Top 7 Free Website, Webstore, and Events Ticketing Tools

If you’re just starting out your online business or are looking to create a new website, you likely know that success is nowhere near guarantee and you may therefore be hesitant to invest a substantial amount of money into your online platform. However, luckily for you, there are many free website builders, webstore builders, and activity booking/event planning tools on the market that you can explore!

1. Shopline

One of the major names in webstore building is Shopline. You can customize the appearance of your shop by first choosing from pre-made themes then using drag and drop design to change up the elements. When listing products for sale, there are a few features that stand out like the ability to import products from your instagram page’s photos, the option to set up pre-orders, and the ability to remind customers when a product is almost out of stock. Other built-in tools include membership tiers, coupons, promotions, and store credit. If you wish to further push products, you can have a shopping cart-add on that suggest products to customers, and if they leave a cart without completing the order, Shopline includes abandoned cart reminders. Once orders have been placed, businesses can use Shopline’s order management system which includes delivery tracking. In order to help businesses assess how to improve, there also are analytics and marketing tools (like SEO). As you would want from any webstore, Shopline builds secure websites. If needed, businesses can also reach out to Shopline’s support team for assistance.

In terms of cost, Shopline isn’t fully free. It only provides a 30-day free trial. After that, you must choose from one of their three plans (ranging in price from USD $310-1,780 per year).

Visit: https://shoplineapp.com/

2. Wix

Wix is another of the big names in web design, and it can be used to create both websites as well as webstores. Users simply choose a template based on what best fits their needs (whether it be for a blog, an online shop, event management, offline business creating an online platform, etc.) and customize with drag and drop design. If they wish to do so, users can also use ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) to aid the process.

As an added bonus, all websites and stores made with Wix area already mobile view optimized. They also come with a custom domain and email, however the domain will be a Wix domain unless you choose a paid package. There are built-in features for email-marketing, analytics tools, personalized SEO plans, and SSL certified security. Other standout features include the option to create member logins (for member-only pages).

For webstores, there are the standard elements like product listing with coupon and discount options, order tracking, inventory management, as well as more advanced onlines like customized shipping and tax for different regions of the world. You can also set up an online store for drop shipping and multichannel sales.

If you are setting up online booking, sales are commission free and auto-reminder emails are sent to customers. Wix caters its features to a range of business, offering, for example, online ordering and reservations for restaurants. If users need assistance, they can get in touch with Wix’s support team or ask questions through the live chat. Lastly, you can also create web apps with Corvid by Wix.

Wix has a free option as well as four other plans ranging from USD $13-39 per month. Upgrading plans comes with benefits like removed Wix ads, increased bandwidth and storage, more add-on like visitor analytics, event alanders, and site boosters.

Visit: https://www.wix.com/

3. Weebly

Weebly can be used to build both websites and webstores. As with many other website and store creators, users can fully customizable pre-designed themes with drag and drop. Weebly, however, also allows its users to customize by going through the html/css script. All created sites are SSL secure, include integrated analytics, social media marketing, SEO, emailing marketing, website search, and abandoned cart reminders, and they are SSL secure. Users can transfer an existing domain or buy one form Weebly. For webstores, Weebly offers product listing and organization, advanced inventory and supply tracking, coupons and gift cards, the option to set up customer reviews, and checkout with a fully-integrated shopping cart and automatic tax calculator. There are also tools for both domestic and international shipping. If users encounter confusion or troubles, they can seek help through 24/7 email and chat support.

Weebly’s most basic plan is free, and it has three others ranging from USD $6-26. If users wish to connect a custom domain, they will have to purchase a plan. When users pay for a plan, they gain advantages like the ability to sell digital items, access to unlimited storage, phone support, advanced ecommerce insights, more customer payment options, and the removal of ads.

Visit: https://www.weebly.com/hk?lang=en

3. WordPress

WordPress is one of the world’s most-used website builders. It uses customizable, mobile-friendly themes that are customizable with drag and drop. WordPress offers built-in SEO, Google Analytics, and Mailchimp tools, and users can further add on with limitless plugins for whatever other needs or wants they may have. Webstores set up with WordPress include all the standard features, as well as options to accept one-time or recurring payments and to do international transactions. If needed, businesses can find help from WordPress’s support team through 1-1 QuickStart sessions as well as live chat or email.

WordPress does have a free plan, but many features are reserved for the four paid ones. For example, custom domains, access to live chat and email support, custom ccs, google analytics, custom plugins, the removal of ads, unlimited products, and the ability to accept payment from a wider range of countries all requires a purchased plan. WordPress’s plans, however, aren’t expensive. The cheapest is only USD $4 per month, and they max out at $45 per month.

