Sunday, 1 October 2017

In France, Snap's Discover news feature gets 10 million monthly users

Snap Inc, searching for ways to reinvigorate a slowing growth rate and increase advertising revenue for its Snapchat messaging app, said this week it has racked up 10 million users for its Discover news and video feature in France a year after launching there.

The figure, which has not previously been reported, is equivalent to about 15 per cent of the country’s population
Internationally, the Snapchat app has 173 million daily active users, the company said in August, while rival Instagram, owned by Facebook Inc, said this week it has 500 million daily users.

Snap’s partners in France such as Le Monde and Cosmopolitan, which supply video and news for the Discover feature, were getting “significant” revenue from ads, Nick Bell, Snap’s vice president of content, told Reuters, without giving an exact figure.
Snap, which generates revenue from advertisers, shares that revenue 50-50 with its publisher partners.
The company has yet to turn a profit since its messaging app launched in 2012. Since its initial public offering in March, its shares are down almost 18 percent, to around $14 per share.

France was the first international launch of Discover. It has also been released in Germany, the Middle East and North Africa, but the company is taking a slow, deliberate approach to expansion as it works at developing strong partnerships with publishers, said Bell.

Ride-sharing apps draw customers with smaller vehicles

As more and more users sign up for ride-sharing applications in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, it seems the future for such applications lies in going small with existing and new services focusing on vehicles with smaller footprint – and bills.

The latest addition to the litany of ride-sharing services in the twin cities is the motorbike taxi-service Bykea.  It joins the likes of Al-Byke and Wheels which were all rolled out to much fanfare but have since found it difficult to grab as big of a foothold as their more illustrious cousins in Uber and Careem.
One of the reasons pegging back the service is that it is not preferred by women in the fast-expanding but largely conservative cities.

“Women and senior citizens are not our potential clients because of our eastern values and safety concerns, thus limiting the facility to male youth only,” explained Ahmed, an employee at the new service Bykea at its office nestled in a Rawalpindi neighbourhood.
Espoused from the culture of bike riding by infamous ‘Pindi boyz’ or copied from other ventures internationally, Bykea is trying to not keep its proverbial eggs in one basket.
“Bykea is basically an all-in-one-app for transportation, delivery and payment services,” noted its Marketing and Operations Assistant Manager Danish, noting that the app was also working in other major urban centres of the country including in Karachi and Lahore.
“You can order a movie ticket, a meal from a restaurant, deposit utility bill or ask for anything from the bazaar or from your home or office to be delivered to any required destination, it’s all in one facility.”
Addressing safety concerns for those willing to share the ride, he said that they had taken specific measures to ensure health and safety of both partners (the bike rider) and customers.
“The company provides accidental insurance,” he added.
While securing a customer base is looked as the golden goose for any company, for startups like Bykea, a key challenge is to also secure those who would be willing to contribute their services and vehicles to the economic cycle.
“We have over 3,000 partners across the country. Affordable investment and self-employment are attractive, encouraging unemployed youth from the lower middle class to opt for becoming a partner in the app-based facility,” said Rameez, an associate
trainer at Bykea’s Rawalpindi terminal.
Business is slowly ticking upwards.
Uber collaborates with Seed Out to create extra income opportunities
“I am a partner here. I can make seven rides a day over nine hours and earn around Rs1,250,” remarked Zeeshan, a partner.
Qasim, a client, pointed out a potential flaw in the system where competitors such as Uber and Careem win. “This facility is a fair-weather choice – especially for riding in the congested areas of the city – but during rain or thunderstorm, you cannot take the risk (to travel by bike) and are forced to opt for another option.”
But the service is not breaking new ground in the country with others like Cargar having launched in the capital last year to much fanfare but then dropped off the radar.
Uber goes ‘mini’
In a move which is likely to further infuriate taxi drivers in the capital, ride-sharing giant Uber has decided to open up the field to smaller cars, inducting the Suzuki Mehran into its fleet and offering prices which are “cheaper than a cup of coffee”.
The base fare for UberMINI is priced at Rs50, with a per kilometre charge of Rs4 and a minimum rate of Rs75.

