The energy of a growing trend in Europe, the buzz of a recent industry alliance in China or regulation impact in India. Here is our weekly international business news and reports roundup, which includes the most popular stories in the media.

Ecommerce growth in Europe

Did you know that the top 3 European countries with the highest eCommerce growth rate in 2017 are Romania (37%), Ukraine (31%)  and Portugal (23%)?

These are the findings of The European Ecommerce Report 2018, which provides an extensive description of the state of eCommerce in the region. The main trends discussed in the report include:

• Overall, e-retail continues its double-digit increase, since the eCommerce turnover across the region jumped by 12.75% to EUR 540 billion in 2017;

• Western Europe has a dominant position, with strong eCommerce markets including the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Advanced infrastructure, high internet usage and consumer comfort with the online shopping experience are only some of the contributing factors that encourage the continuous eCommerce growth;

• Interestingly enough, Macedonia and Portugal have the highest volume of cross-border online purchases;

Credits: Ecommerce Europe

• The rise of marketplaces, which currently own a 56% share of cross-border eCommerce globally.

“Viewed from a pan-European perspective we see that brands selling direct and marketplaces factor more highly in the consumer’s expectations and experience than do traditional retailers. While retailers remain highly significant in their own markets, we see that pan-European brands rival the in-country giants for impact and performance – we see this trend continuing.” – Ian Jindal, Editor in Chief, Internet Retailing

Other notable developments discussed in the media this week include HSBC`s initiative to launch a new digital bank in the UK before the end of the year. In the race to fend off competition from fast-growing industry competitors (Monzo and Starling among them), it will be interesting to see what distinctive value proposition HSBC can bring to the table. On a quite saturated market, for that matter.

Also, during an official speech, European Central Bank policy maker Yves Mersch emphasized a “suboptimal reliance” on non-European card schemes for domestic payments in the region. Moreover, Mersch urges Europe to develop its own global payment services, mentioning that “that European providers such as Germany’s Girocard and France’s Cartes Bancaire are too nationally focused”, as Bloomberg reports.

Alipay joins forces with Yahoo Japan for mobile payments expansion

Zooming in on Asian-Pacific territory, we have learned from the media that Alipay is set to ramp up efforts in grabbing a slice of the mobile payments pie in Japan by closing an agreement with Yahoo. The latter already revealed plans earlier in July that it will start a mobile payment service based on Alipay this autumn. According to the company, shops that accept Yahoo mobile payments can now also accept Alipay.

Unlike in China, where Alipay enjoys the dominant payment method status, the company has yet to attract market share in Japan, a country in which credit cards like Visa and Mastercard are still widely used.

In other news, Alibaba has reported “advanced talks” to establish a joint venture eCommerce company with Mail.ru, a Russian internet company, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund. The amount of the planned investment in the joint venture has not been disclosed, “but the project is understood to be ambitious in scale”, as Financial Times reports, citing a Russian official who requested anonymity.

China adopts eCommerce law to boost market regulation

China has adopted an eCommerce law which requires all eCommerce operators to fulfill their obligations in protecting consumers’ rights and interests as well as personal information, intellectual property rights and online security.

eCommerce operators include platform operators, merchants on eCommerce platforms, and those doing business on their own websites or via other web servicest. As xinhuanet.com reports, the law:

  • states that operators must follow related regulations when gathering and using consumers’ personal data. Operators should clearly point out tie-in sales to consumers and cannot assume consent;
  • prohibits dominant eCommerce operators from excluding or restricting competition. Platform operators who unreasonably restrict transactions on their platforms will face penalties;
  • local governments at or above county-level as well as related departments should take measures to support and promote environmentally friendly packaging, storage, and transportation in eCommerce.

The law is set to take effect in January 2019.

Meanwhile in India

And since we are talking about regulation, India is paying attention and moves forward with its own efforts in this field. Within the past months, regulators and government representatives have declared their plan to impose tough new rules on the industry. For example, the country’s Supreme Court declared in 2017 that Indians have a fundamental right to privacy and pushed the Parliament to pass a data privacy law.

Also, in April, the Reserve Bank of India asked all payment system operators in the country to store data about their customers in India to ensure that user data remains secure in case of privacy breaches. This data localisation directive, which gives 6 months time to global payment players to secure data in India, has stirred intensive debates and changes in global companies` expansion strategies. Most recently, Apple has suspended its own plans for a digital payment service in the country, joining the list of other global players (Mastercard, Visa, Amazon, WhatsApp and PayPal) whose plans have been derailed by the same directive.

Currently, global payment companies store and process Indian transactions outside the country, but let`s see what other developments will unfold in the near future.

Upcoming industry event: ECSE eCommerce Summit and Expo in Mexico 

ECSE brings together the main players involved in the eCommerce industry in order to offer the opportunity to share success stories, gain new experiences and strengthen your knowledge through a program of conferences and networking activities.

When: 26 – 27 September
Where: Centro Citibanamex, Mexico City
Exhibit Hall, Booth 227

We are pleased to exhibit at ECSE, together with our PrestaShop partner, so don`t miss your chance to arrange an on-site meeting with the team. 

Last but nor least, this week will be remembered as the significant moment when the word “fintech” entered the dictionary.

Until next week,

Adriana Screpnic, Content Marketing Specialist, G2A PAY

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