Social Commerce expected to hit $70 Billion Mark- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Social commerce has been a hot topic in the media in 2019, with big names investing in social commerce startups and new-age social media platforms like Sharechat, TikTok and others showing interest in this sector. Wizikey, has collated interesting trends across this industry and released a report on the top social commerce startups using its AI and ML-based technology. The top 5 newsmakers were identified in the category and analysed based on the volume of news made by each of them.
According to the report, while e-commerce too has benefited from the increasing internet penetration, social commerce emerged as a relatively new concept, it already accounts for 15-20% of the online retail market and is expected to hit the $70 billion mark in the coming 10 years. In India, most of the people living in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities shop through Facebook and WhatsApp. While there is still some time before social commerce can make inroads into the metro cities, the majority of the population is already buying all sorts of products through networking sites. China is one geography that has welcomed social commerce with open arms. The way WeChat is being used to interact, explore, buy and sell, is phenomenal. The industry is growing at almost twice the rate of the overall online retail industry*.
E-commerce giants have seen the signs and are working towards a social commerce model. Amazon has already launched an affiliate program. It is safe to say that social media will act as a catalyst for the new billion-dollar market and social commerce is on track to be the next revolution in the online retail industry.
Anshul Sushil, Founder and CEO of Wizikey said, “Indian consumers are used to a various set of shopping experiences, one of which is social and highly interactive shopping; giving birth to Social commerce- a new billion-dollar market. We at Wizikey study different sectors and social commerce has emerged as a new category with different players coming into play with interesting news trends. This industry has the potential to disrupt and is on track to be the next revolution in the online retail industry.”
Akarsh Srivastava, Vice President at SAIF Partners shared his insights on the Social Commerce industry which is growing at a rapid pace in India. He added “Incumbent platforms like Amazon, Flipkart etc have demonstrated that a large e-commerce business can be built in India. However, these platforms (and others like Big Basket, Grofers etc) were built keeping in mind the earliest internet adopters. Most of these apps started and scaled before the Jio phenomenon. Current online models rely on digital acquisition through Facebook, Google and end up competing with other commerce services trying to target the same user with sops like discounts. Social commerce aims to leverage the social behaviour of these users to facilitate transactions.
He further added “The size of opportunity can be gauged by the fact that Whatsapp has 400 million monthly active users, while the number of annual online shoppers is only about 100 million. Amazon and Flipkart have close to 80 million users each opening their apps (all of them not necessarily transacting) monthly and annual GMVs of ~$10-12 Bn. A platform which bridges this divide can create a much larger business than any of the incumbents.”
Top Players in Social Commerce
In recent years the industry has seen an exponential increase in the number of players as well as the funding flowing into these companies. The top companies that have emerged as industry leaders in India are:
Meesho, a four-year-old startup, can be regarded as the pioneer of social commerce in India. With a network of more than two million resellers, Meesho paved the way for other players to enter the market. Dealing largely in electronics, home products, and clothing, the platform helps customers in smaller cities connect with small businesses and entrepreneurs through platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
DealShare is another social commerce platform that operates on a slightly different model than other players like Meesho. The startup focuses on group buying for groceries and other home products in the lower and middle-income segments. DealShare received the maximum coverage in the media for their funding announcement.
Poshmark is a social commerce marketplace with a model that is quite different from others covered in the report. While Meesho and DealShare connect sellers and buyers through existing social networks like Facebook and WhatsApp, Poshmark has created its own networking platform where sellers can share their products with their followers and sell from the Poshmark app itself.
Mall91, like Poshmark, has its own platform which integrates various features such as video chat, messenger and social shopping into one single app. Mall91 also operates in vernacular languages to ensure a more widespread inclusion of non-metro city users.
GlowRoad is a women-focused reselling platform that enables its users to create their own networks and buy and sell through them. The startup mainly services housewives, enabling them to sell products from the comfort of their homes through offline and online modes.
WMall is a women-focused social community-based e-commerce platform that targets new-to-internet women users. It allows users to create and upload video content to help others in making better buying decisions and build trust with sellers on the platform.

