China’s major state banks start internal testing of digital wallet application: media

FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, is pictured in Beijing, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, February 3, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s major state-run commercial banks are conducting large-scale internal testing of a digital wallet application, moving a step closer to the official launch of a home-grown digital currency, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Thursday.

The state-backed newspaper cited sources saying employees at state banks in cities including Shenzhen have started internally testing the app to transfer money and make payments.

The move is in line with a key task for the second half of this year set by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), which in statement on Monday said the country should actively and steadily promote the development of a state digital currency.

In April, the PBOC’s digital currency

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Twenty years on, Japan government’s digital ambitions still stuck in piles of paper

TOKYO (Reuters) – Two decades after Japan rolled out an ambitious plan to go digital, the COVID-19 crisis has exposed the government’s deeply rooted technological shortcomings as ministries remain stuck in a paper-driven culture that experts say is hurting productivity.

FILE PHOTO: The Parliament Building (bottom) is seen in front of office buildings of government ministeries in Tokyo, Japan July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

While Tokyo has made “digital transformation” its main policy plank this year, the switch may not prove so easy as bureaucrats from different ministries still aren’t able to hold teleconferences together and little of their administrative work can be done online.

Analysts say the lack of government digitalisation could reduce the incentive for the private sector to go digital in a blow to Japan’s efforts to boost productivity.

“Lack of digital investment by the government has hampered productivity and efficiency at the private sector,” said Takuya

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Orange launches digital banking in Ivory Coast, eyes further expansion

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – French telecoms provider Orange on Thursday launched mobile banking operations in Ivory Coast, the third country where it has expanded into digital lending after France and Spain.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French telecoms operator Orange is pictured on a closed retail store in Paris, France, April 17, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Company executives told a news conference they were aiming to sign up 10 million customers in Ivory Coast in the next five years and also plan to expand into the West African countries of Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso next year.

Orange diversified into digital banking in 2017, betting that the launch of a standalone lender would give it an edge over its competitors in attracting and retaining clients.

Paul de Leusse, Orange’s deputy chief executive, said he expects strong uptake of banking services in Ivory Coast, where millions of customers already use Orange’s mobile money

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G20 finance officials eye solution to digital tax row this year

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Reuters) – Finance officials from the Group of 20 major economies on Saturday vowed to resolve major differences over taxing big tech companies and reach a broad, consensus-based solution on international taxation this year.

The United States has been at loggerheads over the issue with Britain, France and other key allies, who have adopted or are considering digital service taxes as a way to raise revenue from the local operations of big tech companies.

Critics say those firms profit enormously from local markets while making only limited contributions to public coffers, but Washington contends the taxes discriminate against U.S. tech firms such as Google (GOOG.O), Facebook (FB.O) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O).

The Trump administration this month ratcheted up pressure on France over its 3% digital services tax, saying it would impose additional duties of 25% on French imports valued $1.3 billion but would

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