Foreigners make comeback at the Pakistan Stock Exchange

Most people get interested in stocks when everyone else is, says American business tycoon, Warren Buffet. “The time to get interested is when no one else is. You can’t buy what is popular and do well.”

It seems that foreigners are paying heed to what Buffet said. In a new development, foreigners have staged a loud comeback at the local bourse, injecting a 15-month high value of over $28 billion in September.
Of the past 15 months, foreigners have remained net buyers in just three months – with September being the third – while in the remaining months they remained net sellers.
Foreign buying has returned at a time when locals had chosen to remain on the sidelines, trade volumes had dried up and the benchmark index had dropped 22% to 41,206.99 points on August 31, 2017 from an all-time high closing of 52,876.46 points on May 24, 2017.

“The KSE-100 index gained 2.9% in September 2017 … on a quarterly basis, the benchmark index declined 8.9% in first quarter of fiscal year 2018 – the worst quarterly performance in 36 quarters or 9 years since Jun 2008/4QFY08,” Topline Securities’ analyst Adnan Sami Sheikh said in a note to clients.
Earlier, the PSX snatched the best Asian market title in calendar year 2016, but foreign investors remained net sellers of over $361 million at the market, according to National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.
Last month (September), foreigners bought stocks in the banking sector worth $14.5 million, cements $11.6 million, fertilisers $10.9 million and oil marketing companies $9.5 million, but sold stocks in the oil and gas exploration and production companies sector worth $13.7 million, Sheikh added.
Analysts said foreign investors have made value buying in the said sectors. The banking stocks had overreacted to developments including Habib Bank Limited’s New York branch fiasco, which it settled by paying a penalty of $225 million.
Besides, National Bank of Pakistan received two back-to-back setbacks as it unearthed a scam of Rs18.5 billion at Bangladesh branch and lost a litigation of Rs48 billion against its pensioners at the Supreme Court.
Similarly, fertiliser prices in international markets had shot to a recent time high of $290 per ton.
Additionally, significant recovery in international oil prices during the month attracted foreign investors to indulge in value buying.
Foreign investors were also estimated to inject up to $70 million in PSX names following FTSE, an international company specialising in index calculation, included five additional stocks from Pakistan in its Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index with effect from September 18, 2017.
The five additions FTSE made from Pakistan were: MCB Bank, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines, Bank Alfalah, Millat Tractors and Thal Ltd.
Earlier, foreigners injected $7.9 million in June 2017. The month had seen a return of the PSX to MSCI Emerging Markets (EM) after 9 years in the Frontier Markets Index.
Pakistan had estimated foreign buying worth $500 million in the event of PSX’s return to MSCI EM – another international index service provider.
In actual, they invested larger part of the estimated amount in the event, but continued sale by the foreign ‘passive funds’ at the time reduced net foreign buying volume to mere $7.9 million.
Earlier, foreign investors injected slightly over $22 million in July 2016. This was last month that followed a long lull from foreign investors at the local bourse.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2017.

Neelum-Jhelum project to begin operations in Feb 2018

The 969MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project is fast heading towards completion, as dry testing of electro-mechanical equipment installed at the power house and the switch yard is in progress, said Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Muzammil Hussain during his visit to the site.

He was accompanied by the project CEO and other senior officials and consultants. Speaking on the occasion, he said that it is a matter of satisfaction that all critical activities on the project are being completed in accordance with the timelines, for which display of extra ordinary commitment and professional excellence is commendable.
“Wapda is looking towards power generation from the first unit of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project in February 2018,” said Hussain.
The chairman was briefed on the overall progress of the project, which stands at 95.4%. The dam has been substantially completed while reservoir impounding will commence in the first week of the month. The water way system for diverting water from the reservoir to the power house will be completed by end December 2017, whereas wet commissioning of the generating unit will start in February 2018.