Visit: https://wordpress.com/

4. Eventbrite

Eventbrite is used primarily for online event booking. There is a built-in payment process and event managers can view analytics for purchases that are made. While users can’t customize event listing on Eventbriteitself too much, Eventbrite allows users to embed checkout on their own sites or to create custom branded websites (although only with higher transaction cost plans). Eventbrite offers built-in payment processing, analytics, and support. It also has features aimed at both online and in-person events. For example, it offers equipment rentals, staffing and logistic assistance, and mobile ticket scanning for in-person events.

Free tickets sold on the site are always free for the event manager, however, for paid tickets there are three different available packages. One charges a fee of 2% + USD $0.79 per ticket sold, one charges, 3.5% + USD $1.59, and one has a custom option. Packages with higher cuts include more benefits like customizable checkout forms and product training. The fee can be absorbed by either the event manager or passed onto the ticket purchaser.

Visit: https://www.eventbrite.hk/

5. Ticket2u

Another option for online ticketing and event management is Ticket2u. Users can create event listings, customizing with discount and promo codes and registration and reservation forms,  and after customers purchase tickets, they can organize the event with participant management, seating charts, stock inventory control, event reminder emails, and more. Management is also made easier with a dedicated organizer page. Ticket2u additionally provides the option to embed a listing on other sites.

Listing events is free, but there is a handling fee for each ticket sale. Typically, this fee is 6% of the ticket price, but for charitable events the fee is lowered to 5%. Organizers can choose to absorb the fee and pay for it themselves, pass it off to customers and avoid the additional cost, or split it between themselves and their customers.

Visit: https://www.ticket2u.com.my/

6. GoBuddy

Talking about simplicity and the new trend observant, GoBuddy offers a full online business suite that effortlessly combines product selling, ticketing, bookings, and webinars all in one place.

Without any plugins and coding, anyone can simply register an account and setup own webpage in seconds. GoBuddy provides its customers with a management portal where they can list products and activities, send guests and customers messages, arrange deliveries, and set up automatic billings.

For added convenience, GoBuddy includes software for webinars and virtual activities so users who register for events created with GoBuddy don’t have to download another streaming app or program. GoBuddy also provides unlimited time for virtual activities, allowing for more freedom and comfort as there is no restrictive time limit.

In addition, GoBuddy also allows users to create bundling combinations between products and events. There is also a matching portal where users can connect with other merchants to cross-sell among each other.

The basic plan, which includes all ecommerce and booking software features, is always free, but there is the option to upgrade to the builder plan for HKD 99 per month (about USD $12.50). With this upgrade, users can accept online payments, create discounts, larger shipment networks, live shopping, and access to the matching portal for cross-selling.

Visit https://www.gobuddy.asia for account registration.

Join demos sessions with GoBuddy now

For any inquiry, feel free to contact hi@gobuddy.asia.

If you are thinking of starting a business, or if you need a digital solution for your business, simply send us an email, let GoBuddy transform your business journey!

Email: hi@gobuddy.asia

Website: www.gobuddy.asia  

Top 1O Tools for Online Business

Facebook Shop

A relatively new addition to the popular social media platform Facebook, Facebook Shop provides a market in which to sell physical products. Rather than creating their own website, businesses (and individuals) can post products on Facebook Shop to be bought by customers, something they can do without having to leave the app.

Facebook Shop promotes the idea that this method of combining social media and shopping encourages discovery and hobby shopping through the Marketplace page which shows an assortment of products for users to explore. There is no limit to the number of products sellers can add, and they are all listed in a catalog that shows each item’s name, description, price, pictures, availability, and inventory among other things. Sellers can also organize their products into categories for customers to browse through. If customers have any questions, they can message the business’s pages with their questions. 

Currently, Facebook doesn’t charge a fee for conducting sales on their platform or take a cut unless businesses choose to use Facebook’s “Checkout” feature rather than another e-commerce software to accept payment. The fee for doing so is %5 per shipment or a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments worth $8.00 or less. Sellers on Facebook Shop can also see commerce analysis in terms of both overall trends and shop performance as well as insight into individual products. As a whole, Facebook Shop provides an easy way to enter the market without creating an entirely new, dedicated website.

Instagram Shop

Like Facebook Shop, Instagram Shop feature is a fairly recent development in the world of ecommerce. The new feature aims to make selling feel more accessible, especially for small businesses. Sellers must set themselves up as a business account and connect their Instagram page to a Facebook page with a catalog of their products for sale. Businesses can then tag their products (physical goods only) in photos, videos, and stories, making all posts an opportunity to market their goods in a more attractive and engaging format than most typical display methods while curating a feel for their store.

When customers clink a tag, a link brings them to the business’s store website where customers can find the product for sale and actually purchase it. Instagram Shop is working towards in-app checkout (they are currently trying a closed beta version in the US) that will have a transaction fee. However, they have not stated what the fee will be yet.

