Despite falling short of estimates, Metas sales report

Despite falling short of estimates, Metas sales report

The corporation Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, recently revealed its first annual sales decline since going public in 2012. However, the decline was less severe than anticipated, which caused its share price to jump.

The social media behemoth reported a 1% decline in sales to US$116.6 billion (RM493 billion) in 2022 while simultaneously announcing that Facebook had reached two billion daily users for the first time.

CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg cited Meta's video Reels service's effectiveness in delivering short videos to people on Facebook and Instagram more effectively thanks to enhanced algorithms.

The Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok, which has proven to be a powerful challenger in luring young users away from once-dominant Instagram, competes aggressively with Meta.

According to Zuckerberg, the number of daily users of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp is at an all-time high.

After adjustments to the iPhone made by Apple severely limited Meta's ability to target customers, Zuckerberg praised improving artificial intelligence (AI) to better distribute adverts.

An Efficiency Year

The 2022 results brought a close to a difficult year for Meta, which in November said it would fire 11,000 workers, or 13% of its workforce, in the biggest labor cut in the business's history.

The "Year of Efficiency" is the company's "management theme for 2023, and we're focusing on making a stronger and more agile organization," according to Zuckerberg.

According to Zuckerberg, Meta is striving to reduce the number of middle management levels and is also implementing AI techniques to increase engineer productivity.

He continued by saying that Meta will be more proactive when it comes to eliminating initiatives that are underperforming or not a priority.

The weakening economy, which is causing advertisers to scale down their marketing efforts, and Apple's data privacy regulations, which have limited the scope for ad personalization, have been bad for big digital platforms.

But Meta outperformed market expectations as cost-cutting began to pay off and the impact of iPhone privacy rules on ad targeting appeared to be lessening, according to a tweet from Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.

In a letter to investors discussing the results report, Baird Equity Research stated, "At first glance... Meta getting its mojo back."

Personalized marketing

When Apple started allowing iPhone customers to choose not to have their online behavior tracked by apps for the purpose of targeting adverts in 2021, it sent shockwaves through the industry.

Facebook and Instagram, whose revenue depends on highly targeted advertising, took a severe hit as a result.

The social media juggernaut will lose US$10 billion in revenue in 2022 as a result of Apple's policy, which has an impact on the accuracy of the advertising it sells and, consequently, its pricing, according to Meta last year.

In the two largest ad markets in the world—the United States and Europe—Apple's iPhones account for around 55% of the smartphone market in each region.

The business is also under fire for taking a big chance on the metaverse, which Meta hopes will be the next big thing in online gaming.

The subsidiary of Meta's Reality Labs, which creates the requisite VR headsets and software, reported an operating loss of US$4.28 billion in the final quarter of 2022, indicating that the bet has not yet paid off. This came after the prior quarters' significant losses.

According to Insider Intelligence analyst Debra Aho Williamson, "Mark Zuckerberg is going to have to confront an inconvenient reality: Virtual worlds are simply not what businesses or consumers want right now."

Investors penalized Meta last year, pushing the stock down an astounding two-thirds in just one year, but in 2023, the price has somewhat recovered.

The price of a share of Meta increased by more than 19% in after-hours trading to US$182.83.

Despite falling short of estimates, Metas sales report

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A supporting hand on the approach to halal for local SMEs

A supporting hand on the approach to halal for local SMEs

THE Star recently spoke with Rizal IL-Ehzan Fadil Azim, chief executive officer of Alliance Islamic Bank, about the region's halal business community and how the bank is assisting interested companies on their halal journey.

Why is there a rising need for companies operating in the halal market?

The halal sector of the economy is still expanding. The industry's market size is estimated to be $3 trillion globally. By 2030, it is anticipated to reach US$7.7 trillion (RM34.25 trillion).

Closer to home, this year's halal exports are anticipated to reach the RM42bil pre-pandemic level.

Additional rising issues include those related to food safety, ethical business practices, and quality control, particularly in light of the emergence of Covid-19. By tapping into the thriving trillion-dollar halal market, SMEs may take advantage of this opportunity for company growth.

What difficulties do companies confront, and how may Alliance Islamic Bank help?

