In the latest announcement, Uber, which was supposed to be deactivated on 8th April 2018, will now stay functional till 15th April 2018 as the competition watchdog decides on the next appropriate move.
In a statement released on 6th April 2018, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said Uber and Grab have proposed a set of “alternative interim measures” ahead of the commission’s decision to impose its own set of interim measures.
These proposed measures are to help preserve part of the status quo prior to Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s business in the Southeast Asia region.
“To facilitate CCCS’s deliberation on their written representations and the proposed alternative interim measures, the parties have agreed to extend the initial shutdown date of the Uber ride-hailing app in Singapore from April 8 to April 15, 2018,” the commission said in a statement.
Earlier on 30th March 2018, the commission mentioned it had grounds to suspect that Grab and Uber have infringed the Competition Act, but would not divulge the reasons for its suspicion.
The authority has proposed interim measures to preserve the competition while it investigates the deal.
These measures, which have not been imposed, included making Grab and its American ride-hailing rival Uber maintain independent pricing, pricing policies and product options as they were before the deal.
The commission also said then that “if interim measures were to be imposed, both companies must not take any action that will lead to the integration of their businesses in Singapore, and affect the viability and saleability of the businesses.”
They also “should not take actions that could prejudice the commission’s ability, power and options to subsequently direct the divestment of business operations in the affected markets.”
Transport researcher at the National University of Singapore Lee Der-Horng said a consolidation of the ride-hailing market was inevitable.
“It is undeniable that commuters and drivers alike have benefited from the intense competition between Grab and Uber for the past years. But with both companies burning furiously through venture capital funds and are still not profitable, it is a no-brainer that such a situation is not sustainable,” he said.
“It is unrealistic for commuters, drivers and the government to expect this situation to continue in perpetuity.”
A Grab spokesman added: “Grab continues to engage closely with the CCCS. We’ve had productive discussions on our alternative proposals, which more appropriately address the CCCS’ objectives during this interim period, and which takes into account our role in Singapore’s vibrant point-to-point transport industry and how Grab serves commuters and drivers.”
“We hope the CCCS will complete its review in an expeditious manner, so that we can continue competing with incumbent transport companies and with new entrants.”
In the meantime, this bonus extension gives Uber drivers “more time to sign up for alternative platforms”.
Additionally, Uber told the Philippine competition commission that its exit from the region was final.
According to social media site Rappler, Uber Asia Pacific chief business officer Brooks Entwistle said: “Our funding is gone. Our people are gone. We don’t intend to come back to these markets.”
Mr Entwistle was speaking at a hearing conducted by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on 5th April 2018.
The PCC has also proposed interim measures on both parties, similar to CCCS’ proposed measures.
At the hearing, Grab’s external legal counsel Arlene Maneja said these measures were “unnecessary” because the commission’s concerns “are not really real”.
Grab said the extension of the Uber app is specific to Singapore, based on its discussions with the CCCS.
Uber had been set to cease operations in Southeast Asia and move its services to Grab’s platform by 8th April 2018.
Singapore’s first and only Hello Kitty themed cafe to shut down in 2019
All good things come to an end — and so it shall be with Hello Kitty. Not the actual character of course, but the themed cafe inspired by the iconic feline character at Changi Airport Terminal 3. Earlier today, the 24-hour eatery announced in a Facebook post that they will officially shut its doors for good on February 8, 2019.
This piece of news came as a shock to Hello Kitty’s throng of diehard fans, who queued up for hours on the cafe’s opening day in May 2016 just to snap selfies with the beloved character. No statement has been issued as to why Hello Kitty Orchard Garden would be closing down, but according to operator Europa Specialty Restaurant, an end of licensing and partnership with Sanrio is the reason for closure.
To mark its departure, the cafe will be throwing tea parties over two weekends in December. It’ll be all fun and games, and don’t forget to savour their feline-shaped waffles and smoked salmon quiche for one last time.
However, be prepared to spend. A ticket for two sells at $138, and it comes with food and drinks, limited edition Orchids For You figurines and exclusive thank-you cards autographed by Hello Kitty herself.
Guess goodbye really comes at a cost. Buy your tickets here.
Popular influencer NasDaily releases video celebrating Singapore
After making a surprise announcement that he was coming to Singapore to film a video, popular travel vlogger NasDaily releases a one miniature long video celebrating all the things we take for granted as citizens of the little red dot.
Nas is famously known for his daily one minute videos which he uploads on his Facebook page, NasDaily. The influencer is known for travelling all over the world and learning about cultures and practices and then making videos about them to educate his viewers.
