Tech giant Apple is currently looking for ways to diversify its production from China as it eyes expansion to India.
Recently, India’s commerce minister while speaking at a conference disclosed that Apple is planning to manufacture 25% of its iPhones in the country.
In his words, “They’re (Apple) already at about 5-7 % of their manufacturing in India. If I am not mistaken, they are targeting to go up to 25% of their manufacturing”.
Reports disclose that Apple has started hiring retail store workers in India and has posted plans to fill many other roles as it prepares to open its flagship in the country.
On the company’s career page, it has listed openings for 12 different job functions as it seeks to fill in various locations within India. At least five employees in Mumbai and New Delhi have taken to their Linkedin profile to announce that they have been hired for Apple’s yet-to-be-announced stores.
Investors King understands that Apple’s expansion to India was necessitated after the tech giant witnessed a major disruption in its iPhone production in China due to covid-19 restrictions.
It would be recalled that in November last year, there was a violent worker revolt at the world’s largest iPhone factory Foxconn, which halted production and strained Apple’s supply.
Also, Apple’s shipments of its latest lineup of iPhones were temporarily impacted by Covid restrictions in China, which saw its assembly facility in Zhengzhou which normally houses about 200,000 workers operate at a reduced capacity due to covid curbs.
Analysts predicted that the woes that ravaged Foxconn, Apple’s top supplier in China, will speed up the pace of diversification away from China to countries like India, one of the largest smartphone markets in the world.
Last year, about 200 mn smartphones were made in India, ten times the number assembled in 2014. The report disclosed that while Apple’s market share in India is just 5 percent, it is growing quickly and leads the premium segment with two-fifth of all sales.
Following Apple’s expansion to India, experts in the country’s supply chain asset, disclosed that Apple aspires to control all parts of the consumer experience, from Apple-designed semiconductors in its smartphones to Apple store sales associates.
Over 320 Million Credit Cards to Be Issued Globally by 2027, as Digital Platforms Expand into New Markets
The number of credit cards issued via digital card issuance platforms will exceed 321 million globally by 2027, from 120 million in 2023
A new study from Juniper Research has found that the number of credit cards issued via digital card issuance platforms will exceed 321 million globally by 2027, from 120 million in 2023.
This growth of almost 170% reflects the use of new advanced digital capabilities, such as digital loyalty schemes and instant issuance, as card issuers aim to combat competition, including buy now pay later.
Digital card issuance platforms allow card issuers to create cards using an API-driven approach; enabling cards to be delivered instantly to digital wallets, with the option for a physical card; boosting flexibility significantly.
Digital Issuance Critical to Addressing $9.7 Trillion Opportunity
The new report, Credit Cards Strategies: Innovation Analysis, Digital Transformation & Market Forecasts 2023-2027, found that credit cards will account for over $9.7 trillion in spend globally by 2027. This represents a significant opportunity for card issuers to drive revenue growth by choosing the optimal credit card strategy. It found that rising affluence in emerging markets will be a significant driver of credit card adoption. As such, digital card issuance platforms are critical to delivering credit offerings in these mobile wallet-dominated markets.
Research co-author Nick Maynard explained further: “In emerging markets, the ability to instantly issue digital cards will be a key factor in users choosing credit cards over other payment methods. Card issuance platform vendors must ensure localisation to enable cards to be quickly pushed to the wallets popular in each market.”
Loyalty Rewards Critical to Credit Card Popularity
The research predicts that by 2027, the monetary value of rewards for users from credit card use will reach $103 billion globally, driving overall adoption. It recommends that card issuers focus on app-based loyalty to maximise the appeal of these rewards; partnering with well-connected digital loyalty programme providers to maximise their appeal. If issuers fail to do this, they will lose out to better-connected vendors in a highly competitive credit cards market.
Top Ten (10) Landmark Deals Sealed in 2022 by Nigerian Tech Startups
In the year 2022, the tech ecosystem was on the ascendancy which many considered to be immune from the economic downturn. However as the macroeconomic factors began to intensify, the tech sector was greatly impacted which saw funding slowdowns, layoffs, etc.