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Udemy Raises $50 Million From Benesse Holdings; Valuation Stands At $2 Billion- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Online learning platform Udemy raises a fresh round of $50 million funding from its long time investor based in Japan, Benesse Holdings. The company’s valuation stands at $2 billion and it plans to expand to more markets. 
The funds will be used for developing a base in markets across the world and also expand its headquarters in San Francisco. Denver, Dublin, Colorado, Gurgaon, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Ankara are some places it is looking at to set up and grow offices. 
CEO of Udemy, Gregg Coccari said in a statement that the company is on a mission to improve lives through learning, and so is Benesse. They believe that 2020 will be a milestone year where they will serve millions of more students and enable thousands of businesses and governments to upskill their employees. For this growth to be possible, they need their expert instructors and partner to be with them at every step to build business. 
The San Francisco headquartered company believes that 57,000 expert instructors on their portal are helping millions of students learn new skills and their diverse range of courses adds to this. A year back, Udemy’s saw growth in its subscriptions by expanding internationally and offering courses in Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and German languages as well. They did this while keeping their product local and also the experts on it. 
The learning platform has above 5000 customers globally which include Adidas, Booking.com, Toyota, and Wipro. 

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Microsoft to invest US$1.1 billion in Mexico over next five years: Nadella – Cloud – Hardware- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said the technology giant will invest $1.1 billion in Mexico over the next five years, according to a promotional video released by the Mexican government on Thursday.
Nadella said the investment is “focused on expanding access to digital technology for people and organizations across the country.”
Microsoft will build a new data center to deliver “client services to help every organization to really get an advantage and drive digital transformation,” added Nadella, who met with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador last year.
The U.S. company will also invest in training labs and skills programs, Nadella said.
Lopez Obrador, speaking during his daily morning conference, said the investment showed Mexico was an attractive investment destination, touting a strong local currency, stable inflation, and prudent debt management by the government.
The leftist president has faced criticism his government’s policies have turned off local and foreign investors, which contributed to the economy last year contracting 0.1 percent in Mexico’s first annual decline in a decade.

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The IRS is suing Facebook for $9 billion in unpaid taxes – Blog – 10 minute

Bottom line: Hot on the heels of a $5 billion fine from the FTC over privacy violations, Facebook is now under fire from the IRS. The tax collection agency says that the social media giant owes taxes dating from a 2010 revenue shuffle with Facebook Ireland. The company could be stuck with a $9 billion tax bill plus interest and penalties.
The Internal Revenue Service is suing Facebook for $9 billion in back taxes. The trial began on Tuesday and is expected to go on for about a month. Five Facebook executives have been subpoenaed to testify, including Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer, AR and VR Vice President Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, Chief Revenue Officer David Fischer, and two others.
The IRS alleges Facebook undervalued intellectual properties when selling them to an Irish subsidiary in 2010. Shuffling money internally this way is not unusual for multinational corporations. Ireland is considered a haven because of its lower corporate tax rates.
Reuter’s reports that between 2010 and 2016, the subsidiary paid Facebook US more than $14 billion in royalties and cost-sharing. These payments were for the use of “trademarks, users, and platform technologies.”

Facebook’s defense is that inherent risks of expanding overseas drove the valuation down. The deal was also penned before the company’s IPO and before it had developed its digital advertising platform, which is its highest revenue earner.
“[In 2010, Facebook] had no mobile advertising revenue, its international business was nascent, and its digital advertising products were unproven,” Facebook spokesperson Bertie Thomson told Reuters.
In addition to the IRS inflating the value of its IPs in 2010, Facebook is claiming that the tax burden lies on its international affiliates and not on the US-based parent company.
“Facebook Ireland and Facebook’s other foreign affiliates – not Facebook US – led the high-risk, and ultimately successful, international effort to sell Facebook ads,” said the company’s legal team in a brief before the trial began.
While the suit lists the taxes owed at $9 billion, if Facebook loses the case, it will also have to cough up interest and penalties, which could put its settlement into the 11-figure bracket.
Masthead credit: Cryptographer via Shutterstock

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Morgan Stanley is buying E-Trade for $13 billion – Blog – 10 minute

What just happened? Morgan Stanley on Thursday announced intentions to purchase online trading platform E-Trade. The all-stock deal is valued at roughly $13 billion and represents the largest takeover of an American lender since the global financial crisis in 2008.
With the acquisition, Morgan Stanley will take on more than 5.2 million additional customer accounts and some $360 billion in assets. They’ll join Morgan Stanley’s existing three million clients and their $2.7 trillion in assets.
E-Trade stockholders will receive 1.0432 Morgan Stanley shares for each E-Trade share they own, or $58.74 per. That’s a more than 30 percent premium over the closing price of E-Trade shares on Wednesday.

