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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Monthly card payments hit record Rs70,000 crore on the back of note ban: SBI

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Card payments on point-of-sale (POS) terminals have hit a record monthly amount of Rs70,000 crore, a level that would have taken three years to reach had demonetization not taken place, State Bank of India (SBI) said in a research report on Thursday.

“We have analysed that demonetization has brought the nation at least three years ahead in digital payments. In other words, if demonetization had not happened, it would have taken three years more for credit and debit cards transactions on PoS terminals to reach the current level of Rs700 billion (assuming a yearly growth rate of 25%),” said the report authored by Soumya Kanti Ghosh, group chief economic adviser, SBI.

The report states that a similar trend has been observed in the usage of pre-paid instruments and mobile banking.

The growth in digital payments has been attributed to demonetization of Rs1,000 and Rs500 banknotes on 8 November and also announcements made in the Budget 2017.

The finance minister, in his budget speech, announced major tax exemptions in basic customs duty (BCD), excise/countervailing duty (CV) duty and special additional duty (SAD) for manufacturers of PoS card readers, mobile PoS (mPoS), fingerprint readers and iris scanners.

“We believe that increasing number of PoS terminals (post demonetization, Indian banks have been able to set up 1.18 mn extra PoS terminals) and ease of doing digital transaction will increase this level further,” said the SBI report.

The government had announced in the budget 2017 that 1 million additional PoS machines would be installed by March next year. The SBI report said the target has been exceeded in less than a year’s time.

Use of cash is not efficient anymore, especially post-demonetization and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), said Rahul Gochhwal, co-founder of Trupay, a financial technology company.

“Most traders and merchants preferred cash to avoid tracing of income before demonetization and GST. However, they don’t have that incentive now. A little investment needed to set up card acceptance infrastructure discouraged them to move to digital payments before demonetization,” he said.

Twitter names former Goldman Sachs banker Ned Segal as new CFO

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New York: Twitter Inc. named Ned Segal, who spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., as chief financial officer, the second time the social media company has turned to a veteran of the investment bank for an executive to help revive its fortunes.

Segal, 43, currently a senior vice-president of finance at Intuit Inc., will take over the role next month from Anthony Noto, who will remain chief operating officer, Twitter said Tuesday in a statement. Noto has held both posts at San Francisco-based Twitter since November 2016. Segal will report directly to chief executive officer Jack Dorsey, the company said.

After a failed process to sell itself in 2016, Dorsey has been trying to prove that Twitter can succeed as an independent company and reach profitability by the end of this year. Twitter has been under pressure to boost growth after posting its first quarterly revenue decline since going public in 2013. The company, however, reported in April that average monthly users had increased 6% to 328 million in the first quarter from a year earlier and, in May, Biz Stone, a co-founder with Dorsey, said he would rejoin Twitter after a six-year absence to focus on company culture.

The careers of Noto and Segal overlapped at Goldman Sachs from 2010 through 2014 in the technology, media and telecom investment banking group. Noto left the investment bank to join Twitter in 2014. Segal left Goldman Sachs in 2013 for RPX Corp and joined Intuit in 2015. At Intuit, Segal led the financial and strategic planning for the division that delivers QuickBooks, Payments and Payroll.

Segal’s background and experience “are an ideal fit for Twitter as we work to extend our positive momentum, continue growing our audience and achieve greater operating efficiency,” Dorsey said in the statement.

The appointment will help relieve pressure on Dorsey, who also is CEO at electronic payments company Square Inc., and Noto, who was serving two executive roles at Twitter.

Segal will receive a $22.5 million compensation package, including a $500,000 salary and $300,000 signing bonus, Twitter said in a regulatory filing. The bulk of compensation consists of about 1.17 million shares, valued at about $21.7 million as of Tuesday’s close in New York, that are intended to compensate him over four years. About one-third of the shares are tied to performance targets

Google acquires Halli Labs, a 4-month old Bengaluru AI start-up

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New Delhi: Google Inc. has acquired Halli Labs, a four-month old start-up out of Bengaluru that is developing artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions.

Halli Labs announced the acquisition late Wednesday. “We will be joining Google’s Next Billion Users team to help get more technology and information into more people’s hands around the world,” the company said in blog post on Medium.com.

According to a bio-note, also on Medium, Halli Labs is engaged in developing solutions to traditional problems using AI, MI, deep learning and natural language processing technologies.

“Halli Labs is applying modern ML techniques to old problems and domains to help technology march on in its timeless purpose— that of giving superhuman powers to all of us humans in letting us do whatever we want to do, better,” the post read.

Pankaj Gupta, an Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and Stanford University alumnus, is the founder of Halli Labs. According to his Linkedin profile, Gupta worked at Twitter in San Francisco, US, for over five years before joining Indian hospitality start-up Stayzilla. He started Halli Labs in April.

Pradhuman Jhala, who served at both Twitter and Stayzilla around the same time as Gupta, is an engineer at Halli Labs. He is “building products based on applied ML in speech recognition and NLP domains,” Jhala’s Linkedin profile said.

“Welcome Pankaj and the team at Halli Labs to Google. Looking forward to building some cool stuff together,” Google’s vice-president for product management tweeted Wednesday.

