Travel is an increasingly important driver of global economic growth. International tourism has grown faster than global GDP for the past several years, and is expected to continue on a positive trajectory.
The world dreams of a cashless society. And as it acquires a multitude of non-cash payment options, this dream only comes closer. The progress of economies varies, though. In Hong Kong, one can purchase tickets or eat in fast food outlets using the Octopus value card. In Sweden, the homeless no longer ask passers-by for loose change; they have card readers instead.
In this installment of My Favorite Number, the World Bank Group’s Douglas Pearce says he’s most intrigued by the number 2 billion. (more…)
By Zheping Huang for the Quartz.com
China has issued new restrictions on citizens buying insurance in Hong Kong, the latest move to stem capital outflow and keep the renminbi strong. (more…)
By Elzio Barreto for Reuters news
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Investors poured a record $4.5 billion into financial start-ups in Asia last year, four times as much as the previous year, data shows, putting the region at the center of the global tech revolution poised to shake up the financial services industry. (more…)
Hong Kong’s financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah reserved a special mention for fintech in his budget speech on Wednesday, promising to pump cash into the startup ecosystem and create a dedicated space to support up to 150 new financial technology companies over the next five year. (more…)
By World Bank Press release,
Gov’t-World Bank Group joint report recommends reforms to foster private sector competitiveness, promote social inclusion and build modern institutions.
By Elliot Maras, article first appeared in CCN: Bitcoin, Blockchain, FinTech, & Cryptocurrency News
CCN: Digital finance has great potential to improve life for consumers and merchants in India. But the lack of familiarity has impeded digital money’s growth in the country. This lack of awareness exists despite India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s national mission for financial inclusion. (more…)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a number of initiatives on Saturday to support the country’s start-ups, including a 100 billion rupee ($1.5 billion) fund and a string of tax breaks for both the companies and their investors. (more…)
Southeast Asia’s leading lender DBS Friday committed S$10 million ($7.1 million) for Singapore’s startup ecosystem over the next five years, and a bulk of this amount is slated to go into programmes run by the bank such as its partnerships with local accelerators and incubators.
Vladislav Solodkiy, Managing Partner, Life.SREDA VC:
These days many countries are talking about the importance of innovations in the financial sector. Many of those are claiming that they will soon become the first to go completely cashless. They may be saying so, but what if they don’t really know how to do it? (more…)
MOBILEMAKERS: The Indian government published proposals to encourage greater take-up of electronic payments in a country where cash still rules.It suggested a range of measures, including tax benefits to merchants if at least half of their transactions are handled electronically. Consumers could also receive income tax rebates if a certain proportion of their spend is cashless. Another idea is for government itself to drop certain surcharges it levies for making card payments.Among the objectives are improving financial inclusion, reducing the risks for individuals of carrying cash, cutting the cost of managing cash in the economy, as well as making tax avoidance harder.
The Korea Bizwire: South Korea’s top financial regulator said Wednesday that it will pave the way for local banks to invest in financial technology firms as part of its efforts to boost the integration of the two industries. According to current financial laws, financial institutions are allowed to buy stakes in or make contributions only to companies in the same business sector. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Innovation, growth, technology, user experience, revenue and gross margin have become synonymous with how you define success for a tech startup. What is missing from this list is local, state, and federal regulation; terms that startups in the financial technology sector understand far too well as either barriers to or catalysts for growth and early success. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: In 2009, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklisted an individual named Kursad Zafer Cire. Mr. Cire was believed to have run a network that facilitated the sale of nuclear technologies to countries such as Iran, Libya, and North Korea. He was a known bad actor. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: We’re approaching the third anniversary of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, an omnibus bill of far-reaching financial reforms that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on April 5, 2012. Containing seven titles, the legislation’s intent was, and is, to create cost-effective access to capital for companies of all sizes. (more…)
WIRED UK: The government has announced its intention to apply anti-money laundering regulation to digital currency exchanges in the UK. It is hoped that regulation will not only prevent criminal use of digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, but support innovation. Regulation would be intended to ensure the environment was ready to allow digital currencies to flourish, while at the same time discouraging those who wanted to use digital currencies for illicit reasons.
TECHINASIA: Last week, the Singapore government issued new laws that will allow drivers to receive payments for carpools. The statute was completed on Monday, March 2, and reported by the Straits Times on Friday. According to the statute, car owners can accept monetary compensation for driving passengers, provided the driver does not accept hails on the street or in a parking lot. In addition, payment cannot exceed the cost of taking the passenger to his or her destination, which must be agreed upon before the ride begins. Drivers are also prohibited from making more than two rides a day.
WIRED: Businesses in the US are on a hiring spree, but jobs that require tech skills sit open—500,000 in all. It’s that gap that the Obama administration hopes to close with its new $100 million TechHire Initiative, announced by the president today. At its core, TechHire aims to convince local governments, businesses, and individuals that a four-year degree is no longer the only way to gain valuable tech skills.
COMPUTER WORLD: The Hong Kong government will be offering financial assistance to technology startups with its plan to set up a HK$50 million corporate venture fund. The amount is earmarked for companies located at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP) and those that have participated in its incubation programs. (more…)