Obstacles In Accessing COVID-19 Vaccines Cause Consumer Confidence To Slide

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Cityneon Raises S$235 Million; Well Positioned for Next Growth Chapter

  • The global experience entertainment company gets a S$235 million shot in the arm, closes its private fund raising in April 2021
  • Investors both new and existing include Singapore's Pavilion Capital, Seatown Holdings International and EDBI, Qatar's Doha Venture Capital and financial institutions and family offices in Singapore and China
  • These now join other existing Cityneon shareholders CITIC Capital, veteran entrepreneur and investor Mr. Johnson Ko, and Executive Chairman & Group CEO Mr. Ron Tan
  • Funding comes just after the Group acquired multi-year licensing rights for James Cameron's AVATAR touring exhibition, and two original artefacts IP on the ancient civilization Machu Picchu from Peru and Ramses the Great (Ramses II) from Egypt
  • Investments position the Group well to bring experiences across the globe, targeting to launch six experiences in China and five in the U.S. by the end of 2021, with more in other parts of the world

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 21 April 2021 - Cityneon Holdings ("Cityneon", the "Company"/collectively with its subsidiaries, the "Group") raised S$235 million in the most recent round of private funding. The latest round of funding adds seasoned investors to Cityneon's already strong stable of shareholders.

This funding round was led by Singapore's Pavilion Capital, Seatown Holdings International, EDBI, and Cityneon's Executive Chairman & Group CEO, Mr. Ron Tan. EDBI and Pavilion Capital are existing shareholders of Cityneon whilst new investors include Seatown Holdings International, Qatar's Doha Venture Capital, which will now own approximately 4 per cent of the Group, and other financial institutions and family offices in Singapore and China.

These now join other existing Cityneon shareholders CITIC Capital, veteran entrepreneur and investor Mr. Johnson Ko, and Executive Chairman & Group CEO Mr. Ron Tan to form a new and strong shareholder base for the Group. Mr. Johnson Ko and Mr. Ron Tan remain as the largest shareholders of the company via their combined entity, West Knighton Limited.

The Group is now well positioned for its next growth chapter and will use the proceeds for capital expenditure that includes building more of its various intellectual property (IP) exhibition sets, totaling 24 travelling and four semi-permanent sets under the Studio IP partnerships and three travelling sets under the original artefact IP partnerships by the end of 2022.

Already, the Group just signed its fifth IP rights with Avatar from 20th Century Studios last year. Amidst the anticipation from Avatar fans worldwide, Cityneon will debut a multi-sensory Avatar exhibition in Chengdu, China in May 2021, ahead of the Avatar movie sequel which is slated for release in 2022. Avatar is the world's top grossing film of all time at over US$2.8 billion, and adding millions more after its successful re-release in China in March 2021. Avatar's director James Cameron has announced that he will be producing four sequels with 20th Century Studios, with the first sequel slated for release next year. Disney acquired 20th Century Studios for US$71 billion in 2019.

The Company also recently entered the original artefacts IPs space and will stage international exhibitions of the treasures of the ancient civilization Machu Picchu from Peru in Boca Raton, Florida and Pharaoh Ramses II from Egypt in Houston, Texas. These two experiences will start welcoming visitors in October and November 2021, respectively.

Other IP rights that the Group holds include partnerships with Universal Studios for Jurassic World: The Exhibition, Marvel for Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., Lionsgate for The Hunger Games: The Exhibition and Hasbro for Transformers Autobot Alliance. All in, Cityneon holds the IP rights for five of the top 10 worldwide box office hits and two artefacts IP from Peru and Egypt. The Group expects to have six sets of its various IP rights travelling across China, and five travelling and permanent sets in the United States, with a few more in other parts of the globe.

The Group will also be reopening experiences that were temporarily closed in 2020, aiming to provide visitors with a safe entertainment option. These include the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. in Toronto, Canada that will be re-opening in May 2021; and the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibition in Lotte Mall in Seoul, Korea in April 2021; the same exhibition space which previously housed Jurassic World: The Exhibition, another IP experience exhibition by the Group in 2019. In the past month, the Group also witnessed record visitor numbers at their semi-permanent installations in Las Vegas, USA, signaling a strong comeback and demand for their immersive experiences, as they step into the 6th year of operations there.

While there are exciting plans lined up, the Group is not resting on its laurels. More Hollywood IPs and artefact IPs can be expected, and there will be further announcements on new IP verticals in entertainment experiences that the Group is looking to enter.

Mr. Ron Tan, Executive Chairman & Group CEO of Cityneon, said: "It is exciting that the Company is going through such strategic expansion as one of the largest providers of exhibition entertainment experiences globally. The S$235 million funding round sets a solid foundation for us to invest in developing more of our entertainment experiences, to stage even more exhibitions of the five box office hits and two artefact IPs that we hold the rights to all over the world. I'm thankful that our strong investors base, now from Singapore, Hong Kong, China and the Middle East, have trust in our vision, and believe alongside us that this space of big ideas and big experiences will only grow."

