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Multiple achievements made in China-Hungary BRI conference



BUDAPEST, Hungary, May 3, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Multiple achievements were made on Thursday at a conference focused on cooperation between China and Hungary under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) framework.

Under the guidance of China’s State Council Information Office, the conference was co-hosted by Xinhua News Agency and Hungary’s ATV Media Group in Budapest.

Xinhua has always been committed to concentrating efforts and contributing to the joint building of the Belt and Road between the two countries, President of Xinhua News Agency Fu Hua said while addressing the event.

The conference aims to further implement the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries and promote pragmatic cooperation at various levels across the board so as to make new and greater contributions to the Belt and Road cooperation between the two countries with more innovative results, Fu said.

At the conference, the Belt and Road Economic Information Partnership (BREIP), which was initiated by Xinhua News Agency, inaugurated an Eastern European liaison office.

The China NGO Network for International Exchanges launched a non-governmental Belt and Road cooperation project with Hungary.

The official website of the BRI introduced a dedicated sector for industrial cooperation between China and Hungary.

A report on investment and cooperation between the two countries under the Belt and Road framework was also released.

About 200 people, including government officials, representatives from chambers of commerce and the business sector, as well as heads of major media outlets and think tanks from both countries joined the event.

Fu noted that Xinhua will continue to provide in-depth coverage of high-level interactions between the two countries and present major achievements of the two countries’ high-quality Belt and Road cooperation in an all-round and multi-perspective manner.

Stressing efforts to strengthen exchanges with Hungarian think tanks, Fu also urged making full use of platforms and mechanisms including the World Media Summit and the BREIP to roll out even more tangible results.

Fu also stressed the importance of providing services for ChinaHungary cooperation in various areas and better promoting the in-depth integration of the BRI cooperation and Hungary’s “Opening to the East” policy.

Hungary and China have achieved fruitful results in Belt and Road cooperation, Hungarian Minister for National Economy Marton Nagy said at the conference, citing the Hungary-Serbia railway project as an example.

Hungary sees China’s economic development as an important opportunity, Nagy said, stressing that investment from Chinese companies including Bank of China, CATL and BYD has been driving the development of related industries.

Nagy said Hungary is willing to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation with China in areas such as infrastructure and high-tech, and act as a link between China and Europe.

Liu Hongcai, deputy head of the Chinese Association for International Understanding, called for efforts from various sectors of the two countries to thoroughly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and further promote people-to-people exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations.

More momentum for future-oriented cooperation should be fostered and cooperation platforms at all levels should make full use of their advantages to respond to global challenges, Liu said.

Liu voiced his hope that people from all walks of life in the two countries will make active contributions to promoting bilateral relations.

During the past years, economic ties and trade between the two countries have flourished, said Tamas Kovacs, CEO of ATV.

Based on the extensive cooperation between ATV and Chinese media outlets, the audience is able to have a better understanding of the fruitful achievements of the two countries’ joint efforts, Kovacs said, adding that such cooperation will be carried on to help the two peoples to better understand each other’s culture and values.

Participating guests also visited a photo exhibition on the pragmatic BRI cooperation between China and Hungary.

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UK challenger GB Bank lands £85m investment





GB Bank, a specialist property finance bank based in Middlesbrough, UK, has secured an £85 million investment from new backer Hera Holdings and existing shareholder the Teesside Pension Fund.

Over the next 12 months, Hera Holdings is investing an initial £40 million into the bank, with an additional £40 million earmarked for investment throughout 2025 and 2026.

Meanwhile, the Teesside Pension Fund, which serves as the Local Government Pension Scheme for local authority employees in the Teesside region, is contributing an additional £5 million to the funding round.

Founded in 2017, GB Bank provides financing solutions for commercial and residential property developments in underserved areas of the UK.

The bank, which secured its full banking licence in the summer of 2022, claims to have approved “more than £80 million in loans to support over 100 property projects in locations from Northumberland to the south coast”, while also attracting “over £300 million in deposits from savers” for its fixed-term and instant access accounts.

GB Bank anticipates that the cash injection will drive “extensive growth” for the company, with plans to expand its customer base to include portfolio landlords, expatriates, and foreign nationals.

Specifically, the challenger bank states that the investment will enhance its lending capabilities, allowing it to offer funding of up to £10 million and up to 80% Loan To Value.

Moreover, GB Bank expects that the expansion will boost its capacity for commercial owner-occupier and investment mortgages as well as for its commercial and residential bridging solutions.

The bank projects that the new investment will allow it to increase its lending to £500 million over the next 12 months. As part of this growth, it intends to expand its team and infrastructure, with plans to double its current workforce this year.

Earlier this year, the company appointed industry veteran Mark Sismey-Durrant as its new chair.


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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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