Business accounts on Instagram can also view analysis like weekly interactions, reach, impressions, and follower growth, as well as analysis on the performance of posts, stories, and promotions.

Shopify

Shopify is a subscription based software service that assists businesses in website creation and products sales, shipment, and management. It simplifies the website building process for those without prior experience or coding knowledge, allowing business owners to simply choose from a selection of both free and paid themes (these determine the website’s overall look) then customize the final appearance with drag and drop web design elements. A new “Express” theme was recently designed to help traditionally offline businesses create online stores quickly and easily. Businesses can then post their products along with descriptions (Shopify’s software even supports the use of video and 3D images) and organize them into collections by style, item, etc. Shipping costs and taxes can be toggled on and off from being included in the listed price. The software also gives customers product recommendations.

Shopify websites can be linked to Instagram and Facebook Shop accounts and products can be listed on Amazon and Ebay. Further supporting the expansion of businesses’ markets, the software allows websites to be displayed in multiple currencies and languages.

Loyalty and promotion options are also integrated into the cart for easy discount setup. There are many paygates that businesses can choose to set up on their websites, and checkout and payment can either be done onsite or offsite. A new tipping feature was recently added as well. Once customers place an order, they can track it on Shopify’s package tracking app Shop. If businesses wish to, they can test their order system and place mock orders as if they are customer’s themselves.

Shopify’s own transaction fees are separate from the transaction fees charged by each paygate (although Shopify Payments, if used as a paygate, has no transaction fee) though, so businesses will have to pay an additional 0.5-2% fee depending on the plan they have. There is also a $0.30 credit card fee for online purchases.

The software uses google analytics to provide unified analysis that blends in-person and online sales.

Shopify has three main different prices levels (costing USD $29, $79, and $299 per month), as well as Shopify Plus designed for enterprises and Shopify Lite (which costs USD $9 per month for minimal transformation. The software doesn’t include a domain so businesses also have to either buy a domain from Shopify or a third party. Third-party domains will have to be redirected, but Shopify’s URL structure is not ideal for Search Engine Optimization though.

If businesses don’t wish to design a whole new website, they can use Shopify’s software to simply add a buy button to any type of website (like Squarespace or WordPress, for example).

Boutir

Boutir is an “all-in-one” minimalist shop interface and design mobile app targeting South East Asia. Each store is assigned a unique URL for their site which is both app and web accessible. Establishing a store on the app does not require any design or technological knowledge, and they advertise a three minute set-up time. Businesses can upload products and customers can place orders through a comprehensive transaction system. Selling pages can be incorporated in any website, Facebook page, or blog post. The app offers the option to include loyalty-based promotions, shipping and order discounts during checkout. If a customer leaves items in their cart, they’ll receive follow up encouraging them to finish their transaction to reduce abandoned carts. Other than this reminder, there is no communication channel with customers which is one drawback. After orders are placed, the app supports delivery status checks. In addition to the typical commerce features, Boutir also hosts a blogging platform.

The app provides each store with analytics reports integrated from Google Analytics. For the benefit of business owners, Boutir also holds free online workshops and sells HKD $50 hour long professional e-commerce phone consultations.

There are multiples price levels for businesses looking to sell on the app. There is a free option, but it is limited to 20 transactions a month and 3 product categories so more serious sellers will likely have to pay more for the HKD 988$, 2488$, or 5988$ per year options. Businesses can also choose to pay by month, but for year-long purchases are cheaper. Boutir doesn’t have transaction or listing fees, but there is a 15% commission on online ads spending.

Shopline

Shopline allows businesses to bring themselves online to the market of e-commerce.  It advertises itself as an “omni-channel platform” with “cross-border services” that makes establishing an online storefront a breeze. Businesses design their website using base themes and drag and drop elements, and a set-up workshop is offered for those who want. Businesses can apply for a free custom domain or, if they already have one, utilize free domain transfer services. They can also upload information from an Instagram Store with a  one-click import.

The platform has a complete product and order management system. Customers have the ability to leave custom notes for purchases and split orders, and store owners set up loyalty and spending level-based discounts. Businesses can also view reports of customer information, order histories, and product transactions, as well as see important metrics of their sales like daily traddice, sales, new orders, top products, and delivery stats. Shopline also offers integration and access to other marketing tools and trackers like Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, and Instagram. Shopline also has their own online marketing academy and does Search Engine Optimization.

Multi-language and multi-currency switches mean businesses can sell globally more easily, and this international ease is supported by multiple delivery options (both local and overseas) and multiple payment options (including both domestic and foreign credit cards).

There is zero commission and no transaction fees. The only costs are the flat monthly or annual fees, and the annual plans are 10% cheaper than the monthly plans. Depending on the option, the year-long plans are priced at US $310, $910, or $1780.