As The New York Times correctly highlights, traditional corporate finance heavyweights like Morgan Stanley are increasingly looking to cater to customers that have smaller net worth. Similarly, online brokers that once hoped to overthrow conventional trading houses are struggling to cope with declining profits resulting from lower interest rates, falling commissions and digital “robo-advisors.”
James Gorman, Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley, said E-Trade CEO Mike Pizzi will be joining the company to continue to run the E-Trade business and lead the integration effort. Pizzi will report directly to Gorman and will be joining Morgan Stanley’s Operating and Management Committees. What’s more, another (unnamed) E-Trade executive will be joining Morgan Stanley’s board.
Morgan Stanley expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter of 2020, pending customary regulatory approvals.
Masthead credit: E-Trade by Sundry Photography. Day trader by GaudiLab.

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Facebook Sued for $9 Billion In Missing Taxes – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sources from Time.

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is suing Facebook for $9 billion in unpaid taxes, reports The Verge via Reuters.
This new lawsuit has gone to trial in a San Francisco court. The social network is under the microscope for a deal it made in 2010 with an Irish subsidiary that it uses to send money about internationally. The IRS alleges that Facebook has undervalued the intellectual property it sold to the subsidiary in question and therefore dodged billions in taxes.
Called to testify were Facebook CTO, Mark Schroepfer and AR and VR chief, Andrew Bosworth. Three other Facebook execs are expected to testify, the trial is expected to last three to four weeks.
It isn’t uncommon for tech giants to shelter billions from taxes by storing money in Ireland as the country has a low corporate tax rate. Companies will create Irish subsidiaries that license out proprietary technology, trademarks, and other company property for which royalties are paid by the subsidiary.
In recent years, government entities around the world have begun taking action against this practice. In 2016, the EU ordered Apple to pay $15.4 billion in taxes back to Ireland after finding that the company had received illegal tax benefits. Apple had paid back all the taxes by 2018, though the decision was later appealed in court between it and Ireland.
In September, a French investigation found that Google had to pay more than $1 billion in taxes. Google has since said it would stop taking advantage of this loophole, so-called the “Double Irish” loophole, which allowed it to move overseas funds and effectively shelter it from taxes.
Facebook undervalued the royalty amount between 2010 and 2016 which massively decreased the company’s domestic tax bill, claims the IRS.
Facebook says that it stands behind the 2010 transaction, which was during a period when the company had no mobile ad revenue, a “nascent” international business and its “digital advertising products were unproven” via Berti Thomson speaking to The Verge.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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Amazon founder launches $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund to fight climate change – Blog – 10 minute

The big picture: Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos this week announced the launch of a global initiative to help fight the devastating impact of climate change on Earth. The Bezos Earth Fund will empower scientists, activists and non-governmental organizations to both amplify know methods and explore new ways to combat what is described by some as the biggest threat to our planet.
Bezos in announcing the initiative on Instagram said he is contributing $10 billion to start with and will begin issuing grants this summer.
Climate change aside, the size of the gift and the fact that it is coming from Bezos is noteworthy in itself. According to Vox, the only other larger pledge of the 21st century came when Warren Buffett pledged to give the bulk of his net worth to the Gates Foundation back in 2006.

Critics for years have said Bezos hasn’t done enough charitable work with the wealth he has amassed. Donating what roughly amounts to 7.5 percent of his net worth to a charitable cause should certainly hush the critics.
Last year, Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife MacKenzie signed the Giving Pledge, vowing to donate at least half of her net worth to charity. As part of their divorce agreement, MacKenzie received roughly 19.7 million shares of Amazon stock that’s worth north of $42 billion today.
Masthead credit: Jeff Bezos sketch by Marina Linchevska. Climate change by Nicole Glass Photography.