Capital limitations, fierce rivalry, outmoded technology, a small company network, and a lack of experience are a few difficulties.

Due to a lack of knowledge, a perception of the procedure' complexity, and cost constraints, SMEs often do not seek halal certification.

Our goal is to give SMEs access to a larger range of expertise so they can receive complete support throughout the process.

Describe the "Halal in One" initiative and the benefits it provides to company owners.

The Halal in One program from Alliance Islamic Bank was launched in 2020 as a halal ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs entering the halal market grow and prosper by offering both financial and non-financial support.

It provides consultancy services, Shariah-compliant funding, certification support, halal readiness evaluation, access to e-commerce platforms, a global market network, coaching, and mentoring.

How do the bank's partners for Halal in One get chosen?

Our cooperation with partners is focused on carrying out the three value propositions of Halal in One: Set Up Halal, Grow Halal, and Fund Halal.

Within the Halal in One ecosystem, they support each value proposition by offering supplementary services.

As an illustration, we closely collaborate with one of our partners, HQC Commerce, to assist SMEs in comprehending the certification procedure and meeting the standards to be certified as halal.

Second, we facilitate market access to assist enterprises in expanding. Partners like Halal Development Corporation's HIP (Halal Integrated Platform) offer SMEs a platform for growth and a way to connect with clients and customers throughout the world.

Finally, we provide Shariah-compliant finance to business owners that require operating money for business expansion or property renovation.

The Halal in One program is now sponsored by nine halal market solution providers, including eJazmine, Fusionex, International Institute for Halal Research (INHART), Halal Development Corporation (HDC), and Halnex Sdn Bhd. More than 100 enterprises have benefited from our assistance, together with that of our partners.

How might Halal in One support the expansion of halal-certified SMEs?

The Bank offers additional financing possibilities for company owners, particularly for tiny businesses in the halal sector. Owners can swiftly satisfy their finance needs by using Alliance Bank's Digital SME Business to get hassle-free, Shariah-compliant funding of up to RM1,000,000 totally digitally. Business owners may quickly apply and check the progress of their application at any time and from any location thanks to the streamlined process.

Additionally, the Bank offers assistance to companies via its BizSmart® Solution Portal.

Business owners may connect out to new clients and take advantage of discounted access to more than 200 partner solutions and resources thanks to our one-stop online business community platform. It provides a range of business solutions that aid in digitization, access to new markets, adoption of sustainability practices, and advice services.

What is Halal in One's future for the current fiscal year?

We want to help Malaysia achieve its goal of being a major hub for halal trade by becoming the leading authority on halal, social enterprise, and sustainability projects.

The bank will offer RM 400 million in Shariah-compliant financing this fiscal year to support the expansion of more halal business owners.

Visit for information on the Halal in One initiative and to submit an application.

A supporting hand on the approach to halal for local SMEs

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Microsoft releases Teams Premium powered by ChatGPT.

Microsoft releases Teams Premium powered by ChatGPT.

On Wednesday, Microsoft Corp. released a premium Teams messaging service powered by ChatGPT to streamline meetings using the AI chatbot that has been sweeping Silicon Valley.

According to Microsoft, the monthly fee for the premium service will be $7 in June and $10 in July.

ChatGPT, which is owned by OpenAI, will allow Teams users to build meeting templates, suggest tasks, and generate automatic meeting notes.

Microsoft has stated its intention to incorporate ChatGPT's technology into all of its products, paving the way for more competition with rival Alphabet Inc.'s Google. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced a multi-billion dollar investment in OpenAI.

The chatbot is at the vanguard of generative AI, an area where more and more major tech companies are investing their resources. The chatbot can generate prose or poetry on demand.

On Wednesday, ChatGPT unveiled a $20 monthly subscription option that will provide users priority access to new features and enhancements as well as speedier responses.

Microsoft releases Teams Premium powered by ChatGPT

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The future depends on promoting futuristic approaches to education.

The future depends on promoting futuristic approaches to education.

With the unprecedented pace of technological improvement, we are in a jubilant period where we are occasionally on the edge of elation when online BOTs ask us to confirm that we are not robots.

With the development of technology, times are changing quickly.