Eventbrite

Eventbrite is a platform that assists with the selling of tickets for events. Sellers can collect registrations and sell tickets directly on their own websites or apps with custom payment forms or sell on the Eventbrite website itself.

Organizers can set up private or public events in three different categories: classic, new, and Eventbrite Music. Some features are available only for certain types (for example, add-ons like merchandise and parking passes are available only for Eventbrite Music and new).  Once organizers have created an event, they can send out order forms to communicate and collect information from attendees, create custom order confirmation, enable waitlists, manually add attendees to the guest list, and allow ticket/event transfers. They also have the ability to set a refund policy and choose payment options (including currency). If necessary, events can be canceled or rescheduled.

Eventbrite also works with promotional tools like social media integration and email invitations to allow organizers to increase awareness of their events. Customers can also browse for events on the Eventbrite website themselves (where they are all listed, each with a custom URL link), and when they register, they are automatically sent messages with necessary information and updates.

Organizers can look at all their orders as well as their Eventbrite data in real-time, including at total sales and relevant analytics, with customized reports.

Selling tickets through Eventbrite is always free if the tickets are free themselves, but organizers are charged a fee each time they sell a paid ticket (the price of which depends on the organizer’s package). However, if organizers wish to, they can pass along the fee costs to the event attendees and the fee will be added onto the ticket price. With the essentials package, the fees are 2% + USD $0.79 per paid ticket and with the Professional package, the fees is 3.5% + USD $1.59 per paid ticket. The pricing for the Premium package is custom. Higher level packages include benefits like one-stie staffing support, rental equipment, and product training. There are alternative payment processors for non-profits.

GoBuddy

GoBuddy provides intelligence collaboration software with a full online business suite that integrates e-commerce, events ticketing and appointment bookings, online webinars and upselling bundles. It particularly helps individuals, micro and small businesses to launch their business online at the lowest possible cost and be part of their buddy community that aims to foster collaborations and co-generate cross-selling together. 

It’s an extremely simple-to-use tool that separates clearly between landing pages and online business web pages. Users can use website builders like Wix and Squarespace for their landing pages, while all business web pages can be powered by the software. Users can gain access to all the sales data in the portal, and can easily optimize their marketing and performances across different services offered in their online business. This is a great way to save large setup and operation costs.   If a business doesn’t already have a website, they can purchase website setup from GoBuddy from HKD $2000. In addition to selling on their own webpages, sellers can list their products on GoBuddy’s free-to-use marketplace.

There is no limit on the products listings and events ticketing. For online activities, there is no time limitation and the software comes equipped with basic video conferencing tools so businesses don’t have to pay for professional video conferencing platforms. Guests can join online events directly from online too without the hassle of downloading an app either. All businesses are shown data analytics and insights, and they have an unlimited time right to this information in their GoBuddy account. 

For checkout, GoBuddy provides businesses with multiple local payment gateway options, and after customer pay they are automatically sent receipts, reminders, updates, and other  important information. 

Bundling will enable customers to put their products on sale with events ticketing, or other way around. GoBuddy is also offering a great service for users to access GoBuddy’s merchant ecosystem to cross-sell their products and services among each other. This is the true value that GoBuddy believes for fostering collaborations. 

There are three different price tiers available to most businesses: basic (free), builder (HKD $99 per month), and business (HKD $349 per month). Paid plans will unlock more features such as cross-sell, online payment options, discount creation and market visibility.  Businesses can get in contact for customization or enterprise level solutions. 

Businesses can also always add on digital marketing (which can cost HKD $70-250 per month) or social media management (which costs HKD $2000 per month and includes the premium digital marketing plan). Always free though is the option to schedule a 15 minute demos of how to use GoBuddy.

BigCommerce

Big commerce is a software ecommerce platform. It has among the most built-in features of any ecommerce platform out there as well as exceptional Search Engine Optimization, however, it has a steeper learning curve for beginners. While users can choose from customizable, premade themes that automatically format to desktop, mobile, and tablet screens, the tech terminology during the design process can be difficult to understand and the editor can be difficult to navigate. On the other hand, it may be more challenging for businesses to design their stores, but this is because almost every feature is already built-in so users aren’t reliant on downloading apps to add on extra features they desire. If businesses prefer, they can still build their site on WordPress.

Businesses can sell physical, digital, and service-based products on their sites, and customers can pay with dozens of digital wallets like Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, PayPal One Touch and more. If needed, customers can later initiate returns and refunds through their accounts. Sellers can also integrate with amazon, ebay, facebook, instagram, and brick and mortar stores and, after doing so, easily switch between storefront. 

Among the features offered, businesses can create subsets of customer groups for marketing and custom pricing, decide bulk pricing, and set up quote management. For user ease, BigCommerce also automates sales taxes, accepts many currencies, allows cross-border shipping, and has multi-language translation. Additionally, businesses are provided with impressive data reporting tools.

