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Mastercard Drives Global Start-up Ecosystem At Connecting Tomorrow Forum

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Mastercard Drives Global Start-up Ecosystem At Connecting Tomorrow Forum

Mastercard, a leading technology company in the global payments industry, recently welcomed 10 startups to its Start Path programme at the Mastercard ‘Connecting Tomorrow’ Forum. The event, which held in Barcelona, Spain, is part of its efforts to drive the startup ecosystem.

Mastercard Start Path is the company’s global initiative to provide startups with the operational support and commercial access needed to scale. The programme brings together a global network of innovators, ranging from startups to banks and merchants, to shape the future of commerce in an agile and accelerated manner. Start Path evaluates roughly 1,600 applications per year and invites about 40 later-stage startups to participate each year.

Representing numerous countries including Nigeria, Mexico, Australia, Singapore, Jordan, the UK and the US, the participating startups are developing innovative financial services technologies that exemplify a new level of innovation and convenience in customer experience. During the Mastercard Connecting Tomorrow Forum, the selected startups were given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to an audience of more than 250 potential investors and partners.

Speaking on the forum, Gaurang Shah, Senior Vice-President, Product Management, Digital Payments and Labs, MEA, Mastercard said: “Startups are reimagining all touch points of the consumer lifecycle and we must harness their unique approach to addressing emerging challenges to our advantage. Through the Mastercard Start Path programme, we are able to combine our assets and expertise with the startup community’s out-of-the-box ideas and unconventional business models to shape the future of commerce together.”

The ideas presented by startups ranged from new approaches to enabling small merchants to accept payments and manage personal data and digital identities, to solutions that allow consumers to pay together for e-commerce transactions, as well as programmes that empower citizens to be in control of their financial obligations across multiple geographies.

Representing Nigeria is Lydia, a leading financial services platform to improve access to credit and finance across frontier and emerging markets starting with Nigeria. Launched in November 2016, businesses who are looking for $500 USD to $50,000 in working capital, are able to apply online or via their mobile phone and get a decision in 24 hours. Lydia was co-founded by Tunde Kehinde and Ercin Eksin.

Other startups on the list are Agora Services (USA), Billpocket (Mexico), Extend (USA), Jaib (Jordan), Meeco (Switzerland), Pay By Group (USA), Rewire (Israel), Silot (Singapore) and Simudyne (UK).

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Japanese Electronics Firms Look To Re-engineer Their Design Mojo

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Japanese Electronics Firms Look To Re-engineer Their Design Mojo

Akihiro Adachi, a 31-year-old audiovisual equipment designer at Panasonic Corp, longed for some personal space during his lengthy train rides from Osaka to Tokyo. So when his company set out to encourage innovation, he joined with some colleagues and came up with “Wear Space,” a headset that limits noise and peripheral vision.

Many at Panasonic were puzzled.

“Someone said the office full of people wearing this would look weird,” said Kang Hwayoung, another member of the 10-person design team.

But the prototype unexpectedly won a global design award and received positive feedback from unexpected quarters, such as sake tasters who wanted to limit sensory input.

The project is among a range of efforts in the Japanese electronics industry to reinvigorate industrial design. After years of losing ground to design-first rivals such as Apple and Dyson, Japanese companies are now trying to recover the processes and creative flair that produced iconic products such as the Walkman.

Panasonic, Sony, and Mitsubishi Electric are among those implementing practices that have been routine at many U.S. and European companies, such as engaging designers at every step and treating packaging as part of the product.

“We used to have designers involved only in final stages of our product development process, just for an aesthetic fix,” Yoshiyuki Miyabe, Panasonic’s technology, and the manufacturing chief told reporters. “We are revamping the process so that designers can join us from the planning phase.”

The Japanese government is promoting the efforts: a report in May urged corporate executives to pursue “design-driven management, whereby a company leverages design as a primary driver of competitiveness.”

It also called for tax incentives for design-related investments and new laws to better protect intellectual property. The government is set to revise such laws next year.

“Of course, we had an argument over how much the government can do and should do with private-sector issues like this,” said Daisuke Kubota, director at the government’s design registration system planning office, who was involved in the panel.

“But a lot of design experts asked us for government initiatives, saying that this is really the last chance and Japan would never be able to catch up with global rivals if this opportunity is missed.”

Another member of the panel, Kinya Tagawa, visiting professor at the Royal College of Art and co-founder of design firm Takram, says there has been a sharp increase in major companies’ requesting design lectures for their executives.

“I’m seeing a sign of change,” he said.

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US Blames China For Data Hack Of Marriott Hotel

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US Blames China For Data Hack Of Marriott Hotel

The United States has blamed China for the massive data hack of as many as 500 million guests of the world’s biggest hospitality group, the Marriott hotel chain.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the U.S. believes China masterminded the hacking, which included the theft of guest credit card information and passport numbers over a four-year period.  These include guests who stayed at hotels previously operated by Starwood, a brand bought by Marriott in 2016.

There was no immediate comment from the Chinese government.

Us investigators suspect the hackers were working on behalf of the Chinese ministry of state security.

The official said investigators were concerned about the data breach because Marriott is used frequently by the U.S. military and government agencies.

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Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou Released On Bail

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Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou Released On Bail

Meng Wanzhou, Chief Financial Officer of Chinese telecoms giant huawei technologies, was released on bail by a canadian court on tuesday, 10 days after her arrest in vancouver at the request of U.S. authorities.

Meng Wanzhou, daughter ofHuawei’ss founder, faces the U.S. claims that she misled multinational banks on transactions that misled banks and put them at risk of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.

A Vancouver, British Columbia court granted Meng a U.S. seven and a half million dollars bail to Meng. She has been held since her arrest on December 1. The courtroom erupted in applause when the decision was announced. Meng cried and hugged her lawyers.

Meng will have to abide by the court’s bail conditions, one of which is for the forty-six-year-old to wear an ankle monitor and stay at home from eleven pm to six am.

Meng’s arrest has put further soured Chinese relations with the united states and canada at a time when tensions were already high over a trade war and U.S. accusations of chinese spying.

U.S. president Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would intervene in the U.S. justice department’s case against meng if it would serve national security interests or help close a trade deal with China.

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