Is China on the verge of a Fintech revolution? With Alipay on the March across Europe and the United States, and WeChat teaching Facebook Messenger a lesson or two, the question is already moot. Remember, it's only a few weeks since Japanese business SoftBank launched its $100 billion Vision fund with help from Apple and Saudi Arabia, and promptly hotfooted it to meet Donald Trump and promise $50 billion investment in the US. Crowdfunding Insider reports: "Credit China FinTech Holdings Limited, along with China Huarong International, Shanghai Xinhua Publishing Group, Jilin Province Investment Group have launched the Asia Fintech Merger and Acquisition Fund with more than RMB 10 billion (approximately $1.44 billion) in value. In addition to the aforesaid state-owned enterprises and private enterprises, China Cultural Industry Association, New Times Trust Co., Ltd., Shenzhen China Create Group, N-Securities Co., Ltd., Beijing Yongyu Investment, Tianjing Borong and Juntong Capital are also partners of the Fund." Credit China last year invested $30 million in blockchain business Bitfury, and Credit China will play a role at the Blockchain summit in Davos later this month.
New York state governor Andrew Cuomo has fired a shot across the bow of the banking industry, warning that "bad actors" will be banned from doing business in the state. "The excesses and systematic abuse at the center of the Wells Fargo scandal is unacceptable, and New York, in its role as a regulator, is seeking to take bold steps to crack down on this unacceptable behavior and ensure these bad actors are barred from working in this industry once and for all," Cuomo said in a written statement, according to Bloomberg. Despite hopes of a new wave of financial deregulation at the national level, individual US states retain strong powers and have reacted to the Wells Fargo scandal in different ways. Bloomberg writes: "Following the election of President-elect Donald J. Trump in November, and threats by Republican lawmakers to curtail the powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Board, Cuomo's proposal is a sign that some states might become more active in the oversight of the financial services industry."
Echo Chamber? Amazon's popular Echo speaker/receiver and its onboard assistant Alexa appears over-eager to shop. Reports indicate that Echo owners in the US discovered that their Echo units had ordered dolls houses after hearing the command on a television show. A TV report about a girl who ordered a doll's house via her parent's Echo caused some other units to repeat the behaviour, interpreting the overheard description as an order. Kaspersky Labs' David Emm was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying: "People need to find a compromise where they feel comfortable between achieving security and enjoying the convenience of these gadgets. It is certainly advisable to opt for having a verbal password or code to minimize the risk." The Echo was one of the most popular gifts this Christmas. Mr Emm added that a growing wave of cybercriminals are targeting smart household devices in a bid to hack into people's accounts and steal money. Yesterday we touched on the problem of autonomy for robots. We've yet to top this story from 2015 when a robot was given bitcoin to spend and ended up ordering illegal drugs and a fake passport.
It's likely that Deutsche Bank wants people to see its efforts to recruit new employees through social media as an innovative tactic. The German bank turned to social media as it tries to counter an apparent decline in interest in banking, using publicly available social media information to profile students who might be tempted into working for the financial giant. The move, however, has puzzled professional recruiters. "James Reed, chairman of recruitment group Reed, questioned why banks would want to hire people who were not particularly interested in finance as a career", according to the FT. "Wanting to work somewhere is a very important part of the process," he said.
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