Uber launches major app update for rider safety

Uber launches major app update for rider safety
All the tools have been designed to improve the safety of the Uber platform.
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Updated 27 September 2022

Uber launches major app update for rider safety

Uber launches major app update for rider safety

Uber announced on Monday the latest steps it is taking to help improve safety on the app with the launch of the new Safety Check-Up feature.

The Safety Check-Up feature will encourage riders to complete their safety profile by turning on and utilizing the Trusted Contacts, PIN Verification and RideCheck features that are available in-app. All these tools have been designed to improve the safety of the Uber platform:

• Trusted Contacts: Riders can choose their trusted contacts in the app and set reminders to share their live journey with them, so family and friends can follow the trip and make sure the rider arrives at their destination safely.

• PIN Verification: To ensure that a rider is getting into the correct car, users can turn on PIN verification, where the driver must input the correct pin provided by the rider before the trip can start. The Check-Up feature allows riders to enable the PIN verification tool and choose the hours it is active.

• RideCheck: This feature uses GPS technology to detect anomalies in trips, such as a long stopover or potential collision. If the app alerts the Uber team to such events, they check in on the rider and driver and offer resources to get help.

Norhen Ali, head of MENA communications at Uber, said: “The safety of everyone who uses our app is a top priority, and we’re constantly improving our features. The Safety Check-Up feature will encourage riders to make use of the full range of safety tools offered on the app to ensure they are always as safe as possible.”

The new feature adds to a number of existing features, such as GPS tracking, personal data anonymization, 24/7 support, driver screening, speed alerts, driver hour limits and a number of safety measures introduced to address COVID-19.

A look at how Xi Jinping leads China's COVID-19 fight in 10 stories

Xi Jinping presents medals at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Sept. 8, 2020. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)
Xi Jinping presents medals at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Sept. 8, 2020. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)
Updated 09 December 2022

A look at how Xi Jinping leads China's COVID-19 fight in 10 stories

Xi Jinping presents medals at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Sept. 8, 2020. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

For the past nearly three years, President Xi Jinping has been leading China in fighting the COVID-19 epidemic.

Xinhua reporters recounted some of the key moments and stories of how Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has led the nation through the most challenging moments all the way toward victory.


In early 2020, central China's Hubei Province bore the brunt of the epidemic. The provincial capital Wuhan was particularly hit hard.

On the eve of the Lunar New Year, the most important holiday for the Chinese people, Xi had a sleepless night, with COVID-19 clouding festivities.

The next day, Jan. 25, Xi convened a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on epidemic control. He told his six colleagues on the standing committee that the situation was pressing and they needed to study the issue together. "I could not sleep well on the eve of the Lunar New Year," Xi said.


On Feb. 10, 2020, when the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Beijing reached 342, Xi, wearing a mask, visited a residential community, a hospital and a district disease prevention and control center.

He held out his wrist to have his body temperature checked upon entering every location. Xi chatted with residents in a street, asking them about the prices of vegetables.

"Let's not shake hands at this unusual time," Xi said. "We must have confidence that we can prevail over the epidemic."

"We can absolutely beat it," the residents responded.


On March 10, 2020, Xi visited a residential community in Wuhan. On that day, the daily number of new confirmed cases on the mainland dropped to 24, but Wuhan still had 14,514 COVID-19 patients. The task of containment remained arduous.

Walking between apartment blocks, Xi looked up and waved to residents under lockdown who stuck their heads out of their windows and balconies to greet him.

"Let's keep it up! Hold on for a little longer!" Xi said.

Speaking at a symposium in Wuhan, he made a special request for officials to supply more fish, a favorite food of the Wuhan people.


In May 2020, at the annual session of the National People's Congress, Xi talked about an interview of a local hospital president that impressed him.

Luo Jie, a national lawmaker from the hard-hit Hubei, told reporters how medical workers in his hospital spent 47 days saving an 87-year-old COVID-19 patient.

"So many people worked together to save a single patient. This, in essence, embodies doing whatever it takes (to save lives)," Xi said. "I am really impressed."


In March 2020, Xi lauded medical workers as "the most beautiful angels" when he inspected the command center of Huoshenshan Hospital in virus-hit Wuhan.

Xi noted that medical staff, including military medical personnel, rushed to Hubei and Wuhan without hesitation after the epidemic outbreak, and have made important contributions to curbing the epidemic.


Xi has been emphasizing the need to balance epidemic control and economic development over the years.

