Each week the MEF team curates mobile stories from around the world. Essential news, the latest market insight & data nuggets, the Global News Round-up offers an instant international mobile content and commerce snapshot.
Global News Stories
Amazon has launched a Square and PayPal Here competitor called Local Register, which provides users with a free app and a $10 card reader, and charges merchants and anyone selling services who use it just 1.75 percent per swipe on both credit and debit transactions, so long as users sign up before October 31. That’s a special rate, and is a full percentage point lower than Square’s 2.75 percent per swiped transaction (3.5 percent plus 15 cents for manual entry), and will last until January 1, 2016, at which point it will return to the standard 2.5 percent per transaction Amazon is charging (or 2.75 percent for manually entered transactions).
Snapchat made headlines last November by reportedly turning down a $3 billion acquisition bid, which left digital armchair quarterbacks everywhere questioning the decision. For a company with no revenue and uncertain long term prospects, taking the money would’ve been understandable. Recent reports that Snapchat is raising new funding at an even more eye-popping $10 billion valuation suggests that maybe they were aware of something about their success that the broader market had yet to realize.
A report has found that UK mobile gamers are spending almost double the global average on online game microtransactions. The report focused on carrier billing, which is growing in popularity as more gamers choose the convenience of paying on their mobile phone bill over the traditional payment methods such as credit cards or PayPal.
For all the hype, there are plenty of NFC refuseniks out there. At least from a payment perspective. Operators, banks and card companies still see contactless as key to mobile in-store payments. Not so long ago MasterCard alone confirmed 50 trials in Europe. But when was the last time you made a payment this way? Or even saw one?
A consortium of six companies – including four major APAC operators and Google – have teamed up to build a new $300 million subsea cable linking the US and Japan. The group – consisting of China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, KDDI, SingTel, Google and Malaysia-based IP transit operator Global Transit – have commissioned the new FASTER cable.
While Uber and Lyft were busy with their pissing match this week, another taxi startup just announced a new mega funding round. GetTaxi, an Israel-based taxi startup, announced Wednesday that it has raised $25 million of a larger $150 million Series D round of funding that it expects to close by the end of this year. Once closed, that will bring GetTaxi’s total funding to more than $200 million.
Europe’s “app economy” is still growing robustly and is expected to reach $16.5 billion in 2014, but its share of the global market has fallen to 19% in 2014 from 24% in 2012, according to a new research brief published by London-based Vision Mobile. Vision Mobile expects app revenue in European Union nations to grow to $16.5 billion this year, compared to $13 billion in 2012, which is the equivalent to a 12% annual growth rate. But the app economy’s global growth of 27% is double what the EU is seeing.
Eight-track tapes, rotary phones, videocassette recorders. Think of outdated technologies and these probably spring to mind. Will plastic cards eventually join the list? Certainly the demise of credit and debit cards isn’t imminent, but they’re going to begin to lose their appeal in a world where transactions can increasingly be done by smartphone. With payments more and more going mobile, retailers, banks, card companies, phone operators and just about everyone in between are scrambling for position. Mobile payments will hit $720 billion a year by 2017, up from $235 billion last year, according to the research firm Gartner.
WeChat – the Chinese messaging app giant – is growing bigger by the day. It now has 438 million monthly active users, which puts it within spitting distance of WhatsApp’s 500 million. That’s a 57 percent improvement from the same time last year, according to the recent earnings report of its parent company Tencent. Here’s why you should care about WeChat: Aside from the fact that it’s WhatsApp’s biggest competitor, WeChat also provides a glimpse into how American messaging apps can possibly monetize their users. It’s not easy to stick ads in personal messages between people, but WeChat has found creative new money making solutions.
As mobile continues to take over the world, advertisers have followed consumers to the devices where they spend the most time. But according to a Q2 2014 study by Kenshoo, both mobile search spending and performance have room for growth. The research looked at 85 search marketing professionals worldwide (both in-house and agency) who were actively using Google Enhanced Campaigns and found that 53% of respondents allocated between just 5% and 20% of their total paid search ad spending to mobile, while nearly half of that percentage (26%) put between 21% and 40% of their search budgets toward mobile.
Over the last 12 months we’ve seen an unprecedented explosion of financial deals in the mobile space. That includes a staggering $47 billion in mergers and acquisitions — plus $14 billion in investments. And, no, it wasn’t all WhatsApp and Facebook. “Removing the blockbuster Facebook-WhatsApp deal from the M&A record reveals a sellers market across sectors,” said Digi-Capital’s Tim Merel, who authored the company’s recently-released Mobile Internet Investment Review. “Of the remaining $28 billion, $13.8 billion was in Q2 2014, continuing the long term growth from $1.8 billion in Q2 2013.”
Global News Round-up – These articles are not written by MEF and do not represent any views of individuals, members or the organisation.