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Daily Briefing

Thursday 31st January @ 10:23am

The trade war between the US and China is headed for the endgame, and it's not looking pretty. Readers of Lafferty News will have noted the recent dominance of the surveillance capitalism model — think of Facebook or Tencent — which thrives on drinking in user data and selling it back to advertisers. Since around 2013, media have laid bare the alarming extent of surveillance enabled by the collaboration of intelligence agencies and communications and digital infrastructure...MORE

Wednesday 30th January @ 10:07am

Three UAE banks confirmed a merger after markets closed yesterday. "All three banks have one mutual majority shareholder, the Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC) -- which owns more than 60 percent of ADCB and 50 percent of UNB. It owns 100 percent of Bank Al Hilal, which is not publicly listed." The new bank, retaining the ADCB name, will become third-biggest lender in the country after First Bank Abu Dhabi and Emirates NBD. Further consolidation appears likely and...MORE

Tuesday 29th January @ 10:44am

Maria Ramos will step down at the end of February after ten years as chief executive of Absa and Barclays Africa. The announcement seems sudden and leaves Absa without an incoming chief executive to replace her. Absa and Mrs Ramos insist that she planned to retire earlier but held on to see through the divestment from Barclays. ""It had never been my intention to stay this long, as I have always believed that a CEO's tenure should allow for a regular...MORE

Monday 28th January @ 11:00am

Davos looks less relevant with each passing year. Can we agree that re-thinking the terminology around the global economy is instructive? Recent research by Niti Bhan suggests that the definitions of formal and informal need serious re-invention, and it's borne out by the continuing success of mobile money in Kenya. As we're fond of pointing out, the idea for M-Pesa emerged from traders who work in the informal economy, and it continues to live and thrive there. So, how...MORE

Friday 25th January @ 9:59am

Is Huawei the symbol of China's new role in the world? This year, or next, the company expects to become the leading manufacturer of smartphones. "Even without the US market we will be number one smartphone maker in the world," Huawei Consumer CEO Richard Yu told Reuters. "I believe at the earliest this year, and next year at the latest." And while...MORE

Thursday 24th January @ 10:28am

Microsoft is planning to quietly kill off the Microsoft Wallet in February. The Redmond business took over Nokia's phone business a few years back, but only a small proportion of US users took to the Microsoft mobile ecosystem. Researcher Jordan McKee noted that Microsoft's OS was used by less than three percent of the population in the US, with most people favouring Android or iOS. "With iOS and Android operating systems dominating the smart-phone industry, the...MORE

Wednesday 23rd January @ 10:14am

Mexican digital bank Albo has raised $7.4 million as it looks to expand its three-year old venture. "Albo is among a growing crop of so-called 'neobanks' that are accelerating access to financial services for Latin American adults. The bank offers no-fee basic services, like payments and transfers. It currently has about 60,000 customers across Mexico who...MORE

Tuesday 22nd January @ 9:07am

It's January, and time for the annual faceoff between Oxfam and the World Economic Forum aka Davos. Oxfam blew its credibility last year by fudging the numbers, while Davos itself is flagging as fewer people believe that a clever new combination of capital and technology is going to save us from ourselves. It's fitting then, and perhaps no coincidence, that this week sees Austria's Max Schrems launch another campaign against the big technology players, just as France hands a...MORE

Monday 21st January @ 9:42am

Alipay can probably afford the extra expense, but spare a thought for the thousands of small businesses in the UK and Europe that have to establish dual entities in the UK and Europe in order to stay in business. Last week, Alipay received an e-money licence in Europe. "Alipay, part of Alibaba group, has been granted with an electronic money license in Luxembourg. Alipay is China's leading mobile and online payment solution, with more than one billion users...MORE

Friday 18th January @ 10:11am

Safaricom is becoming a serious digital lender with the recent launch of its new service Fuliza, which it operates with bank partners KCB and CBA. The service began on 7 January, and has exceeded expectations, according to Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore. "We got a million (customers) by day eight and by day eight we had lent US$10 million. Now we are probably at

Thursday 17th January @ 10:20am

US business Fiserv, best known as a provider of core banking solutions to smaller banks in the US, is to acquire First Data in a $22 billion transaction, as consolidation continues in the merchant acquiring business. Private equity groups have driven dealmaking in the area as data processors found new admirers. "Fiserv's $22 billion deal to acquire First Data creates a company of

Wednesday 16th January @ 10:53am

So, what's the real reason behind Santander getting nervous about the arrival of a new chief executive in the form of Italian dealmaker Andrea Orcel? His ill-fated move to Santander is now finished, but it prompts the question once again what Ana Botin is doing at the Spanish bank. Mr Orcel, the UBS dealmaker and banker who infamously advised RBS on the acquisition of ABN Amro, was lined up for the chief executive position at Santander, whose shares have dropped almost a...MORE

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