Tech in Asia — When Alibaba invests, it invests big. None of this softball million-dollar crap. If the sums aren’t in the hundreds of millions – or even billions – of dollars, it’s barely worth Jack Ma getting out of bed. Alibaba has been investing left and right in 2015. Even limiting our scope to disclosed investments that broke the US$100 million dollar mark, we’re not left with a short list. But these deals were certainly worth Jack not hitting snooze on his alarm.
Want China Times — Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp said it will not refuse financial help from Taiwanese contract electronics manufacturer Hon Hai even though the two companies failed to reach partnership agreement three years ago, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Commercial Times. In March 2012, Sharp was said to have rejected Hon Hai in its bid to acquire a 9.9% stake in Sharp for 66.9 billion yen (US$559 million) which would’ve allowed Hon Hai to have a say in the Sharp’s management.
BEIJING – Baidu, Inc., the leading Chinese language Internet search provider, today announced the pricing of its public offering of US$1.25 billion aggregate principal amount of its notes. The public offering consists of US$750 million of 3.000% notes due 2020 and US$500 millionof 4.125% notes due 2025. The notes have been registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and are expected to be listed on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited.
The National Australia Bank has completed its rollout of an Oracle-based customer master, allowing 4500 of its business bankers to see a customer’s entire relationship with the bank on one screen. NAB last November announced it would begin rolling out the NAB View master customer database in order to provide its bankers a single view of a customer’s interactions with the bank.
Like Baidu and Alibaba, Xiaomi is eyeing China’s finance industry and seeing dollar signs. Today the company is officially launching a money-market fund called Huoqibao inside a new standalone app called “Xiaomi Finance.” Like the Alibaba-affiliated Yu’ebao, Xiaomi’s Huoqibao lets consumers save excess cash and earn interest from it. After registering for a Xiaomi Finance account with one’s national ID, users can bind a bank card to the app can store as little as RMB 1 (about US$0.15). The fund is managed by China’s E Fund Management and currently offers an annual return rate of 4.26 percent.
Snapdeal today announced it acquired a majority stake in RupeePower, a financial products distribution platform. RupeePower will be integrated into Snapdeal’s newly launched financial services marketplace. Further terms of the deal were not disclosed. As a result, Snapdeal customers will now be able to apply for loans through the ecommerce site. RupeePower will use its credit comparison, matching, and processing tech and its network of banks and financial institutions to find the loans best suited for those customers.
Big data may be used for credit checks for internet finance in China in the near future, reports our Chinese-language sister newspaper Want Daily. One correlation that has been thrown up already is that people who stay up late are more likely to be in debt, the paper said. At the session on internet finance during the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), an annual conference held in China’s Hainan province, several attendees said that behavioral data is being used more and more often as a gauge of credit security by e-commerce companies.
As Nikkei reported last week, Tokyo-based Crowdcredit, a startup behind a peer-to-peer lending platform focused on financing emerging markets under the same name, officially announced on Monday that it has fundraised 200 million yen ($1.7 million) from Japanese trading house Itochu. According to the Nikkei article, Itochu has taken an 18% stake in the lending company, so the latter’s market cap is valued at over 1 billion yen ($8.4 million).
China’s appetite for online financial products has slowed dramatically, according to a report from the China Internet Network Information Center (via Xinhua). Products like online mutual funds, peer-to-peer loans, and insurance only showed 2 percent growth in the second half of last year. Between the time these products began to hit the market in early 2013 through the first half of 2014, CNNIC says 12.1 percent of Chinese internet users subscribed to or bought some sort of online financial product, but the rate of growth slowed in the second half of 2014 and only reached about 14 percent.
The majority of Cambodia’s financial institutions on Monday signed a nonbinding code of conduct that aims to increase customers’ awareness of their rights at a ceremony at Phnom Penh’s Intercontinental Hotel. The standards relate to issues including privacy and information disclosure, such as a customer’s right to hold a private PIN number and to know the conditions of a loan.
BEIJING: Chinese search engine company Baidu Inc is tapping renewed interest in equities trading by launching a stocks app using artificial intelligence to predict how stocks, sectors and markets may perform. It will compete with similar products from other internet firms, in particular Tencent Holdings, and it marks a further step into the financial sector by Baidu, as it and other companies including Alibaba Group Holding vie to be at the cutting edge of financial service innovation in China.
Microfinance institution Sathapana Ltd. and its majority stakeholder, Maruhan Japan Bank, announced Tuesday that they would merge to form Sathapana Bank in the first consolidation of its kind in an increasingly competitive finance sector. Sathapana Ltd. CEO Bun Mony, who will also be CEO of the new firm, said that—subject to approval by Cambodia’s central bank—Maruhan and Sathapana will combine their respective assets of $200 million and $350 million.
After 10 years of outsourcing its IT infrastructure, Maybank, a Qualifying Full Bank (QFB) in Singapore, needed to bring back the IT infrastructure and operations in-house to better support the business’ goals and objectives. At the same time, the existing data center was facing capacity limitation and it was timely to look for a new data center solution that could not only meet the business’ needs but also the regulatory expectations on improved service-level agreement.
