Also in this letter:
■ Comply with lending rules by November 30, says RBI
■ Beware of Zomato and Swiggy food diets, NRAI tells members
■ SoftBank plans staff cuts of at least 20% at Vision Fund
Google Expands User Choice Billing Pilot to India and Four More Markets
Google announced on Friday that it is rolling out the next phase of its User Choice Billing pilot for users in India, Australia, Indonesia, Japan and the European Economic Area.
Catch up fast: Earlier this year, Google announced a new pilot to explore user-choice billing for Google Play apps, allowing participating developers to offer users an alternative to its own billing system.
This follows a crackdown by South Korea, which in August 2021 banned “the act of imposing a specific payment method on a mobile content provider”.
Now, all non-gaming developers around the world will be able to sign up for the pilot and offer a choice of billing systems to users in India and other markets, the company said.
Users will continue to have the choice of using Play’s billing system, he said, and “reasonable service fees” will continue to apply to support its investments in Android and the Play Store. .
“We’ll share more in the coming months as we continue to build and iterate with our pilot partners,” Google added.
Global deployment? The tech giant said the process would take time and require close collaboration with the developer community, but added that it looked forward to exploring this further and making it available to users one day. whole world.
India Survey: Google is under investigation by India’s Competition Commission (ICC) into whether its charging system for Play Store developers is “unfair and discriminatory”.
Ensure existing loans comply with new rules by November 30, RBI tells digital lenders
To enable a smooth transition to the new digital lending guidelines, the Reserve Bank of India said on Friday that all entities under it have until November 30 to ensure that all existing digital loans comply with the new rules.
Catch up fast: Last month, the central bank released new digital lending rules for banks and non-bank lenders that have digital lending apps, to subject those services to stricter oversight.
According to the rules, the disbursement of loans and the collection of repayments must be executed only between the borrowers and the entities it regulates, without any third party being involved in this process.
The regulations are based on recommendations from a task force set up by RBI last year to assess governance issues and consumer complaints about digital lending platforms offering fast loans, which have surged during the pandemic.
Many are accused of charging usurious interest rates, employing heavy-handed collection strategies and even operating illegally.
What’s new: Apart from setting the November 30 deadline on Friday, the RBI reiterated that it is the duty of banks and non-bank lenders to ensure that their outsourcing partners adhere to the rules.
He also advised all banks and non-banks that all instructions in the Digital Lending Circular would apply to existing customers with new loans and to new customers.
Beware of Zomato, Swiggy restaurant programs, restaurant body tells members
The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) issued a notice to its members on Friday, asking them to exercise caution and good judgment before choosing to participate in the new restaurant schemes of food delivery companies.
Why? The NRAI said in its memo that the two restoration programs had more or less the same construction. Restaurants must offer a mandatory 15-40% discount — entirely at their expense — to participate, and must also pay a mandatory 4-12% commission on every transaction made through Zomato or Swiggy, he said.
He said the programs deliver no tangible value to restaurants, solve no problems for the industry, and benefit Swiggy and Zomato at the expense of restaurants.
After “squeezing out the last drop of revenue from the delivery industry,” food delivery companies want to get a “solid footing” in the restaurant business, the NRAI added.
Catch up fast: The two food delivery majors are piloting on-site dining programs – Zomato Pay and Swiggy Diner – in Hyderabad, offering discounts of up to 25% to customers who pay their restaurant bills through their apps.
Zomato replies: Zomato said in a statement, “With our new catering product, which has now been living in Hyderabad for a few weeks with excellent results, we are confident that we will create tremendous value and growth for the industry. We look forward to working with progressive restaurants that see the big picture.”
Swiggy did not immediately respond to our questions.
CCI probe: In April, India’s anti-monopoly watchdog ordered an investigation into Zomato and Swiggy for allegedly unfair pricing practices and other issues flagged in an NRAI complaint last year.
SoftBank plans staff cuts of at least 20% at Vision Fund
SoftBank Group plans to cut at least 20% of staff from its loss-making Vision Fund following public promises by founder and CEO Masayoshi Son to cut staff at the world’s largest tech investor, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the case.
At least 100 jobs: They will cut a minimum of 100 positions and could announce the job cuts as early as this month, the sources said.
The cuts will mainly affect operations in the UK, US and China, which have the highest workforces, they added. The Vision Fund unit has approximately 500 employees, including Latin American fund staff.
Catch up fast: Son said in August he had plans for widespread cost-cutting at his conglomerate and investment arm Vision Fund after a record $23 billion loss. Most of the losses came from a fall in the valuations of portfolio companies, including Coupang and DoorDash. SoftBank also reported a $6 billion foreign exchange loss due to yen weakness.
Summary of ETtech offers
Earlysalary pocketed $110 million in one week, which saw fewer and smaller deals than the previous one. MyMuse and Human Edge were two startups that raised over $1 million.
Here is a list of all the startups that raised funds this week.
Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter was curated by Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai and Judy Franko in Bangalore. Graphics and illustrations by Rahul Awasthi.