With the Standard plan, the cost USD $29.95 per month with a 2.9% + $0.30 processing fee for debit and credit cards. The Plus plan costs $79.95 each month with a 2.5% + $0.30 processing fee. And the Pro plan costs $249.95 per month with a processing fee of 2.2% + $0.30. Each plan has a yearly income threshold, and if businesses exceed the threshold, they have to upgrade their plan. There is also an Enterprise level plan for VIP service, but businesses must contact BigCommerce for price quotes.

Businesses can also purchase launch services (including: Solutions Architecting, Data Migration Services, Implementation Project Management, and Enterprise Launch Coach) and success services (including: Technical Account Management, Enterprise Account Management, Education Services, Enterprise Growth Coach).

Wix

Wix assists with website creation for both businesses and other purposes. The website builder asks users first who they are building the website for (themselves, a client, their workplace, or someone else) and then what kind of website they would like to create (options include business, blog, portfolio, fitness, and more) so it can pre-optimize the site before presenting it for customization. -Choose who you are building a website for (self, client, company you work for, someone else), and what kind of website (so it can pre-optimize for you, not just business, can be blog portfolio fitness events etc.) After the Wix generates the base template, businesses choose a theme and design, curate their homepage options, and use drag and drop elements to customize the look. They can also choose from an array feature that they would like to include on their site, from a chat to cookings to a blog to an instagram feed. Wix shows how websites look in on mobile and desktop so businesses can accordingly make adjustments for each format. Additionally, if users already have a website or Google Place listing they would like to use the information from, they have the option to import it. Users can either go through this process with Artificial Design Intelligence taking the lead on site design before making adjustments at the end, or they can do it all themselves. If users still need assistance, Wix provides a getting-started walk-through.

Using Wix websites, online shops can sell an unlimited number of products (both physical and digital), track payments, set shipping rates, receive online payments, and sell on Facebook and Instagram. The Wix app also allows for mobile management of sales.

The Wix dashboard shows an overview of the whole website and its metrics, and online stores can add apps that assist with business like marketing helpers and Search Engine Optimization.

There are several price levels, and they differ for whether the created website includes an online store or not. There is a free plan, but it is limited and users cannot launch an online store or connect to Google Analytics. For websites without a store, there are USD $13, $17, $22, and $35 per month plans. Businesses planning on running a store, however, will have to pay for a plan costing $23, $27, $59, or $500 per month. These prices are based on year-long subscriptions as it is cheaper to make a long term purchase than to pay for Wix’s services by the month.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce provides the service of turning WordPress websites into fully functional e-commerce stores. In fact, it is the most popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress. Using WooCommerce, businesses can design an entirely new store, build off an old store, or add just a single product.

If users have a website already, WooCommerce can accommodate with any design or theme it may already have, but users have the additional option to switch to WooCommerce-optimized themes. Using WooCommerce, businesses design their shop, cart, checkout, and my account pages first before setting up the locale, compiled information on the business origin, currency, and preferred units for sales. They also have the option to add extensions like payment gateways, shipping extensions, accounting extensions, bookings, subscriptions, EU VAT numbers, and more. As WooCommerce works with WordPress, WooCommerce-created websites can simultaneously use other WordPress plugins such as YoAst Search Engine Optimization and WooCommerce Multilingual.

On WooCommerce, businesses can sell practically anything from physical products to digital ones to services to bookings, and they manage order, track sales, and monitor store activity. This can all be done both online and through the WooCommerce app.

WooCommerce also has a neat tax module that assists with tax rate calculations based on store location. With WooCommerce Payments, customers can pay directly without leaving the store, however, this payment method is currently available only to U.S.-based merchants.

Using the website builder is free and it is open-source, however, there are fees starting from 2.9% + USD $0.39 per transition for U.S.-issued cards, and businesses have to have a domain and hosting service, both of which they have to purchase, to utilize its services. Themes, plugins, extension, and develops can all have associated fees as well. In addition to monetary costs, setting up and maintaining the system will cost time. WooCommerce requires installation and doesn’t handle updates in the background for you like other e-commerce solutions so focusing on your business isn’t quite as effortless.

9 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT RAMADAN MUBARAK 關於穆斯林齋戒月 – 九件你不得不知的事

This year Ramadan begins on Thursday, April 23 and ends on Saturday, May 23. They will celebrate Eid Al-Fitr after that.
今年的穆斯林齋戒月(Ramadan)從4月23日開始,將持續30天,直到5月23日為止,然後就舉行開齋節(Eid Al-Fitr).