The Google Play Store alone releases 99,000 new apps on average each month, and customers use 10 apps daily on average, according to Statista.

Education and technology have a symbiotic relationship and have learned to embrace each other's strengths and weaknesses throughout the years as a result of the fast use of technology in our daily lives.

As many people are aware, since the introduction of Microsoft's spell check in the 1990s, many AI generators have been accessible for educational reasons.

The recent buzz surrounding ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer), which was introduced by OpenAI in November 2022 and reportedly has more than 500 million users today, has caused some reverberations throughout the academic community and raised concerns about authenticity, academic integrity, and plagiarism.

It has been stated that in reaction, educational institutions from the US to Australia have taken serious measures and banned the use of ChatGPT in classrooms.

The list of ways that academia has quickly adapted to and benefited from technological advancements is limitless and includes the adoption of automated MCQ markers, Turnitin plagiarism detectors, Grammarly, Duolingo, AI test proctoring, and more.

Teachers are once again rethinking and reworking their teaching and learning repertoire to take advantage of these new innovations since these AI writing and content apps are currently so freely available.

Utilizing these AI tools has certain advantages, such as using the data insights about their students' performance that are available through these applications to change the instruction for a more individualized teaching and learning approach.

By employing these tools to assist and support administrative tasks like creating reports and creating lesson plans, academics can also find ways to better their life.

Since academia is once more time playing catch-up, the difficulties these accessible AI tools provide in the classroom cannot be dismissed.

However, with careful planning and action, it is possible to ensure the originality and authenticity of students' course submissions:

1. Teaching methods need to change to place more emphasis on the development of soft skills, with the classroom growing into a setting for problem-solving, communication, and group dynamics growth, among other things;

2. Reassessment of evaluation methodologies is necessary for terms of formative and summative weighting, particular assessment criteria, and improved questioning strategies.

3. Reassessing code of conduct regulations and expanding the concept of plagiarism to encompass work produced by software programs.

These technological advancements cannot be avoided because the upcoming IR 5.0 is knocking on our classroom doors sooner than we think, bringing with it more sophisticated and intelligent technologies.

It is essential that we arm ourselves and advance toward the futuristic method of teaching.

The future depends on promoting futuristic approaches to education.

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Government: The economy of Hong Kong declined by 3.5 percent in 2022.

Government: The economy of Hong Kong declined by 3.5 percent in 2022.

The government of Hong Kong revealed on Wednesday that the city's GDP dropped by 3.5% in 2022, with exports plummeting and businesses being severely harmed by the city's worst-ever coronavirus outbreak. The government expressed hope that recovery would be sparked by China's reopening.

Large portions of Hong Kong's economy were shut down at the beginning of the year when the region experienced a wave of the extremely contagious Omicron variety and had one of the highest per capita Covid fatality rates in the world.

The government started loosening the severe pandemic restrictions that had isolated Hong Kong internationally and hurt its reputation as a financial center in September.

The fourth quarter of 2022 saw a 4.2% year-over-year decline in the gross domestic product (GDP), according to the preliminary numbers released yesterday.

A government official said in a statement that "domestic demand slackened, pressured initially by the (Omicron-fueled Covid wave) and later by tightened financial circumstances."

Due to the significant decline in the external environment and the interference with cross-border truck operations, total exports of commodities fell.

After pro-democracy demonstrations and the beginning of the pandemic rocked the former British colony, Hong Kong experienced a deepening recession in 2019 and 2020.

The economy recovered by 6.4% in 2021 as a result of the city's strong pandemic regulations, although those gains were later undone by the outbreak at the beginning of 2022.

According to a government spokeswoman, Hong Kong's services sector will gain from "an expected significant resurgence of incoming tourists" as a result of China's decision to reopen its borders in December.

The official stated, "A faster-than-anticipated expansion of the Mainland economy and the loosening of cross-border truck movement restrictions might provide some help (for exports of commodities)."

Hong Kong's economic growth in 2022 was mostly driven by an 8.1% annual increase in government spending.

The results show that private consumer spending fell by 1.1% from 2021 while exports and imports of goods plummeted by 13.9% and 13.1%, respectively.

Government: The economy of Hong Kong declined by 3.5 percent in 2022.

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