FinTech Daily: China’s Plan to Build Its Own High-Tech Industries; Consumer Wallet Launched to Map A
China’sPlan to Build Its Own High-Tech Industries Worries Western Businesses
China has chated out a $300 billion plan to become nearly self-sufficient by 2025 in a range of important industries, from planes to computer chips to electric cars, as it looks to kick-start its rnext stage of economic development. But big companies in the rest of the world worry taht it is more than that: an unfair advantage in China’s home court, and perhaps elsewhere. A report by a European business group on Tuesday said the “Made in China 2025” program, which calls for enormous Chinese government assistance to 10 industries, would force out competitors from abroad and lead to government-subsidized global players that would compete unfairly. Indeed, the Chinese government’s plan says Chinese industries that benefit should own as much as 80 percent of their home market in just eight years. “The Chinese make it clear that they want to be the global champion” and are trying to carve out market share now, said Joerg Wuttke, the president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, which wrote the report. “We will fully implement our plan for developing strategic emerging industries,” Premier Li Keqiang said in his annual speech to the National People’s Congress on Sunday. “We will accelerate R. & D. on and commercialization of new materials, artificial intelligence, integrated circuits, bio-pharmacy, 5G mobile communications and other technologies, and develop industrial clusters in these fields.” The plan’s mechanism is simple: It would provide large, low-interest loans from state-owned investment funds and development banks; assistance in buying foreign competitors; and extensive research subsidies, all with the goal of making China largely self-sufficient in the targeted industries.
Category: International Politics
Safaricom and mSurvey Launch Consumer Wallet to Map Africa’s Cash Economy
Kenya's leading mobile provider, Safaricom, is teaming up with data collection startup mSurvey to launch Consumer Wallet - an online platform using mobile and SMS to map Africa's cash-based economy. Based in Kenya and operating since 2012, mSurvey harnesses Africa’s shift to digital to better track consumer preferences. The startup employs mobile phone-based surveys to gather data on various topics and market segments. mSurvey has received seed and venture funds from backers including Cross Culture Ventures and Alpha Angels. It also counts Safaricom’s Spark Venture Fund as an investor. A beta version of the product goes live in Kenya this month. Safaricom and mSurvey are testing the app with potential clients and corporate partners, including McKinsey Consulting, mSurvey CEO Kenfield Griffith told TechCrunch. For the Consumer Wallet beta test, mSurvey will use daily SMS and text messages to track the cash-based spending of a 1,000-person sample drawn from Safaricom mobile subscribers. This will feed into the Consumer Wallet database tracking preferences and expenditures on items such as food, transport, education and housing. Consumer Wallet will address the challenge many business face of quantifying consumer spending habits and trends on the continent, where more than 50 percent of economic activity and employment occurs in informal sectors, according to the African Development Bank.
Current Wants to Digitize Your Kid’s Allowance With an App and a Debit Card
Current is the latest company out of Expa. Current lets parents sign up for an account online and put in their kid’s information. They then get a debit card for their child that is funded exclusively from the parents’ bank account, and is accepted anywhere VISA is accepted. This lets parents allocate allowance straight from their bank account, and also lets kids learn about financial responsibility with the payment method they’re likely to use as an adult, a credit card. Alongside the spending account attached to the kid’s debit card, Current also offers a Savings account and a Giving account, where kids can put aside funds for their future or give to the charity of their choice. Current is working on building in parent access controls to the app so they can set aside savings, as well. Current was built by Stuart Sopp. Sopp explained that he built Current out of a personal need — he has a seven-year-old daughter who often wants to make purchases online but (obviously) can’t have her own credit card. Current makes money by charging parents a subscription fee of $3/month per kid. Current just closed a $3.6 million seed round led by Expa and Human Ventures, with participation from Future Perfect Ventures and others.