Ramadan is an annual event for Muslim believers. There are 1.6 billion Muslim believers in the world, and it is one of the three major religions in the world. This means that there is one Muslim out of 5 people.
齋戒月是穆斯林信眾年度盛事,全球有16億穆斯林信眾,為世界三大宗教之一,這意味著5個人之中就有一個穆斯林。

The following 9 things about Ramadan that you should know:
以下關於齋戒月9件小知識報你知:

1. What are being practiced? 這個月穆斯林會做什麼?

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. During this time, Muslims do not let any food or drink pass their lips during daylight hours.
齋戒月(Ramadan)是伊斯蘭曆法第9個月,在這個月裡穆斯林信眾從日出到日落之間不可進食.

2. Who do not have to fast? 什麼人不需要守齋?

Pregnant women, travellers, elderly people, patients, breastfeeding mothers, menstrual women and young children do not have to fast.
孕婦、旅人、老人、病人、餵母乳的母親、月經期女性及幼童可以不用守齋。

3. What cannot be done during this period? 這段時間不能夠做什麼?

During the month of Ramadan, believers are not allowed to smoke, drink alcohol, lie, fast, abstain from intimate behavior, and prohibit all disputes and wars.
齋戒月裡白天信眾不可抽煙、禁飲酒、禁說謊、禁食,戒親密行為,也禁止一切紛爭與戰爭。

4. Any special circumstance / exception? 是否有任何特殊狀況?

If you are unable to fast for special reasons during Ramadan, you can come back every other day. You must finish it within one month after the end of Ramadan.
若齋戒月裡因特殊原因無法禁食,可以隔日重來,最晚必須齋月結束後一個月內完成。

5. Why Fasting? 為什麼要有齋月?

“Fasting” is one of the “five merits” in Islamic teachings, including recitation, rites, fasting, lessons, and dynasties. They are chanting the mantra, praying 5 times a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan, fasting from sunrise to sunset, charitable donations and praying to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.
「齋戒」是伊斯蘭教義裡「五功」之一,包含唸、禮、齋、課、朝。分別是念清真言、一日祈禱5次、在齋戒月,從日出到日落間禁食、慈善捐贈及一生至少到麥加朝拜一次。

Those who have completed the five functions in their lifetime can be identified with the name “Ha only” in front of their names, meaning “pilgrimage”
而有生之年裡完成五功者,可在其名前冠以「哈只」表明身份,意為「朝覲者」

6. What if it’s not being practiced? 不遵守會如何?

In some Muslim countries, eating in public during the fasting month may result in penalties.
在一些穆斯林國家,齋戒月裡白天在公共場合進食可能導致處罰。

7. What are the meanings of Ramadan? 開齋月的意義在哪裡?

The purpose of Ramadan is to reflect, rebirth, and return to purity. Through Ramadan, we rethink the relationship between the individual and God, sympathize with the poor and those in need, volunteer to do good, and read the Quran.
齋戒月的用意在於反省、重生並回歸純淨,透過齋戒月重新省思個人與神之間的關係,對需要幫助的窮人與有需要的人感到同情,自願行善,並多讀古蘭經。

8. Can they work during fasting? 禁食期間可以工作嗎?

Believers still work as usual during fasting, and will not eat until the evening prayer is finished.
禁食期間信徒仍然照常工作,直到日落行完晚禱才會進食。

9. What happens after Ramadan? 封齋結束後有慶祝嗎?

Eid al-Fitr is the celebration of the end of the fasting month. This festival day marks the first day of the next month called Shawwal. Eid al-Fitr is marked with a big feast, the exchanging of gifts and celebrations and is also known as the Festival of Breaking Fast.
在30天的封齋結束後隔天便是「開齋節(Eid al-Fitr)」,連續進行三天,信徒與朋友家人聚集一起吃大餐。

The importance of Eid al-Fitr is equivalent to the Chinese New Year. If you meet Muslim friends, do n’t forget to wish them a “Eid Mubarak (Happy Eid Mubarak!)” During Eid al-Fitr.
開齋節受重視的程度相當於華人的過年。如果你遇到了穆斯林的朋友,在開齋節這幾日,別忘了祝福他們一聲「Eid Mubarak(開齋節愉快!)」​

Reference:
1. https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/1272942/eid-2020-when-is-eid-al-fitr-this-year-eid-greeting-happy-eid-Mubarak

2. https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/ch/news/3431049

About the Author 關於作者
Isaac Kow is the Founder and CEO of GoBuddy, a cloud-software company incubated by Cyberport Hong Kong. Born and raised in Malaysia, he has been immersed in diversified culture and experience Ramadan during his school time (in particular) with his teachers and classmates.

[COVID-19] HKSAR’s Policy to Foster Digital Transformation

COVID-19 has great caused global impact both positively and negatively. Negatively speaking, it’s a huge tsunami for a lot of traditional businesses. Positively speaking, it’s a huge opportunity for digital businesses.

It’s going to be a change and there will be a new way of spending and lifestyle in the future. It simply means it’s the time for digital transformation.

