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 (, 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...



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


5 years ago

tell me when start speakasia again.


5 years ago

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


5 years ago

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


5 years ago

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


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


5 years ago



5 years ago

i proud of speak asia


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.


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.



In Reply to Rvibes 5 years ago



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?


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,


5 years ago

आज कल के न्यूज़ चैनलों को देखा तो ये लगा -


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

Buying gold and silver from banks? Think again

HDFC Bank sells silver at over Rs70,000 when the National Spot Exchange sells it for around Rs53,700 and the local jeweller sells silver for Rs55,000! And gullible customers are buying

Banks have hit upon a new idea to get a larger share of your wallet-retailing gold and silver. While the banks claim that buying gold or silver from them is a wise decision, if you want to buy gold or silver don't go to your bank!

Buying gold or silver from a bank may give you the satisfaction about the purity of silver as a bank is more reputable than the jeweller next door, but it also means that you pay much more.

HDFC Bank was the first bank in the country to sell physical silver. You will be surprised to know the rates that HDFC Bank is charging for gold and silver compared to the rates at the local jewelers, or even the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL). Silver is available at jewellers at between Rs55,000 and Rs56,000 a kg, whereas HDFC Bank is offering the white metal at Rs74,040 a kg. Those keen can buy e-silver from the National Spot Exchange at Rs53,700 a kg. It's the same for gold too. Jewellers are quoting around Rs22,300 to Rs22,500 per 10gm and one can also buy e-gold from NSEL at Rs22,300, however, HDFC Bank is quoting around Rs25,943 per 10gm.

But why this huge price difference?

When asked about the price issue, a spokesperson for HDFC Bank said, "It is true that we charge more than the market price, but this is because of purity, 24-karat gold made in Switzerland with Assay certification, that signifies the highest level of purity as per international standards and convenience." Some top jewellers challenge this, saying there is no difference between the gold and silver they sell and that sold by HDFC Bank.

The prices are only half the story. But what if you want to sell it? Will HDFC Bank buy back the gold and silver? No, and you will be in for a shock when you try to sell it in the open market.

If you bought silver from a bank today for Rs71,000, and you needed to sell it the same day (to a jeweller, as the bank will not buy the gold back from you), all you will get is, say, Rs54,000! Of course, you get to keep the certificate! The jeweler, on the other hand, will buy back the gold or silver from you on any day and at the prevailing price. Some jewellers also give you a certificate for the gold you buy, thus diluting a key selling point of the bank.

So, while buying gold and silver, give the banks a skip. Opt instead for a credible jeweler, as even in the case of jewellers, we found a lot of price variation with branded stores charging a premium. Do your homework well before you buy gold. It will help you if you read the Moneylife definitive study on gold. (Read,Gold: All told). And, of course always buy standard, hallmarked gold. If you do decide to go to a jeweler to buy gold in bulk, do negotiate. It is likely you will get a discount. In our conversations with a couple of brokers, we were offered a discount on bulk purchases.

Based on our interactions with thousands of individuals every month, we find that instances of mis-selling of investment-related services and products are growing at an alarming rate and the prime source of mis-selling are private banks. (Read, 'Customers need to be vigilant as bankers are turning bhayankar')
Customers don't know any better, as their trust the bankers blindly. No wonder, that HDFC Bank can claim to Moneylife that "in spite of higher charges we sold over 1,200kg of gold against 850kg last year during Akshaya Tritya. This year we sold around 600kg silver against 95kg last year."

Banks are making tonnes of money mis-selling financial and other products to their own gullible customers.



Rajan Makhija

2 years ago

India is one big mob country where no rules apply.No one is accountable. All Goondas are politicians who own all industries and educational institutions.


3 years ago

Today I wanted to buy gold of 50 gms. Th eprsoel banker called me and told the price to be Rs.1,45,000. When consulted HDFC bank the person told it is Rs.1,45,150. This means additional Rs.150. A cheque was issued to the value of Rs.1,45,150. After going to bank he says it is Rs.1,45,290. The additional value is for sales tax.

