“Although the last year has challenged and taken a huge toll on many companies, what helped to save many more was the foresight they showed in recent years by investing in digital transition, upskilling employees, and agile processes. Those who already had the flexibility to leverage the digital platform economy were able to quickly transform their business models and, in many cases, not merely survive but thrive.”

Bert Miller, President & CEO, MRINetwork


EMEA

The 22nd annual EMEA Retail POS Terminal Market Study* explores the market climate for point of sale (POS) terminals in the region. Macroeconomic issues in the Europe/Middle East/Africa region continue to cause fluctuations in the POS market. Brexit, the influx of immigrants, terrorism in several countries, uncertainty on the global economy, and the pandemic all added up to a drag on the overall economy of the region, yet POS opportunities still abound, according to the study.

The report based on the study discusses trends in the region’s countries and in various segments to reveal the forces that are shaping purchase decisions, including country by country shipments, installed base, forecasts and trends for the electronic point-of-sale terminal market in EMEA. Additionally, the report covers emerging trends and influences that have affected the market and those that will help form market decisions in the future. It also includes forecasts for shipments through 2024.

*Cost associated with the full study.


ASIA PACIFIC

Vanguard’s experiment with financial technology in China is showing early signs of success, according to a report by CNBC. More than 1 million users have signed up for “BangNiTou,” a smartphone-based investment advisory product run through the American mutual fund giant’s joint venture with Alibaba-affiliate Ant Group.

The Vanguard-branded product means “help you invest” in Chinese and launched in April 2020. It is a form of robo-advising, automated financial planning that uses data analytics to determine how a customer should invest based on factors such as age and income.

While such automated investing products have surged in popularity in the U.S., the concept of personal finance — whether through human or automated advisors — is still far less common in China. Most locals save heavily for an investment in the housing market or for medical treatment in the case of severe illness. That’s partly the result of limited rollout of health insurance, stock market volatility and high minimums for fund investment.


THE AMERICAS

Mexico’s House of Representatives has approved landmark legislation to legalize the cultivation and sale of cannabis for recreational use across the country, as reported by LABS News. This historic vote puts Mexico on the brink of establishing the world’s largest legal cannabis market — a move that is likely to increase pressure on the United States to embrace legalization.

With a population of nearly 130 million people, Mexico is now just one Senate vote away from becoming the largest country in the world to legalize cannabis at the national level. By comparison, the populations of Canada (38 million) and Uruguay (3.4 million) add up to less than a third of Mexico’s total citizenship.

The Mexican marijuana industry could be valued as high as $3.2 billion dollars annually, per a January report from cannabis data analysis company New Frontier Data. If voted into law, Mexico’s budding cannabis sector will likely attract much-needed investment to the region and create new jobs in a country that has been ravaged by the pandemic.