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CGTN: 5 years on, President Xi reemphasizes China’s western region development strategy



BEIJING, April 24, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Chinese President Xi Jinping has reemphasized the need to boost the high-quality development of China’s western region during his inspection in Chongqing Municipality on Monday and Tuesday. He said the western region is of great importance for the whole country’s modernization.

This is the latest move by the Chinese president to promote the country’s regional development. Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, just finished his inspection of central China’s Hunan Province last month. In Hunan, he stressed vigorously energizing the central region and promoting the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, aiming to bolster a more balanced regional development.

China’s western area consists of 12 provincial-level regions, covering over 70 percent of the country’s land area and containing 27 percent of China’s population. The western region is well-known for its abundant renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy, and various underground mineral resources such as rare earth, bauxite, coal and natural gas, which accounts for more than 70 percent of the country’s total reserves.

In March 2019, in a meeting of the CPC central committee for deepening overall reform chaired by Xi, a guideline for advancing the development of the western region in the new era was passed. The guideline puts forward that by 2035, the western region will catch up with the eastern region in the fields of public service, infrastructure connectivity and people’s livelihood. China’s eastern region recorded nearly triple the GDP of the western region in 2023.

Five years on from the passing of this guideline, Xi pointed out that, though the western region has seen significant achievements, it still faces many development challenges. He urged the region to focus on its competitive local industries and accelerate its opening up.

Xi said at the symposium that the 12 provincial-level regions should develop modern manufacturing and strategic emerging industries such as new energy and bio-medicine based on local conditions, and speed up industrial transformation and upgrading. He added that tourism and other service sectors can be developed into the region’s pillar industries.

Xi made it clear that China’s economy is transforming from high-speed to high-quality development, so every region should develop its economy based on its specific conditions and play to its comparative advantages. During his inspection in Chongqing, he visited an international logistics hub, a community in Jiulongpo District, and a digital urban operation and governance center. Local officials introduced the development of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, urban renewal projects and city governance to him.

The trade corridor is a major channel between China’s western region and countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It reached 490 ports in 120 countries and regions as of January, and saw its cargo volume rise 21 percent year-on-year in 2023, according to the government work report of Chongqing Municipality.

Xi on Tuesday called on the region to accelerate the building of the corridor and better integrate itself with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to promote the opening up of the region. He had previously said that the active participation of China’s western region in the BRI would greatly improve connectivity between China’s eastern and western regions and between China and the outside world.

So far, the connectivity pattern has taken shape in the western region. China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data shows that a total of 35,000 ChinaEurope freight trains have been launched from the western region in the past five years, accounting for 50.5 percent of the country’s total. In 2023, the total import-export volume of the western region increased 37 percent compared to 2019.

As the western region is the birthplace of China’s great rivers such as the Yangtze River, Yellow River and Lancang River, and has many rare wild animals, Xi also vowed to safeguard national ecological security.

He stressed accelerating major projects for protecting and restoring ecosystems, boosting the Three-North Shelterbelt Forest Program to counter sandstorms and soil erosion in the northern region, and promoting energy saving and carbon reduction in traditional sectors, as well as the clean and efficient use of coal.

China started to implement the national strategy for the large-scale development of the western region in 2000. As of 2020, the average annual GDP growth of the region reached 10.2 percent, greatly closing the economic gap with other regions. More than 21.3 million hectares of farmland have been converted into forests or grassland, with the forest coverage rate surpassing 19 percent, data from the National Development and Reform Commission shows.

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Teal secures $8M seed funding for groundbreaking accounting solution




Teal has announced a significant milestone in its journey to transform SMB accounting with the closure of an $8 million seed funding round.

According to TechFundingNews, the company, which focuses on providing accounting infrastructure for Vertical SaaS businesses, aims to address the critical need for integrated financial solutions within various platforms.

Founded by industry veterans Ian Crosby and Adam Saint, Teal stands out in the FinTech landscape for its unique approach to accounting services. Leveraging their expertise from founding Bench Accounting and working at Shopify, Crosby and Saint have developed a platform that empowers Vertical SaaS businesses to offer customised accounting suites to their SMB customers.

One of the key challenges faced by SMBs is the lack of seamless accounting solutions integrated into their core business platforms. Teal aims to bridge this gap by equipping companies with the necessary APIs and tools to build their own accounting offerings. This enables SMBs to access crucial insights such as real-time cash flow, per-product profitability, and streamlined tax filing processes.

Teal’s comprehensive suite of out-of-the-box tools enables Vertical SaaS companies to launch their accounting platforms swiftly, often in as little as four weeks. These tools include fully functioning app code repositories and seamless data integrations with external sources like Plaid, enhancing the overall user experience for SMBs.

