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MWC: Apple, Google, still most valuable tech brands

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As the world’s tech companies gathered this week in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress, Brand Finance has released its annual review of the state of their brands, the Brand Finance Tech 100.

Key Findings:

  • Apple extends lead with record breaking US$145bn brand value
  • Galaxy S6 restores Samsung’s brand rating to AAA
  • Qualcomm takes brand value hit following Snapdragon 810 fiasco
  • Uber enters table with US$11bn brand value
  • WeChat grows brand value by 83%

Apple Not Rotten Yet

With a value of US$145, Apple remains the world’s most valuable brand. Despite annual predictions of a plateau or fall from grace, brand value is up 14%. Revenue for the last three months of 2015 was a record-breaking US$75.3 billion. Though there has been much disappointment about slowing growth, this must be seen in the context of an exceptional period at the end of 2014 following the release of the iPhone 6. To not just maintain but increase sales in a saturated market is encouraging and assertions that Apple has gone rotten are premature.

Snapdragon Leaves Qualcomm Red-Faced 

Qualcomm is one of this year’s biggest losers in the technology table, brand value has taken a 17% dip whilst the brand rating has been downgraded from AA+ to AA. This is largely due to the fact that the company’s flagship processor, the Snapdragon 810, was nothing short of a disaster. Qualcomm’s highly anticipated processor was found to overheat and malfunction when subjected to heavier workloads. The issue was so critical that Samsung dropped the Qualcomm processor from its extremely popular Galaxy line. Qualcomm lost a year’s worth of orders from one its biggest clients, and the consequent damage to brand value is clear.

S6 & S7 Restore Samsung’s Image

Samsung’s brand rating, which indicates the strength and future potential of the brand, has been restored to AAA this year thanks in part to the positive reception of the Galaxy S6. Critics raved about the significantly improved design, which also put the Galaxy S6 on the radar of voguish iPhone users. The recently unveiled Galaxy S7 looks to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor but adds features such as water resistance, extended battery life and the sorely missed expandable storage option. Revenues have also improved this year, most of them coming from Samsung’s semiconductor business which produces chips for most smartphone manufacturers, including, ironically, their fiercest rival, Apple.

Uber Starts Well but has a Tough Road Ahead

Uber has firmly established itself in the top end of this year’s technology table with an impressive brand value of US$11bn. This makes the ride hailing app’s brand more valuable than industry giants such as Panasonic, Dell and Sony. However challenging times could lie ahead. Uber launched its new logo with great fanfare this year, however the colourful geometric shapes that make up the new identity failed to impress. Critics were quick to label the new logo ’unattractive’ and ‘ambiguous’. The backlash resulted in Uber’s head of design stepping down only a day after the new identity was revealed. Uber continues to face regulatory challenges in the west, as the company is bombarded with protests and lawsuits from taxi unions and transport authorities while in the east, the company struggles to turn a profit. This is largely due to fierce competitors, such as Didi Kuaidi, which is the favoured low-cost ride hailing company in China.

WeChat Nearly Doubles

WeChat increased its brand value by 83% this year, making it one of the fastest growing brands in the technology table. The messaging app, which also offers a payment platform, has seen rapid growth, with registered users totalling at an astonishing 1.1bn, out of which 100m are based outside of China. Tencent, the holding company that owns and operates WeChat, recently announced that WeChat will start charging its users for payment transactions in March 2016, a move that could boost revenues even higher.

The World’s Most Valuable Tech Brands (Top 10):

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 1.47.48 PM

* Click on graph for an enlarged option.

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Huawei goes ultra-premium

Porsche Design and Huawei have launched the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS in South Africa exclusive to MTN and retailing for R 26 459.

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The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS boasts features like the world’s first dual fingerprint design, including an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) processor and Leica triple camera with 40MP image capture.

“After the overwhelming success of the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Pro in South Africa, we now bring you our latest offering, a perfect blend of innovation in a smartphone and luxury design,” said Likun Zhao, Vice President of Huawei Consumer Business Group Southern Africa. “From three-point security feature including facial recognition, rear fingerprint scanner and the new innovative in-screen fingerprint to the Leica triple camera system. it culminates in an unprecedented experience for our customers.”