On March 29, 2020, when he inspected coastal Zhejiang Province, Xi visited Ningbo-Zhoushan Port whose throughput had recovered to normal levels due to the timely measures it adopted to resume production.

He called for efforts to blunt the adverse impact on cargo shipping brought by restrictive measures adopted by various countries to fight the coronavirus. He also urged facilitation for the country's smooth trade flow.

During the epidemic, he went to places including Zhejiang, Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces to oversee production resumption and poverty reduction.

In 2020, China was among the first countries in the world to resume work and reopen schools and businesses. In 2021, China registered a GDP growth rate of 8.1 percent, among the fastest in the world's major economies.


On Sept. 8, 2020, a national meeting honoring heroes in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic was held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

"Are you keeping well?" After having a photo taken together with the honored, Xi stood up and greeted then-84-year-old epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan.

"Great!" said Zhong, expressing his willingness to continue working at the front line of combating respiratory diseases and handling public health emergencies.

Zhong was one of those who had been awarded by Xi in person the Medal of the Republic or the title of People's Hero for rendering meritorious service and making outstanding contributions in the COVID-19 battle.


Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Xi chaired more than 30 meetings of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee or of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to discuss virus response measures.

Under Xi's leadership, the nation was quickly mobilized and took a myriad of containment measures in accordance with various epidemic situations. This made it possible for China to curb the spread of the virus and protect the lives and health of the Chinese people to the greatest extent.


When the COVID-19 pandemic continuously wreaked havoc across the world, China came into the global spotlight with the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics culminating with fruitful outcomes.

Under the leadership of Xi, China fulfilled its promise to deliver streamlined, safe and splendid Games to the world.

China's COVID-19 response policy has once again withstood the test, contributing useful experience for the world to battle the virus and host major international events, Xi said at a commendation gathering for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

"As some foreign athletes said, if there were a gold medal for responding to the pandemic, then China would deserve it. I would say that this gold medal belongs to all the staff involved in hosting the Games," said Xi.


In the strenuous fight against the virus, China has been committed to safeguarding people's lives and health. Meanwhile, it has taken due responsibility for the public health of the international community.

Under Xi's leadership, China initiated the country's largest global emergency humanitarian assistance since 1949. It sent medical experts and anti-virus materials around the globe. It provided over 2.2 billion doses of vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations.

Meeting with Xi in Beijing in February 2022, then Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed gratitude to the Chinese side for helping his country fight COVID-19. "The vaccines offered by China have not only saved our people, but also our economy," he said.  (Xinhua)

Sinopec supports Vision 2030 & sustainable development in Kingdom

Sinopec supports Vision 2030 & sustainable development in Kingdom
Updated 08 December 2022

Sinopec supports Vision 2030 & sustainable development in Kingdom

Sinopec supports Vision 2030 & sustainable development in Kingdom

Over the past 21 years, upholding its mission of providing cleaner energy for better life, Sinopec has been committed to the Kingdom’s economic development, bilateral cultural exchanges and interactions, and the well-being of the Saudi people. The international oil and gas enterprise headquartered in Beijing fully supports Saudi Vision 2030, the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative, and strives to facilitate the co-development of the aforementioned initiatives, in addition to the Belt and Road Initiative.

Aiming for common development and prosperity

Over the years, Sinopec has established strong partnerships with Saudi enterprises in many areas, including scitech innovation and R&D, refining and petrochemical investment, crude oil trading, and oilfield service and refining and petrochemical engineering. Yasref, a Sinopec-Saudi Aramco joint venture, has been operating efficiently. The company has implemented more than 20 refining and petrochemical projects in high quality. Sinopec Tech Middle East started operations with focus on oil and gas development, big data and AI, and undertakes multiple research and technical support projects for Sinopec and local businesses. The company offers systematic, international training sessions on a long-term basis in the Kingdom, providing training for young people in the country. Meanwhile, it has kept increasing the local procurement content to create opportunities for industrial and economic development.

Strengthening communication for win-win

Sinopec has always been committed to acting as an ambassador of Sino-Saudi friendship. Three years ago, the company released its first sustainability report of Sinopec in Saudi Arabia, established the Social Responsibility Demonstration Site, and opened the“Sinopec in Saudi Arabia”official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. “We respect the customs and culture of Saudi Arabia, celebrate the national and traditional festivals of Saudi Arabia and China with local employees and the community, and promote cultural exchanges between our two countries. We stress on compliance and fortify our HSE management system with a strong sense of mission and responsibility to safeguard the physical and mental health of employees and steady business operation. We offer systematic, international training sessions on a long-term basis in the Kingdom, providing training for young people in the country,” the company said in a statement.