In response to the economic downturn, 1013 tech firms laid off 153,160 in 2022, 59.57 percent more than the 95,991 that had been laid off since the onset of covid-19 before 2022.
Giant tech firms were also not left out as companies such as Meta, Amazon, Twitter, etc, all laid off a significant amount of their workforce. Also, some Nigerian firms were not isolated as firms such as Kuda and 54gene, were forced to downsize their workforce in other to navigate the economic downturn.
According to experts, while 2020 and 2021 were a season of plenty in the tech ecosystem, 2022 was the beginning of a drought season.
Meanwhile, despite the macroeconomic factors that ravaged the tech industry, some Nigerian tech startups sealed landmark deals in 2022, as some of these firms maintained a growth trajectory.
It is interesting to note that in Africa, even though the continent witnessed slow funding, Nigeria maintained the lead in terms of numbers
Here is a list of the top ten (10) landmark deals sealed in 2022 by Nigerian startups
10.) Credpal ($15 Million)
Nigerian Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) Tech startup Credpal, that allows consumers to buy anything and pay for it in installments across online and offline merchants by providing them with access to credit at the point of check out, closed a bridge round of $15 million in equity and debt, the latter constituting a very large chunk of the financing — to expand its consumer credit offerings across Africa.
As one of the foremost providers of BNPL services on the continent, the seed round appears somewhat impressive, knowing how early the sector is in Nigeria and most of Africa.
9.) Bamboo ($15 Million)
Digital investment platform that provides real-time access to buy, hold, or sell stocks, Bamboo, raised a US$15 million Series A funding round to accelerate its growth, as well as move into new markets and launch more products.
With the funds raised, the startup revealed plans to further accelerate its growth, doubling down on unlocking new markets and launching more products.
8.) Umba ($15 million)
African digital bank, offering free bank accounts and financial services to customers Umba, raised $15 million in Series A funding in April.
The startup revealed that the new funding will allow it to test out, as it prepares to launch in new markets, including Egypt, Ghana, and Kenya, where mobile money is prominent.
The firm also disclosed making some expansions product-wise rolling out debit cards, savings accounts, and stock trading.
7.) Omnibiz ($15 million)
B2B e-commerce platform for FMCG manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, that supports local businesses and helps them navigate the modern market, Ominibiz, secured a $15 million pre-Series A investment led by Timon Capital, to begin further regional expansion.
Omnibiz seeks to become the primary B2B operating system for informal retailers, by helping with last-mile delivery, procurement, working capital, inventory management, and operational tools for tracking sales, cost, prices, and profit.
6.) Vendease ($30 million)
Online marketplace that allows restaurants and other food businesses to buy supplies straight from manufacturers and farms, Vendease, raised $30 million in an equity and debt funding round to consolidate its growth and operations in Nigeria and Ghana, and to support its expansion across the continent.
Present in 8 cities across Nigeria and Ghana, Vendease makes bulk-buy deals with food suppliers, warehouses the food, and guarantees delivery within a day for food supplies at considerably cheaper prices for restaurants.
Over the last 12 months, the startup has moved more than 400,000 metric tonnes of food through its platform, helping its users save more than $2,000,000 in procurement costs and more than 10,000 procurement man-hours.
5.) Reliance Health ($40 Million)
Nigerian startup that uses technology to make quality healthcare delightful, affordable, and accessible in emerging markets, Reliance health raised $40 million in a series B round.
Reliance Health has bundled both vital concepts so that users can get access to an integrated suite of healthcare products via subscriptions. Some of that healthcare is provided by Reliance Health directly — through its telemedicine platform, drug delivery system, and two clinics based in Lagos, Nigeria.
The six-year-old startup said it has averaged a 3.5x year-over-year revenue growth from 2016, disclosing that the new round of funding led by General Atlantic will fuel this continued growth.