I could not make out why the price went on incresing and hence cancelled teh transaction


5 years ago

Now a days Banks are indulging in many bad practices. e.g. Banks are mis-using depositors money to buy huge properties for their own business like opening new Branches and HO and admin offices. and they pay Depositors megre interest. They spent heavily on their Executives and Managers. They spend unnecessariy on Advertising and Hoarding and entertainments.
Banks can easily pay depositors much higher say 15-20% p.a. But now a days Banks are indulging in many malpractices. e.g. Banks are mis-using depositor’s money to buy huge properties for their own business like opening new Branches and HO and admin offices. Besides they pay Depositors meagre interest. They spent heavily on their salaries, perquisites, tours & travels, star hotels and entertainments Executives and Managers. They spend unnecessarily on Advertising and Hoarding and sponsoring entertainments programs.
They finance heavily to Real Estate and Construction and development activity. Whereas these sectors need no funds as they are mostly own by people having surplus funds and are mostly self financing.
No body can book a flat or shop without paying advance money.
So unless there are some vested interest from bank executives these sectors are not to be encouraged.
Similarly entertainments businesses also need no urgent financing aid.


5 years ago

RBI must instruct banks to back GOLD at least at bank selling rates, then only its worth to buy from bank ensuring liquidity and confidence. Banks must buy at a guaranteed same rate plus 10% if sold within 1 year.


5 years ago

Another interesting fact is that a substantial potion of these overpriced metals are sold to borrowers in the SME segment. These poor fellows who have a Term Load / Cash Credit / Overdraft account in the bank have no other option but to oblige the Bank Babu's...


5 years ago

Reading the article only makes me wonder why people would possibly want to buy from a bank. With rates being charged in the manner that they are is this not DAY LIGHT robbery ?? The banker should be made to disclose that the prevailing rate in the market & the fact that he is charging so much .Now does a customer have the option of complaining to the Omsbudsman or the RBI . A situation which they could and should have addressed by now. Just what is it thats stopping them from making this an issue wherein the banks would have to declare prevailing rates. This should be taken up and for the public made a issue that gets rectified. Ever so often banks staff say somthing that is not easily proved and now the bank mangement should be made to say the truth . The fact that this Gold & silver will not be re purchased is enough of a dampener , to put off many customers .


5 years ago

banks should repurchase the gold they sold


5 years ago

we will be very soon seeing banks selling salt, chilly, sugar, atta in their branches and banking will become also one of their side business where today margins seemed to be pathetic when compared to the earnigs from their selling mutual funds, insurance, gold, silver etc...

Mills slow in applying for sugar export orders: Govt

Not many co-operative mills have applied for export release orders yet because they are still processing tenders to finalise an export agency to undertake shipments, a senior food ministry official opined

New Delhi: Sugar mills have sought export release orders from the food ministry for only about one-third of the total 4.45 lakh tonnes of shipment permitted by the government, though the deadline expires this week, reports PTI.

With effect from 19th April, the government allowed export of 4.45 lakh tonnes of sugar under open general licences (OGL). The quota was allocated to 490 mills on the basis of their average production during the last three years.

As per the notification, the last date for submission for applications by mills opting to export sugar from their own production is 18th May. However, the deadline for mills opting to source sugar for export from other factories is 2nd June.

“Mills have been slow in applying for export release orders. It seems they have lost interest in exports,” a senior food ministry official told PTI.

So far, the food ministry has received applications for 1.6 lakh tonnes of sugar, of which it has issued export release orders for only 1.43 lakh tonnes, the official said.

A release order from the food ministry is mandatory for mills to undertake export of sugar.

“There is hardly any time for mills who want to export sugar from their own production. However, there is some breather for mills who want to undertake export by sourcing sugar from the third party,” the official added.

The official explained that not many co-operative mills have applied for export release orders yet because they are still processing tenders to finalise an export agency to undertake shipments.

The government has allowed 4.45 lakh tonnes of export under the OGL as the country’s production is expected to be higher, at 24.5 million tonnes, in the 2010-11 season (October-September), whereas demand is pegged at 22 million tonnes.


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