Protecting ecology and environment for greater well-being

Committed to sustainable development, Sinopec deploys new technologies, processes and materials as well as efficient and responsible management to reduce the impact on environment wherever it operates. “We protect desert species and the marine environment, carrying out afforestation, ‘Eastern Cleanup,’ coastal cleanup and other activities to further increase the awareness of environmental protection among the public and facilitate the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative,” the company said. “Due to our uncompromising high standards, leading technologies and managerial and operating expertise, we actively take part in infrastructure projects in transport, water transmission and public health sectors, with a view to improving local infrastructure and people’s well-being.” Over the past 21 years, Sinopec has constructed more than 30 urban overpasses and passages.

Sincere mutual appreciation, integration and close ties

The “Belt and Road” is a road of mutual respect and trust, a road of win-win cooperation and mutual learning among civilizations. Over the past 31 years, the Sino-Saudi relationship has become a model of BRI. “Looking ahead, along with the implementation of Saudi Vision 2030, we have full confidence in Saudi Arabia’s development prospects. Sinopec will continue to build a long-term stable Sino-Saudi community of energy cooperation and advance our cooperation with Saudi companies and partners in technology, scientific research, environmental protection and investment. We will continue to pursue mutual respect and trust, complementary advantages and win-win results with our stakeholders, contributing to the sustainable and diversified development of the Saudi economy and opening a new chapter of Sino-Saudi cooperation.”

Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano visits DQ property

Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano visits DQ property
Updated 07 December 2022

Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano visits DQ property

Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano visits DQ property

Marriott International’s CEO Anthony Capuano and a delegation of the company’s senior executives paid a visit to one of the company’s flagship hotels in the Kingdom, the Marriott Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter, wherein they received a warm welcome by Muin Serhan, cluster general manager for Riyadh Marriott Hotels, along with the entire team of the cluster.

As one of the biggest hotels operating in Riyadh, Marriott Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter is one of the main highlights of this trip, due to its very strong footprint across Saudi Arabia.

The hotel meets the highest standards of the company’s sustainability goals in energy and environmental footprint and has received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certificate, the most widely used green building rating system in the world. The hotel site creates a protected micro-climate and maximizes environmental impacts. By amplifying useful daylight via a complex reflection process, the hotel can decrease its illumination needs during the day. Plentiful shaded areas and the building’s structure allow for natural ventilation, reducing the need for air conditioning and additional cooling.

During the visit, Capuano emphasized the depth of his company’s focus on Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. The chief executive said that the Saudi hospitality industry is known for its rich culture and authentic heritage that is deeply rooted in hospitality, in addition to its forward-looking strategies, advancing its position and boosting its economic contribution, in parallel with the development of the tourism sector in the Kingdom.

ToYou launches Kingdom’s first monthly multi-tier subscription model

ToYou launches Kingdom’s first monthly multi-tier subscription model
Updated 07 December 2022

ToYou launches Kingdom’s first monthly multi-tier subscription model

ToYou launches Kingdom’s first monthly multi-tier subscription model
  •  The new subscription model speaks to the diverse needs of its customer base with four attractive and affordable packages.
  •  Coinciding with the subscription launch, ToYou has introduced a digital wallet that boosts in-app spending and offers customers even more choice, flexibility, and exclusive deals.

Saudi-based delivery super app ToYou has launched a fresh new subscription model that is nothing short of an indulgent crime against delivery convention. With an offering that combines boundless ordering with free delivery, the platform’s new lineup of subscription packages takes customer experience to new heights and marks the beginning of online ordering without compromise.

The new subscription offering is the latest addition to the ToYou platform — an ecosystem that integrates m-commerce, logistics, and a full-scope chat system in one, easy-to-use system. The platform works with thousands of merchants to deliver everything from basic groceries to five-star restaurant requests, and from pharmacy essentials to designer fashion. 

