Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.

This week..  mobile banking to hit 2bn users by 2020, Google ads to incorporate SMS function for brand chat, eBay has a new ShopBot, China pips US for App Store revenue and much more…

Mobile banking to grow to 2B users by 2020: report

Mobile Commerce Daily

Mobile banking users are set to reach 2 billion by 2020, according to a new report from Juniper Research, suggesting that banks are placing as much effort on digital marketing and tools as traditional brands.

The research comes from a retail banking report authored by Juniper that examines the trends of mobile and digital banking between now and 2021. Juniper finds that the user base for mobile banking apps will continue to balloon over the next five years.

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Google Unveils Click-to-message Ads

Mobile Marketing Magazine

Google is introducing a new mobile ad format for its AdWords network that will enable consumers to launch a conversation with brands via text message simply by clicking on an advert, providing higher levels of customer engagement and a richer experience for consumers.

Click-to-message ads will be introduced internationally over the next few weeks, and will enable advertisers to set up a message extension that connects directly to a smartphone’s SMS app, generating a pre-written message tailored to their product or service.

Nearly two thirds of smartphone owners use messaging more than five times a day to communicate with others, and 65 per cent of consumers say they’d consider using messaging to connect with a business, either for information or to schedule an in-person appointment.

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Future versions of Facebook Messenger will come with a Data Saver mode

The Next Web

Afraid of bill shock? Facebook Messenger is notoriously data-hungry. Thankfully, future versions will allow you to put it on a diet, courtesy of a brand new Data Saver feature.

Facebook is currently trialling this on the Android beta version of the app. It works by changing how the app downloads any media content the user receives, such as photographs and videos.

Here’s how it works. Without the Data Saver mode active, Messenger automatically downloads anything the user receives. This happens regardless of the size of the content, or whether the user actually wants to see it.

But when the user switches on this feature, they have to tap-to-select each individual photograph and video they wish to view. As you might expect, ordinary text messages are unaffected by this.

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Messaging giant Line to target businesses amidst sluggish consumer growth

VentureBeat

A little more than three months after its dual IPO, mobile messaging giant Line has announced plans to enter the business communications market as it struggles to grow its user-base in the consumer realm.

The Tokyo-based tech giant has entered an agreement with Works Mobile Japan Corp. The company, which was founded in June 2015, recently launched a mobile-first communications app for businesses that includes messaging, message boards, address books, email, calendar, and file-sharing functionality. As a result of this new partnership, Line says it plans to target the corporate market with a co-developed “communication tool” that merges elements of Line’s app with those of Works Mobile’s app, with a planned launch date of spring 2017.

“Through synergizing the Line app’s ease of use and the Works Mobile app’s exceptional functionality for businesses, Line hopes to propose a whole new way for companies to fulfill their communication needs,” the company said in a statement.

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Kenya poised for another first in mobile money revolution

Citi Business News

Kenya is poised to enter a new mobile money economy era, judging by the steady rise in cashless transactions for goods and services.

A new study by consultancy firm Deloitte says Kenya is ripe for a mobile money revolution and urges local businesses to align their sales models with the emerging reality to stay ahead of the competition.

The impending mobile payments revolution marks yet another first for Kenya, which has been a front-runner in mobile payments backed by innovations such as mobile money transfer service, M-Pesa.

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Facebook wants you to buy movie tickets and order pizza from its app

recode

From deciding where to eat, to booking your next hair appointment, to buying movie tickets at the local theatre, Facebook wants to eventually control, or be involved with, every decision you make when it comes to local commerce.

You probably use a bunch of different services for those things now, services like Yelp or Foursquare or Google. But Facebook figures it can do those things better by layering on your social connections and identity, and adding in the fact that a lot of small businesses are already using Facebook.

“There’s a fundamental motivating question which is what we’ve been focused on for a while now,” said Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s VP of ads and Pages, “which is ‘How can we make Facebook more useful in your everyday life?’”

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The app market could be the next target for US antitrust regulators

Business Insider

US Antitrust authorities have written to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with the intent to start a conversation around regulating the app ecosystem.

A letter addressed to the FTC has called on the committee to investigate concerns over anti-competitive activity in the app marketplace.

  • The global app marketplace is controlled by the Google/Apple duopoly. The iOS App Store and the Google Play store are by far the largest and most important channels through which app publishers bring their offerings to market…

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Looking for a new phone? eBay ShopBot can help

Cnet

The 1 billion listings for clothes, cars and cameras on eBay can often feel like one big mess.

As part of the online bazaar’s effort to make it easier to find the stuff you want, eBay on Tuesday unveiled a beta version of an artificial-intelligence-powered shopping assistant on Facebook Messenger. People will be able to text, talk or take a picture to tell the eBay ShopBot what they want, and the ShopBot can ask questions back to narrow down the search.

“Our vision is to make shopping with eBay as easy as talking to a friend,” RJ Pittman, eBay’s chief product officer, said in a blog post Tuesday.

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Smartphone Shopping Generates 70 cents of Every Dollar in Mobile Commerce

Payment Week

Mobile e-commerce, through both apps and browsers, is surging to new heights, having grown 60% in 2015 to reach $120 billion. Despite the opportunity that this growth presents, too many merchants still offer experiences that are optimized for larger screens and that fail to meet consumers’ expectations for speedy checkout and flexible payment options.

Today, Javelin released, Mobile Online Retail Payments 2016: Reinventing Shopping in a Mobile-First Era, which examines how merchants are pioneering new tools like augmented reality to create a new generation of immersive shopping experiences.

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China overtakes the U.S. in iOS App Store revenue

Tech Crunch

China has now overtaken the U.S. to become the largest market in the world for App Store revenue, according to a new report out this morning from app intelligence firm App Annie. The country earned over $1.7 billion in Q3 2016, which puts it ahead of the U.S. by over 15 percent. The U.S. had been the number one iOS market since 2010, the report notes.

Today, Chinese consumers spend more than 5 times the amount they were spending compared with just two years prior.

In addition, the report predicts that China will drive the largest absolute revenue growth for any country by 2020.

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