The move into a new headquarters in Brisbane’s Newstead precinct provided the perfect opportunity for Bank of Queensland CIO Julie Bale to sow the seeds of technological change in the way the bank – and its branches – approached working. As its existing Brisbane CBD lease approached expiry, the bank started plotting how a new-look headquarters would evolve. It settled on the growing area of Newstead and decided to take an entirely new approach to workplace design – underpinned by technology.
Australia is one of the most affluent and advanced countries in the world, and it is home to many multinational companies. These companies managed to achieve success both domestically and globally because they are able to develop great products and marketing campaigns that are appealing to consumers around the world. Businesses of all sizes can learn valuable lessons from them. Here is a look at a few of the top Aussie companies that succeeded in taking their brands global.
During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in China on Monday, the Azerbaijan branch of VTB Bank announced it has hired Chinese technology company Huawei Technologies to upgrade its facilities. Huawei is considered a global leader in information and communication technology solutions. Andrey Kostin, the president and chairman of VTB’s management board, and Meng Wanzhou, the executive board director at Huawei Technologies, signed and finalized the agreement.
Financial regulator ASIC has lobbied the Government to expand the agency’s powers so it can receive telecommunications data from law enforcement bodies to aid in its efforts to combat financial crime. In a recently published submission to a parliamentary committee investigating financial-related crime, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission argued that the national broadband network would render existing sources of data – such as call records – obsolete.
St George Bank has activated Touch ID login for its iOS mobile application following the successful implementation and trials of the biometric technology by subsidiary, Bank of Melbourne. iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus users who own a St George account can now use Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor to log into the app rather than typing account details each time. Support for the Android-based Samsung Galaxy S5 is expected to go live “in the coming months”.
The boards of Australia’s top four banks increasingly see information security as an issue worthy of their focus, according to the security chiefs at ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac. Taking part in a spirited and congenial discussion at the annual AISA conference in Melbourne, the four executives described how their organisations today regard the IS function as essential and no longer view it through the narrow lens of compliance and cost.
Line, the messaging app with nearly 500 million registered users worldwide, is starting a new service in its home base of Japan. Nikkei is reporting that the company intends to help customers track their personal finances by spring 2015. If a user adds his or her bank’s official account to the friend list and verifies a bank account, they will receive notices from that bank when money is deposited or withdrawn. Users will also be able to confirm the current amount of cash in the account at any given time.
The Commonwealth Bank’s new CIO David Whiteing has offered up his thoughts on how the process of migrating users to the NBN could be improved, revealing security issues resulting from the connection of ATMs to the NBN. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last month asked industry how the migration of users from copper services to the NBN could be fixed following difficulties with the first round of transfers.
Mumbai: Digital India is proving to be a magnet for global technology companies, a point driven home by the visits of three global executives to the country in September alone—a month that also sees manifold increases in the pre-Diwali offline and online sales pitches for electronic gadgets that Indians love to buy. On 15 September, Sundar Pichai, senior vice-president at Google Inc. A couple of weeks later, Jeff Bezos, president, chief executive and chairman of the board of the world’s largest online retailer Amazon.com Inc. This was followed by the visit of Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft Corp.
BANGALORE: Vishal Sikka’s drive to put innovation at the core of Infosys culture to offer new products and solutions is underlined by the CEO promising to double company’s investment in its core banking product, Finacle, which until late last year was being considered to be sold-off. With Sikka at the helm, Infosys has shelved plans to explore selling off its banking product Finacle, as the Board of Infosys until late last year wanted to spin off Finacle and then look out for a buyer, two executives directly familiar with the development told ET.
By now you would have read what every person connected to the internet thinks about the iPhone 6. So, armed with a few iPhone 6 review units and a Telstra 4G sim, iTnews decided to do something a bit different and give our readers the chance to review the device. Given the new iPhone will offer an NFC-based mobile payments service, we took to mobility experts within Australia’s biggest banks to find out if the devices impressed the financial sector.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be providing technical and financial assistance to help countries in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) implement their initiatives, announced Joe Powell, Deputy Director, OGP Support Unit. “The ADB’s support will focus on exploring opportunities to provide technical and financial assistance to help countries meet OGP eligibility criteria and to develop and implement OGP action plans,” he wrote this week in an OGP blog announcing the partnership.
Direct insurance business DirectAsia.com launched in Singapore in 2010, aiming to disrupt traditional Asian insurance models, bypass agents, and deal direct with the customer. After the successful launch, it expanded into Hong Kong in 2012, and Thailand the following year. The acquisition by specialist insurer, Hiscox, at the end of Q1 2014, signalled the start of a new chapter in DirectAsia.com’s development.
SINGAPORE: Banks and financial services companies in Singapore are increasing their spending on cyber-security to keep IT systems safe from attacks, with 60 per cent indicating they will up such expenditure this year compared to 2013, according to recruitment firm Robert Half. Singapore’s average of 60 per cent of financial institutions indicating increased IT security spending in 2014 was the highest percentage of the six markets surveyed, well above the global average of 50 per cent, it added.