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Daily Tech Briefing: Ecommerce Policy In Focus, Chinese Apps Lose Traction In India & More

Daily Tech Briefing: Ecommerce Policy In Focus, Chinese Apps Lose Traction In India & More

The government may not offer any incentives to attract foreign investment in the ecommerce market

ISRO will engage with startups for new applications and use the space infrastructure to build them

Google Pay to launch SME lending feature in India

The ministry of commerce and industries is set to roll out the second draft of the national ecommerce policy soon. Besides focusing on predatory pricing, the policy will also bring local sellers on board and ensure data localisation.

To start with, the government may not offer any incentives to attract foreign investment in the ecommerce market but will reward small retailers that list their products on platforms like Amazon and Flipkart. The government aims to help traders migrate and integrate their business into digital platforms. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) will also hold annual reviews of discounts given by e-marketplaces to ensure predatory pricing are dealt with.

The ministry of commerce and industries had previously clarified that it is in talks with the IT ministry over the personal data protection bill to ensure that there is minimal overlap in the two bills. The commerce ministry will soon provide a recommendation in regards to the governance of data.

DPIIT had released the draft ecommerce policy back in early 2019. Under it, the government recommended certain guidelines like data localisation, compliance to the FDA rules and regulations and other business practices.

Push For Spacetech, Chinese Apps Hit & More

Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (In-Space) will hand-hold, promote and guide private industries in space activities through a friendly policy and regulatory environment, Union Minister of State for Space and Atomic Energy, Jitendra Singh said.

In-Space will have members from the Space Commission as well as industry representatives on its board. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will focus more on building new technologies, human spaceflight programmes and deep space missions. New Space India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of ISRO, will engage with startups and private companies for new applications and use the space infrastructure to build them.

Chinese Apps Lose Pace In India

Downloads of live streaming app Bigo Live, short-video app Likee, and gaming app PubG fell in June, while ByteDance-owned TikTok and Helo saw downloads decline from April, according to the data shared by industry tracker SensorTower. TikTok downloads fell 5% from April to May, and 38% from May to June 22. Helo, an India-specific regional social media app, witnessed a 10% fall in May and 38% from May until June 22, the data showed.

Google’s SME Lending Plans, Privacy Changes

Global tech giant Google, in partnership with undisclosed Indian lending firms, is looking to launch a credit feature for small, medium enterprises (SME) or merchants listed on its digital payments platform Google Pay by the end of this year.

It will help over 3 Mn verified merchants to avail instant credits if only the bank partners deem them creditworthy. The product will be offered on a pre-approved basis by the financial institutions’ Google partners with, but the merchant will have full control and visibility of the loan application process.

The company is also tweaking its privacy settings to keep less data on new users by default. The search giant said that starting Wednesday, it will automatically and continuously delete web and app activity and location history for new users after 18 months.

The change comes after Google added new controls last year that allows users to effectively put an expiry date on their data, by providing the option to auto-delete location history, search, voice and YouTube activity data after three or 18 months.

The company also said that it will now pay news publishers directly to license their content, in a change of tack for the internet giant. Google said it would introduce a licensing program that pays publishers for “high-quality content” to be posted on a new service expected to launch later this year. The service will launch on Google’s News and Discover platforms.

Tata Launches Food Delivery Service

Tata Group’s Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), which owns the Taj chain of hotels, has announced the launch of its online food delivery platform called Qmin. The launch will cover top ten markets in India including Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru among others over the next month or so. The Qmin mobile application will be launched on July 25.

SoftBank’s Son Exits Alibaba Board

SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son said he’s departed the board of Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. as of Thursday, saying he’s “graduating” from his most successful investment by far.

Son told shareholders in Tokyo he’s leaving just as Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma himself quits SoftBank’s board, but that didn’t signify any disagreements between the two. Alibaba, in which SoftBank invested early on and is now worth roughly $600 Bn, remains the crown jewel of the Japanese company’s portfolio, Son emphasized.

He again said the market was thus underestimating SoftBank’s potential, arguing that the Japanese giant’s shareholder value now stood at $218 Bn— more than double its current market capitalisation.

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