Frequently Asked Question
- What is speak asia?
- Speakasiaonline Pte. Ltd, Singapore (SAOL) is a unique web 2.0 company that empowers 19 lakh consumers to create and use their collective bargaining power to get unprecedented price advantages in goods and services procured through our portals. (For RP details see point 26)
The only comparable success in India is the unrelated http://www.echoupal.com/ which provided an improvement in the livelihoods of lakhs of ordinary Indian farmers through its portal.
With 19 lakh strong panelists and promoted from an Indian origin, that seeks to remind the world, that the FUTURE of the 21st Century is ASIAN, with its epicenter in India.
- What is its business?
- The company is currently in two domains:
The first domain is “precision marketing”. In this the company engages in filtered/narrow casting of marketing and sales related services. These services to name a few are providing survey panels, Advertising, lead generating and also sales.
The second domain is to provide knowledge, information and training to its panelist, for their overall development in order to make them empowered consumers.
Speak Asia is creating a Panelist community of empowered consumers which earns rewards points by participating in companies activities (e.g. surveys filling, product referrals / sales, advertising based surveys, self development training programs ) on the website. The panelist can use these reward points for purchase of products and services from the website. The company’s business model is also to make profits from product and service sales. However company bears the cost of utilization of the reward points, for purchase of products and services at the website. In simple terms our Panelist community “EARNS AND BURNS REWARD POINTS ON THE SAOL PORTAL”
Speak Asia gets research done ‘on’ and ‘for’ different companies, products and services. Panelists earn reward points (RP) for participating with their focused and valuable opinions in the surveys.
- SpeakAsia is a Singapore based company – when asked questions/info about Singapore, why did the CEO mention that the compliance query was a petty issue? Is Non compliance an issue in Singapore?
- For SAOL, any issue of non compliance anywhere in the world, is not petty, as no company would like to be listed amongst the non compliant companies.
People have misconstrued the (X) sign placed at the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, Singapore (ACRA) website: http://www.acra.gov.sg/
The reason why SAOL was listed amongst the companies, which were non- compliant, was because the company delayed the filing/submission of the minutes of its AGM in time . This delay made the requisites of compliance according to Singapore Government “non compliant”. It is interesting to note, that one of our competitors and 2 media companies writing negative stories about SAOL are ALSO non compliant at http://www.acra.gov.sg/ however 2 wrongs do not make 1 right.
We commit to our Panelists, that when this 1st startup Financial year for SAOL closes (June 1st 2010 - May 31st, 2011,) the company would be submitting every audited document On TIME and thus would clear all compliance requisites.
- Speak Asia is a Singapore based company; are they authorized to do Business in India?
- Online business portals without a PE in India have been legitimately doing business in India since 2000. The largest global, professionals community portal, which is also a web 2.0 “freemium” model is www.linkedin.com (unrelated) and they have approximately 900,000 Indian subscribers, who enlist either free or paid. Subscribers also participate in Polls and carry out other crowdsourcing activities. LinkedIn set up their Indian PE only in 2009 after they had lakhs of subscribers from India http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/linkedinsfirst-asia-pac-office-in-india/379799/
- Is speakasiaonline legal in India?
- The company and its business are legal.
- How does Speak Asia Remit and/or Transfer Money to India?
- Speakasia transfers the money from Singapore ONLY by Bank transfer, due to its very large IT system along with the Bank’s payment gateway. This facilitates direct money transfer to the accounts of panelists without them having to even visit their banks.
Singapore banks comply with the strictest security norms and use Telegraphic Transfer ONLY via RBI registered banks in India.
- Who are the promoters of Speakasia Online Pte Ltd.?
- Speak Asia is owned by a holding company – Podium Ring International Ltd , registered in British Virgin Islands. SAOL’s online Panelists are interacting daily with SAOL through its management, staff and advisers. Podium Ring is not in the picture for those interactions. The global CEO is Ms. Harendar Kaur supported by Mr. Manoj Kumar CEO-India and the Speakasia team.
- Is Speakasiaonline registered under Indian Companies Act also?