On Tuesday (21 Aug), Nas put out a post on Facebook announcing that he was visiting Singapore on 22 August and asked fans to gather outside the Singapore Indoor Stadium to be part of his video.
On the day, over 700 people turned up to be part of this experience.
The video, which was released on 23 August, is entitled “Why I Hate Singapore” and it basically celebrates Singapore’s ethnic diversity as well as many things that Singaporeans take for granted such as the food and the fact that we have drinkable and clean water running from our taps.
While the video acknowledged problems Singaporeans face such as inequality and the high cost of living, it did so in a way that glossed over the problems and encouraged people to appreciate what we have.
At the event meet up itself, which was changed from outside the Esplanade to the Singapore Sports Hub, which agreed to help the star to shoot his video without break-in any anti-gathering laws, participants got to enjoy Nas’s highly energetic self.
The vlogger talked with fans and gave them a glimpse into what producing his videos took.
Despite the crowd, fans were thrilled to be part of this journey with Nas.
Shoes collection at Vivocity to help Soles4Souls fight global poverty
One person’s unwanted shoes can help provide meaningful opportunities that many in developing nations need, which is why VivoCity, the largest retail and lifestyle destination in Singapore has launched a shoe drive to collect 25,000 pairs of new or gently-worn shoes.
The shoes will be delivered to a non-profit social enterprise, Soles4Souls, that creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. Founded in 2006, the organization has distributed more than 30 million pairs of new and gently-worn shoes in 127 countries.
The World Bank estimates that approximately 767 million people live on less than $1.90 per day. Many people living in extreme poverty simply do not have access to stable employment.
Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise programmes offer a long-term solution to poverty through job creation in places like Haiti, Honduras, and Sierra Leone. They also give a second life to unwanted shoes, keeping them out of landfills, and protecting the environment.
“VivoCity is pleased to support Soles4Souls’ mission,” said Ms Gwen Au, Vice President for Marketing Communications, Mapletree Commercial Property Management. “To know that we can create meaningful impact around the globe by simply collecting and donating what is otherwise destined for the trash is a really great feeling.”
The shoes are sold for an average of $1 per pair to non-profit partners in developing countries, that provide business training to local entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs purchase the shoes and are then able to start businesses of their own selling the product in their local marketplaces. This allows entrepreneurs the opportunity to earn a sustainable income, and ultimately purchase necessities like food, shelter and education.
The income generated by selling just one pair of shoes in Haiti can provide five meals for a family in need, whereas 30 pairs sold by an entrepreneur in Honduras can provide up to a year of schooling for a child. Revenue generated by Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise operations funds the organization’s free distribution programs, that provide new shoes to people in need both in the U.S. and around the world.
“Millions of pairs of shoes lay idle in people’s closets,” said Au. “We would like to encourage Singaporeans to give those to Soles4Souls instead, and know that they are taking a step to help disrupt the cycle of poverty around the globe.”
VivoCity’s shoe drive for Soles4Souls information:
- Now through August 12th, 2018, bring your new or gently-worn shoes of any kind to VivoCity and drop off your donations at:
- 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore 098585, official collection points located at Basements 1 & 2
- Participating stores where donors can enjoy exclusive offers upon donating the shoes in-store.
Soles4Souls disrupts the cycle of poverty by creating sustainable jobs and providing relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, the organization repurposes product to supply its micro-enterprise, disaster relief and direct assistance programs. Since 2006, it has distributed more than 30 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries and generated over $250 million in economic impact. A non-profit social enterprise, Soles4Souls earns more than half of its income and commits 100% of donations to programs. Visit soles4souls.org for more information.
With over 1 million square feet of lettable floor space attracting a diverse mix of over 300 retailers, large event places, including an outdoor amphitheatre, a 20,000-square-feet open plaza and a 300 metre long waterfront Promenade, VivoCity is Singapore’s largest and most diverse retail and lifestyle destination designed by world-renowned architect, Toyo Ito. VivoCity is a Mapletree Commercial Trust property.
About Mapletree Commercial Trust
MCT is a Singapore-focused REIT that invests on a long-term basis, directly or indirectly, in a diversified portfolio of income-producing real estate used primarily for office and/or retail purposes, whether wholly or partially, as well as real estate related assets. MCT’s portfolio comprises of VivoCity, Mapletree Business City I, PSA Building, Mapletree Anson, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch HarbourFront. These five assets have a total Net Lettable Area (“NLA”) of 3.8 million square feet valued at $6.337 billion as of March 31, 2017.