BIZ BUZZ: GCash’s hidden names
GCash has now “anonymized” the names of its users when sending money as an “added layer of protection” against text scams that now mention the name of the mobile subscriber. This means that the full names of the GCash users will no longer be shown when transacting.
This move was made after reports claiming that the format of the name included in the text scam was the same with the username set by the GCash users.
“We need to strike a balance between customer experience and strengthening measures to keep user information safe from unscrupulous individuals. The feature that shows the full names of recipients was intended to help users verify if they are sending to the right person and avoid being scammed,” said Mark Frogoso, chief information security officer of GCash.
Its users are also now receiving text notifications through the app and not from the text message inbox anymore as a way to enhance protection against the fraudulent spam texts (although the feature may not have been fully rolled out yet, as some users still receive SMS confirmations with full names visible.)
GCash assured that their cybersecurity wall was intact.
From January to July, Globe blocked some 784 million scam and spam messages. It also deactivated 14,058 mobile numbers and blacklisted 8,973 mobile numbers linked to phishing during the same period.
—Tyrone Jasper C. Piad
Injap’s hidden gem
Tycoon Edgar “Injap” Sia II once founded what is arguably the Philippines’ most famous barbecue chicken chain, Mang Inasal.
He’s now ready to go international with the budding Hotel 101 brand of Double Dragon Corp.—his property venture with fast-food billionaire and Mang Inasal’s new owner, Tony Tan Caktiong.
Wait, hotel one-oh-what?
Hotel 101 is a condotel business that, on the surface, appears similar to many others on the market.
The hotel units are sold to individual buyers while these would be rented out to visitors or tourists. The rentals are managed by the company and the unit owner gets a share of the revenues, paid out monthly.
Sia’s innovation is that each Hotel 101 unit is exactly the same in size and specifications. The company also uses a dynamic pricing model, similar to the airline industry. The strategy to use identical rooms makes the enterprise easier to manage.
Fine tuning the model is especially important since Sia is rolling out the business on a global scale.
In a recent chat with Biz Buzz, Sia said Hotel 101 is now ready to go overseas.
Recently, the company said it would build its first international location in Niseko, a popular skiing town in Japan’s Hokkaido region.
That will be launched later this year and will be the first of many hotels abroad, Sia shared.
“Most of the hotels abroad are run by Filipinos,” he said. The Filipino brand of hospitably is world-renown. It was only a matter of time for a Filipino-branded hotel to make its mark overseas, he added.
Hotel 101 is also expanding at home. After its first location in Manila Bay, new buildings are rising in Bonifacio Global City, Libis, Cebu, Boracay, Bohol, Palawan and Davao.
The chain might as well be a hidden gem within the group.
In fact, Sia said he was planning a pioneering initial public offering (IPO) of Hotel 101 in Singapore by 2025. By then, it would have achieved the requisite size of about 20 local and international locations.
If things go according to plan, the leisure company could reach a valuation of $1 billion for the IPO, our sources tell us. It’s an aspirational target, but one that would indeed qualify Hotel 101 as a gem in the belly of the dragon.
—Miguel R. Camus
Justo Ortiz Drive
It’s not easy to get a street named after someone unless that person is a historical figure, a politician, the developer of the estate or a distinctive resident. Banking veteran Justo “Tito” Ortiz isn’t exactly any of those but a street in Barangay San Antonio in San Pedro City, Laguna, had been named in his honor.
Entrepreneur and San Antonio Barangay captain Eugene “Jun” Ynion, whose group is developing Sand Hub technology park, is so happy that Union Bank of the Philippines has built its innovation campus in the area that he named the road leading to the campus “Justo Ortiz Drive.”
Apart from its accessibility (via Skyway, it took less than 30 minutes to reach it from Quezon City on Thursday morning) to the metropolis, the banking arm of aspiring “techglomerate” Aboitiz group chose this site because of Ynion’s technology park concept. UnionBank sort of catalyzed the development, being the first and the biggest to set up shop, but soon there will be business process outsourcing, knowledge process outsourcing and tech-related firms coming as well.
Tito Ortiz, a longtime CEO and then chair of UnionBank, of course championed UnionBank’s digital transformation, together with tech-savvy bank president Edwin Bautista (who at one point even played Axie Infinity to experience firsthand the fuss about play-to-earn gaming and nonfungible tokens).
UnionBank didn’t have to lift a finger to have this street renamed after Ortiz. “That was the choice of the owner,” he said. Fortunately, Ortiz didn’t object and just graciously accepted the honor.
For his part, Bautista said in jest that the closed-door smoking area at the roof deck of the building would be named after him.
UnionBank Innovation Campus occupies a one-hectare site in Sand Hub and has so far developed but a third of the area. The first building is up, with a gross floor area of 7,000 to 8,000 square meters, and it uses smart technology from the self-registration counter that uses facial recognition (thereby eliminating the need to use pass cards while increasing security) to the high-tech meeting rooms and cybersecurity protection/business continuity planning tracking area. This is also where UnionBank Digital has put up its head office.
Today, no less than President Marcos will inaugurate the UnionBank Innovation Campus, culminating the bank’s three-day innovation festival.
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