- Speak Asia is not registered as a company in India as it is not a PE (permanent Establishment). The nature of business is such that legally the need for a PE does not arise as per prevailing laws in India. However to effectively support the business in India, Speak Asia is now going to open a PE in India soon, as has been announced in the press conference by CEO India – Manoj Kumar.
- RBI, SEBI, Ministry Of Corporate Affairs and PMO gave clearance to SpeakAsiaOnline?
- As per the knowledge of the Company and its advice received since inception, SAOL has not breached any provisions of Indian law, RBI, SEBI, or any other government authority. However, it has come to the notice of the company through its media sources that because of the negative campaign initiated by some organizations, that RBI, SEBI, Ministry Of Corporate Affairs and PMO have initiated enquiry against the working of the company. SAOL welcomes this because this will help the Company to clear the cloud if any.
However, till date SAOL has not been contacted by any of the Government Departments.
The Company assures its full cooperation and participation in any enquiry or investigation initiated/ conducted by the Government Authorities in India and in fact it reached out by email to all authorities including the PMO on 15 May 2011, requesting for an enquiry into its affairs since the allegations could damage its reputation and trust with the panelist community.
- Does SAOL have any registered office or contact office of in India?
- Speak Asia does not have its physical office in India. Its business model is such, that it has global partners for call center, Support, Marcom, Technology and Training. Contact is easily made by Panelists using their control panel system and by non panelist at the portal. However, a full-fledged SAOL establishment in India is on the cards. We will share details on this as we move along.
- Who is heading the Indian operations of Speakasia Online?
- W.e.f 15th May 2011, Mr. Manoj Kumar has taken charge as SAOL’s CEO- India.
He announced at the press conference, that shortly SAOL would be setting up its PE (Permanent Establishment) with offices in 5 Zones across India, in order to grow the business in the years ahead.
- According to RBI rules & regulations – any foreign company, operating out of India, needs to have a permanent establishment/address in India. As promised earlier by SpeakAsia, there should have been a prominent company address by August 2010. But considering the failure to do so, should people assume that money is remitted, is it money-laundering or any other illegal activity
- This is SAOL’s 1st year. As a New Media Startup, Speakasia does not have a company registered in India as yet, thus, currently there are no promoters of Speakasia in India.
SAOL has appointed Staff, consultants and advisers to the company who provide advisory and consultancy services to SAOL with regard to its activities in light of the Indian Market scenario.
SAOL has invested $Millions in IT and systems infrastructure globally and will be making huge investments in India in the years ahead.
SAOL remits money to Lakhs of panelists for cashing in part of the reward points EARNED by them. The Panelists vary from students, housewives to SME entrepreneurs. Our activity is very similar to providing a portal for Contracting Programmers in the software industry, who do job work across the world and are remitted $000 into their bank accounts
Our activities are no different and are legal. We are very happy to explain our activities to anyone.
- 11th of May, as claimed by Mr. Vivek Gautam, SpeakAsia has clients like ICICI, Bata, Airtel etc –
a) on what basis?
b) Why did these companies say that they have no relations with SpeakAsia?
c) Did SpeakAsia conduct surveys for these companies without their authorization?
d) Why did the CEO, Manoj Kumar, apologize for mentioning these companies’ names?
- Across various parameters we had researched their product/services and Panelists were provided coupons for the Bata project survey.
We had done surveys on the above mentioned companies and not for them. So technically they are not our clients.
As part of startup operations, the surveys conducted were for IT system, training of panelists and research work only.
No authorization is required to conduct such type of market research.
Since there was a miscommunication about the surveys conducted on the above mentioned companies, SAOL India CEO Mr. Manoj Kumar apologized unconditionally.
- Can Speakasia Online show its financial results of last few financial years?
- Annual financial results filed by the company thus far are available on ACRA site. The results which are relevant for Speakasia portal is the (1st startup year from May 2010 onwards). We complete full one year of active operations on 31st May, 2011 and will file the returns after the annual audit is completed by our International Top 4 CA firm auditor.
