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Etisalat and Noor Bank Offer Mobile Digital Payment Service

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Etisalat and Noor Bank have announced the launch of eWallet, a new digital payment service aimed at empowering UAE customers with safe, convenient, and flexible payment solutions using a mobile device. The eWallet service is offered by a fintech company ‘Digital Financial Services’ — a joint venture establishment between Etisalat and Noor Bank, regulated and licensed as a Retail Payment Service Provider by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates.

Etisalat and Noor Bank have brought their key strengths in technology, banking, marketing, distribution networks, and superior digital experience to launch this new service, which is safe, convenient, flexible and easy to use. The partnership is in line with the UAE Vision 2021 of creating smart knowledge economies that will enable a shift to a cashless economy.

Eng. Saleh Abdullah Al Abdooli, CEO, Etisalat Group, said: “Capitalising on the current digital wave, Etisalat has transitioned to an integrated ICT solutions provider by digitising consumer needs across our markets. This is in line with the transformation of the telecoms industry, which has enabled consumers to adopt increasingly tech-savvy lifestyles, businesses to change the way they operate and deliver value, and governments to offer ever-smarter solutions on the route towards smart governments and cities. Our powerful digitally inspired vision ‘To Drive the Digital Future to empower societies’ has opened the doors of innovation by facilitating multiple modes of digital interaction that are customer centric and improve the overall experience.”

“Mobile banking today has the potential to be a game-changer, rapidly gaining ground across the globe and opening up a new dimension for daily transactions undertaken by consumers. This new digital mobile service will usher in a new era of digital payments in the country, changing the very definition of service for both the telecom and banking sector. This was made possible due to the continuous investments by Etisalat’s and Noor Bank’s infrastructure to enable a conducive ecosystem that is compliant, robust and flexible to provide a cashless future to all our customers.”

John Iossifidis, CEO of Noor Bank, said:  “Noor Bank is committed to championing a robust digital payments landscape in the UAE. The launch of the eWallet solution, in partnership with Etisalat, is well aligned to our strategy of innovation and digital transformation. This first-of-its-kind partnership aims to develop a comprehensive eco-system in the digital wallets space regulated by the Central Bank of the UAE.”

He added: “At Noor Bank, we pride ourselves on adopting collaborative business models that deliver greater value for our customers. We are pleased to partner with Etisalat to accelerate the use of fast, secure and convenient cashless payments across the nation through the eWallet.”

eWallet will register customers – from individual users to business entities – who can share money through individual to individual transfers, merchant purchases, bill payments and salary payments, among many more services to be rolled out in due course. 

Using a smartphone app, customers can easily manage their account, know their balance, and transfer money. Android users can download the eWallet app by visiting the Google Play Store while the iOS version can be downloaded from the App Store. 

In addition to the digital registration, cash in and cash out, customers can perform all these activities physically by visiting Etisalat and Noor Bank branches. More services will be added through our preferred partners’ network to facilitate these activities in the future, to provide customers with nationwide coverage.

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UAE Entrepreneurs Launch Private Messaging App

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UAE-based entrepreneurs have launched a private messaging app, which enables users to send voice and written messages that disappear as soon as they are sent, read, and played. “The application called Oh!Message, brings users back to the classical period of simple communications tools, but by using the best privacy-enhancing features, to be the first chat application with this high privacy developed in the ME region by Arab expertise,” said Mohammed Othman and Haian Nayouf, the makers of the app.

With this free app, the sent message will disappear from the sender’s account after 10 seconds if it is read by the recipient or not, and it will also disappear from the recipient’s account after 10 seconds of opening or playing it. The message will be destroyed completely within the application and will not be stored on the app servers. Each written message is limited to 100 characters while the audio message is 10 seconds.

“Oh!Message is end-to-end encrypted but it has also other features that make it the most private app among messaging apps,” said Engineer Mohammed Othman, Co-Founder and Chief of Technology at Oh!Message. “In this app, which is available in Apple and Android stores, the user doesn’t appear online while using it, and his/her location is not tracked.”

“The first period of the app launch is in the UAE, the Gulf region, and Arab countries,” said Haian Nayouf, Co-Founder and Chief of Communications at Oh!Message. “The UAE is the capital for talent, companies, and investments in the areas of digital and technical excellence globally, and this has greatly motivated us to work on this project in UAE, and the app is the first of its kind in the Arab world with these strong privacy features.”

The app is now available for both iOS and Android devices.

