets and they are tending to grow even higher in some markets like Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” Jain added.


UK privacy regulator fines facial recognition firm over unlawful image collection

UK privacy regulator fines facial recognition firm over unlawful image collection
Updated 24 May 2022

UK privacy regulator fines facial recognition firm over unlawful image collection

UK privacy regulator fines facial recognition firm over unlawful image collection
  • Clearview AI told to stop obtaining and using the personal data of UK residents, and to delete their data from its systems

LONDON: The UK’s data watchdog fined facial recognition firm Clearview AI £7.5 million ($9.3 million) on Tuesday for unlawfully collecting images of people from social media platforms and the web for use in a global database.

The Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s privacy regulator, also told Clearview AI to stop obtaining and using the personal data of UK residents, and to delete their data from its systems.

“The company not only enables identification of those people, but effectively monitors their behavior and offers it as a commercial service,” John Edwards, the information commissioner, said. “That is unacceptable. People expect that their personal information will be respected, regardless of where in the world their data is being used.”

According to the ICO, Clearview AI had gathered people’s private photos from social media and across the web without their knowledge. It subsequently created a database of 20 billion images, committing multiple breaches of data protection laws.

Clearview AI’s services are no longer being offered in the UK.

Previous clients included the Metropolitan police, the National Crime Agency and nationwide police forces. However, the ICO said on Monday that as the firm still had customers abroad, it was still using the data of UK residents.

It also found that the firm had asked for additional personal information, including photos, when asked by members of the public if they were in the database.

“I am deeply disappointed that the UK information commissioner has misinterpreted my technology and intentions,” Hoan Ton-That, the company’s CEO, said.

“My company and I have acted in the best interests of the UK and their people by assisting law enforcement in solving heinous crimes against children, seniors and other victims of unscrupulous acts.

“We collect only public data from the open internet and comply with all standards of privacy and law,” he added.


DCO, WEF launch digital initiative to boost global investment flows

Under the Initiative, the DCO and WEF will launch digital FDI enabling projects in countries around the world. (DCO)
Under the Initiative, the DCO and WEF will launch digital FDI enabling projects in countries around the world. (DCO)
Updated 24 May 2022

DCO, WEF launch digital initiative to boost global investment flows

Under the Initiative, the DCO and WEF will launch digital FDI enabling projects in countries around the world. (DCO)
  • DCO, WEF signed an agreement on sidelines of the WEF annual meeting in Davos
  • Under the Initiative, the DCO and WEF will launch digital FDI enabling projects in countries around the world

LONDON: The Digital Cooperation Organization and the World Economic Forum launched a Digital Foreign Direct Investment Initiative today at the WEF annual meeting in Davos to boost global foreign direct investment in the digital economy.

The agreement stipulates that the DCO and WEF work together to identify methods to increase digital adoption, investment in new digital activities, and investment in digital infrastructure.

Additionally, the DCO and WEF will conduct research to contribute to global understanding of the regulatory challenges currently preventing countries from realizing the full potential of digital FDI.

Under the Initiative, the DCO and WEF will launch digital FDI enabling projects in countries around the world, helping them identify and support implementation of policies and measures to increase investment in the digital economy, in addition to facilitating knowledge-sharing of successful reforms among countries.

Commenting on the launch, Borge Brende, president of the WEF, said “Global FDI is rebounding, following the COVID-19 pandemic, and investment in the digital economy could not come at a better time. These country projects will help grow FDI into the digital economy, which is key for long-term growth, competitiveness, and sustainable development.”

The DCO, which focuses on digital economy initiatives supporting youth, startup entrepreneurs and women, has nine member states with a combined GDP of nearly $2 trillion and a population of nearly 600 million.

According to the WEF, DCO member states provide a valuable market opportunity to investors and entrepreneurs alike.

“As the first and only global multilateral focused on enabling digital prosperity for all, the DCO is partnering with the WEF on a Digital FDI Initiative to help countries develop digital FDI-friendly investment climates,” DCO Secretary-General Deemah AlYahya commented.

“We invite digital innovators with a commitment to economic development and inclusion to join us.”

Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, minister for communications and digital economy of Nigeria, a DCO member state and one of the countries where digital FDI enabling projects will be implemented, said: “The digital economy cannot be developed in silos. There is a need for partnership, collaboration and support, and this what the DCO aims to do, by supporting regulation to support development.

“Through the Digital FDI initiative, we are continuing our mission to encourage collaboration and partnership not just between governments, but also investors, policymakers, academics, and everyone involved in the digital economy.”


YouTube removes over 9,000 channels, 70,000 videos about Ukraine war

YouTube removes over 9,000 channels, 70,000 videos about Ukraine war
ouTube has taken down over 9,000 channels and 70,000 videos related to the war in Ukraine. (Shutterstock)
Updated 24 May 2022

YouTube removes over 9,000 channels, 70,000 videos about Ukraine war

YouTube removes over 9,000 channels, 70,000 videos about Ukraine war
  • Russia will not block YouTube, says digital development minister

DUBAI: YouTube has taken down over 9,000 channels and 70,000 videos related to the war in Ukraine for violating content guidelines, according to The Guardian.