By the end of this year, Cityneon will arguably be the largest provider of exhibition entertainment experiences internationally; with global footprints in more than 50 cities and welcoming 10 million unique visitors across the world by 2022.

Cityneon Holdings

With its global reach and international partnerships, Cityneon has the capability to serve its clients anywhere in the world. Cityneon was listed on the Mainboard of the Singapore Stock Exchange since 2005, and was privatized on February 2019 by West Knighton Limited, a company wholly owned by Cityneon's Executive Chairman and Group CEO, Ron Tan, together with Hong Kong veteran entrepreneur and investor, Johnson Ko Chun Shun. Johnson is a capital markets veteran and has held controlling interests and directorships in many listed companies. In May 2019, Cityneon welcomed CITIC Capital as a new shareholder, who holds approximately 10% shares in Cityneon. CITIC Capital is part of CITIC Group, one of China's largest conglomerates, and has over US$25b of assets under its management across 100 funds and investment products globally. Other institutional shareholders of the Group include EDBI - a Singapore government-linked global investor, and Pavilion Capital - a Singapore-based investment institution which focuses on private equity investments, that made strategic investments in August and October 2019 respectively, to support the Group's further expansion globally. For more information, please visit www.cityneongroup.com.


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Africa’s consumer confidence dwindled in February by 3 points after a modest improvement in the previous month. The index dropped from 5 to 2 indicating that households are still plagued by economic concerns.

Both the index of current economic conditions and index of future expectations shrunk by 3 and 2 points respectively thus causing the decline of the overall global index.

Despite several African states securing Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility offered by multilateral agencies, the quantities procured thus far by governments are not adequate to sufficiently inoculate the majority of Africans unlike some countries in the West that have secured enough doses to vaccinate their citizens multiple times.

Obstacles In Accessing COVID-19 Vaccines Cause Consumer Confidence To Slide - Brand Spur

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Last week, Kenya’s Ministry of Health stated that “the country aims to inoculate about 15 million people nationwide, about 30% of the country’s population, by the end of June 2023” (Reuters, 2021).

This goal is certainly underwhelming! Moreover, there are growing concerns of a 3rd wave because of the deadlier strains and the potential of super-spreader events over the Easter holiday. Due to this, the Kenyan government, for example, has extended the Covid-19 curfew for an additional 2 months including a ban on political gatherings and limits to church attendance.

Data from the Africa CDC shows that, as of 21st March 2021, there were a total of 4,114,437 cases with 109,893 deaths and 3,681,648 recoveries. These numbers are from a total of 39,829,115 tests administered in the continent.

Households indicate pessimism on general economic conditions and job prospects despite a slight improvement in expenditure.

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The negative perception of the current economic conditions and future expectations is mirrored on the sub-indices tracking the financial and economic situation among households. Purchasing power and discretionary spending indices both had a modest improvement of a single point while the personal financial situation index climbed by 3 points.

However, the magnitude of these gains was outweighed by the magnitude of the losses in the remaining sub-indices hence the downturn in consumer confidence. Households’ perception of the general economic conditions for both the city and country waned by 5 and 6 points respectively.

Furthermore, the job prospects index slipped by 5 points while the household income index sunk by 3 points. With countries including Ghana and Ivory Coast instituting new lockdown measures in February and a slow roll-out of the vaccine in the continent, the optimism that one would have expected across households in 2021 is yet to be realized.

Tanzania’s consumer confidence plummets following mismanagement of Covid-19 while consumer confidence in Cameroon advances.

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Among the countries tracked, Tanzania was the worst performer for the month. Consumer confidence in Tanzania endured a sharp downturn of 26 points falling from 31 to 5.

The slump in Tanzania’s consumer confidence can be attributed to the backpedaling of both its indices of future expectations and current economic conditions which slid by 28 and 21 points respectively.

Every single one of Tanzania’s sub-indices focusing on the economic and financial situation of its households regressed in February. Household income and general city economic conditions both equally suffered the largest depression of 43 points while the personal finance index had the smallest descent of 3 points.

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Tanzania’s handling of Covid-19 has been appalling compared to her counterparts. Reportedly, swaths of people have succumbed to the disease but the government has been secretive on the figures. Unfortunately, on March 17th, the country lost its President, John Pombe Magufuli, to a pre-existing heart condition which, according to some sources, was triggered by coronavirus but the Tanzanian government has denied such claims. This event may have detrimental effects on future consumer confidence.