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Taiwan’s First International Streaming Platform Called Taiwan+ is Now Live

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Taiwan Plus (Taiwan+), the first English-language international streaming platform of Taiwan, was unveiled by Vice President Lai Ching-te, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun, Culture Minister Lee Yung-te, Central News Agency (CNA) Chairman Liu Ka-shiang, Taiwan+ CEO Joanne Tsai, and H.E. Ambassador Jasmine E. Huggins of Embassy of Saint Christopher and Nevis at the National Taiwan Museum in Taipei on Aug. 30.

Targeting an English-speaking audience, Taiwan+ consists of media professionals from the U.S., the U.K, Canada, France, and Australia, as well as local industry professionals, who work collaboratively to deliver the latest news about Taiwan, international affairs, and covers a wide range of topics. The platform also sources stories from Taiwan’s public and private media organizations.

Golden Melody-award-winning singer Sanpuy Katatepan Mavaliyw opened the event with a music performance. Held with COVID-19 prevention measures in place, the event was joined by representatives including Izumi Hiroyasu from Japan, Jordan Reeves from Canada, Andrew Wylegala and Don Shapiro from the U.S., and Henry Chang and Giuseppe Izzo from Europe.

H.E. Ambassador Jasmine E. Huggins of the Embassy of Saint Christopher and Nevis in Taiwan said the international video platform is expected to connect Taiwan with the world. President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her pleasure to join the launch of Taiwan+ with a video message, saying “Taiwan+ is an exciting new initiative to tell Taiwan’s story. Generations of Taiwanese fought to transform this country into a vibrant democracy that protects freedom of speech and expression.”

Premier Su Tseng-chang wished the platform success. He stressed that Taiwan is a democratic and free country guided by the rule of law, and cares about universal values of human rights, freedom of speech, and diversity, noting that this is why many countries are willing to make friends and do business with Taiwan. Vice President Lai said, “I hope that the platform can be the starting point from which the world learns about what Taiwanese people think and want, what Taiwan is doing, and what we can contribute to the world.”

Legislative Speaker, You noted that, with China’s intimidation and political oppression against Taiwan, the establishment of Taiwan+ allows Taiwan to tell its stories to the world through its voices. Taiwan+, a project commissioned by the Ministry of Culture to the CNA, marks an important milestone in the country’s history of mass media, Minister Lee said. He expressed his gratitude to legislators and professionals for making this happen.

“I hope to make this platform a form of expansion, connection, and infinite possibilities, just like how Taiwan incorporates ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity, and introduce Taiwan to the world through dynamic storytelling and news,” said Tsai, a senior media professional with over 25 years of experience in international media outlets, such as NBC/CNBC, National Geographic, and Fox International Channels.

The content of Taiwan+ can be played on the Taiwan Plus app or viewed on its website and social media platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

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“Selfdrive” Launches Smart Mobility App

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Selfdrive, an entity of Pinewoods Tech Serve, has launched an all-in-one Smart Mobility App. The app is serving as a game-changer for the car rental space offering its users a seamless, reliable, and convenient mechanism to rent a car on demand. The cutting-edge mobile app provides direct access to dealership fleet to its users, allowing them to rent a car by the day, subscribe by the month, or lease a car up to 3 years, offering complete flexibility in booking duration.

The company to date has served over 50k customers and witnessed a 30% MoM growth in customer base in the past six months. The app is built on a proprietary tech foundation concept, Search – Select – Pay, that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to match customers’ profiles with the cars that they would like to drive, making the selection process and renting a car absolutely seamless experience.

This app is available to download on Android and iOS, which offers users the option to select from 65 different car models across 15 different car brands from 45 different locations in the UAE within three hours. Some of the key brands available to rent are Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Renault, Mazda, Infinity, Volkswagen (VW), BMW, and many more.

Speaking about the launch of its app, Soham Shah, CEO, and Co-Founder of Selfdrive said, “As one of the largest car rental service providers in the UAE, we strive to offer exceptional service to our customers every step of the way. We bring together exclusive offers on the app starting from AED 49 per day and AED 999 per month. That’s not all, with the launch of ‘Lease Pro’ in this app, users can now rent a brand new ‘Zero Km’ car under its 12 – 24 – 36 months subscription that would be exclusively registered on demand by the car dealer.”

“The smart mobility platform is a testament of our commitment to curate best deals on cars direct from the dealership, whilst making it possible for anyone to rent a car on demand and get it delivered too. This alleviates the hassle of going through multiple car rental agencies to find the best car models and rates on offer,” added Shah.

The Car rental market accounted for $86 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $131 billion by 2026, projecting a CAGR of about 7% during the forecast period. Selfdrive launched in 2017 is the UAE’s largest car rental tech platform that has crossed 2000 cars on road.

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