Citizens' Issues
Speak Asia says, "Sorry, cannot 'disclose' anything"

At a specially called ‘damage control’ press conference in Mumbai, Speak Asia officials refuse to divulge any details unless journalists sign a non-disclosure agreement with them. The officials also apologise for mentioning the names of ICICI Bank, Bata, Nestle and Bharti Airtel as their clients

Speak Asia (SpeakAsiaonline.com), the online survey company engaged in multi-level marketing (MLM) to spread its network across the country, on Monday said that it could not disclose specific information regarding its business. The company's top officials told a press conference in Mumbai, the first time the company has called such a media meet, that unless the journalists present sign a non-disclosure agreement with them, Speak Asia could not divulge details like the names of its clients and financials. (View the video of the press conference at 01.07.56, at the end of this report.)

Manoj Kumar, the company's chief executive for India, apologised for naming ICICI Bank, Bata, Nestle, Bharti Airtel and ING Vyasa Bank as Speak Asia's clients. "Taking the names of these organisations was a factual error on the part of our chief marketing officer Vivek Gautam and I apologise on behalf of Speak Asia," Mr Kumar said. He, however, said that during the initial period of operations, Speak Asia had worked on these brands, although the service was not commissioned by these institutions.

Throughout the press conference, all the company's officials, including Mr Kumar, president for emerging markets, Narayanan Rajagopalan and chief marketing officer Vivek Gautam, refused to answer any of the questions put by journalists in a simple 'yes' or 'no' manner. Mr Kumar repeatedly diverted the focus of the specific questions that led the media people to ask him to answer with a simple 'yes' or 'no'.

To date, Speak Asia does not have any registered office or registration of any kind in India. Today, the officials also failed to clarify the authority under which the company operates. All they pointed to were some generic documents and circulars of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other authorities. Mr Rajagopalan said, "We are setting up a permanent establishment in India from 1st August and set up five offices across the country by the end of 2011."

Denying that Speak Asia is an MLM operator, he said that the company is neither a survey company nor a marketing company in the broad sense, but it was a 'precision' marketing services (panel) provider. While Mr Rajagopan insisted on the word 'precision', he failed to explain the rational of allowing its customers (again no agent, panellist or subscribers) to buy 21 pins or IDs to buy its e-zine, "Surveys Today".

Talking about market research, the official said that currently the cost of undertaking such activity was very high and there was inflated cost of ownership for it. "Therefore, Speak Asia, provides an opportunity for companies to do market surveys in a cost-effective manner from its number of panelists," he said. Speak Asia pays Rs500 for every survey filled by its panelist. However, according to market sources, the cost of conducting a survey in India is not so high and companies pay about Rs10 to Rs60 per person covered in a survey.

Mr Rajagopalan also claimed that in the US companies paid $12 to $100 for every online survey and yet the rate of responses there was just 0.5%. However, a simple web search shows that in the US companies pay $1 to $30 per online survey completed.

On the company's revenue stream, Mr Rajagopalan said, Speak Asia earned money by providing its panels to marketing research organisations (the company is not one of them) for online surveys, commission earned by selling products and revenues from displaying ads. The company started operations in January 2010, but its official launch happened only in May 2010. Since then, Speak Asia has remitted about Rs325 crore from India and distributed around Rs250 crore to its panelists, sorry...customers. The company spent about Rs50 crore-Rs60 crore on advertising, public relations agency fees and brand building, and earned a net profit of Rs15 crore, to date, Mr Kumar, the CEO for India informed.

Speak Asia claimed to have paid Rs68 crore as service tax through its collection agents, but preferred to keep mum on the question of any tax deduction at source (TDS), or income tax deducted from payments to its agents.

In a statement distributed today, Speak Asia said, "At the end of its first phase, Speak Asia Online Pte Ltd (SAOL) has clocked a revenue turnover of USD80.5 million over the last three quarters. 1.2 million panellists have received monies over USD52 million over this period through bank transfers via RBI authorized forex channels. This income has been generated by filling up of surveys, giving online opinion on advertisements watched, and income accrued from referring other panellists. The company has till date invested over USD9 million for various marketing, training and business development programmes. The company in line with other overseas online businesses has a collection representative, which pays all applicable service tax in India; they have paid a total of INR68 crores as service tax to the government of India, up to April 30, 2011."