Cameroon’s consumer confidence enjoyed positive momentum in February as the index expanded by 7 points rising from -1 to 6. The increase in its consumer sentiment can be fully attributed to the index of future expectations which surged by 10 points (from -1 to 9) while the index of current economic conditions stagnated at 0.

This improvement comes after months of spending five of the last 6 months in negative territory owing to, among others, continued separatist violence between English-speaking states and the French-majority.

Furthermore, after talks with multilateral lending institutions, Cameroon finally received a debt-service deferral extension for 2021 freeing up funds for the fight against Covid-19. Apart from the discretionary spending index which dampened by 9 points, every other sub-index for Cameroon heightened in February.

The household income index underwent the largest hike of 18 points climbing to 10 from -8. General economic conditions in the city and country both advanced by 11 points while job prospects expanded by 9 points. Finally, the personal financial situation and purchasing power for households in Cameroon strengthened by 3 and 5 points respectively.

With limited access to vaccines and cases still on the rise, there is a need for retailers to ensure a safe and convenient shopping experience for consumers.

Concerns surrounding Covid-19, especially vaccine accessibility, have led to a weakening of consumer confidence among households. Clearly, the outlook on economic conditions and job prospects have been negatively affected as indicated by this month’s data. Even though consumers have reported spending this month, their expenditure has been negated by the pessimistic perception of the general economic conditions.

From this, the expectation is that retailers and operators in the hospitality, leisure, and entertainment industry will face headwinds until households become vaccines are more accessible and governments subsequently ease restrictions. Also, with dwindling job prospects, we anticipate that household expenditure will favor essentials rather than luxuries.

As such, it is imperative for retailers to devise mechanisms that will enable them to weather these headwinds. Some coping mechanisms will be focusing on customer experience as consumers will be looking for safety and convenience while others will be on survival.

Businesses can employ cashless payment systems or other e-commerce related services that will be safe and convenient. Retailers, particularly those in the discretionary space, could also use promotions/discounts so as to try and keep themselves afloat despite their businesses possibly already being in a murky situation.

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Exceptional Attack Protection Proven in Rigorous MITRE Engenuity ATT&CK® Evaluations

Trend Micro’s flagship threat detection and response platform proves its advantages in sophisticated simulations

 

HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 21 April 2021 - Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global cybersecurity leader, excelled in the latest ATT&CK Evaluation performed by MITRE Engenuity. The Trend Micro Vision OneTM platform quickly detected 96% of attack steps from the simulation that mimicked the behavior of two infamous APT groups.


Unlike other industry organizations that test a product's ability to detect and prevent various malware samples, MITRE Engenuity's ATT&CK Evaluations appraise a solutions' ability to detect targeted attacks leveraging known adversary behavior. This approach more closely mirrors real-world attacks that are most critical. MITRE Engenuity focused on techniques associated with notorious threat groups Carbanak and FIN7 in this year's simulations.


Click here to read the full MITRE Engenuity ATT&CK Evaluation for Trend Micro Vision One: https://resources.trendmicro.com/MITRE-Attack-Evaluations.html.

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Its performance against techniques used by two of the world's most formidable cybercrime enterprises proves its value in threat detection and response, and ability to optimize cyber-risk reduction for customers.

The MITRE ATT&CK framework helps industry define and standardize how to describe cyber-attack techniques — offering organizations a common and regularly updated language to triage detection and response as efficiently as possible.

This year's strong performance in MITRE Engenuity's ATT&CK Evaluation is the second in a row for Trend Micro, whose capabilities also impressed in the 2020 tests.


About Trend Micro

Trend Micro, a global cybersecurity leader, helps make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Fueled by decades of security expertise, global threat research, and continuous innovation, Trend Micro's cybersecurity platform protects hundreds of thousands of organizations and millions of individuals across clouds, networks, devices, and endpoints. As a leader in cloud and enterprise cybersecurity, the platform delivers a powerful range of advanced threat defense techniques optimized for environments like AWS, Microsoft, and Google, and central visibility for better, faster detection and response. With 7,000 employees across 65 countries, Trend Micro enables organizations to simplify and secure their connected world. www.trendmicro.com.hk


About MITRE Engenuity ATT&CK Evaluations

MITRE Engenuity ATT&CK Evaluations are paid for by vendors and are intended to help vendors and end-users better understand their product's capabilities in relation to MITRE's publicly accessible ATT&CK® framework. MITRE developed and maintains the ATT&CK knowledge base, which is based on real world reporting of adversary tactics and techniques. ATT&CK is freely available, and is widely used by defenders in industry and government to find gaps in visibility, defensive tools, and processes as they evaluate and select options to improve their network defense. MITRE Engenuity makes the methodology and resulting data publicly available so other organizations may benefit and conduct their own analysis and interpretation. The evaluations do not provide scores, ranks, or endorsements.


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