How Government Policies Influence e-Payment Adoption


Mobile payments, wallets, and digital banking have made a splash around the world over the last few years, as smartphone adoption grows and the demand for alternative e-payment options rises.

According to eMarketer:

“The global payment market will hit a major milestone in 2020: 1.06 billion people are expected to make a proximity mobile payment. But even as countries like China and Sweden take steps toward a cashless society, most of the world will still rely on cash and cards.”

There are many factors that influence this rise, such as convenience, viability, infrastructure, and smartphone adoption rates. However, an underlying factor that is part of the conversation to a lesser extent in this increase is governance and policy. How does this factor influence digital wallets and banking? What’s important for governments to open more space for a cashless society moving forward?

Political factors usually include two main components: political openness and the ability to create effective policy to build avenues for a shift toward a fintech-driven financial society.

Many countries in the developing world suffer from a lack of infrastructure to support non-digital banking, and thus fintech has an ample opportunity to break into these markets through a change in financial policy and creation of a plan for adoption.

In some areas, this process has already begun and succeeded, like Latin America (LATAM), where an estimated 70 percent of the population remains unbanked. Several LATAM governments, aware of the heavy cash-based economy, sought to lift the unbanked population and create an environment of greater transparency to combat criminal activity, as other non-LATAM states have, too.

African states have seen their own fintech boom, but some states have been slower to react to the growing need for and growth of fintech. Nigeria’s fintech market, for example, is growing, but the government remains stuck with policies that are ill-suited for fintech and better suited for traditional banking.

In other, more developed parts of the world, like Sweden, driving hard toward e-payments has been part of a collective effort to remove cash from a society that suffered from theft issues, which prompted a policy shift on finance.

The EU’s open-border policy has been an effective way to push these kinds of mobile wallets and digitized payment financial technologies across many borders, with organizations like the EMPSA laying the foundation.

China, in an effort to target its own criminal issues, like fraudulence and counterfeiting, has opened the market for fintech digital payment options, mainly AliPay and WePay, in order to better track the population’s activity.

While the aforementioned states’ governments have had a more open attitude toward the integration of digital banking fintech, and many successful thus far, others are still lagging behind on the trail.

In order for the benefits of fintech to become widespread, governments around the world must create policies and frameworks to open avenues for fintech to thrive. This includes several elements, especially with the end-consumer bore in mind. The IDB wrote about the case of LATAM governments:

“On the political side, it is vitally important to have an institutional and policy framework that permits the growth of technology, including the progress required to enable Fintech to prosper. Moreover, policies that foster innovation in the financial sector are important to allow Fintech to grow in the region.

Development and productive financing agendas increasingly include references to Fintech. Furthermore, since public saving and economic welfare are closely related to various Fintech activities, a regulatory framework is necessary.

Such a regulatory framework must fulfill the essential aims of protecting financial consumers, guaranteeing efficient and transparent competition, and mitigating systemic risk.

Models like the European Union’s Fintech Action Plan can serve as prime examples for how economic unions and states can adopt broad policy to address user concerns moving forward, covering the necessary bases for integrating digital banking fintech.

State policies and frameworks will have to protect consumers and facilitate a number of issues regarding the integration. First, for infrastructure, state policy must make way for technological infrastructure, namely broader broadband coverage across the state.

Developed countries face little to no obstacle in this matter, given the advanced infrastructure in place already. Underdeveloped states, however, must craft policy that expands broadband infrastructure, but also policy that cultivates a competitive market for broadband providers, in coordination with state banks to be prepared for digitization.

Such infrastructural policy must also create sentiments of trust within the population. Many Africans, for example, said they do not trust state and financial infrastructure to use fintech, and thus prefer using cash. Policymakers will need to, as similarly underlined by the IDB’s recommendations, lay down financial policies that instill trust, such as defining the clear rights of a user and generate systemic integrity.

Moreover, policymakers will need to manage concerns about security and privacy of data, a globally lingering concern among users since the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The EU’s “General Data Protection Regulation and the Anti-Money Laundering Directive” is one example of a strong initiative to combat abuse of user data.

As we enter the digital age, we must open our doors to enrich our society with the vast opportunities fintech can bring us.

With these opportunities, it will be up to the governments of the world to step up and be the proprietors of change, in order to see the cashless age fully manifest into reality.


This article was first published on Hacker Noon on February 16th, 2020:

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What COVID-19 Can Tell Marketers About the App Store’s Next Trends


Trends come and go, never fleeting faster than when a crisis rears its head. App stores represent one of the most rapidly changing areas in the consumer market. The old “fifteen minutes of fame” quib from Andy Warhol applies well in this scenario. Some apps last years, while others only last months or weeks—it’s inevitable that users will want something new. The main challenge plaguing app marketers face is the inability to amend their campaigns when the winds of change shift.