- What is the revenue made by SpeakAsia from panelists in India? How much have panelists earned from SpeakAsia?
- Speakasia is not earning any revenue from the panelists in India. On the contrary, SAOL provides reward points to India based panelists, for filling up correct surveys and for participating in other activities of SAOL.
Not every Panelist earns RP’s equally. If a panelist chooses to not participate in the SAOL portal or in any RP earning activity, they will NOT earn the RP’s. Therefore if you do not earn, you also do not get paid out. These earned reward points can be either encased by the panelist or utilized for purchasing selected goods offered by SAOL. The Final audited numbers will be made available at the ACRA website, after the year ended 31 May 2011.
- Who is sponsoring SpeakAsia’s advertisements on TV, Newspapers etc?
- Speak Asia Online Pte. Ltd is investing in promoting the brand through advertising, events, PR and other communications channels.
- Who are the clients for whom Speakasia Online conduct surveys?
Can we have the list of those clients?
- Panel Business operates on the lines of multiple exchanges where panel providers are pooled in and the clients can take their pick of the panels based on their profile requirement directly or through brokers. The panel profile can be based on demographics and many other parameters. The selected profiled panel is picked up like in any other exchange and the work is allocated to them. Hence the panels cannot know the clients name directly. (e.g. in a stock exchange we buy stocks but at the time of buying we do not know who is selling those stocks)
This is the company’s confidential data, which unfair competitors would dearly love to know; hence the names have not been publically disclosed .However our books of accounts clearly show the details of income from panel business and the agencies who gave us work.
- What is the business structure for Speakasia Online?
How is money distributed to panelist?
- Speak Asia is creating a panel community of empowered consumers, which earns rewards points by participating in various companies activities ( e.g. -e-zine sales , surveys filling , product referrals / sales , advertising based surveys , self development training programs ) on the website, including for India market entry activities.
RP payouts happen when the panelist burns those earned reward points for purchase of products and services from the website. The company’s business model is to make profits from product and service sales after providing for the cost of servicing the reward points.
Speak Asia gets research done ‘on’ and ‘for’ different companies, products and services; panelists earn reward points (RP) for participating with their valuable opinions in the surveys.
Effective June- July 2011, advertisement based revenues will start where panelists earn reward points (RP) for watching the ads carefully and giving them feedback on the same.
Products are available with Speak Asia at special rates; panelists earn through saving on purchase or reselling of products.
The Reward Points thus earned, are redeemed through consumption of product and services offered by the company .i.e. Panelists can book products ( such as mobile, LCD, white goods etc … aptly demonstrated in recent GenX bazaar at Goa where over 4,00,000 reward points were used by just 3,000 panelists for booking goods ) .
They can also buy subscription codes for distribution. The left over reward points can be encased on request made on the website. All cash requests are processed through the bank and money is sent from Singapore to respective banks through TT.
- Is any background check of panelist is done by the Speakasia Online?
What if panelists are using fake names and id?
- Yes, every panelist is required to provide an email id along with a mobile number and a bank account number in his profile because SAOL remits into Bank Accounts only.
Banks and Mobile companies are G.O.I approved for KYC norms and validated by their respective agencies that are audited by the various authorities.
Wherever we find instances of fraudulent misrepresentation, we shut down the id. See the website Terms & conditions
- From which country the payment is made to panelists? If it is India, then on whose name bank accounts are being operated?
- Payment to the Panelists in India is being made from Singapore through bank TT. Currently, there is no Bank Account of SAOL in India, till our PE is set up.
- Are Remittances to Panelists in India legally covered?
- Yes, vide Master Circular No. 01/2010-11 dated 01.07.2011 issued by RBI in respect of Misc Remittance to India.
- What is the relationship between franchisee and SAOL? Are they the legally authorised representatives of SAOL in India?
- Franchisees/Distributors have a distribution agreement with Global distributor Haren Ventures Pte. Ltd, Singapore (HVP) for selling subscription of the e-zine Surveys Today.
SAOL is providing marketing assistance services from Singapore to HVP with the use of its SAOL portal, for which it gets paid by HVP.
