FinTech Daily: Digital Strategy to Make Britain the Best Place to Start and Grow a Digital Business;
Digital Strategy to Make Britain the Best Place in the World to Start and Grow a Digital Business
More than four million free digital skills training opportunities will be created as part of a Digital Strategy to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business and ensure our digital economy works for everyone. A pioneering new Digital Skills Partnership will see Government, business, charities and voluntary organisations coming together to make sure people have the right skills for the jobs in their area and are aware of all the digital training opportunities on offer. The strategy includes new commitments, including a plan by Lloyds Banking Group to give face-to-face digital skills training to 2.5 million individuals, charities and small and medium businesses by 2020; plans by Barclays to teach basic coding to 45,000 more children and assist up to one million people with general digital skills and cyber awareness; and a pledge by Google, as part of their commitment of five hours of free digital skills for everyone, to help boost digital skills in seaside towns. This Digital Strategy sets a path to make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business, trial a new technology, or undertake advanced research as part of the Government's plan to build a modern, dynamic and global trading nation. The strategy also builds on the Government Transformation Strategy, launched earlier this month by Minister for the Cabinet Office Ben Gummer, which maps out how Government will transform the relationship between the citizen and the state to improve public services. This has ambitions to make it as easy to renew your passport or report a crime as it is to buy a book online, and aims to sign up to 25 million people onto the Government identity service Verify by 2020.
Nearly One Year After Launch, Apple Pay Finds Limited Traction in China
After a slow start, Apple Pay is now dominating its home country, the United States, but the same can't be said of China where it is up against a different set of challenges. Data from Boston Retail Partners shows that Apple Pay is now accepted by 36 percent of merchants in the U.S., thus making it one of the most widely available mobile payment methods in the country. After close to one year of operations in China, Apple Pay has failed to become a genuine threat to the dominance of Alibaba's Alipay and Tencent-backed Tenpay - which is embedded in dominant chat app WeChat Pay - the two leading payment services. There are three major reasons for Apple Pay's failure in China. Firstly, NFC, used by Apple Pay, enjoys many advantages over QR codes with its touch-and-go approach and built-in security. Yet QR code payments have become a widely adopted and deep-rooted practice for Chinese users. Once these habits are formed en masse, they prove difficult to change. Secondly, Apple Pay only works with Apple hardware, which means it automatically excludes the majority of the Chinese market who use Android phones. What’s more, Apple Pay only supports the iPhone 6 or newer models. Couple this with slowing sales of the iPhone in the country and it is no surprise the payment option isn’t doing so well. Finally, Apple Pay has a much less visible offline presence due to its limited support. It is typically only available in larger chain brands like Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Carrefour, and 7-Eleven. Even then, many of these stores will also accept both Alipay and WeChat.
Switzerland Launches Crypto Valley Association Backed by Government
A government-backed Blockchain consortium has launched in Zug, Switzerland with the aim of "Supporting the development of Blockchain and cryptographic related technologies and businesses." The Crypto Valley Association, under the leadership of former UBS Group CIO Oliver Bussmann, includes such prestigious members as PwC and Thomson Reuters, as well as a plethora of disruptive fintech startups including ConsenSys. “With the founding of Crypto Valley Association, we are promoting more than a region: we have founded a global association as a base for the sector’s most innovative and forward thinking companies, further strengthening Switzerland’s position as a leading center of innovation in this sector,” Bussmann commented. The launch continues Switzerland's - and particularly Zug's - mounting tradition of being a home for innovative financial technology. The canton's administration last year moved to allow payment of government services in Bitcoin, against a broader backdrop of increasingly favorable regulation for Blockchain startups at a national level.