Biz Buzz: Andrew Tan unfazed by ‘sin’ taxBy the staff
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Tycoon Andrew Tan’s beverage unit Emperador Distillers Inc. posted a banner year in 2011. But how will the proposed excise tax reforms on “sin” products affect it moving forward? Tan doesn’t see the new tax measures spoiling EDI’s momentum.
Tan told stockholders of Alliance Global Group Inc. on Tuesday that the new sin tax law (still being deliberated in the Senate) would likely be a multitier taxation based on the purchasing power of the consumer, which means higher taxes will be imposed on alcohol brands classified as high-priced and lower taxes will be imposed on lower-priced products.
“As far as we are concerned, I think we will always be competitive because the new law, I think, will basically level the playing field,” Tan said. “It’s because the existing law gives preference to certain products but the new law will basically treat all the products the same, except that it’s based on retail price. So we should be in a very good position to continue to compete in the market,” Tan said.
EDI is expected to contribute about P4 billion in core net profit to AGI this year, not too far from the P4.9 billion (net of 30-percent minority interest) likely contribution of Megaworld Corp. and bigger than the minimum P2-billion AGI share from its 50-percent stake in integrated tourism estate developer Traveller International.—Doris C. Dumlao
When it rains, it pours. And in the case of Globe Telecom, its latest issue comes through a wave of scammers that have been targeting cellphone users through a mobile payment platform the Ayala-controlled firm partnered with recently.
According to the telecommunications firm, it has uncovered a new scam that targets both its postpaid and prepaid users through a popular e-payment site called Zong. This Silicon Valley-based firm is revolutionary in the sense that it allows users to purchase items online instantly (even without registration) for digital goods from gaming and social networking sites using their mobile phones.
Under the scheme—or more appropriately, “scam”—a Globe user will get contacted by phone by a person posing as one of the telco’s customer service representative (under the guise of giving away rewards to loyal users).
The Globe user is then requested to read back a set of PIN codes sent by “2800” in order to qualify for the so-called rewards. Unknown to the user, inputting these PIN codes on the Zong site is its way of validating that a certain mobile phone account (or prepaid number) has been used to buy something online and, as such, should be billed a certain amount.
The surprise comes later when the postpaid user receives his monthly bill to see items he supposedly purchased, or when a prepaid user’s balance suddenly gets deducted. In any case, Globe said it was in talks with Zong over how to remedy the issue, perhaps through the implementation of more safeguards.
Another scheme that Globe is grappling with is the scam where Globe users are asked to text back a certain set of digits prefixed by the number “2,” again under the guise of being a reward from some loyalty program. If the unsuspecting user does so (with an additional number set like “50”), he would unwittingly be transferring “load” to the scammer to the detriment of his own prepaid balance or postpaid bill.
We hear that some people at Globe are beginning to wonder why these scams are happening only on their side of the fence.—Daxim L. Lucas
Facebook exec in PH
The Philippines has been getting a lot of attention from the rest of the world lately for embracing social media, particularly Facebook.com.
Less than a third of the Philippine population has access to the web, but out of that user base of about 30 million people, 93.9 percent have Facebook accounts. This means that the Philippines has the highest ratio of Facebook users versus Internet users out of any other country in the world, based on data from ComScore. This has led to some analysts calling the Philippines Asia’s social networking capital. Despite the success of Facebook in the Philippines, however, the country has been largely ignored by Facebook itself—until now.
James Pearce, one of the social media giant’s top executives, was in the Philippines last weekend on a detour during his trip to Asia. He was in Taipei and Jakarta and was supposed to fly to India but could not proceed at the last minute (our sources tell us it was due to problems with his visa).
As head of Facebook’s developer advocacy group, Pearce is in charge of creating an ecosystem of computer engineers that create applications for the social media site founded by Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg. Pearce was in the Philippines observing the country’s developer community to see if it made any sense for Facebook to host one of its popular “Hackathons” in the country.
He attended a party hosted by Smart Communications Developer Network last Friday night and graced the Globe Labs Developers Day last Saturday hosted by Globe Telecom.—Paolo Montecillo
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