Just like our digital world around us is always in flux, so are our app stores, designed to shift with the interests of the users and to protect their interests. Rules and algorithms change constantly to ensure fraud is minimized-by deleting fake reviews or warning users before deleting apps for which they’re still paying subscriptions. App store optimization (ASO) regulations have also changed to prevent app marketers from filling app store descriptions with relevant keywords incoherently. Beyond the preventative measures, they also change by country depending on social, political, and economic situations.

App marketers must be aware, however, of the statistical likelihood that users will keep using their apps. Apps that don’t have a lot of value don’t have a long lifespan, because users move on quickly, and most apps don’t have long-term value to users. This varies by the types of app and its long-term relevance. Messaging apps tend to have higher retention rates, which makes sense because communication is an ongoing essential need, whereas gaming apps can have shorter lifespans because they are recreational and non-essential⁠—dispensable in nature. Localytics found that after three months, an average app’s rate of continued use after the first time is about 29 percent. In general, app retention rates are about 5 percent. This has been the trend for the last decade. On average, since 2012, the average rate for apps being used more than once has stood around 30-40 percent, according to Statista data.

COVID-19 changed the narrative quite a bit in the app store and rapidly, too. While the same sort of guiding principles in marketing the apps, like ASO, didn’t change dramatically, the focus of users did. For starters, as users around the globe found themselves at home, app installs and time spent using apps rose 20 percent. According to Visual Capitalist analysis, delivery and social media apps experienced an enormous rise in use, but not necessarily any significant increase in downloads. Media and entertainment, healthcare, online shopping, and communication apps saw both an increase and installs and users. For example, between February and April 2020, Instacart experienced a 650 percent rise in new users, while gaming apps saw an increase in 75 percent between March 12 and 19. As could be anticipated, video conferencing apps for business skyrocketed in downloads, nearly tripling in weekly downloads from October 2019 to April 2020.

These kinds of user behavior patterns in the app store are expected, but others are a little more noteworthy. Sensor Tower reported a 24 percent increase in mental-health app store downloads in April, a statistic that isn’t surprising given the mobility restrictions of the lockdown, but one that is less likely to catch the attention of marketers. Unique and anticipated behavior patterns in the app store tended to follow the geographic transition of the coronavirus. Areas the virus hit earlier, such as the European continent, saw the aforementioned trends in the app stores. Others that were yet to be hit hard saw their app stores’ activity remain largely in a pre-COVID state until the virus actually struck. These trends, both in their geographic transitions and their content, can tell app marketers much about the next few months, considering the anticipation of a resurgence in most countries.

The key in gauging the trends and reacting accordingly is to be able to pivot quickly, whether from campaigns of conversions, downloads, or encouraging retention/more usership. Directing a budget into one basket can have dangerous results, because as soon as the epicenter changes or data shows a change in user attitudes, budgets can go to waste. In an unpredictable world that is the COVID-19 pandemic, most app marketers will have to be flexible. The opposite doesn’t ring any truer, though, by speculating too much. A vision for what’s coming is critical and seeing already where the pandemic is moving and where it’s moving away from is a start.

New Zealand, for example, revealed recently it had reached zero cases, while in South America COVID-19 is hitting hard. And the app stores are reflecting the presence of the virus. In New Zealand, AppAnnie analytics showed that on April 1-during the peak of the pandemic curve worldwide-in the Apple Store, the top five apps downloaded were Zoom, Houseparty, TikTok, Microsoft Team, and Disney. As of the end of June, where the number of cases dropped below 50, the top apps data changed to predominantly games, while Tinder moved up from fourth highest-grossing to second, and SkySports resurfaced amid talk about sports returning.

South America’s ap stores show signs of a continent struggling to contain the virus. Brazil, a country with a large Android majority and one that has eased restrictions while deaths are peaking, has witnessed Tinder drop in the top-grossing category but also has seen the messenger and social apps drop off significantly from the top five Android app store list. Peru, a country that experienced a later explosion of cases, saw an app store drive to communications apps by late June when the pandemic started to wreak havoc, with social media and communications apps topping the charts.

Another trend that could determine the future of the app store while COVID-19 continues to grip the planet are the changes in the direction of the virus’s mutation. The Telegraph reported on June 20 that an Italian infectious disease clinic chief believes its virulence has died as it has mutated. This could signal that in some areas, as the public opens, app store trends could return to pre-COVID status.

Given these types of quick pivots in the app store, app marketers will also shift budgets accordingly. Appsflyer data shows the correlation between the number of new cases per day and the app store budgets, especially in China. Moving forward marketers will also shift their budgets to continents and regions that experience a jump in app usage and specific types of apps that meet the needs of their COVID-19 situations.