The subscription number / code is used for a panelist doing a FREE registration at the SAOL website. The distributors are also required to provide basic training to Panelists for using the SAOL site effectively .
These distributors are the authorized representative of HVP Singapore not SAOL.
SAOL is about to set up its PE in India and as on date has only 3 authorised Legal Advisers in India:
1. AK Singh & Co
2. Phoenix Legal
3. KASHISH INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY GROUP
No other legal entity or person is authorized to represent or speak on behalf of SAOL.
- Can Speakasia online show its legal/incorporation documents?
- Yes, available at Singapore’s equivalent to India’s ROC. Anyone can carry out a “Bizfile” search page:
- Are the RBI guideline’s regarding to foreign exchange being complied, if the payments are made to panelist from outside the Country?
- Money is deposited by SAOL directly into the bank account of the panelists in India, using RBI authorized banks from a Singapore authorized Bank.
- Subscription money paid by the panelist is deposited into whose bank accounts?
Has Speakasia online obtained any permission from SEBI to run a collective investment scheme, which promise assured returns?
- Speak Asia does not run a collective investment scheme. Our panelists may choose to participate in Training, they may promote sales of the “Surveys Today” ezine, work on the website, buy & refer products and services. This does not fall into the category of collective investment scheme. Thus no such permission is required from SEBI.
- Why is the company refraining from the word ‘Investment’? what is E-Zine subscription?
Why is company charging for the subscription of a Magazine? How is it helpful to the panelists? (overall info on E-Zine Magazine)
- The company is refraining from the word investment, because participating in SAOL absolutely cannot be classed as an investment. Speak Asia is creating an online Panel community of “Empowered consumers” which earns rewards points (RP’s), by participating in various companies activities.e.g. Surveys filling, product referrals / sales, advertising based surveys, self development training programs. This is not a guaranteed return and varies from panelist to panelist based upon their individual efforts.
Speak Asia gets research done ‘on’ and ‘for’ different companies, products and services. Panelists earn reward points (RP) for participating with their valuable opinions in the surveys.
Thus the panelist gets money in lieu of the surveys they file as per SAOL Terms & Conditions. It is not an investment scheme, where panelists invest money and they get a return on it.Thus our business structure does not fall into the category of any investment scheme.
In fact it has been very clearly communicated by the company right from the beginning that people join SAOL for free. The 3 ways to join and participate on the SAOL portal are:
To produce an income statement from any of the global top 20 online survey companies, showing an annual income of $1000 or more and join SAOL for free.
By appearing and passing a test and an interview one can join SAOL for free.
By subscribing to E-zine “Surveys Today” for Rs.6, 000 for 6 months subscription and Rs. 11,000 for a yearly subscription one can join SAOL for free.
e-zine “Survey Today” is a magazine Globally Distributed by Haren Ventures Pte. Ltd Singapore (HVP), which contains information about various products and services and market research techniques etc. The sum of Rs 1,000/- or 6,000/- or 11,000/- that the panelists pay is for various types of subscription of the e-zine “Survey Today” and this is not an investment.
The subscription to the e-zine is only one of the three ways which makes the panelist eligible to join SAOL portal for FREE.
It is entirely the prerogative of the panelist to choose any one of the three ways mentioned above to become a Free panelist at SAOL.
- What is the term for any revenue earned by the panelists?
- The Panelists earn only in reward points (RP) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reward_points against marketing activities and research work actively carried out by the panelist. An explanation of Reward Points is at:
An explanation of the Rewards Points “lifestyle” concept can be found at the unrelated but world famous web portal and internet pioneer, Second life. http://community.secondlife.com/t5/English-Knowledge-Base/How-to-get-Linden-dollars/ta-p/700085
Conceptually the web portal user can use these type of reward points for purchase of virtual and in other cases, Real products and services from the website. Earning RP’s is similar to other Global portals.
- By now, SpeakAsia has collected a revenue of approximately 300-400cr from people in India, where is the money utilized and how? Is it sent out of the country?
