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Acorn International Launches Influencer Development Business as part of Pivot from Prior Dominance in Direct-to-Consumer in TV Media to Digital Media

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Acorn International (Acorn) (NYSE: ATV) announced today that it has launched its local Chinese influencer facilitator business, called A-KOL (standing for “Acorn Key Opinion Leader”, with a key opinion leader being equivalent to a social media “influencer” in other parts of the world). A-KOL is initially established to support other parts of Acorn’s broader business, such as Acorn Streaming, which monetizes digital content, and Acorn Products, which houses Acorn’s e-commerce business. A-KOL is distinct from Acorn’s core social media management business since A-KOL actually facilitates the development of local China influencers to optimize their ability to convert Acorn’s content and product sales.

In China, grassroots influencers, known as KOLs, have become a social media and e-commerce phenomenon, and a major part of B2C business activity now in China. Based on research from Frost and Sullivan, China’s internet KOL economy, which refers to all activities relating to the monetization of the KOLs’ influence and impact on their fans, grew at a CAGR of 181.5% from 2013 to 2017 and is expected to continue expanding at a CAGR of 41.8% from 2017 to 2022. Moreover, China’s market for internet KOL facilitators generated revenue of RMB38.8 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 38.9% to RMB200.9 billion in 2022. Despite its size, the industry remains nascent, with many KOLs operating independently, or connected to small, unsophisticated KOL facilitation companies.

In line with Acorn International’s business model of combining social media management, content creation and sales of its own as well as third-party brands through e-commerce, various parts of Acorn frequently engage KOLs as part of its business growth. However, through A-KOL, Acorn can now develop its own KOLs to support its business.

“Acorn is bringing the lessons and experience from our prior dominance in direct-to-consumer marketing in TV media in China to direct-to-consumer via digital media. In the digital media and social media space, KOLs represent one of the most relevant and new types of media for conversion to product sales, and we believe they will play an important part in our business going forward,” said Mr. Jacob A. Fisch, CEO and President of Acorn. “This is a dynamic and emerging space in the evolution of digital media marketing in China, with a number of these companies looking to tap the U.S capital markets, demonstrating the appeal of A-KOL as both a standalone business as well as for unlocking greater value from the other business units at Acorn.”

 

SOURCE Acorn International, Inc.

Fintech

Chinese fintech attracted investments of USD 962.2 million in 2H 2019

Vlad Poptamas

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Fintech companies in China attracted USD 962.2 million in investments from venture capital, private equity and M&A in 2H 2019, resulting in a total of USD 4,479 million in investments for the whole of 2019, according to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech H2’19 bi-annual report on global fintech investment trends.

Fintech investment in China took a breather after a massive 2018, but the country’s fintech market continued to see substantial activity and Chinese companies still ranked among the largest fintech deals in Asia Pacific for the whole of 2019. China’s large technology giants continued to focus on growing their reach geographically, making investments or plays well outside of Greater China. Ant Financial, for example, submitted an application for a digital banking license in Singapore in late 2019, while Tencent made a number of significant investments in fintech companies in other regions throughout the year, including Ualá in Argentina.

Investors in China also began to turn their attention to up-and-coming areas of fintech. These include regtech, which has appeal among VC investors because of its ability to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to assess risk and identify fraud. China-based investors are also interested in fintech companies that use these technologies more broadly to improve the operations of banks and financial institutions, such as improving operational efficiencies, generate and analyse data, as well as support wealth management.

The third quarter of 2019 saw the People’s Bank of China unveiled a three-year plan to support the development of the fintech industry. Since then, there has already been a number of moves focused on implementation. For example, a fintech sandbox is in development, with testing currently being concluded in Beijing. It is expected that this plan will help fuel future investment in fintech, particularly in key areas like risk management, cybersecurity, big data, artificial intelligence, distributed databases and authentication.

Chris Wang, Partner, Head of Fintech, KPMG China, commented, “China’s central bank and other authority bodies are working to move fintech in the country to ‘2nd half’ as part of their three-year fintech development plan. We anticipate an increased regulation and guidance for the industry and an enhanced infrastructure to support fintech development. For example, sandbox mechanism is being designed and may soon roll out to test the concept of different fintech to make sure they comply with regulations and will achieve the desired results before they enter the market.”

The fintech market in Hong Kong saw some resilience in the fourth quarter of 2019, particularly on the back of Alibaba’s decision to do a secondary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which raised USD 11.2 billion, making it the largest listing of the year globally.

Earlier in 2019, Hong Kong issued the first batch of eight digital banking licenses. ZhongAn was the first to launch a digital bank pilot, with others expected to follow suit in 2020. As the licensees continue to formulate their digital bank offerings, Hong Kong could see an upswing in investments in related areas, like KYC, regtech, digital onboarding and communications, and digital banking infrastructure. The issuance of digital banking licences has also spurred traditional banks to improve their own digital offerings and experience.

Avril Rae, Director, Head of Fintech, Hong Kong, KPMG China, said, “We’re starting to see ecosystems evolving with respect to digital banks. Partners are coming together to get digital banking licenses. Once they have their pilot projects underway, and they have proven their technology both internally and to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, we’ll start to see them leveraging those partnerships more deeply – integrating banking services with other offerings like travel bookings or insurance to provide their customers with a seamless experience.”

