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Daily Tech Briefing: Pine Labs May Rescue Bankrupt Wirecard, Indian Ecommerce Policy & More

Daily Tech Briefing: Pine Labs May Rescue Bankrupt Wirecard, Indian Ecommerce Policy & More

Pine Labs is considering to buy out the Asian business of SoftBank-backed Wirecard

Ecommerce companies that share Indian user data with offshore entities will be subject to periodic audits

Universal Sportsbiz (USPL) has received fresh funding from NB Ventures

Payment unicorn Pine Labs is considering a buyout of the Asian business of SoftBank-backed bankrupt company Wirecard. A payments and risk management service provider, Wirecard filed for bankruptcy last month after $2 Bn went missing from its balance sheet over an alleged accounting fraud. 

Subsequently, Wirecard CEO Markus Braun was arrested in an accounting-fraud probe, since released on bail. Multiple players have expressed interest in the company’s assets, while others such as Hitachi Payments and Atos-backed Worldline Technology have made inquiries about the sale. 

Sources said that the buyers are likely going to wait for the regulatory proceedings against Wirecard to conclude so that the picture gets clearer for the terms of the deal to be decided.

“The discussion is still in very early stages and it’s obviously challenging as there is ongoing litigation against the company. There is also concern that Wirecard may lose its customers during any process of migration due to these proceedings,” sources added.

Indian Ecommerce Policy To Focus On Data

With an eye on promoting, the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) has urged ecommerce players like Amazon and Flipkart to start displaying the ‘country of origin’ for new listings of products on their platforms, and rectify existing ones “at the earliest possible”.

The country of origin will first be added for new products and sellers that do not provide details could be ejected from the marketplace, said government officials. According to industry executives, another meeting is expected with government officials next week and by then a timeline needs to be submitted for these changes. 

Further, the draft ecommerce policy targets companies that share Indian users data offshore. They will be subject to periodic audits, according to one of the provisions in the draft ecommerce policy soon to be made public. Companies will also be required to provide any data that the government seeks, failing which, they will be fined. 

According to the draft policy, medical data and information regarding defence and other sensitive matters can’t be stored offshore without approvals. It added that local storage of data will be made mandatory in these fields. The new draft policy calls for a regulator for the sector, along with an ecommerce law which will restrict the data available with the firms to store, use and transfer. 

Meanwhile, Indian sellers and traders registered with Chinese ecommerce platform Alibaba have observed an increase in discount offers since last week, which they think could be a policy to counter the ‘ban Chinese products’ campaign in India. “Since last week, I have been getting at least 3-4 mails every day from Chinese suppliers offering good discounts on various commodities like copper, iron, silver etc. If we do not reply to the emails then the discount is increased up to even 15%,” said Nitin Kedia, national convener, CAIT.

TikTok To Govt: Plan To Set Up Engineering Centre In India

In a letter to the Indian government after the ban on TikTok, the company has shared its plans of setting up an engineering centre to develop indigenous products, reiterating its plans of storing data of Indian users locally. ByteDance-owned TikTok’s global CEO Kevin Mayer sought a meeting with the information technology minister to explain the app’s data-sharing practices, as the company looks to takes its India expansions plans to “the next level”. 

TikTok India clarified that the company had no plans to pursue legal action against the government’s order and was working to address concerns of data privacy. 

Meanwhile, short video app Likee has said it will respect the Indian government’s order and has temporarily taken off the application. Likee said it has temporarily taken off the platform from Google Play and Apple App Store and has suspended its service in India. Likee is one of the 59 applications banned by the Indian government.

The company in its statement pointed out that it is under Singapore-based BIGO Technology. It also said that it held utmost priority to adherence to all the local laws as well as users’ privacy and data security.

USPL Secures Fresh Funding

Universal Sportsbiz (USPL) on July 2 has received fresh funding. According to the ministry of corporate affairs filings accessed by Inc42, the company has received INR 3.76 Cr from NB Ventures by issuing 97 preference shares at a face value of INR 10 with a premium of INR 3.88 Lakh per share.

Founded in 2012 by Anjana Reddy, USPL’s portfolio of brands include WROGN, a premier fashion brand inspired by Indian cricketer Virat Kohli; Sri Lankan actress Jacqueline Fernandez’s Imara, a contemporary women’s ethnic fashion brand; and Ms.Taken, a signature western wear line curated by actress Kriti Sanon.

JioMeet Trolled For Copying Zoom

Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms formally launched JioMeet, a video-conference service, which has an uncanny resemblance to Zoom and was trolled on Twitter. “Looks like development [JioMeet] started by dismantling the apk file of Zoom,” said a tweet.

The JioMeet app just like Zoom offers an easy solution for hosting meetings for all group sizes. “Enterprise-grade” host controls, which include: password protection on each call, multi-device login support (up to five devices) and ability to share screen and collaborate. There is ‘safe driving mode’ and ‘waiting room’ but still unclear if people outside India could use the service. Text size and the colour scheme were the only differentiators between Zoom and JioMeet. The use of the same phrases, placements and design are enough to confuse anyone about the two apps. 

Swiggy Super Is Back

After pausing Swiggy Super in April 2020, the company has announced that the membership programme is now back in service. In a statement to Inc42, Swiggy spokesperson said that due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions impacting restaurant operations, the programme was paused for renewals and new subscriptions in April 2020.

“Since Unlock 1.0, restaurants who were completely shut have begun to resume operations gradually along with a noticeable upshift in consumer interest to place food orders. Considering these trends, we are re-enabling ‘Super’ subscriptions for unlimited free deliveries on all orders above INR 149,” the spokesperson said.

Facebook To Shut Down Lasso

Facebook’s TikTok clone Lasso is being shut down on July 10, Lasso alerted users on Wednesday. Launched in 2018, Lasso allowed users to shoot up to 15-second long videos and overlay popular songs. The app centred around an algorithmic feed of recommended videos but also allowed users to tap through hashtags or a Browse page of themed collections.

“We place multiple bets across our family of apps to test and learn how people want to express themselves. One of these tests was Lasso, our stand-alone short-form video app, which we have decided to shut down. We thank everyone who shared their creativity and feedback with us, which we’ll look to incorporate in our other video experiences,” a Facebook spokesperson reportedly said.

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