Lawmakers across party lines and start-up ecosystem builders yesterday urged the government to improve its approach toward fostering the local development of financial technology (fintech) and other innovations, beginning with “regulatory sandbox” legislation.
The nation’s window of opportunity to become a major regional hub for innovative technologies might be closing soon, given the government’s penchant for following international trends, AppWorks Ventures (之初創投) founding partner Nice Cheng (程九如) said at a forum in Taipei.
The five years it took local developers to receive government approval to operate third-party payment services delayed adoption by consumers, Cheng said, adding that the legislative process has been bogged down by a requirement to hold redundant public hearings that do little to promote consensus.
While progress has stalled in Taiwan, innovative services have flourished abroad, he said.
About 415,000 credit cards were registered on Apple Inc’s electronic payment platform, Apple Pay, in its first two days on the local market, he added.
Regulators have arbitrarily set high barriers to entry for many start-ups, such as minimum capitalization and revenue requirements, Cheng said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Jason Hsu (許毓仁) said at the forum that the government should stop fixating on establishing a full set of regulations for fintech and other innovative industries.
Instead, the government should establish a basic law that would serve as a guideline for the development of a digital economy and as a basis for legislation to adapt to changing market trends, in a bid to resolve disputes over sharing-economy services, such as those provided by Uber Technologies Inc, Hsu said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Karen Yu (余宛如) said that while the Financial Supervisory Commission has been receptive of the idea of supporting fintech development and has promised to encourage state-run banks to prioritize procurement of locally developed fintech solutions, it remains to be seen whether the regulator would be able carry out the task, which would require cross-departmental efforts.
The commission’s “regulatory sandbox” bill gleans insights from precedents in Britain to promote experimentation in new financial services and products, but there could be disastrous results if the government misunderstands and deviates from examples it is trying to learn from, Yu said.
Efforts to foster innovation remain challenged by the nation’s immense bureaucracy, she said.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the