Earlier this year, Russia banned other popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. However, YouTube has continued operating in the country despite featuring content from opposition figures and cracking down on pro-Kremlin content.

Since February, YouTube has taken down several channels such as that of pro-Kremlin journalist Vladimir Solovyov, and temporarily suspended channels associated with Russia’s defense and foreign ministries.

“We have a major violent events policy and that applies to things like denial of major violent events: everything from the Holocaust to Sandy Hook. And of course, what’s happening in Ukraine is a major violent event. And so we’ve used that policy to take unprecedented action,” Neal Mohan, chief product officer of YouTube, told The Guardian.

He added that YouTube is “the largest video-sharing site up and running in Russia itself,” and is a place where “Russian citizens can get uncensored information about the war.”

In its 2021 Ads Safety Report, Google said that it “acted quickly to institute a sensitive event, prohibiting ads from profiting from or exploiting the situation.”

It also took several other steps to pause the majority of its commercial activities in Russia across Google products — including pausing ads from showing in Russia as well as ads from Russian-based advertisers. It also paused the monetization of Russian state-funded media across its platforms.

So far, Google has blocked over 8 million ads related to the war in Ukraine under its sensitive event policy and removed ads from more than 60 state-funded media sites across its platforms.

Still, Russia will not block the video platform, said Maksut Shadaev, Russia’s minister of digital development, communications and mass media at an educational forum.

“We are not planning to close YouTube. Above all, when we restrict something, we should clearly understand that our users won’t suffer,” he said.


Facebook’s Zuckerberg targeted in US privacy lawsuit

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (AFP)
Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (AFP)
Updated 24 May 2022

Facebook’s Zuckerberg targeted in US privacy lawsuit

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (AFP)
  • “Zuckerberg is not just a figurehead at Facebook; he is personally involved in nearly every decision the company makes,” Washington Attorney General Karl Racine wrote in the suit

WASHINGTON: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was named personally in a Washington lawsuit Monday alleging he played a direct role in decisions that set the stage for the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.
The US capital’s attorney general argues that Zuckerberg was closely involved in conceiving the framework that allowed the Britain-based consulting firm to harvest over 70 million US Facebook users data
A whistleblower revealed in 2018 that Cambridge Analytica went on to use that data for political purposes, including trying to rally support for Donald Trump.
“Zuckerberg is not just a figurehead at Facebook; he is personally involved in nearly every decision the company makes,” Washington Attorney General Karl Racine wrote in the suit.
He added that Zuckerberg’s control is baked into the structure of the company, where the founder and CEO holds a majority of voting shares.
Racine’s office sued Facebook over its data privacy practices in 2018 as part of a case that is ongoing.
Facebook’s parent company Meta did not immediately respond to the new lawsuit’s allegations, but spokesman Andy Stone noted on Twitter that a judge had previously rejected Racine’s bid to add Zuckerberg as a defendant in the privacy case.
US authorities imposed what they described as a “historic” $5 billion fine on Facebook in the wake of the scandal, and also required Facebook to ramp up privacy protections, provide detailed quarterly reports on compliance with the deal, and have an independent oversight board.
Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook has removed access to its data from thousands of apps suspected of abusing it, restricted the amount of information available to developers in general, and made it easier for users to calibrate restrictions on personal data sharing.


Sky News Arabia launches new Arabic-language digital platform

Sky News Arabia launches new Arabic-language digital platform
Updated 33 min 50 sec ago

Sky News Arabia launches new Arabic-language digital platform

Sky News Arabia launches new Arabic-language digital platform
  • SNABusiness.com will cover business and economic news and analysis

ABU DHABI: Sky News Arabia has launched a new Arabic-language digital platform SNABusiness.com, featuring breaking news, economic analysis and in-depth reporting.

The launch of the platform is in response to “consumer demand for objective and actionable economic intelligence and insights,” according to a company statement.

Youssef Tsouri, head of news at Sky News Arabia told Arab News that the new platform was created in response to “the increased appetite for business news”.

He said: “Over the past few years we have seen a significant increase in the consumption of the business news section of our main website, particularly in the younger Arab generation that is invested in their future and therefore looking for deeper and more relevant information.” 

“With this in mind, we launched the dedicated business platform to provide more depth of coverage to offer both, business leaders and the general public, added value around the current economic landscape,” he added.

The digital publication will cover all topics relating to business and economy across industries including financial technology, energy and oil, tourism, real estate, agriculture and other sectors.

SNABusiness.com will offer more comprehensive news and features tailored to current market trends and audience demands, Tsouri explained.

The website’s content will include diverse content types including reports, videos and exclusive interviews. SNABusiness.com aims to present complex data in an easy-to-understand manner through charts, infographics and digital videos.

“Thanks to a young and digital-savvy population, the Arab world is one of the most advanced digital economies globally, with many Middle Eastern countries being the early adopters of cutting-edge digital technologies,” said Tsouri. 

He added: “The dedicated business website and social handles are complemented by our dedicated business segments and programs on our linear channel.”