 

SOURCE KPMG China

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Fintech

Chinese fintech attracted investments of USD 962.2 million in 2H 2019

Vlad Poptamas

Published

on

 

Fintech companies in China attracted USD 962.2 million in investments from venture capital, private equity and M&A in 2H 2019, resulting in a total of USD 4,479 million in investments for the whole of 2019, according to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech H2’19 bi-annual report on global fintech investment trends.

Fintech investment in China took a breather after a massive 2018, but the country’s fintech market continued to see substantial activity and Chinese companies still ranked among the largest fintech deals in Asia Pacific for the whole of 2019. China’s large technology giants continued to focus on growing their reach geographically, making investments or plays well outside of Greater China. Ant Financial, for example, submitted an application for a digital banking license in Singapore in late 2019, while Tencent made a number of significant investments in fintech companies in other regions throughout the year, including Ualá in Argentina.

Investors in China also began to turn their attention to up-and-coming areas of fintech. These include regtech, which has appeal among VC investors because of its ability to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to assess risk and identify fraud. China-based investors are also interested in fintech companies that use these technologies more broadly to improve the operations of banks and financial institutions, such as improving operational efficiencies, generate and analyse data, as well as support wealth management.

The third quarter of 2019 saw the People’s Bank of China unveiled a three-year plan to support the development of the fintech industry. Since then, there has already been a number of moves focused on implementation. For example, a fintech sandbox is in development, with testing currently being concluded in Beijing. It is expected that this plan will help fuel future investment in fintech, particularly in key areas like risk management, cybersecurity, big data, artificial intelligence, distributed databases and authentication.

Chris Wang, Partner, Head of Fintech, KPMG China, commented, “China’s central bank and other authority bodies are working to move fintech in the country to ‘2nd half’ as part of their three-year fintech development plan. We anticipate an increased regulation and guidance for the industry and an enhanced infrastructure to support fintech development. For example, sandbox mechanism is being designed and may soon roll out to test the concept of different fintech to make sure they comply with regulations and will achieve the desired results before they enter the market.”

The fintech market in Hong Kong saw some resilience in the fourth quarter of 2019, particularly on the back of Alibaba’s decision to do a secondary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which raised USD 11.2 billion, making it the largest listing of the year globally.

Earlier in 2019, Hong Kong issued the first batch of eight digital banking licenses. ZhongAn was the first to launch a digital bank pilot, with others expected to follow suit in 2020. As the licensees continue to formulate their digital bank offerings, Hong Kong could see an upswing in investments in related areas, like KYC, regtech, digital onboarding and communications, and digital banking infrastructure. The issuance of digital banking licences has also spurred traditional banks to improve their own digital offerings and experience.

Avril Rae, Director, Head of Fintech, Hong Kong, KPMG China, said, “We’re starting to see ecosystems evolving with respect to digital banks. Partners are coming together to get digital banking licenses. Once they have their pilot projects underway, and they have proven their technology both internally and to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, we’ll start to see them leveraging those partnerships more deeply – integrating banking services with other offerings like travel bookings or insurance to provide their customers with a seamless experience.”

 

SOURCE KPMG China

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CFP Board Center for Financial Planning Announces Best Paper Winners for 2020 Academic Research Colloquium

Vlad Poptamas

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The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Best Paper Awards that were presented last week in Arlington, Va., during the Center’s fourth annual Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines.

  • The TD Ameritrade Best Paper Award in Behavioral Finance – Sung Lee of Stern School of Business, New York University, for “Fintech Nudges: Overspending Messages and Personal Finance Management”
  • The Northwestern Mutual Best Paper Award in Insurance/Risk Management – Hossein Salehi, CFP® of California Lutheran University, and Charlene Kalenkoski, CFP® of Texas Tech University, for “The Relationship Between Ownership of Insurance Products and Retirement Satisfaction”
  • The Emerging Scholar Best Paper Award – Derek Tharp, CFP® of University of Southern Maine, for “Consumer Perceptions of Financial Advisory Titles and Implications for Title Regulation”
  • The Best Paper Award in Investments – Da Ke of University of South Carolina, for “Left Behind: Partisan Identity and Wealth Inequality”
  • The Best Paper Award in Household Finance – Nick PretnarAlan Montgomery, and Christopher Olivola of Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, for “A Structural Model of Mental Accounting”

A full list of 2020 accepted papers is available here.

“We received many compelling paper submissions this year, but the committee selected those that they felt demonstrated the highest research standards,” said Charles R. Chaffin, Ed.D., director of Academic Initiatives, CFP Board Center for Financial Planning. “We congratulate the winners for their contributions to knowledge and innovation in the financial planning industry.”

The Best Paper series of awards recognizes authors from a variety of disciplines and sub-disciplines that relate to financial planning. The award carries a $2,500 cash prize for the author(s) of each winning paper.

The colloquium gathers the global academic community to showcase rigorous and relevant research within financial planning and related disciplines that directly or indirectly relates to the global financial planning practice and the body of knowledge. The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning hosts the colloquium in collaboration with FP Canada and the Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd., owner of the international CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certification program outside the United States.

The colloquium is made possible with support from the Center’s Lead Founding Sponsor, TD Ameritrade Institutional, and Founding Sponsors Northwestern Mutual, Envestnet and Charles Schwab Foundation, in partnership with Schwab Advisor Services.

 

SOURCE Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

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