Biz Buzz: Hot Cherry
While all eyes were on the iPhone 5 last week, it was a proudly Filipino brand that truly made waves in the consumer tech industry this Christmas season.
Cherry Mobile, one of several Filipino companies selling rebranded China-made phones, recently showed off just how profitable the budget-friendly segment of the market is.
During a Christmas party for dealers and distributors, Cherry Mobile raffled off several brand-new cars and even condominium units. And these weren’t just any cars. Raffled off were a Range Rover, two LC200 Land Cruisers, two Toyota Hiace vans, two Trailblazers, a Camry, a Kia Veloster and a Hyundai Starex.
As for the condo, we hear it’s in Tagaytay.
So what’s behind this “generosity?” It may have something to do with its new flagship device, the Cherry Mobile Flare.
Its basic spec-list shows the phone to be fairly powerful. It sports a dual-core processor, touchscreen display, dual-SIM capability, and the latest Android operating system. But most impressive about the Flare is its price. At P3,999 each, the Flare is hard to beat.
The phone was launched three weeks ago but quickly went out of stock due to huge demand.—Paolo Montecillo
The Bureau of Internal Revenue has decided to take a long hard look at the various fiscal incentives currently being enjoyed by some of the country’s largest foreign investors.
The lingering suspicion among fiscal managers, of course, is that some foreign firms enjoy too many incentives, like income tax holidays, but don’t really yield as much benefits for the economy as they had promised.
Well, Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares wants to fix that. The country’s chief taxman (or rather, taxlady) recently met with various foreign business groups where she unveiled her proposal to have foreign firms give a detailed accounting of how they used the tax incentives they enjoy.
The incentives are an expense for the government, Henares said, so it should know how these resources were “spent.”
Low value-added investors have little to fear since benefits already granted will not be repealed.
New applicants for fiscal incentives, however, will have to go through the proverbial eye of the needle.—Daxim L. Lucas
PSE in BGC
After a long wait, Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. (FBDC) on Tuesday broke ground for the premium block One Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City, which will be the future home of the unified Philippine Stock Exchange.
The 23-story PSE tower in BGC will be completed by 2016 at a cost of P3 billion to be jointly shouldered by FBDC and the PSE. It will have 29,000 square meters in leasable space, of which 19,900 will be allocated to the PSE and its brokers. The future trading floor will occupy 2,000 square meters.
The PSE’s relocation is seen to boost BGC’s positioning as a key central business district. This year, Ayala Land Inc.’s sales takeup value is seen to hit close to P24 billion, against an estimated P19 billion last year. BGC projects account for 46 percent of these takeups.
Note that One Bonifacio High Street is intended to be the future Wall Street of BGC.—Doris C. Dumlao
No more discounts
At about the same time last year, SMDC’s bold announcement to offer discounts on residential units raised some eyebrows in the property industry. From the perspective of SMDC president Rosa Qua, it was very “amusing” although she was taken aback that the discounts were misinterpreted as a signal of slowing sales.
Looking back, she said those discounted units—offered at a limited time—accounted for a small portion worth only P130 million out of the more than P26 billion worth of inventory launched by the company that year.
In the first place, she said, SMDC was proud of (and even advertised about) giving those discounts as part of its corporate social responsibility, given that 2011 was a very good year. Everybody gives discounts but not everyone talks about it, she said. In the case of SMDC being the “good guys,” she said the company was very open about it.
But this year, SMDC is no longer replicating the discount strategy.
“We’ll have to think of something else,” Qua said.
The company is instead resorting to a time-tested promo.
Nita Claravall, senior vice president, said the company would instead raffle off family vacation packages to those who would reserve a unit in any of SMDC projects.
As the promo targets families, the top prize will be a vacation for four to either Hong Kong Disneyland or Universal Studios in Singapore, with pocket money. Other prizes will include local trips.—Doris C. Dumlao
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