The first unit of the project is scheduled to go into operation by end February 2018 followed by the second unit in mid-March and third and fourth units in April 2018. On its completion, the project will contribute about five billion units of electricity to the national grid annually. Annual revenue of the project is estimated to be Rs50 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2017.

Friday, 29 September 2017


Here in Pakistan Both BMW and Audi are not only working effectively and broadening up their market but also to bringing new models and variants of their respective brands immediately after hitting the international market. Just recently BMW Pakistan unveiled its 2017 BMW 5 Series 530i. And now BMW in Pakistan has proclaimed that it will soon be debuting two new cars:

1. 2017 BMW 2 Series Coupe

2. 2017 BMW 2 Series Convertible.

Both the coupe and the convertible would be 218i BMW will be revealed in Pakistan. BMW, for the first time be officially launching the 2 Series BMW in Pakistan. At present, BMW Pakistan is presenting these five models in Pakistan:

1. BMW 3 Series

2. BMW 5 Series

3. BMW X1


If you want a practical station wagon for your family, In that case you will stumble upon some excellent JDM choices. When measured up to  a sedan, station wagons presents additional expediency making them an immense choice particularly when you do long trips and carry a lot of stuff in all directions. Nowadays we will evaluate two JDM legends; the Toyota Corolla Fielder Hybrid and Honda Fit Shuttle Hybrid. And we expect this blog will assist you to come to a decision which car ought to grasp a place in your garage.


When it comes to façade styling, perhaps none of these cars are going to win any beauty contest. On the other hand, it is soundly understood when you are looking in this part, both the Fit Shuttle and Fielder share a comparable design language with straight exterior lines, nothing like the Nissan AD Van or the Toyota Probox which look very unexciting and uninteresting. If seen closely Fit Shuttle has a very comparable front fascde to the Civic X whilst rear looks a lot similar to the Toyota Fielder.

Conversely Fielder’s front headlights seem fairly alike to the Corolla facelift. The front bumper has a large piano black or chrome grill depending on the variant you buy. Nevertheless, together both cars go together with DRL’s and LED tail lights with alloy rims to project a premium look.
Fit Shuttle looks a bit more pleasing due to its aggressive stylings all the way through. The Fielder looks good too and sticks with a more conventional design. In terms of dimensions, there is no clear champ as both cars share very similar dimensions.


Datsun has debuted the 1.0 liter Redi-GO Gold in India for INR 3.69 lac. Datsun asserts the limited edition Gold edition comes with 12 new features.The exterior façade has gold-inspired paintwork, black front grille with golden accent, wheel cover with golden accent and rear parking sensors. The Redi-GO Gold comes in three color options- Silver, Grey and White.
On the inside, the Redi-GO Gold comes equipped with gold-themed interiors; soft mood lighting which can be set via a Smartphone app, and a new audio system with Bluetooth while Keyless entry is standard as well.

The Datsun redi-GO Gold has the dimensions of 3429 mm length, 1560 mm width, and 1541 mm height, with a wheelbase of 2348 mm and a boot space of 222 liters. The ground clearance is an inspiring 185 mm.
The Redi-GO Gold is power-driven by a 999cc three-cylinder I-SAT petrol engine with 5-speedmanual transmission. The powerplant puts out 68 PS of power at 5,500 rpm and 91 Nm of torque at 4,250 rpm.
The ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) has rated fuel efficiency stands at 22.5 km per liter.
Keep it in notice that the Datsun Redi-GO Gold is the top of the line and the most costly variant amongst the Redi-GO range at INR 3.69 lac (PKR 5.88 lac). The standard version of the same car with an 800cc engine is priced from INR 2.81 lac (PKR 3.84 lac) that is 43% less than the cheapest car in Pakistan, the Suzuki Mehran that exactly offers nothing in comparison to the Redi-GO.