To date, the company has avoided replying to e-mail messages by Moneylife about its registration and jurisdiction. However, in the statement, the company said SAOL is committed to transparency and corporate governance in all aspects of its operations across function areas.

Interestingly, company officials continued to play goof-up on the question about its operations. They said, Speak Asia operates in India, but has neither any operation nor any business in Bangladesh. Mr Kumar responded in the negative when asked at least two or three times about the company's operations in Bangladesh.

However, a letter from the company's owner Haren (Harender Kaur of Singapore) put up on the Speak Asia website mentions its ongoing operations in Bangladesh. According to Mr Kumar, Ms Kaur and her family owns SAOL. The letter which is not dated, says, "I am pleased to announce that Bangladesh has really done well in the Speak Asia way of operations and the rate of growth has been tremendous. The master distributor for Bangladesh has been finalised and shall be in working condition by the 20th of April. Their location shall be in Chittagong. All the new members joining Speak Asia shall have an option of paying in Bangladesh Takas only w.e.f 20th April 2011. Henceforth all the panel income (binary commissions) shall be remitted locally in BDT by direct bank transfers to the panelist accounts. This shall be completed by the end of April 2011. All the existing payouts shall be organised by the master distributor via bank transfers."

An interesting aspect is that the company, which up to yesterday said it was 'Asia's largest online survey company', today changed its tagline, choosing to be called 'Asia's leading integrated market services agency'.

You may also want to read...

See the webcast of the press conference...

COMMENTS

manish

5 years ago

Dear Speakasian Good News! 35 Lac of cash request and 32 Lac product has been booked in a first day.

Computer galaxy is really say thanks to speakasian for their faith and love. in future Computer Galaxy going to start new website by which you can purchase IT product online by speakasia reward point.

So continue raise your cash request and booked product which you want to bye in future.

Reward Point cash @65% to 80%

For any Query pease call-08423188142

nayeem

5 years ago

tell me when start speakasia again.

ram

5 years ago

I Don't know about speak Asia pls some body help with me about speak Asia

GOVINDAN

5 years ago

http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/kera...


Money chain racket: police release pictures of accused

The Vadakara police who are investigating a racket by a Chennai-based multi-level marketing company have come out with startling revelations of how hundreds of people in Kerala have been duped in the name of money-chain deposits.

Investigators on Monday released the pictures of two directors, Kamala Kannan and K. Sadasivasan of the Tycoons Empire International Limited, who are absconding. The company had swindled more than Rs 100 crore from investors. Earlier, a police team arrested four persons from the Payyoli region. Further investigations carried out in Chennai in the past one week revealed that the accused had collected deposits in the name of the company that launched a scheme two years ago.

Under the scheme, if investors deposited Rs. 1 lakh they were promised Rs. 10,000 a month for the next three years. They were also offered commission if they enrolled more people in the scheme.

Initially, the depositors received Rs. 10,000 for the first three months. However, the payment of instalments stopped abruptly.

Most of those duped belonged to the Payyoli and Vadakara regions in the district, besides Palakkad and Thrissur districts. Those who were deceived include police personnel, government employees and teachers.

jitendra kumar

5 years ago

I am very said. so i am invest 11000 RS. but speak asia company frod

GOVINDAN

5 years ago

When two mlm people meet they ask the following question each other :–

HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE CHEATED SO FAR?

Devender Singh

5 years ago

I don't understand what the use of the documents coming for reading.
I ask the guys instead bring in some proof that clearly indicates that Speak Asia is a froud or cheated some one.
And if not that please keep their mouth shut.
SpeakAsia is good and paying people

GOVINDAN

5 years ago

THOSE WHO ARE PROUD OF SPEAK ASIA MAY PLEASE READ ANDHRA POLICE PRESS NOTE.

http://www.cidap.gov.in/documents/MLM%20...

Dastagir

5 years ago

i proud of speak asia

GOVINDAN

5 years ago

Supporters of Speak Asia must read the judgment of Supreme Court of India in KURIACHAN CHACKO AND OTHERS .Versus STATE OF KERALA (2008)8 SCC 708.

Rvibes

5 years ago

As a matter of fact, each and every Speakasian who participated as panelist have received their reward money. Even i have received it. I know several Speak asians – not one single person has complained of an issue with reward payment & some have recovered much more than what they put in to subscribe. Its very accurate and very punctual in dealings. In the history of business as this, (although no one in comparison to speak asaia) – Noboday dared to come up and do a large press conference voluntarily. This organization is truly an example of confidence, clarity and vision. Just can understand why some of the points are missed out…. by media or not understood.