The device incorporates Porsche Design’s signature design language and Huawei’s breakthrough technology.  The phone has a 6” 2K curved OLED screen and symmetrical look, minimalist feel and 8-edged 3D curved glass body.

High performance is symbolised by the naming of the smartphone: the term “RS” in the world of Porsche motorsport stands for outstanding racing performance.

Huawei provided the following information on The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS benefits and features :

·         The world’s first dual fingerprint scanner for enhanced convenience, allowing users to wake and unlock the device simply, thanks to an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Hover to wake the device, touch to unlock it

·         The winning combination of Leica triple camera with 40MP RGB sensor technology and exceptional photography powered by Master AI. This combination puts effortless, eye-catching photography at the fingertips of those looking to immortalise their favourite moments. Combined with 5 x hybrid zoom, and the world’s first AI image stabilisation on a smartphone camera ensures photography lovers can capture the best shots with exceptional clarity in almost any situation

·         The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS is the first Huawei handset to allow quick wireless charging, making it even easier to keep the phone topped up and ready to go and, thanks to its long lasting battery, users will easily be powered through the busiest of days

·         An ‘intelligent’ smartphone, the powerful AI processor automatically tailors the performance of the phone according to how it is used – constantly learning, understanding and anticipating needs, it is the perfect personal assistant for the pocket

·         256GB of internal storage means those constantly on the go and constantly on their phone can be worry free

·         Dual SLS (super linear system) speakers with DOLBY ATMOS enable users to have a superior experience, with the best immersive surround sound and entertainment on the go

·         Splash, water and dust resistant, which means there is no need to worry about damaging the device in the rain or accidentally dropping it in water

Jan Becker, CEO Porsche Design Group, said: “Both Porsche Design and Huawei seek to imagine and develop products that stand for precision and perfection, intelligent functionality and highly sophisticated design. Our aim was to create an outstanding device that goes one step further. We believe we have reached this goal by taking our partnership to the next level.”

Porsche Design and Huawei have worked in tandem to develop a smartphone that fuses together the two brands’ DNA, wealth of experience in design and technology, industry-leading expertise and exceptional performance. Through the use of colour in the device’s body, software themes and accessories, the new handset is accentuated with Porsche Design’s distinguished aesthetic and purist, minimalist feel.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS will be available to purchase exclusively from MTN at R 26 459.

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Cross-channel chat launched

Clickatell has launched a cross-channel live chat service, Touch Go, that transforms omni-channel customer care.

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It enables live chat across a company’s website as well as social platforms (Twitter and Facebook) and mobile apps, bringing customer care and engagement into a single business platform.

“Today’s consumers expect to engage with your brand on the digital channel of their choosing,” says Deon van Heerden, Clickatell Engage CEO and Group CFO. “They want to message your business and instantly have queries resolved, find the information and services they are looking for, without the need for a voice call. Clickatell’s Touch Go makes that happen with the right level of capabilities for businesses of all sizes.”

Businesses can start using Touch Go immediately, with a free Starter option. Touch Go requires no credit card for sign-up and is fully featured with a simple setup process. It offers customisable branding, a unified chat desk business application as well as reports and analytics.

As the business scales up its digital customer care, it can opt-in for the Touch Enterprise offering. Touch Enterprise is designed for scaling up customer care efforts through advanced capabilities including AI driven virtual agents, sentiment analysis, automated workflows, enterprise integrations and in-channel mini-applications.

“Customer care has become a defining factor for sustained business success ” says Nirmal Nair, Clickatell Engage EVP Product & Marketing. “In an ever-increasing mobile native world, customers often choose to interact digitally, but they also expect to be able to reach a human immediately, should they need. Monitoring multiple channels and providing immediate action becomes challenging with siloed deployments. Touch’s unified solution allows businesses of all sizes to provide the customer delight in a simple modular approach.”

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