While a portion of the U.S. business world stayed asleep on Columbus Day, the rest of the world is still a buzz with breaking news across the payments and commerce ecosystem today, Oct. 12.
What you may have missed today (so far)…
- The ride sharing regulations in China may tighten up soon. Reports indicate that the Chinese government plans to crack down on the ride-sharing rules that would impact a rapidly growing market that’s created a rivalry between Uber and the local rival Didi Kuaidi.
- Also in China is the reminder that 11.11 is coming soon — AKA Alibaba’s massive Global Shopping Festival (or Singles Day). Alibaba will host a ceremony Oct. 13 to preview the festival that Alibaba says will focus globalization, logistics, and mobile and omni-channel commerce. Can it surpass last year’s single day sales record of $9.3 billion?
- Cyber insurance costs sill topping the headlines. A new report shows the recent hacking of major U.S. companies is costing those firms big. In fact, some companies are opting for coverage of up to just $100 million — but as the hacks have show, that may still fall short. Quick facts: On average, retailers saw a 32 percent increase in cyber insurance rates this year.
- Last week, it was reported that Alibaba was backing the Indian mobile commerce firm Paytm — again. The undisclosed amount of funding reportedly left the Indian company with a valuation of around $1 billion. Now, it appears that Paytm is using that investment to get into the hyperlocal services, such as food ordering, table booking and buying movie tickets.
- Speaking of innovation, a UK startup is talking blockchain and it’s talking a new breakthrough in how payments are processed. In fact, Setl — a London-based company — claims it can process more than a billion payments a day leveraging blockchain’s technology (the tech that powers bitcoin.)
- Have you heard of RoBoHon? Well, it’s the latest smartphone from Sharp Corp. that’s making some noise in the tech community. Spoiler alert: it’s a walking, talking and dancing robot that acts as a smartphone, too. Oh, and it wears a tuxedo and serves as a digital assistant. Yes, this is a real thing.
- Consumers can’t shop on Facebook — yet. But today, Facebook showed how the social network is getting itself deeper into eCommerce with dedicated shopping sections that direct consumers to products that may not be typically featured on their news feed. Facebook is reportedly testing this option with a “small group” of retailers.
And because you’re probably curious by now, here’s a demo of Sharp’s robot smartphone.