1. In the press conference, when speak asia was requested to share client list, the CEO clearly outlined that it can be shared with a NDA and not in public as customers list cannot be made public to competitors. If any of the media has the real intent to scrutinize why dont they sign the NDA and verify and then publish the positive or negative news rather than just harp on what has been loosely stated..

2. The business model for revenue was clearly explained, but repeatedly the media is frenzy on what is the business model !!! Speak Asia marketing chief explain in the press conference, its about consumer empowerment – Revenue stream being – Surveys, Ads, Product Sales and now speak asia is in first phase.

3. Is the media scared that speak asia is coming up with its own TV channel in August, if any one from any of the other channel is scared of the power of speak asai they should rather apply for jobs with speak asia.

4. Question on legality was asked by media repeatedly, the CEO confirmed his interest to be reviewed by RBI, SEBI ect., without any hesitation. And proactively the company has engaged the authorities too. Why will a company which wants to evade pay 64 crores in tax to RBI. The company has clear book of accounts.. what was collected, what was spent, what was given as reward etc., its very clean. And they do not pay through third party as paypal which is historically known for links to fraud schemes.

5. Question on office infrastructure at singapore arised. Its amazing to see multiple version in each new channel without due deligence. One channel says office in a small room in Singapore and the other says 2 floors but no employees. What has size of office or no. of employees got to do with the business size, its not a manufacturing company which will need labourers. The companies power is its pannelist and its powerful survey tools, technology etc., Is face book a huge employer? Is WIKI a huge employer considering the size – They are virtually very strong companies which work on power of internet and technology.

6. One of the news channel showed non compliance by showing some certificate in a website, do you also know there are many other globally popular companies which are non compliant. Why victimize speak asia to kill them?

7. What is the problem if the company parted with huge reward amount? Didn’t reliance give away Rs.500/- mobile phone to lakhs of people when they came in. Arent there any other important things to media to report then speak asia and become mother terase, why should they not report – CWG probe progress, 2G spectrum progress, Land Scams, so many other scams which are of huge magnitude or at least report good thing which happen in the country. You turn on the TV and all they you see is some one murdered, some one looted, some of the other scam or pakistan, ombama, osama…..arent there better things to do for media.

REPLY

ashutosh

In Reply to Rvibes 5 years ago

I LIKED YOUR COMMENT.

Rajeev

5 years ago

Guys, its been 5 days since I placed cash request on speakasia. Not yet got money... is it the begining of burst of baloon??? anyone receiving the money?

HSRakhra

5 years ago

This press conference is cosmetic and nothing of substance for lakh of panelist and public. The press conference of speak asia legal advisor is more a tthreat to the prudence of investors na panelists, If speak asia is sincere and honest in its dealings better come out not with press releases but releasing the payments to the panelist more speedily. After all these panelist s are the best spokespersons by shareing their experiences with public. More delay by speakasia in mitigating the apprehension s of panelists will surely be down hill fall and difficult to arise,

KASHIF AFROZ

5 years ago

आज कल के न्यूज़ चैनलों को देखा तो ये लगा -

"
शहर बसा नहीं के भिकारी पहले आ गए'STAR NEWS SE BADA JHOTA CHENAL MENE ''AJJ TAK'' NAHIN DEKHA JO TEZI SE JHOOT BOLTA HAI,

rizwan khan

5 years ago

All channels are not worried about public interest, because media was watching since last more than year and seeing regular conferences, news in print media, advertisements in news papers and in IPL matches and keep watching the growth of spealasia business and close their eyes, ear and mouth till 11 may 2011.

When they understand the 2nd and 3rd phase of business model of SPEAKASIA, only then they realise that they are going to loose very huge amount of revenue/income, which they are getting from their advertisement and selling business through their channels. This is the true reason for their hue & cry (RONA aur PITNA) since 11th may 2011.

They dont want that common man will be benefitted. Moreover in so many days/months they are unable findout any LAW, Act, Rule of the country which was not followed by the company or violated by the company.

The only reason for hue & cry (RONA aur PITNA)by the news channels are due to loss of income in the future.
rizwan khan[bareilly]up

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MSSN: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)