M’sians win Chinese innovation competition

From Malaysia with love: The winners (from left) De Zhian, Chee Boon and Lo have a proud moment onscreen.

A GROUP of computer science students – Lo Joon Hoe, Tan Chee Boon and Tan De Zhian – from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) did the nation proud by winning the Belt and Road Communication Award at the 11th China Students Service Outsourcing Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition (SOIEC).

The project titled “GeoBudget – Mobile Geo Based Budget Planner and Calculator” focuses on using geolocation, which refers to the use of location technologies such as GPS, to assist users on where and how to spend their money.

The students from the varsity’s Faculty of Information and Communication Technology were supervised by lecturers Dr Cheng Wai Khuen and Tan Teik Boon.

Cheng said the GeoBudget’s context scanner provides an interactive system which allows users to easily enter input.

The product’s suggestion function assists the users to decide if they want to spend on the item without compromising on their financial goals before they enter the stores, he added.

“This project is the first budgeting app with geolocation services, image recognition and suggestion system. It allows users to do budgeting with innovative and advanced modules,” he added.

Held from Aug 25 to 28 in Wuxi, China, via an online platform, the competition was organised by the Education Ministry and Commerce Ministry of the People’s Republic of China as well as the People’s Government of Wuxi.

About 6,400 teams from 650 institutions from around the globe took part in the competition.

SOIEC aims to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the service outsourcing sector among varsity students by emphasising on industry-university interaction.

It also builds an innovation system for talents training and evaluation.

De Zhian said he felt disappointed the team could not travel to Wuxi to take part in the “huge event” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, the experience of participating in the competition is still irreplaceable as it helped me learn things that are not taught in the classroom and most importantly, prepare myself for the real world.

“This competition was quite different from what we expected. Instead of pitching to the lecturers, the project was pitched to investors, which made us think out of the box and more realistically when presenting the project.”

The competition, his teammate Lo said, was an eye-opening experience.

“It was a good opportunity to gain insights as well as to build new networks with academics from China. By joining the competition, I learnt a lot, particularly, on how to start and manage a business and its resources,” he added.

Another teammate, Chee Boon said, “This was my first time participating in an international competition and I was very excited to meet many young and creative teams, and discuss with them the knowledge and concepts of service outsourcing.

“I also understood that the potential of service outsourcing innovation is infinite and indispensable in cooperation with entrepreneurship.”

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