- During the 1st year of SAOL operations, starting May 2010, serious INVESTMENTS have been made to create the portal, IT & communications infrastructure along with seamless online Banking systems costing $millions.
As our 1st year ends on 31 May 2011, our Auditors (Top 4 in the world) are working with our accounts department to ensure that very soon we would have Audited information to share with competent authorities.
- SpeakAsias business model as reported in the media, seems very much like any of the approx. 4,200 MLM companies that exist in India; then why does SpeakAsia refrain from the term ‘MLM’?
- It’s a complete misconception that SAOL’s business model is like any other MLM company. Only one part of our business activity, allows people to earn referral RPs and referring is not a compulsory activity for all panelists (unlike an MLM company).
A person can easily continue participating in the company’s marketing related services and continue earning RPs without participating in the referral program. This is unique to SAOL and that is the exact reason, why SAOL is not a typical MLM company where enrollment is the way to earn.
It’s a misconception that SAOL’s business model is like any other MLM company. Because only a part of our business activity, allows people to earn referral RPs and referring is not a compulsory activity. A person can easily continue participating in company’s marketing related services and continue earning RPs without participating in the referral program. Which is unique to SAOL and that is the exact reason it is not a typical MLM company where enrollment is the way to earn.
- In India, for participating in a survey, a consumer gets approximately Rs. 60/- per survey. Why does SpeakAsia pay Rs. 500/- per survey? How does SpeakAsia manage to pay such kind of money? Who are the clients?
- Reward points for doing online work are not a strange or unique idea at all.
There are many examples of unrelated businesses:
https://www.globaltestmarket.com/ and other competing online survey companies.
Our Payment of 10 RP (conceived value of Rs 500) is based on mean on international trends as we participate with global panel exchanges. International rates vary between $10 to $150, depending upon profile and domain complexity and specialization required for the survey data.
For any panel providing business, it’s a business secret with their end client (mostly MNC’s) and are legally bound confidential and strict Non Disclosure Agreements.
Further, SAOL participates in over 1,200 Panel exchanges and panel exchange programs across the world. It is these exchanges, which are in direct contact with Market Research (MR) companies or the final clients, for whom these surveys are conducted. We have no access to the details of the MR companies, nor their final clients for whom our panel participates in surveys through these panel exchange programs.
- Are there any legal cases pending against Speakasia Online in Singapore, India or any other jurisdiction? What are the status of such cases?
- None till date
- What recourse does the panelist have if speakasia online stops making payment to them?
- Without prejudice to their legal rights, to enforce SAOL obligations to Panelists. If banking operations are undisturbed, the company reserves in its accounts, amounts equal to estimated payments for the month, at the beginning of every month. SAOL has offered to put funds equivalent to its 2 months payouts , in an escrow account which can be used for making any payment to the panelist through its bank account.
- Recently the media said that SAOL was owned by some Podium rings international, while all this while the company had said it was promoted by 3rd generation Indian lady in Singapore, a Ms. Harender Kaur. So what is the right status? And if it is owned by Podium Rings then what does this mean for panelists?
- This is public information and is available by doing a BIZ file search at
In common with many digital and also news media companies; (The most famous example for VOIP is Skype, which was owned by an offshore company in Luxembourg for Tax Planning purposes)
Speak Asia is owned by a holding company – Podium Ring International Ltd , registered in British Virgin Islands.
Digital/New Media companies use offshore holding companies as a legitimate part of their corporate structure, which has been properly declared to ACRA at Singapore.
The Panelists are interacting daily with SAOL, its management, staff and advisers. Podium Ring is not in the picture for those interactions.
- What is a relationship between Haren Technologies and Speakasia Online? Why is SAOL’s name changed
- This is public information and is available at http://www.acra.gov.sg/
Speak Asia Online was earlier named as Haren Technology Pte. Ltd.
The name Speakasia better reflects the long-term BRAND which is being created.
- In which all countries does Speakasia Online have its presence?
- Singapore is an already well served Panel location. The SAOL operations in Singapore are limited and the panel size is very small. Thus no surveys are being done there.