Appsflyer graph - china
Appsflyer data shows the correlation between the number of new cases per day and the app store budgets, especially in China.

Regardless of what the pandemic has in store next for humanity, app marketers across the spectrum must be prepared to manage the quick change. A jump in cases in one area can inculcate marketers with a feeling that an opportunity exists elsewhere. The key is to always be on a swivel, because during these challenging times, the tide turns quickly.



The article was first published on Business 2 Community on July 23rd, 2020

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What I’ve Learned When It Comes To Doing Business in China


During my Masters Degree, I had the opportunity to travel and live in China, continuing my studies locally and experience this crazy developing nation from firsthand experience. Moving to a different country for a few years comes with its pros and cons, while taking into consideration that some nations welcome outsiders and some are more reluctant due to various barriers. Here are a few points that every westerner needs to understand before heading to China.

The Chinese market can be seen for people outside of China as a very glamorous and full of potential in a verity of aspects. Although the business potential is huge, I wouldn’t say glamorous at all, as it incubates many challenges that are much greater compared to other developed markets in the western world.

The first example for why China is so lucrative to foreigners, is that the Chinese market these days is in its pick of growth, a fact that allowed many Chinese companies to base their domination worldwide with long term strategies and huge budgets. Due to this fact, many western companies are looking to expand their operations into China, or to partner with Chinese companies in order to scale.

But, opportunities go hand in hand with many challenges. The first challenge is the language barrier, which becomes an obstacle when coming to do business with the Chinese.

Thanks to the language reform in the late ’90s, today’s younger generation is much more fluent than the past generations, but still, many Chinese Netizens still have a poor level of English, and as such are struggling to communicate and do Business with foreign Companies.

Moreover, according to my experience, while living in China, it is always better to speak your client’s mother tongue as conversion rates are much higher. For me personally, speaking fluent Chinese is an irreplaceable tool for doing business in China as it drives confidence and allows you to form much more meaningful relationships with your Chinese pairs, as they appreciate the efforts due to the difficulty that arises to foreigners in learning to speak the language.

methods of work

Many westerners who have vast Business experience in global markets still face many obstacles, not only because of the language barrier but also because of a lack of cultural understanding.

Each culture comes with its own ways of communication and standards. It is important to note that many foreigners believe that the methods of work they’re accustomed to from home will apply in China as well, but Once starting this journey, many begin to understand that their familiar approach will not work in the Chinese market.

For example, the work phase is as such that everything runs fast, up to the moment when a contract is being put on the table. At this point, things turn much slower, and the most important thing is to keep a high level of patience. In that matter, speaking the language, understanding the culture and Business methods are attributes that will have a great deal for successful business when approaching the Chinese market.

Another very important thing to understand is the type of business you intend on doing in China and act accordingly. As you might presume, the Chinese Government’s main intention is to become by 2025 a world leader in tech development and not just in manufacturing. Due to this fact, a lot of resources and money are invested in large Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Tencent, and others, while there are new unicorns rising fast like ByteDance (Tik Tok app) which is growing its market share inside and outside of the great Chinese Firewall.

As for that, approaching these Companies will be your main goal, and you might consider doing this by forming a deep and meaningful relationship, which is an initial process that will not always be easy.

Due to the Chinese government aspiration, massive growth is shown in the tech industry and especially in-app developing companies in many verticals. Due to the market size, we can see a large development of mobile gaming apps, utility apps, travel, and gambling apps which are being distributed worldwide.

This is exactly the right ecosystem for a company like Zoomd, which enters the market with the intent to help our partners with app distribution in their desired Geo’s. Our unified platform allows all our clients, such as our Chinese advertisers, to get exposure anywhere in the world thanks to our unique patented technology, and the huge amount of Data that is running through our platform on a daily basis. The fact that we’re connected to over 600 mobile media sources allows us to see the bigger picture and better understand what works best for each vertical, in each country.

We utilize this data; We specialize in User Acquisition and help our Chinese clients to expand their operations worldwide. On the other side of the equation, we also help foreign companies enter the Chinese market in terms of monetization. After forming strong relations with many publishers in China for the past decade, we are helping foreign companies advertise their apps on the largest platforms in the Chinese digital landscape, and advance step by step in this huge and challenging market.

So, what is the main turnkey, when talking about the Chinese market? Well, it’s a very interesting and unique market that needs to get its own methodology and strategy. The Chinese market is full of potential for growth and expansion, but it is important to acknowledge the differences before jumping in the deep waters.

Embracing their unique way of business, culture, and spirit is the first step.

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