Welcome to Wednesday.
Here’s today’s tech news.
1. Global fintechs are preparing to hit Australia
UK software startup TrueLayer is heading to Australia in 2020, The SMH reports, paving the way for a bunch of fintechs to take advantage of the country’s open banking policy when it kicks off in February.
TrueLayer’s software is an intermediary for other startups looking to use the data available under the open banking regime to develop new fintech products. The venture’s already been working with the ACCC, existing fintechs here and banks ahead of its rollout, with the new APAC boss, Marie Steinthaler, telling The SMH that European clients such as CreditLadder, which tracks someone’s rental payments to add to their credit history, as likely to set up shop Down Under.
2. Bunnings wants to cut Amazon’s grass
The hardware retailer is launching on online marketplace called MarketLink next month and its spreading its wings to offer everything from whitegoods to home entertainment.
The 8,000 products on MarketLink won’t be the drill bits, paint and outdoor furniture already in stores instead targeting the home and lifestyle sectors. That puts Bunnings into a retail space already covered by the likes of eBay, Amazon, Winning Appliances and Harvey Norman.
Bunnings MD Mike Schneider said MarketLink will feature a wide variety of products, including well-known brands and suppliers will need to be part of a Trusted Sellers Program.
“This is about creating a highly curated range of products that extends and complements our in-store range, creating a one stop shop for our customers’ home and lifestyle needs – everything from the front gate to the back fence,” he said.
3. The NBN ruined affordable broadband for everyone, Telstra boss says.
Speaking that the company’s AGM today, Telstra chairman John Mullen said fierce competition between rival telcos would have delivered high-speed broadband for “at a fraction of the cost of today’s NBN” without costing taxpayers.
“It is my view that over the last 10 years private sector competition between strong players such as Telstra, Optus, TPG and others was always going to build 100 Mbps broadband access and speed to the majority of the population of Australia,” he said.
Mullen then accused the NBN of sending retailers broke because its product is too expensive with no margin, adding that the NBN “is now going outside this mandate and is targeting our customers directly”.
The ABC has more here.
4. Online retailers target Chinese tourists
Melbourne startup Market Engine, an e-commerce platform for Australia retailers to tackle the Chinese market, has launched a new tourism shopping platform, Tourpay.
More than 1.4 million Chinese tourists visited Australia last year, spending $11.5 billion.
Market Engine CEO James McWhinney said savvy tourists have discovered that international brands are typically 20-30% cheaper in Australian retail stores than other international markets, plus they can save the 10% GST.
“We have discovered that the current GST refund process is far from user-friendly. We have set out to build unique technology that makes the process easier for tourists, as well as helping them to combine their shopping receipts across multiple retailers which enables them to claim GST refunds on all purchases, rather than the current $300 threshold,” he said.
Tourpay is currently focused on Chinese tourists, with plans to open to all international tourists from early 2020.
5. Facebook’s crypto project’s lost its key backers
Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency play suffered a big setback late last week when the world’s major credit card companies, Visa and Mastercard, officially withdrew their initial support citing regulatory concerns, but left the door ajar for their possible return,
Two other key initial backers, eBay and PayPal, have also pulled out, making plans to get the crypto up and running by 2020 somewhat challenging for Facebook’s subsidiary Calibra.
Nonetheless, Calibra co-founder David Marcus, a former Paypal boss, remains upbeat, thanking the credit card giants in a tweet, hinting that darker forces were at play.
“I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update,” he added.
“Of course, it’s not great news in the short term, but in a way it’s liberating. Stay tuned for more very soon. Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up.”
BONUS ITEM: Move over tradie Mercedes, the electric Bollinger (pictured above) is here. The US EV startup released the B1 in 2017 and has spend 12 months beta testing the B2 pickup, which has a 16-foot cargo bay, fold-away cab wall and 15 inch ground clearance, making it a true off roader. Then there’s 458kW (614hp) of power and 919Nm of torque, a 320km range on a single charge and a towing capacity of 3.4 tonnes. Oh, and it goes from 0-100kmh in 4.5 seconds.
This post was written by Simon Thomsen for Start Up Daily and is republished here with permission.