Alibaba arm seeks to use police face scans to open bank accounts


Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's financial arm is seeking regulatory approval to access the Chinese national police's database so consumers can open online bank accounts with a mug shot.

The financial arm, which operates the PayPal-like Alipay service, is planning to use the Face++ facial recognition system developed by partner Megvii Inc. The idea is that this would allow consumers to set up accounts without having to physically go to a bank,

Most traditional retailers in Indonesia are financially illiterate, says IFC

The Jakarta Post

Despite their dominance in Indonesia's retail sector, most traditional retailers are financially illiterate, with many not having a bank account, according to a survey conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

IFC research shows of the country's traditional retailers, which generate about USD137 billion sales annually, 31 percent are financially literate and have had a bank account.

Indonesian consumers can’t stop buying, continue to pressure central bank

The Malaysian Insider

Surging interest rates, the highest inflation in years and a plunging rupiah have done little to dent the appetite of Indonesia's growing middle class to shop, adding pressure on the central bank to keep policy tight over the next few months.

The majority of economists polled by Reuters expect Bank Indonesia to keep rates on hold at its meeting today but doubt it has much choice but to increase them over the next three months simply to keep investors onside once the US Fed does start to pull back on years of cheap money.

More ATMs, POS in Myanmar now accepting MasterCard

Just a week after MasterCard announced that Asia Green Development Bank Limited (AGDBank) began accepting MasterCard payments cards for cash withdrawals in Malaysia, another bank, Ayeyarwady Bank Limited (AYA Bank) has also gone live with ATM acceptance for cash withdrawals using MasterCard and Maestro/Cirrus cards.

This means more ease and convenience for the one million visitors expected to converge in Myanmar during the 27th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), which will be held in Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s capital, from 11 to 22 December 2013.

Retail eyes gains from bank card fee cut in China

Shanghai Daily

China on Monday started to reduce bank card fees for retail merchants, saving them over USD1 billion, a move Chinese central bank said will benefit retailers and consumers but hit banks' intermediate business.

The People's Bank of China cut the fees in a bid to boost the willingness of merchants to accept bank card payments as China strives to trim reliance on trade, hit by weak demand following the global financial crisis, and shift toward domestic consumption to power the world's second biggest economy.

Dah Sing Bank to launch first mobile POS service in Hong Kong

Dah Sing Bank is set to launch the first mobile POS service for credit card payment with Visa in Hong Kong in Q1 2013, the organization said recently. 

Super-rich in Asia to reach 2.67m by 2015, says bank survey

The Malaysian Insider

The number of super-rich in Asia is set to reach 2.67 million people by 2015 with a net worth of an estimated USD16.7 trillion, Swiss private bank Julius Baer said on Tuesday.

The findings, announced in its 2012 Wealth Report focusing on Asia, indicated that the region's High Net Worth Individuals were largely immune from the economic ills affecting the rest of the world.

This was because of Asia's economy, which continued to grow thanks to "domestic demand supported by robust job growth", the bank said in a statement.

Philippines central bank sees Aug inflation at 2.9-3.8pc y/y

The Business Times

The Philippines central bank said on Tuesday it expects annual inflation in August at 2.9 to 3.8 percent due to higher food prices and utility rates, but sees consumer prices staying manageable over the policy horizon.

Australia central bank increases growth forecast for year to 3.5pc


Australia's central bank upped its annual growth forecast on Friday after a strong first half, but it warned that resources investment – a key driver of the economy – would peak by 2014.

NZ central bank leaves rates on hold as Europe eyed

The Sydney Morning Herald Online

The New Zealand Reserve Bank has kept the official cash rate at 2.5 percent, saying the eurozone's sovereign debt woes are hanging over New Zealand's trading partners and the bank is watching the region for any signs of deterioration.

Governor Alan Bollard said there was a "limited risk" for the eurozone to "deteriorate very significantly" and that the bank is keeping close tabs on the situation.

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