Wednesday, December 19, 2007

18-12-2007: Maybank2u now accessible via MSN, Windows Live

KUALA LUMPUR: Malayan Banking Bhd is forming an alliance with Microsoft by expanding its digital advertising initiatives across Microsoft MSN and Windows Live platforms next year to provide higher accessibility and reach to its target consumers.

A key part of the alliance includes the development of Agent-M, which is a Windows Live agent serving as a customer service agent to Maybank customers. Customers can chat with Agent-M to find out about Maybank’s products and services, locate Maybank ATMs and branches, e-mail their enquiries and participate in surveys.

Agent-M is the first Windows Live agent in Asia to serve the financial sector. Maybank customers can add Agent-M at as how one would add a friend on Windows Live Messenger.

“Our objective is to integrate and improve accessibility of Maybank2u services to Malaysian internet users through various MSN and Windows Live platforms such as MSN Malaysia Portal, Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger,” Maybank’s vice president and head of virtual banking Ahmad Shareza Abdul Rahman said.

Speaking at a media briefing here yesterday, he said the alliance was a combination of the strengths of Malaysia’s leading bank and the world’s leading consumer portal.

“Broadening our relationship with Microsoft will enable us to deliver targeted messages to consumers across a diverse online network,” he added. Maybank2U has over 3.8 million registered users and a daily average of 118,000 users. Its monthly transactions average more than 24 million.

Shareza said its main objectives were to attract and retain customers as well as save cost for Maybank. He expected a 30% to 40% increase of its online user base per year.

Microsoft’s Online Services Group (Southeast Asia) general manager Grant Watts said: “Windows Live Messenger, with more than a million users sending 27 million messages everyday (on desktop and mobile devices), clearly offers organisations significant opportunity to connect with consumers every day.”

MSN and Windows Live community in Malaysia currently stands at 7.4 million. There are over one million Windows Live Messenger users in Malaysia.


18-12-2007: Maybank targets more smartphone users for e-banking

KUALA LUMPUR: Malayan Banking Bhd wants more smartphone users to carry out e-banking transactions with the bank, said vice president and head of virtual banking, Ahmad Shareza Abdul Rahman.

The bank is now carrying out research to ensure the usability and security of e-banking using smartphones.

Ahmad said testing and research so far had shown that consumers could use their smartphones to perform transactions but it was not fully certified or fully supported by Maybank. Areas to be researched included the usability, ensuring transactions happen, and security elements as well, he said.

One of the phone models being tested by Maybank is the Dopod series of PDA phones.

“In certain models, it (e-banking on works, and in certain models it does not,” he said, adding that work on the backend and website were needed to achieve compatibility.

However, mobile banking would not surpass online banking due to limitations in space. “You are just working with a small screen and a (certain) speed of transaction. It is good for certain transactions and it may not be good for others. It will not replace, it will just complement,” he added.

Speaking at the official opening of Maybank Bandar Utama branch, Ahmad said the ability to do online banking on a smartphone would also not render its current Mobile Financial Services and M2U Mobile obsolete as not everyone could afford a smartphone.

The Maybank Bandar Utama branch, which features a lifestyle theme and is the first to house a Gloria Jeans Coffee outlet in addition to banking facilities, is the Maybank’s 421st branch.

Maybank head of consumer banking Spencer Lee said another two such branches would be introduced in the Klang Valley within the next six months. The outlet offers retail shoppers the services of a full fledged bank branch, private banking services, a credit card centre, electronic banking channels and Internet banking services.

“The centre serves high net worth customers in the neighbourhood and offers differentiated services for this segment as well as attracts new customers among the mass affluent community to enjoy the personalised and exclusive services available,” he said.

Lee said Maybank planned to set up another four private banking centres and would bolster its current network of over 3,800 ATMs, self-service terminals as well as phone banking, Internet and mobile financial services.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

GERMANY: Karmann loses out to Magna Steyr

GERMANY: Karmann loses out to Magna Steyr

5 December 2007 Source: editorial team

The assembly outsourcing contract that Karmann had been hoping to win was the BMW Mini SUV. This will be built by Magna_Steyr in Austria, dashing hopes that jobs at Karmann could be saved.

A BMW spokesperson told dpa-AFX that the contracted had been awarded to Magna Steyr, and that the company had been in talks with both Karmann and Magna.
BMW is expected to confirm details of the contract later today.
The Karmann works council had advised all workers that management was negotiating for a major vehicle assembly contract that could last for up to five years. The Mini SUV, codenamed Colorado, is expected to be produced from 2010 at a rate of 40,000 vehicles a year.
Magna Steyr has core expertise in four-wheel drive vehicle assembly. Karmann's specialist area is cabriolets.
Karmann announced 1,770 job cuts last month, with further job losses if it did not win a major new vehicle assembly contract.
Article tags: Magna Steyr, BMW, MINI, outsourcing

GERMANY: Mini SAV to be built by Magna Steyr

5 December 2007 Source: editorial team

The new Mini Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) will be built by Magna_Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz, Austria. It had been widely predicted that Magna would win the outsourced Mini SAV.
The vehicle concept, devised by Mini Design and BMW Group engineers, has been entrusted to Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik for series development and for later production.
By outsourcing production of the Mini SAV, BMW Group is able to increase flexibility within its own production network. This allows the lead plant for Mini production in Oxford to fully direct its mid-term capacity of 260,000 units on the Mini, Mini Convertible and Mini Clubman.
Frank-Peter Arndt, Head of Production and Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, explains the advantages: "By using Magna Steyr for production, we are able to give our own Production Network some breathing space to respond fully to market needs. This solution will also allow us to bring the Mini SAV to the market as quickly as possible."
Speaking about the new contract, Siegfried Wolf, co-CEO of Magna_International, sees this as a "huge recognition of the work that Magna Steyr has achieved so far through its partnership with BMW Group. Above all, I'm delighted for our employees, as this will allow us to set another milestone in our long-running and successful cooperation with BMW Group. As we have done before, we will work on this vehicle programme with our fullest commitment to ensure that we meet BMW Group's high expectations."
BMW Group will design the supply contracts with the suppliers whilst Magna will be responsible for call-offs during series production.
See also: GERMANY: Karmann loses out to Magna Steyr

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Germany's Karmann Cutting 1,800 JobsManufacturing.Net - October 01, 2007

Germany's Karmann Cutting 1,800 JobsManufacturing.Net - October 01, 2007
BERLIN (AP) — Germany's Karmann, which assembles convertibles for major auto manufacturers and makes convertible rooftops, will cut 1,800 jobs, or about a quarter of its work force, because of a decline in orders.

The cuts announced Monday will come at factories in Rheine and the company headquarters in Osnabrueck.

Karmann customers include Chrysler LLC, DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen AG's Audi, Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co.

Part of the drop in orders comes with Audi's decision to begin assembling the A4 convertible itself, while the company is also losing a Chrysler Crossfire contract in 2008 and for the Mercedes CLK in 2009.

Karmann employs some 7,000 people at six locations worldwide.

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