India among nations with huge potential for a cashless society

The Indian government in December announced incentives ranging from 0.75 percent to 10 percent on retail purchase of products from state-run companies to encourage cashless transactions. (Reuters)
Updated 28 July 2017

India among nations with huge potential for a cashless society

DUBAI: India has a strong potential in its shift toward a digital economy and is attracting investors for the opportunities that come with the country’s transition to a cashless society, according to Mastercard’s Digital Evolution Index 2017.
The Mastercard index placed India in the “Break Out” list — together with the likes of China, Russia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brazil — for generating huge investor interest despite relatively lower levels of digital advancement.
“India has been experiencing rapid strides of progress with an evolving payments landscape, catalyzed by the government’s demonetization decision,” Mastercard said in a statement.
The Indian government in December announced incentives ranging from 0.75 percent to 10 percent on retail purchase of products such as petrol, diesel and insurance products from state-run companies to encourage digital, cashless transactions.
The announcement came a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonetized 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee banknotes in a bid to flush out cash earned through illegal means, or earned legally but never disclosed.
The government’s endeavor to boost the acceptance infrastructure coupled with a host of other economic reforms have further hastened the momentum for India’s journey toward a cashless society,” Mastercard said.
Technology companies say that India’s digital economy has a potential to reach $4 trillion (SR15 trillion), four times higher than the government estimate of $1 trillion, from its current $450 billion size right now.
“With new players foraying into the market and an entire gamut of solutions for alternate payments, the India payment ecosystem is growing each day,” Porush Singh, Mastercard’s country corporate officer for South Asia, said in the statement.
Meanwhile, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Singapore, South Korea, the UK, Hong Kong and the US were named the ten most advanced digital economies.
Countries such as Singapore, UK, New Zealand, UAE, Estonia, Hong Kong and Japan were included in the “Stand Out” list while countries in western Europe, the Nordics, Australia and South Korea were designated as “Stall Out” countries for their slowing momentum despite a history of strong growth.

Where’s the beef? Argentine cattle ranchers hope it’s heading to China

Updated 18 September 2019

Where’s the beef? Argentine cattle ranchers hope it’s heading to China

  • Surging sales to Beijing shake up global meat trade and deliver tasty windfall for Latin American giant

BUENOS AIRES: Cattle ranchers in Argentina, which recently edged out neighbor Brazil as the top exporter of beef to China, are hoping to build on that status by getting more local meatpacking plants approved by Beijing, industry officials and other sources told Reuters.

An Argentine industry group is currently in China looking to promote the South American country’s famed T-bone steaks and sirloins, while Chinese teams have recently inspected Argentine local meat plants, the sources said.

The push, after a massive spike in Argentine beef exports to the world’s No. 2 economy this year, underscores how China is looking to diversify its protein supply, shaking up the global meat trade as African swine fever hammers its domestic hog herd.

It is also an important windfall for Latin America’s third-biggest economy, which is battling to get out of a deep recession and facing a swirling debt crisis ahead of elections in October that will likely usher in a new government.

Argentina, which traditionally exports cheaper cuts to China, saw its beef sales to the country more than double to $870 million in the first seven months of the year, data from its official INDEC statistics agency shows.

Chinese customs data show that amounted to around 185,604 tons of Argentine beef, giving it the top share of the Chinese import market with 21.7 percent, slightly ahead of Brazil’s 21.03 percent. That volume was a jump of 129 percent against the year before.

Santiago del Solar, chief of staff to Argentina’s agriculture minister, told Reuters there were many slaughterhouses up for approval and that China was working closely with Argentine food safety body Senasa.

“We will have news in the coming months about more pork, poultry and beef slaughterhouses being approved for China,” he said, adding Senasa was doing some inspections on behalf of China using an “honor system.”

Argentina’s ranchers are now looking for more. A trade delegation is currently in China meeting with potential buyers of the country’s meat, an industry official with knowledge of the meetings said.

The person added that a Chinese team had also recently traveled to Argentina to visit local meat plants.

“The Chinese were there last week in Buenos Aires, they were doing inspections and made good progress. The plants issue is pretty good, but with China they make approvals when they want to do it,” he said.

“We are optimistic with the results. It seems they didn’t find anomalies, but yes, it depends on the time frame of the Chinese.”

The progress comes after China granted export licenses to 25 Brazilian meatpacking plants earlier this month. Brazil has also seen a surge in meat demand from China.

China’s General Administration of Customs, which approves new imports, also recently gave the green light to imports of soymeal from Argentina, following decades of talks between the two countries.

The customs body did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment from Reuters asking about new Chinese approvals for Argentine meat plants.

A second person, a manager at a state-owned Chinese trading house, said he had met with an Argentine firm last week during the delegation’s visit. He declined to name the firm, which had met with China customs officials, but said it had already been approved for exports and was seeking further plant approvals.

Miguel Schiariti, president of the CICCRA meat industry chamber, said a Chinese team had also recently done a video-conference inspection of an Argentine plant alongside Senasa, with the aim of approving the facility for export.

“There are 11 meat plants ready to be approved and (the Chinese) are doing it one by one. But approval is taking a long time,” he said.

“These places would meet the criteria for approval, but the Chinese have always been very cautious, despite the problems they have with pork. It seems to me that plants won’t get approved before November.”