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UK-CHINA FINTECH ALLIANCE LAUNCHED TO ACCELERATE COMMERCIAL AGREEMENTS AND MARKET ACCESS

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UK-CHINA FINTECH ALLIANCE LAUNCHED TO ACCELERATE COMMERCIAL AGREEMENTS AND MARKET ACCESS

Created by BGTA the UK-China FinTech Alliance includes founding member organisationstechUK, Innovate Finance, Chengdu Financial Holding Group, the FinTech and Internet Security Research Centre (RUC) and the Beijing Internet Finance Industrial Association

The UK-China FinTech Alliance was launched today by BGTA, following its Next Step China event held during the Innovate Finance Global Summit, which saw founding members take part in an official ceremony to mark the occasion. The alliance has been founded to address the issues of executing and driving results in the cross-border FinTech market by building a bridge for knowledge exchange and commercial support between the UK and China.

BGTA aims to foster development of the global tech and investment ecosystem in the UK with a unique fund that benefits the UK via inward investment and acts as a catalyst for exports to China.

The UK-China FinTech Alliance is one of its core not-for-profit initiatives to better support collaboration between the globally recognised UK FinTech sector and the rapidly growing Chinese FinTech market. The 9th UK-China Economic Financial Dialogue forecast that cross-border expansion and investments are set to grow. The new alliance will address many problems that once solved, will increase the number of commercial deals and expansions between the UK and China.

One of the core problems is a lack of communication on an individual corporate level, between trusted players in the market and the wider FinTech ecosystems between both countries. Communication between potential collaborative parties is hindered, which slows down potential partnerships and commercial deals, as companies try to navigate through various decision makers. The communication channel is broken.

The UK-China Fintech Alliance will provide a trusted, single-entry point to FinTech market players, where its high-quality members can interact with each other. The alliance is an exclusive and vetted group of high quality companies that are considered as leading industry practitioners.

Among the Founding Membership, in addition to BGTA, include UK-based techUK, a membership of 950 technology business, and Innovate Finance, an independent not-for-profit membership association representing the UK’s global FinTech community. Founding Chinese organisations include Chengdu Financial Holding Group, a large scale state-owned enterprise to improve the competitiveness of its local financial industry; the FinTech and Internet Security Research Center (RUC), a research centre that aims to be the leading FinTech think tank and collaborative platform in China; and the Beijing Internet Finance Industrial Association, an organisation that represents more than 60 fast-growing FinTech related companies in Beijing.

Helen Wang, CEO of BGTA, commented: “The UK-China FinTech Alliance is a promising first step to supporting shared knowledge and connections, to improve commercial inertia between financial technology companies, whether they are startups or corporates. The ambition is that we can see a significant improvement for companies on both sides accessing each market, and provide a feedback loop to policy providers and decision makers, to better improve communications between these two nations. We’re proud to launch the alliance with a great list of Founding Members, and we welcome further businesses to join us in our mission.”

Professor Yang Dong, Director, FinTech and Internet Security Research Centre, added: “The set-up of the UK-China FinTech Alliance will greatly fast-track FinTech collaboration. The UK is particularly experienced in technologies, talent training and regulation in the FinTech industry; therefore, the alliance will enable Chinese FinTech companies to effectively build partnerships with UK organisations and further learn from them in respect of these three major parts.”

Simon Spier, Head of International Trade at techUK, commented: “When UK companies decide to expand into China one of the main challenges they encounter is the difference in culture. techUK is working alongside BGTA and joining the UK-China FinTech Alliance to help organisations understand how to go about doing business in China, what opportunities there are, and the cultural differences that need to be addressed to make sure they can work in the best possible way. In addition, techUK Is supporting companies in the UK with workshops to help them better understand the Chinese market so they can be ready when they reach China.”

Members will benefit from shared knowledge between trusted parties to learn best practices, a clear communication channel to trusted players in the market, and access to high quality opportunities. The speed at which members execute into a market and formulate commercial agreements will also be faster than traditional routes. Members can also access curated, high-quality technology startups to share deal-flow, and regular updates and access to events in both the UK and China.

Wang, added: “Inherently UK-China business practices differ and by sharing knowledge about know-how in respective areas, we can save our members time and therefore capital.”

The founding members will set the direction of key themes and topics to be discussed in the year and will meet once every two months.

Further members can join the alliance by putting their name and company forward. Following a quality check by the administration team, trusted parties will be able to join the not-for-profit organisation and access regular meetings, roundtables and events. Members will be expected to host an event at their offices for all members to actively promote each-others ecosystem engagement.

A ceremony to launch the UK-China FinTech Alliance took place on Tuesday 20th March during Next Step China: Accessing the Fintech & Investment Powerhouse, an event bringing experts together to discuss the fintech industry and investment potential for UK companies looking to expand into the Chinese market.

The fringe event was part of the Innovate Finance Global Summit, and was co-hosted by BGTA, Innovate Finance, and ICBC Standard Bank at its offices in London. Speakers included Professor Yang Dong of the FinTech and Internet Security Research Center (RUC), Michael Hoffman Founder of Palamon Capital Partners, and David Chen, Managing Partner at Sequoia China, among others.

For more information on BGTA go to: https://www.bbdaccelerator.com/

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Warren Buffett’s $10 billion mistake: Precision Castparts

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Warren Buffett's $10 billion mistake: Precision Castparts 1

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – Warren Buffett makes mistakes too.

The 90-year-old billionaire on Saturday admitted he “paid too much” when his Berkshire Hathaway Inc spent $32.1 billion in 2016 to buy aircraft and industrial parts maker Precision Castparts Corp, its largest acquisition.

Berkshire wrote off $9.8 billion of Precision’s value last August, as the coronavirus pandemic sapped demand for air travel and the Portland, Oregon-based unit’s products.

In his annual letter to investors, Buffett said he bought “a fine company – the best in its business,” and Berkshire was “lucky” to have Precision Chief Executive Mark Donegan still in charge.

But Buffett said he was “simply too optimistic about PCC’s normalized profit potential.”

Precision shed more than 13,400 jobs, or 40% of its workforce, in 2020, and only recently has begun to improve margins, Berkshire said.

“I was wrong … in judging the average amount of future earnings and, consequently, wrong in my calculation of the proper price to pay for the business,” Buffett wrote. “PCC is far from my first error of that sort. But it’s a big one.”

Two years ago, Buffett admitted he “overpaid” for Kraft Foods when Berkshire and private equity firm 3G Capital merged it in 2015 with their H.J. Heinz Co to form Kraft Heinz Co.

And in his 2008 annual letter, Buffett called his 1993 purchase of Dexter Shoe his “worst deal” ever, saying he had bought a “worthless business” and compounded his error by using Berkshire stock rather than cash to fund the acquisition.

“I’ll make more mistakes in the future – you can bet on that,” he wrote.

Tom Russo, a longtime Berkshire investor, welcomed Buffett’s candor.

“I admire Warren for taking personal responsibility for Precision Castparts,” he said. “Few managers are willing to admit their responsibility rather than pass on blame.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England 2

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.

Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.

The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.

Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.

Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.

“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.

Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.

“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.

“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”

Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.

He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.

“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.

Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.

“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of State’s (Dowden’s) assertion that the government’s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.

It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.

Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)

 

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