According to Ian Crosby, Co-Founder and CEO of Teal, the company’s vision is to become the “Stripe for accounting,” providing the foundational infrastructure for Vertical SaaS companies to embed accounting features seamlessly. By integrating accounting software directly into their platforms, businesses can enhance customer engagement and drive adoption of financial services features.

The significance of Teal’s innovative approach has not gone unnoticed in the investment landscape. Torch Capital, a leading investor in tools and platforms for SMBs, led the recent $8 million seed funding round. Partner Katie Reiner expressed enthusiasm for Teal’s mission to revolutionize the SMB accounting space, citing the dire need for intuitive and streamlined accounting tools.

In an era where embedded finance is gaining traction, Teal’s commitment to offering tailored accounting solutions signifies a promising step towards empowering SMBs with the financial tools they need to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.


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Digital China’s Guo Wei Shares ‘China’s Sample’ of Global Digital Innovation with London Business School



LONDON, May 22, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — On May 21st, at the invitation of London Business School (LBS), Guo Wei, Chairman of Digital China, participated in the esteemed “Managing the Digital Organization” lecture, engaging with a cohort of prospective business leaders. Focusing on the trending topics of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘Digital Transformation’, he imparted the digital philosophy and practices of Chinese enterprises amidst the digital civilization era.

Digital China, a prominent player in China’s digital economy, has harnessed over two decades of deep involvement in the nation’s information industry to embrace the power of digitization. This has culminated in what Guo Wei refers to as ‘China’s Vibrant Blueprint for Digital Transformation’, carving a distinctive path of digital metamorphosis. Notably, Digital China’s transformation narrative has been incorporated into LBS’s esteemed case library, underscoring its significance as a teaching instrument.

In his lecture, Guo Wei emphasized that the digital economy now constitutes the backbone of supply, with digital technology emerging as the paramount catalyst for economic expansion. The hastening pace of global digitization propels us into an epoch of digital civilization. For multinational corporations, digital strategies have escalated to the status of corporate strategy, and the amassing of data assets constitutes the pivotal lever for business innovation. Amidst this evolution, AI-fueled digital-cloud integration signifies a disruptive technological innovation, poised to invigorate the global landscape. Digital China feels honored to reprise its role in elite international business school case repositories, thereby contributing insights to academia. This recognition signifies that Chinese enterprises’ digital and AI acumen resonates globally, exemplifying world-class practices.

Professor Julian Birkinshaw, Vice Dean and Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at LBS, remarked, “As a global institution, we constantly seek out exemplary cases worldwide. Digital China was chosen not solely due to its prominence in China but also its sophisticated implementation of digital technologies, demonstrating adaptability and offering invaluable insights to our students about the contemporary business milieu. The story of Digital China encapsulates Mr. Guo Wei’s philosophy – digitization transcends being a mere process; it embodies the existential rationale for companies. This philosophy underpins our decision to feature Digital China in our case studies.”

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Endava partners with Finexos to revolutionise AI-driven credit risk management




Endava, a leading technology services company combining world-class engineering, industry expertise, and a people-centric mindset, has announced its partnership with Finexos, an AI-powered credit risk and analytics platform.

The partnership aims to leverage Finexos’ state-of-the-art credit risk engine to enhance credit decisioning processes, significantly increasing the accuracy of suitability and affordability calculations for banks and lenders. This collaboration will enable more borrowers to access affordable credit while reducing non-performing loans and improving capital allocation.

Endava, with over 20 years of industry expertise, helps financial institutions position their products and services at the forefront of innovation. Through world-class engineering, Endava supports customers in meeting the demands of responsible lending.

Finexos offers a unique methodology to improve credit decisioning, making it possible for larger volumes of borrowers to access affordable credit. Their advanced AI-powered software helps reduce default risks and improve capital allocation for lenders.

The collaboration allows Endava to integrate Finexos’ AI credit decisioning software into their services, helping financial institutions provide responsible lending solutions. This integration aims to increase accessibility for a broader range of customers and provide a more accurate assessment of borrower risk.

Finexos’ cost-effective data science SaaS platform enriches data analysis, speeds up decisions for borrowers, and reduces costs for lenders. The platform operates without geographical constraints, works within institutions’ firewalls, and ensures data security by not accepting or requiring personally identifiable information (PII).

Endava’s head of alliances and partnerships Lewis Brown said, “The addition of Finexos strengthens Endava’s banking ecosystem with new and existing AI-based software and also brings to our clients new tools that fuel growth and react to new and future regulatory requirements.”

Matthew Williamson, SVP & industry principal at Endava, mentioned, “At Endava, we are delighted to announce our partnership with Finexos, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to financial inclusion. This relationship authentically aligns with our core values, using technology and democratising access to financial instruments. Giving individuals and communities the ability to access fair, consistent next-gen real-time credit scoring. Empowering economic growth and stimulus.”


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