Amazon has announced a US$ 250 million venture fund called Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund that’ll invest in small and medium-sized businesses. The goal is to boost India’s export by using technology and the marketplace’s reach.
Amazon Smbhav will be focusing on the digitization of small businesses, agri-tech innovations to raise farmer productivity, and health tech for quality universal healthcare. The fund was announced at Amazon India’s annual Smbhav Summit.
It intends to tap offline sellers and professionals via the fund and on onboarding a million shops by 2025. Another initiative is “Spotlight NorthEast,” which will bring 50,000 artisans, weavers, and small businesses online from India’s North-Eastern states. The region is known for its local produce like honey, tea, and spices.
The announcement came at a fireside chat at the summit between Andy Jassy, incoming CEO of Amazon and Amit Agarwal, Global Senior VP and Country Head, Amazon India. They also revealed the first bet Amazon was making through the new fund — invoice discounting platform M1xchange, in which it has led a $10 million investment.
Amazon said it created close to 300,000 jobs since January 2020 and one million in total. It also boasted of having almost 70,000 sellers, exporting Indian goods to other markets totaling US$ 3 billion in sales.
The timing of Amazon India’s announcement is key because the e-commerce companies have been barred from delivering in the state of Maharashtra amid a Coronavirus-led curfew. While the restrictions are regional, businesses are unable to get necessary and basic supplies. In a work-from-home world, getting an emergency mice/keyboard or mattress should be easy via digitization, but there are antitrust concerns.
Due to a lockdown, offline sellers cannot operate and thus, don’t want online businesses to eat their share. The Narendra Modi-led government has historically sided with the offline traders since they constitute a majority of India’s market. The offline market is still the king, and the gap between the two is very substantial.
If online players operate exclusively for too long, they’ll start gobbling up market share gradually, killing the smaller businesses. While the aim is to maintain a level-playing field, the current rules aren’t helping anybody at the end of the day. The region also fails to collect indirect taxes over the possible transactions, leading to a cash crunch while the pandemic rages.
The FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) rules for the retail market were changed in 2019, meaning Amazon India could no longer directly sell its products. It had to act like a marketplace to maintain healthy competition since 100 percent FDI is allowed in e-commerce as a tech platform, but not as a retailer.
Thanks to the fund, Amazon can show its commitment to India and its initiatives to encourage online trade. India’s new farm laws also make it easier for private companies to invest in agriculture or partner with farmers for contracts.
Amazon had announced an investment of US$1 billion in January 2020 and its purpose was also the same — digitizing India’s small and medium businesses. Founder Jeff Bezos had said back then, “We are doing this now because it is working. And when something works you should double down on it.”
For now, the concerns of a monopoly are diminished because Amazon is going up against India’s homegrown Flipkart, which Walmart now backs. Reliance is also eyeing this segment and has already kicked off a hyperlocal service called JioMart. Lastly, many other retailers like Dmart, Tata CliQ + Bigbasket, and Grofers are available.
Huawei garners more partnerships for HarmonyOS 2
Huawei is paying attention to its consumers
Huawei continues to struggle with its loss of Google services for mobile devices. On the brighter side of things, the company is striving for development in other departments as well.
Huawei gives the Philippines another affirmation for its commitment to developing an AI ecosystem. The announcement came at the Huawei Development Day 2021. Strategic planning made 96 percent of the local apps available in the App Gallery.
A key move in this development is their partnerships with banking and e-Commerce apps. GCash, KonsultaMD, and WishFM to name a few, are a part of the key roster for their partnerships.
Some of you may know about the strong partnership of Huawei and DICT ( Department of information and Communications). With this partnership dating back to 2018, they came up with the Philippine Startup Challenge (PSC). This is a national startup competition that targets ICT solutions for real-life problems.
Lastly, the company also presented its funding programs regarding app development. They have recently invested US$ 1 Million to their recognized regions for app development. Namely, APAC, Europe, LA, Middle East, and China.
HarmonyOS 2 and Petal Nearby
At the latter part of 2021, HUAWEI will release a new version of HarmonyOS. Because of this, the “One as All, All as One” tagline is born. Easier connections between devices are expected of this update, as HarmonyOS is the operating system of their devices.
At the HDD event, the company claimed to have four breakthroughs:
- DecouopledOS and hardware
- Sharing capabilities between devices
- Smooth and low latency operation
- DevEco Studio
To know more about the four, you can watch the Huawei Developer Day 2021 and skip to the 44:39 timestamp for your convenience.
Petal Search is the search app for Huawei, this allows users to search for places and even restaurants as an example. With their latest introduction to its new channel, Petal Nearby. This is present in numerous devices in 170 countries with 50 languages available and 20 different categories.
Petal Nearby is the result of Huawei studying its consumers behaviors and their search trends. It’s a more location optimized service letting users find local businesses and restaurants based on their preferences. The results vary depending on your location. The user can change the city in case for advanced planning purposes.
Huawei is finding new ways to develop their services for its consumers. The company is doing whatever it can to survive in this competitive industry.
Apple is banning anti-China messages from engravings
In Hong Kong and Taiwan
Though a relatively small part of their repertoire, one of the more unique services that Apple offers is the ability to engrave their devices with whatever a user desires. Well, almost anything. As it turns out, the company has its limits. And, according to a new report, those limits can be political. Apple is reportedly prohibiting anti-China messages from being engraved in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
According to a research website The Citizen Lab, Apple will not engrave 1,045 keywords in mainland China. However, the company is also banning 542 keywords in Hong Kong and 397 keywords in Taiwan. Apparently, half of those blocked terms are political in nature.
Apple users can’t have any messages related to democracy, human rights, or rebellion. They also can’t engrave any keywords related to the Tiananmen Square and the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong.
The censorship is problematic, of course. Though censorship is par for the course in China, Apple is implementing the same limits to Hong Kong and Taiwan, which have both declared their independence from China.
According to the report, Apple is merely agreeing to China’s demands to maintain a consistent form of revenue from the mainland. Though China is filled with other competitors, the country is still an important part of Apple’s ecosystem.
Shopee offers exclusive deals for vaccinated shoppers!
The Shopee initiative is here!
Online shopping has taken over the quarantine era, no doubt! And now, Shopee is offering exclusive digital deals for fully vaccinated individuals. With the #FullyVaxxed package under Shopee Bayanihan, provides Filipinos with bundles for personal needs. Participating brands include Hygienix, Maxi-Peel, and Skin White just to name a few.
There are more than 15 million doses administered as of the moment, with more than 10 million having their first dose. Uncertainty regarding the efficacy of these vaccines hinder some to take the vaccines. Shopee’s initiative to offer the bundle hopes to encourage unvaccinated Filipinos to take the shot for immunity.
Steps on how to register and get verified:
Sign up on the Shopee Bayanihan: #FullyVaxxed Package microsite.
Submit a photo of the vaccination card to verify the completion of two doses and a valid ID
Wait for the verification from Shopee
The package will be available until September 26, 2021. To know more about the package, you can click this link here.
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