Hong Kong has no exception, and thanks to its great treasury reserves, Hong Kong is still able to survive and offer different subsidy schemes and policies that favour and help businesses to sustain in the market.

Recently, the Secretary of Innovation and Technology Bureau has also announced the HKD 500 million D-Biz scheme for 6 months period to support Hong Kong enterprises work from home. The businesses to be supported include online stores, e-marketing, cyber-security, remote document management, remote team management, and virtual meeting.

Application starts in May. This is a motivating measure and it’s a great opportunity to foster digital transformation.

GoBuddy is ready to be part of this journey, as we are offering a full 3-in-1 digital software suite for checkout solutions integrated with e-commerce, e-booking and community building in one single platform.

The original post by the Innovation and Technology Bureau can be referred to: https://www.itb.gov.hk/en/blog/2020/bg_20200419.html. Only in Chinese.

創科抗疫 轉危為機

受疫情影響,學生要在家學習、企業須在家辦工,對不同行業帶來衝擊。然而,有危亦有機,某些行業如電子商貿、金融科技等,業務逆流而上;最近有報道一間連鎖商店,業務慘淡,但經開拓線上銷售平台,生意終見起色;而科學園、數碼港的創科企業最近亦逆市招聘約2000個新職位。創新科技不單可用於防疫抗疫,亦是幫助各行各業創出生路、撐過疫情的關鍵。

我們在第二輪防疫抗疫基金下,推出為期六個月、為數五億元的「遙距營商計劃」(D-Biz),透過特快批核,資助企業利用創新與科技,在疫情期間開拓遙距業務,創造新的價值、新的能力、新的機遇,轉危為機。

例如零售店舖在疫情下生意冷清,可透過計劃發展電子商務;餐飲業在市民減少聚集的情況下受到重創,可利用資助開拓網上外賣餐飲服務、增設流動電子支付;教育中心可開設線上課程、診所可設置網上應診等。只要是有助於遙距營商的科技應用,不論是設置網店(online stores)、進行網上營銷(e-marketing)、強化網絡安全(cybersecurity)、或是方便在家工作的遙距文件管理系統(remote document management)、遙距團隊管理(remote team management)、網上會議(virtual meeting)等,購買和採用科技方案及相關培訓的開支,我們都會全額資助。每個方案連同培訓開支的資助最多10萬元,而每間公司(上市公司、法定機構和接受公帑資助的非政府機構除外)可獲最多30萬元總額資助。

為確保快速批核及協助企業盡快啟動相關科技方案,應對疫情打擊,我們將提供已核准的資訊科技方案及服務供應商清單。市場上具經驗提供與遙距營商科技方案有關的專業服務供應商,也可申請加入清單。

生產力促進局會擔任是次計劃的秘書處,並採用快速批核方式,申請資料和所需文件齊備後,大約10個工作天內可通知申請結果。計劃會於5月開始接受申請,預期將可惠及超過3000間企業,本港創科業界和各行各業都可受惠。

支援業界,除了直接資助如減租免租,我們更著重給業界多點機會、多些生意,推動創科應用落地,業界長做長有,創造業界和社會都受惠的雙贏方案。就如我們上月推出的「公營機構試用計劃」募集支持防疫抗疫的本地科技產品和應用,反應非常踴躍,共收到超過330個方案,包括抗病毒塗層、自動探熱機械人及抗病毒衣物等。我們正全速進行審批,很快就可以在不同的公營機構試用。

我相信,善用創科絕對可以幫助香港、幫助不同行業在疫情的陰霾下闖出新天地,轉危為機。

Top 5 Free & Useful Video Conferencing Tools for Online Classes, Workshops, Seminars & Meetings

During the recent outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus, a large number of tours, events and activities that require physical interaction have been cancelled. Inevitably, this has negatively affected the economy, particularly in Hong Kong, after the first impact during the 6-month social movement happened in June 2019. 

GoBuddy recommends the possibilities of getting some classes and workshops online, and we would like to share our insights and research in this area. We have identified 5 online video conferencing software, which we think are suitable for application in different scenarios. 

Here is a summary: 

ProductSubscription MethodDescription
1ZoomFree for first 40 minSuitable for interactive activities & meetings for up to 100 people. Shareable link, and sometimes may require download zoom app or the software to continue successfully. 
2SkypeFree for up to 50 pplSuitable for interactive activities & meetings without time limit. Embedded in the browser and do not necessarily need the app and software to be downloaded to connect. 
3Google Hangouts Free without limit Suitable for interactive activities without time limit. But it requires users to be connected with Google Calendar. 
4YouTube LiveFree without limit Suitable for minimal interaction to focus on the host, and the guests can just leave comments. 
5RemoPaid plan Suitable for large activities and conferences with rooms simulation, enabling interactive sessions and networking. It’s basically exactly the same as those networking sessions and conferences, but things are brought online. 