In July 2011 we plan to actively acquire new panels in Singapore , Malaysia , Indonesia and Philippines for which a new office has already been acquired in Singapore (as news reporter visits have clearly shown!).
- Are the same types of surveys conducted by Speakasia Online in Singapore also?
- Being an online activity the company panelists have registered from many countries such as Australia , Singapore , Bangladesh , India , Malaysia , Phillipines , Indonesia , .. just to name a few . Full scale “in country” activities of the company have commenced in India and other will follow soon .
- Bangladesh is in the blogs why?
- The company is yet to officially start the business directly in Bangladesh and is studying the laws and other statutory requirements applicable to its model, before going there with its direct presence.
- Why Speakasia Online has stopped its working in Bangladesh?
Why are people associated with SpeakAsia in Bangladesh arrested?
- SAOL does not have any direct operations in Bangladesh and hence cannot comment upon this statement.
Also we are not aware of the pertinent facts of the case and thus would refrain ourselves from making any comment.
- What all legal actions have been taken by Speakasia Online to protect its image in India and all over the world?
- We have already approached all legal and governmental authorities in India ( such as PMO , Ministries of Finance , Company Affairs , Home Affairs and Law enforcement authorities ) through official communication for presenting our business , financial and legal framework as our PE is soon to get underway.
Further, we have engaged the best of the breed organizations in their respective fields such as Legal& IPR, Management Consulting, PR, Legal, Tax compliances, Marketing Communication, Training etc.
- Recently at a press conference, a company’s Legal Advisor said that when the company stops getting money for surveys from its Panel Exchange clients, the company will stop paying the panelists. This has apparently caused some apprehension amongst the panelists, as they feel insecure about future surveys.
- Unfortunately, this has again been misquoted and misunderstood.
In our business model, Surveys comprise 1 business element. SAOL’s company activities have already added new advertisement based surveys besides other avenues of generating income. We can assure all that Surveys will be a part of the company activities along with the new products and services to ensure continuity.
- As the company grows how does the company plan to support the panelist payments ? Survey income would never be enough therefore would the company wind up with all the money or keep going only till the panel enrollment is on; as the company’s real business is money rotation by enrollment?
- The company doesn’t run on the funds generated by the panel income as the company doesn’t charge anything to the panelist so the point of the company surviving ONLY as long as the enrollments are on is not true.
Since survey is just one of the activity that a panelist engages in and not the complete bouquet. SAOL has multiple revenue sources like:
- Panel sales (surveys)
- Direct selling
- Product sales
In future SAOL also plans to add more to its revenue source by joining hands with:
- Mobile service provider - Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO)
- TV Channels
- And many more...
- Who are SAOL’s bankers in Singapore and in India?
- At Singapore, the company was banking with United Overseas Bank (UOB) until 27/5/2011 and in India we do not have a bank account until PE set up shortly.
- The Company claimed of having a server farm and headquarters in Singapore; but on a news channel’s visit, it was found that the office has only 9 staff and that too only accountants.
And to top it all there is NO SERVER FARM. What does the company have to say about this?
Can the company come out in the open and explain this and actually tell what is the total number of personnel does SAOL have? And what are their job profiles?
- It is sheer ignorance of anyone, to expect server farms in a corporate head office.
Server farms are managed by specialized, highly secure data centre management companies. See this brief note to explain about centers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_center
Our Cloud Hosting infrastructure resides within servers in the Singapore, USA and other secure locations.
SAOL clearly explained to the visiting reporter at Singapore HO, that our server farm was co-located at a secure Managed Hosting services provider in Singapore; but the reporter insisted upon only visiting the Head Office instead. Some interested people also expected “survey farms” … well there is no term like survey farm known to us or to any other panel aggregation companies.
The 9 people in Singapore office are accountants, because Singapore is our Head office and like other web 2.0 companies, so far we didn’t need more people there. In fact, SAOL is already preparing itself for the future and has taken up another office besides the HO in Singapore. Whilst in India the company has already taken steps to set up its PE. By the year end, SAOL will have 5 Zonal offices across India.