With the first-of-its-kind subscription service, ToYou is ahead of the game. Unlike other subscription services on Saudi Arabia’s delivery landscape, the platform’s offering centers on a multi-tier model, with four categories — Plus, Advance, Pro, and Unlimited — that cater to varying demands and budgets. With subscriptions starting from as little as SR19 (l$5) and perks that include attractive discounts and value-added services, ToYou’s innovative offering speaks to the needs and preferences of an increasingly diverse customer base:

  • Unlimited: True to its name, ToYou’s Unlimited package gives users limitless access to merchants, with no cap on the number of deliveries. Whether in search of urgent essentials or the ultimate treat, with boundless options, customers can order what they want, when they want it, with delivery completely free of charge. 
  • Pro: The Pro subscription offers equally appealing access to an unlimited pool of merchants, this time with 10 free-delivery orders to enjoy. 
  • Advance: ToYou’s Advance package enables users to place unlimited orders with a wide number of merchants. That means loyal customers can order from their favorite stores and restaurants over and over again. 
  • Plus: For the less frequent user, ToYou’s Plus subscription includes up to five orders with select outlets — the perfect hassle-free option for the occasional indulgence or urgent purchase.

ToYou’s subscription offering coincides with the launch of another innovative feature: an in-app wallet that provides users with yet another flexible payment option, along with a lineup of exclusive offers that deliver extra value and customer savings. In addition to enhancing ToYou’s existing value proposition, the wallet, which involves a virtual prepaid card, will boost in-app spending and ensure a healthy cash flow as the platform continues on its growth trajectory.

The introduction of ToYou’s wallet and multi-tier subscription model comes at the right time for Saudi consumers. According to the Kingdom’s Communications and Information Technology Commission, online ordering activity is rising sharply within the country, with requests reportedly rising from 117,000 in Q4 2019 to 525,000 in the same period last year. Order values are increasing sharply too, reaching SR1.75 billion up from SR310 million, during the same period. 

By building on this market opportunity and delivering unrivaled choice and service to its users, ToYou is preparing for a future of growth and expansion in Saudi Arabia and beyond.

For CCO Ziyad Al-Ajlan, the launch of ToYou’s subscription model is a game-changer on the delivery landscape. He said: “ToYou is all about customer experience and the introduction of our multi-tier subscription service takes it to a whole new level. Our subscriptions deliver almost unlimited choice and flexibility to our users — not to mention a touch of luxury — enabling them to order from anywhere, anytime, with no delivery fee.” 

Al-Ajlan added: “You can now order your cocktails from Signature, your main meal from CrustCorner, and dessert from Magnolia Bakery. It’s delivery well and truly without compromise.”


Geidea to provide POS solutions at MDLBEAST & other festivals

Geidea to provide POS solutions at MDLBEAST & other festivals
Updated 06 December 2022

Geidea to provide POS solutions at MDLBEAST & other festivals

Geidea to provide POS solutions at MDLBEAST & other festivals

Saudi fintech Geidea has partnered with Gastro-Trends, the F&B arm of MDLBEAST, to provide payment and restaurant management solutions at four of the region’s biggest music festivals, namely Aravia, XP Music Futures, Soundstorm and Balad Beast.

Geidea, which already caters to the Kingdom’s thriving F&B sector with more than 52,000 restaurants and cafes, will supply a point-of-sale restaurant management system and payment terminals at the international star-studded events, with 600 terminals serving more than 150 merchants and brands on site.

More than 700,000 are expected to attend the mega events, two of which are in Riyadh and one in both Jeddah and Doha.

Laurent Dhaeyer, group chief strategy and growth officer at Geidea, said: “Our new-generation, fully integrated, cloud-based POS systems offer F&B and retail businesses the best-in-market point-of-sale solutions that can respond to the ever-evolving needs of customers. We are delighted to partner with Gastro-Trends to offer our safe, secure and seamless payments solutions to cater for the hundreds of thousands of festivalgoers.”

MDLBEAST, which boasts artists including Post Malone, Eric Prydz, Carl Cox, Bruno Mars and DJ Khaled, is a global and creative platform setting the tone for music, art and culture and shifting the epicenter of underground music. Starting with Saudi and echoing outwards, MDLBEAST supports artists in creating experiences that move people and, in turn, make people move.

Alex Gorman, project director, F&B, MDLBEAST/Gastro-Trends, said: “MDLBEAST events have become some of the biggest and best music events on the international calendar. It’s all about creating a memorable experience for everyone who attends and that includes being able to provide swift and simple payment solutions when it comes to buying F&B. Our collaboration with Geidea, a fellow homegrown Saudi brand, does just that.”

Founded in Saudi Arabia, Geidea is expanding rapidly across the region with operations in the UAE and Egypt. It is targeting seven more countries in the next two years, serving both financial institutions and small and medium businesses.