Philippine Daily Inquirer

Biz Buzz: Injap’s consumer tech foray


With gadgets and other home appliances becoming essential for consumers these days, especially during this prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, young tycoon Edgar

“Injap” Sia II is exploring fresh opportunit­ies in the consumer technology space.

Recently, the board of MerryMart Consumer Corp. approved the creation of a wholly owned subsidiary to be called MM Consumer Technologi­es Corp., which will serve as a vehicle for consumer technology-related ventures.

“MerryMart believes in the importance of consumer-related technology businesses to complement and deepen its market penetratio­n and ensure its relevance in the consumer market. With how fast the world is changing now, we know the vital importance of being able to properly identify and fulfill both the current and the future needs of consumers,” Sia said.

This is seen in line with MerryMart’s plan to grow its current business through a mix of organic expansion and acquisitio­ns.

This latest move is also seen to allow MerryMart to capitalize on the “sunrise” sectors in the Philippine consumer space, adding value to its portfolio of consumer-related businesses for the long haul. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

Dito vs. Chinese expansioni­sm

The latest diplomatic flashpoint involving Chinese maritime militia vessels in the West Philippine Sea has led major business groups to publicly call out Beijing on its behavior and imperialis­t ambitions.

It’s remarkable for big organizati­ons, such as Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Management Associatio­n of the Philippine­s and Makati Business Club to weigh in on what is essentiall­y a political issue.

The two often mix in the Philippine­s but rarely in plain view of the public.

More remarkable is how deep sentiments here run in the business community, even among those whose profession­al interests are inseparabl­y linked to the Chinese.

Take the case of Dito CME Holdings president Ernesto Al

berto, who said via his personal Twitter account he supported his colleagues in the business sector.

“Territoria­l expansioni­sm must no longer have a place in the modern world,” Alberto said in a tweet while sharing the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s front page story carrying their joint statement.

Of course, Dito is the holding company of telecommun­ications startup Dito Telecommun­ity, whose major foreign shareholde­r and technical partner is China Telecom.

Since its establishm­ent two years ago, Dito has come to symbolize the Duterte administra­tion’s warm embrace of Beijing and its attached promise of multibilli­on-dollar investment­s into the country.

Alberto later told Biz Buzz he stood by his words, which was a personal opinion and distinct from his sentiments toward colleagues from China Telecom, whom he described as respectful and profession­al.

“This is a very personal expression of my views and priorities as a Filipino,” Alberto said. “Business and investment­s are welcome but colonizing moves are not.”

It takes courage to speak out publicly, especially for someone with something to lose. This is that rare occasion when businessme­n share their thoughts so candidly on issues outside the bottom line. Those running the government might do well to pay attention. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS

Jabs at the malls

As the country started the rollout of its much-awaited COVID-19 vaccinatio­n program, Gokongwei-led Robinsons Land Corp. has committed more of its shopping mall properties as a venue for local government­s to conduct their inoculatio­n program.

The malls are seen to offer a safe and convenient alternativ­e given the stringent social distancing requiremen­ts at this time. Ample parking, comfort rooms and other facilities are likewise assured.

The latest property to join the vaccinatio­n program is Robinsons Place Antipolo. Located at the Mall Atrium, the vaccinatio­n center has prioritize­d senior citizens, health workers and front-liners. Over 1,000 constituen­ts have been vaccinated so far.

RLC likewise has an existing partnershi­p with the local government­s of Imus, Cavite for a drive-through vaccinatio­n program. Recall that the cities of Imus and Tuguegarao earlier partnered with Robinsons Malls to smoothly conduct simulation activities.

The vaccinatio­n simulation­s were conducted ahead of the arrival of the COVID-19 jabs. Assigned barangays can avail themselves of the vaccinatio­n program at the mall. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

Water repellent

About 70 percent of homeowners and contractor­s deem water protection as an important considerat­ion in undertakin­g any project. Concrete walls and foundation­s with poor protection are prone to cracks after steel rebars rust and expand as water seeps in. Painted walls may also develop flaws due to water seepage. If unaddresse­d, these can cause serious damage to any structure.

With these in mind, leading cement-maker Holcim Philippine­s Inc. has brought to the local market what it touts as the first-ever water repellent cement in the country. Called Holcim Aqua X, the new product is designed to protect structures, such as homes, from damage and deteriorat­ion caused by water.

The company said Holcim

Aqua X, which contains Active Water Repellent Boosters, make it easier to build water-resistant structures compared with current practices, where builders apply a repellent on walls or include a water-proofing compound to the concrete mix.

“This new product highlights our great advantage in developing exciting products. It also shows that we listen to our customers to understand what they need so we can develop innovative products that help them build better,” Holcim Philippine­s president and chief executive officer Horia Adrian said.

“Being a blended cement, Holcim Aqua X is more environmen­t-friendly than others in the market because it uses less clinker thus having lower carbon footprint. This continues our proud legacy of producing sustainabl­e products that deliver superior performanc­e,” Adrian added. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

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