Setting Up Zoom 

Zoom is a video conferencing based software that was designed to promote collaboration via an innovative integrated system featuring web conference, group messaging and online meetings.

Setting Up Skype

Skype is a software application, which comes with powerful text, voice and video tools, providing users with a simple way to share experiences with others, no matter their location.

Setting Up Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a communication software product developed by Google. Originally a feature of Google+, Hangouts became a stand-alone product in 2013, when Google also began integrating features from Google+ Messenger and Google Talk into Hangouts.

Setting Up YouTube Live

YouTube Live is an easy way to reach your audience in real time. Whether you’re streaming a video game, hosting a live Q&A, or teaching a class, our tools will help you manage your stream and interact with viewers in real time. There are a few ways you can live stream on YouTube.

Setting Up Remo

Made by a remote team, Remo makes it dead simple to create a delightful, immersive virtual space that empowers people to communicate, connect, and collaborate with each other just like they would in real life.

When you enter a space in Remo, you will see a top-down, 2-D map view of an event venue, virtual office, conference, or school, full of interactive “rooms.” Each room hosts an always-on video chat for occupants of a room, making it easy for collaborators to pop in and out of conversations with ease.

To summarize, we recommend Skype > Zoom > Google Hangouts for simple workshops and classes that you wish to bring online.

References:
1. https://hc.services/zoom-meetings/difference-google-hangouts-zoom-meetings/

The Power of Community: 6 Reasons Why We Need Each Other

Alone, we can do so little; Together, we can do so much.

Helen Keller

Having worked for nearly 7 years upon university graduation, I still remember how we have been taught about the importance of teamwork. As engineers, we are always trained on how to deliver a project in a team, and always a lot of skills have to be equipped in the team. At university, we always needed to get involved in different projects, and hence teamwork is another essence to success.

I have always come in my mind for another interesting concept – What about Community? Other than specific skill sets, how do we value community? I think community is far beyond teamwork. Technically speaking, teamwork is when we have a team and we need to achieve something, and we need to work together on that, that’s why team + work is the combination. But for community, I see that it’s part of our daily life, something more emotional and humanized, compared to teamwork.

There is a trend about community, from my experience. When I was working as engineer, it’s about an engineering community, where the engineers will gather and support each other across technical, knowledge and project needs. When I was a non-local student, it’s about an international student community that supports each other needs in Hong Kong. When I am currently an entrepreneur, it’s about another level of community that supports us in networking, business opportunities and more. One typical example is Cyberport Hong Kong.

So to me, community has made me seen things differently, that I am not alone, but there are always different communities that are here to support each other together. I wish to share the power of community referencing from one of the articles I found in the other blog posts.

The Power of Community

Here are 6 powerful reasons not to go it alone:

1. Collective wisdom. No one person ever has all of the answers, and regardless of the amount of Google-fu you may have, consulting with experts is always going to give you better information.

2. Pushing our limits. When working alone, it’s oftentimes too easy to give up when things get hard. By surrounding yourself with others working toward a similar goal or objective, you’ll get motivation, support, and friendly competition to push yourself just a bit further than you would have done on your own.

3. Support and belief. Some days those big goals just seem impossible. On those days when you most want to give up, you need to lean on your community the most. They believe in you—probably more than you belief in yourself.

4. New ideas. I truly believe that when you are working within a community of like-minded people that the wisdom of crowds is considerably greater than any one person working alone. Our divergent world views and lenses mean that we all approach the exact same problem slightly differently.

5. Borrowed motivation. Even on those days when your belief in yourself isn’t waning, doing what needs to get done can seem overwhelming. Look around your community and be inspired!

6. Accountability. If you’re an uber-responsible person, you may not want to admit to people you care about who are pulling for you that something didn’t get done. There’s nothing like having to be accountable to others to up your game.

Allowing others to help is hard, but it ultimately raises everyone’s game, and suddenly that summit isn’t nearly so far off.

Free Software for Creating & Managing Bookings of Your Private Activities

My founders and I have always been wild about exploring new activities around us – something authentic, true and interesting that we are looking for.

We are always struggling about creating some private gatherings – sometimes we may want to make them public to invite some new friends, and expand our network. However, it’s not easy to find such free software that allows us to do so.

Therefore we have developed and created the GoBuddy, for anyone who wants to create your own activities – such as tours, classes, workshops, private events…. while trying to find a great value software that you hope can also help you to manage your bookings, other than relying on Google Form, then GoBuddy a great choice.

We are new generation and we love having and joining communities. Communities – for us, are the place we can meet new people. We hope to join some activities before joining the communities, hence offering flexibility.

We do believe everyone can be great community builders, because it’s part of our life anyway.

Using GoBuddy is extremely simple – the only thing we all need is just to create an account, and then private gatherings and events can be kick-started easily.