4.) TeamApt ($50 million)
Financial technology company that develops digital banking and payment platform for financial transactions, TeamApt now known as moniepoint, raised more than $50 million in funding to expand its credit offerings.
The round was co-led by QED Investors and Novastar Ventures. Other investors, including Lightrock and BII, took part.
TeamApt has progressed from developing mobile apps for major commercial banks to serving customers and businesses through its agency banking platform (Moniepoint) and merchant solution (Monnify).
The fintech company operates one of Nigeria’s largest business payments and banking platforms, with a $100 billion annualized transaction value processed through its products Moniepoint and Monnify.
Moniepoint now serves 400,000 small and medium-sized businesses in Nigeria, providing them with various features.
3.) ThriveAgric ($56.4 Million)
Agricultural technology providing access to finance, premium markets, and data-driven advisory for smallholder farmers, ThriveAgric raised US$56.4 million in debt funding from local commercial banks and institutional investors to grow its 200,000-strong farmer base and expand into new African markets, including Ghana, Zambia, and Kenya.
Founded in 2017 and fully operational since 2018, ThriveAgric empowers farmers in Nigeria to sell their products to FMCGs and food processors, leveraging its proprietary technology to access finance as well as improve productivity and sales to promote food security.
2.) Moove ($181.8 Million)
African-born global mobility fintech that provides revenue-based vehicle financing and financial services to mobility, entrepreneurs across ride-hailing, logistics, mass transit, and instant delivery platforms Moove, raised the second highest amount of funding ($181.8 million) in 2022.
Moove launched in Europe for the first time when it launched a 100% EV rent-to-buy model in London. The company also launched in India and will launch 5,000 CNG and EVs across Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore in its first year to help create sustainable work opportunities in the developing economy.
Over the past two years, Moove claims its customers have completed over 11 million trips in Moove-financed vehicles, a feat, it claims, has been aided by its alternative credit scoring technology.
1.) Flutterwave ($250 Million)
Nigerian fintech company that provides a payment infrastructure for global merchants and payment service providers across the continent, Flutterwave raised $250 million in a Series D round that tripled the company’s valuation to over $3 billion in just twelve months.
At $3 billion, Flutterwave is currently the highest-valued African startup, surpassing the $2 billion valuation set by SoftBank-backed biotech Opay and FTX-backed cross-border payments platform Chipper Cash last year.
China’s Largest Search Engine Company Baidu Plans to Debut ChatGPT-Style Application
Chinese multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Baidu, plans to debut a ChatGPT-style application in March this year.
Sources familiar with the development disclosed that at the start, the Open AI, a tool which is yet to be named, will be incorporated into Baidu’s main Internet search services, as the combination will allow users to get conversation-style search results much like Open AI’s popular platform.
Reports disclose that the Chinese search engine giant has spent billions of dollars, researching AI, following its efforts over the past years to transition from online marketing to deeper technology.
Currently, in China, Chatbots mainly focus on social interaction, whereas ChatGPT performs way better at more professional tasks such as writing, programming, composing emails, coding, etc which has seen Baidu make plans to incorporate chatbot-generated results when users make search requests to give a detailed answer.
Investors King understands that Baidu has been investing heavily in AI technology, including in Cloud services, Chips, and automation driving, as it looks to diversify its revenue sources. Last year, the company outlined a new strategy for AI based on feedback-driven innovation.
While speaking at the annual flagship developer conference last year, the CTO of Baidu Haifeng Wang disclosed that deep learning at the core of AI development is showing increasingly strong potential for generalized application, which is preparing AI to play a foundational role in industrial production through the deep learning plus model. He further revealed that the company is bringing AI-enhanced creativity to the next level to enhance users’ experience.
Apart from Baidu, several startups in China are also exploring generative AI, and have already attracted investors.
Meanwhile, OpenAI tool ChatGPT, which was debuted in November last year, has lit up the Internet since it was launched.
The chatbot amassed more than a million users within days and sparked off debates about the role of AI in the workplace, schools, offices, etc.
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