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UK to invest £1.2 billion in weather and climate supercomputer – Cloud – Hardware- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The British government will invest £1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) in what it says is the world’s most powerful supercomputer to provide more accurate weather and climate forecasts.
The new supercomputer, which will be managed by the country’s Met Office, will be used to help more accurately predict storms, select the most suitable locations for flood defences and predict changes to the global climate.
It will enable better forecasting for airports so they can plan for potential disruption and provide more detailed information for the energy sector so it can prevent potential energy blackouts and surges.
The Met Office’s current supercomputers reach their end of life in late 2022. The first phase of the new supercomputer will increase the Met Office computing capacity by six times, the government said on Monday.

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The UK is spending $1.6 billion to build the world’s fastest weather supercomputer – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: The supercomputer will be managed by the Met Office to more accurately predict storms, pinpoint suitable locations for flood defenses and predict changes to global climate. Specifically, airports will be able to use it to plan for potential disruption and power companies could rely on data to help protect against potential energy blackouts and surges.
It’s been said that being a meteorologist is one of the few gigs where you can be wrong more often than not without the risk of losing your job. That’s because forecasting the weather is incredibly difficult due to Mother Nature’s unpredictability.
Fortunately, technology can help.
Alok Sharma, secretary and president of the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), announced on Monday that the government is contributing £1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) in funding to build a state-of-the-art supercomputer for weather forecasting.

(The agency’s existing Cray XC40 supercomputing system)
Installation will take place over a 10-year period, starting in 2022. The first phase alone is expected to increase the Met Office’s computing capacity by six fold. Upgrades from years six through 10 will boost performance another three times, we’re told.
Officials expect it to be the most advanced supercomputer dedicated to weather and climate in the world. Unfortunately for us hardware nerds, the office hasn’t yet said what specific supercomputer they’ll be installing.
Masthead credit: Weather map by Andrey VP.

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India’s IT industry generates 191 billion in revenues; hires 205,000 employees in FY 2020- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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The Tempemail Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) today announced that the IT-BPM sector grew by 7.7% y-o-y garnering a total revenue of USD 191 billion in FY2020. On the side-lines of the flagship NASSCOM Technology and Leadership Forum (NTLF) 2020, the industry body showcased its Strategic Review – ‘Techade: The New Decade’ which captured the performance of the technology industry and upcoming trends.
As part of the report, NASSCOM announced that IT Services sector garnered the highest revenue of USD 97 billion (growth of 6.7%), followed by E-commerce which stood at USD 54 billion (growth 25.6%). The sector generated exports of over USD 147 billion in revenues in FY2020, growing at 8.1% from the previous year. The maiden report for this decade, showcased the growth of the industry, commemorating several milestones between FY2009-FY2019 such as crossing USD 105 billion in overall revenue, adding 2 million employees/jobs and creating 10k new technology companies in overall consolidation.
Speaking at the occasion, Keshav Murugesh, Chairman, NASSCOM, said, “The IT-BPM industry continues to be a key catalyst for India’s overall growth. Over the past year, the performance from the industry showcased the increasing focus on the digital transformation of businesses and also the expansion of digital-driven services to cater to clients across the globe. We are hopeful that this trend will continue to drive the growth of the industry in the coming years, and evangelizing innovation in the domain.”
A key trend witnessed last year was the continued focus on digital revenues, which grew by over 23%, once again a testimony to the prominence digital technologies and systems are gaining across portfolios. Investing in digital skills continues to rise as an imperative for the industry, with organisations building their capabilities and aligning business models to digital practices as up to 28% of organisational revenues was recorded for digital. Indian enterprises spent over USD 2 billion domestically to accelerate digital transformation.Sharing her thoughts, Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM, said, “Talent, Trust and Innovation remain our key imperatives as we move into the first year of this decade. The industry continued its hiring momentum with 205,000 new hires, and today we are proud to have 884,000 digitally skilled talent in the country. We will maintain this thrust with the launch of FutureSkills Prime to help build a workforce for the coming Techade.”

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