Apple’s secret new iPhone just made TSMC’s Morris Chang a billionaire

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Hong Kong: The chairman of the world’s largest contract chipmaker has become a billionaire thanks to expected demand for Apple Inc.’s new iPhone.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) shares have surged 25% in the past year, lifting founder and chairman Morris Chang’s personal fortune to $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Chang, 86, owns 0.5% of the business directly and through his family, according to a May 2017 filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

The climbing valuation is being fuelled by optimism for a revenue boost from the upcoming iPhone release, as well as long-term expectations that cars, high-performance computing and the Internet of Things will be a new growth driver for its processors, according to Randy Abrams, a Taipei-based equity analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG.

Elizabeth Sun, TSMC’s spokeswoman, declined to comment on Chang’s net worth.

Processor demand

The Taiwanese chip giant has weathered a slowdown in the global smartphone market, increasing revenue 12.4% last year to NT$947.9 billion ($29.4 billion) on demand for its A10 processor, which is used in Apple’s latest iPhone.

TSMC, which is due to report earnings today after the close of trading, has a market cap of almost $180 billion, making it the most valuable company on Taiwan’s stock exchange. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the listed flagship of iPhone assembler Foxconn Technology Group, is the second-most valuable company on the exchange, rising 56% in the past year to $67.6 billion.

The Taiwan Taiex Electronics Index, a measure of the market’s technology stocks, is up 22% in the same period.

Chang founded TSMC in 1987 with backing from Taiwan’s government, which remains the company’s largest shareholder through the National Development Fund’s 6.4% stake.

The graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University spent the majority of his career working for Texas Instruments Inc. He established TSMC when he was in his mid-50s, where he became the first to build a semiconductor factory that made chips based on the designs of its customers. He stepped down as chief executive officer in 2005 only to return when TSMC’s business stagnated, serving another stint as CEO between 2009 and 2013.

Chrome Extensions that make online shopping easier

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One of the main attractions of online shopping is the amazing deals and discounts you can get on them. However, during limited time-period sales, keeping track of all the discounts and prices can be a bit difficult. Chrome browser comes with a number of cool extensions for online shoppers which can save time, money and some amount of internet bandwidth spent on browsing through multiple webpages.

You can find these extensions on the Chrome web store. Just type web store in Chrome and type the name of extension in the search bar at the top of the web store page.

Here are some of the extensions for online shoppers that can come in handy.

Tap n Buy extension is a time saver for buyers looking for the best possible online deals.Tap n Buy extension is a time saver for buyers looking for the best possible online deals.

Tap n Buy

Developed by Indian company Staqu Technologies, Tap n Buy extension is a time saver for buyers looking for the best possible online deals. So when you are browsing through an online store, the extension will automatically open a small pop-up window on the right side of the page with prices of the same as well as some similar products on other stores. So if you are looking for a product on Flipkart.com, the pop window will show prices of similar products on Snapdeal.com and Amazon.in. Through this, users can compare prices without leaving the store they are on.

Amazon Assistant shows product matches with their price on their official store.Amazon Assistant shows product matches with their price on their official store.

Amazon Assistant for Chrome

For users who rely more on Amazon.in and like to use it as a reference point, there is an extension called Amazon Assistant. It shows product matches with their price on their official store. So if you are looking at smartphone on Flipkart, you can see its lowest price on Amazon.in on a horizontal slide at the top of the page with a Learn more button. Tap on it and it will take you to the landing page of the smartphone on Amazon.in. It also shows all lightning deals in a vertical slider on the right side of the page.

Fashion Lover can find similar looking clothes, shoes or fashion accessories from images on webpages and show the price and store from where you can buy them.Fashion Lover can find similar looking clothes, shoes or fashion accessories from images on webpages and show the price and store from where you can buy them.

Fashion Lover

While browsing through the web, we often come across photos of people wearing a unique designer shirt or shoes. In case you want to buy them but don’t know which brand to go to, you should try Fashion Lover. This cool extension can find similar looking clothes, shoes or fashion accessories from images on webpages and show the price and store from where you can buy them. To use this, click on the heart icon in the toolbar section of the browser and it will highlight the items into separate boxes. Hold the cursor over the box without clicking and a small pop-up window will show the options right next to it.

Fakespot can help users by scanning a product landing page on any online store and then provide a rating on the reliability of the reviews.Fakespot can help users by scanning a product landing page on any online store and then provide a rating on the reliability of the reviews.

Fakespot

It is always wise to go through reviews by other buyers before hitting the checkout button. A lot of the reviews are often made up by the seller, however. This is where this extension can come in handy. It can help users by scanning a product landing page on any online store and then provide a rating on the reliability of the reviews. To take advantage of it, just click on the Fakespot icon at the top right of the page.

You can import your entire shopping wish list on Shoptagr by simply clicking on the icon while browsing through a product and it will send an alert on email when there is a price drop, or the product is back in stock again.You can import your entire shopping wish list on Shoptagr by simply clicking on the icon while browsing through a product and it will send an alert on email when there is a price drop, or the product is back in stock again.

Shoptagr

If you have been tracking a product for a while but holding off for a better deal or due to shortage of stock, you can use the Shoptagr extension for timely alerts. You can import your entire shopping wish list on Shoptagr by simply clicking on the icon while browsing through a product and it will send an alert on email when there is a price drop, or the product is back in stock again. This can give buyers a better idea of when to eventually buy the product.

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