German Companies Eye Asia for Relocation

Welcome to Commerce Updates, your snapshot of the dynamic world of cross-border commerce. In this edition, we explore German companies relocating to Asia, the FCA's plans to secure cash access in the UK, DDR's holistic approach to cyber threats, Swift surpassing G20’s payment goal, the struggles B2C marketers face with AI and data, and the ILO's insights on AI enhancing jobs. Dive into these timely topics and stay ahead in the ever-changing commerce landscape. by

A recent study by market research firm Kantar Public on behalf of management consultancy FTI-Andersch reveals a growing dissatisfaction among German companies with their domestic location. The survey, which involved 150 German manufacturing companies, found that the average rating for Germany as an industrial location was a disappointing “three minus” (3.3) out of 5. The country received deficient scores in the areas of energy prices and availability (4.0), regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles (4.0), and the availability of skilled workers (3.9). A significant 60% of respondents reported that their perception of Germany as a business location had deteriorated over the past two years.

The study also found that a quarter of the surveyed companies (26%) are considering relocating their production capacities and networks. Among those with concrete plans for relocation, 40% are looking towards Asia. Furthermore, 50% of the companies surveyed view China as an attractive location, both now and in the coming years.

Christian Säuberlich, Senior Partner and Spokesperson of the Executive Board of FTI-Andersch commented on the findings, stating that the negative self-assessment of German companies raises questions about the country’s attractiveness to foreign investors. He emphasised the need for improved framework conditions in Germany to maintain its appeal as an investment destination and prevent potential long-term economic losses.

FCA Plans to Secure Cash Access in the UK

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is set to introduce new protections to ensure the continued availability of cash deposit and withdrawal services, reports Responding to the UK parliament’s Cash Access Policy Statement, the FCA will exercise new powers under the Finance Services and Markets Act 2023 to maintain a network of cash access facilities in line with current distribution.

Despite the rise of digital banking, cash remains a significant part of UK spending habits, with 3.1 million adults relying on it for most transactions. As of Q2, 2022, 95.1% of the population lived within one mile of a free-to-use cash withdrawal point.

The FCA’s proposed rules will require banks and building societies to assess the reasonableness of cash provision when significant changes in local access occur, such as branch or post office closures. The rules will be enacted regionally, considering local demographics and characteristics. A full consultation on the approach is expected to begin soon, with the new regulations potentially taking effect by summer 2024.

DDR: A Holistic Approach to Cyber Threats

A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy has become crucial as cyber threats grow more sophisticated and organisations increasingly digitalise their business models. An article published by introduces the concept of Data Detection and Response (DDR), a paradigm shift in cybersecurity that focuses on prevention, detection, and response to data security threats.

Traditionally, cybersecurity has been about building strong defences to keep attackers out. However, more than this approach is required with the increasing complexity of attacks. DDR acknowledges this change and emphasises a multi-layered defence strategy that includes real-time monitoring, anomaly and user behaviour analytics, incident response planning, automation, integration with existing infrastructure, regulatory compliance, training, and continuous improvement.

At the core of DDR is a data-centric approach that recognises the primary objective of cyberattacks: stealing or destroying sensitive data. DDR safeguards data at all stages of its lifecycle using encryption, access controls, and data classification. It leverages advanced technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect abnormal behaviours that might indicate a breach.

The article also highlights the importance of human factors in DDR, emphasising the need for training and awareness programs to prevent accidental breaches.

Swift Hits G20 Goal for Payment Speed

In a significant stride towards global financial efficiency, Swift, the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services, has announced that it has surpassed the G20’s target for cross-border payments processing speed. A remarkable 89% of transactions on Swift’s network now reach recipient banks within an hour, far exceeding the Financial Stability Board’s goal of achieving one-hour processing for 75% of international payments by 2027.

Swift’s achievement challenges the common misconception that payments must travel through multiple intermediary banks, with data showing that 84% of all payments on the network are conducted directly or with a single intermediary. However, the industry still needs help, as only 60% of wholesale payments reach customer accounts within the desired timeframe, often delayed by regulatory controls and other issues.

Thierry Chilosi, Chief Strategy Officer at Swift, expressed confidence in the company’s strategy and emphasised the importance of industry-wide collaboration. Swift’s efforts extend beyond speed, addressing other G20 challenges such as transparency, cost, choice, and access. Innovations like Swift GPI and Swift Go are transforming cross-border payment transparency. New cloud and API-based connectivity options open new avenues for the financial community.

As digital payment methods evolve, Swift remains committed to addressing fragmentation and enhancing settlement models through collaboration with central banks for CBDCs or working with market infrastructures.

B2C Marketers Struggle with AI, Data

A recent study by Forrester has highlighted the growing challenges faced by B2C marketers, with many finding it difficult to meet their priorities for the year. The top priorities identified include increasing focus on customer experience (28%), enhancing customer engagement across the lifecycle (27%), and improving brand perception (26%). However, these goals are being hindered by challenges such as changing economic conditions (26%), quality of customer data (25%), and a need for alignment with business objectives (23%).

The report also reveals that marketers require help with specific tasks assigned by their organisations, such as updating data strategy to adapt to data deprecation (47%), enhancing AI capabilities (47%), and implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy (45%). Difficulties in personalising communications, coordinating different marketing service providers, and managing data quality were also noted.

ILO: AI to Enhance, Not Replace, Jobs

According to a new global study by the ILO (International Labour Organisation), Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is more likely to augment jobs than destroy them. The research, titled “Generative AI and Jobs: A global analysis of potential effects on job quantity and Quality,” suggests that the latest wave of Generative AI, such as chatGPT, will complement rather than substitute most jobs and industries. The study found that clerical work is the category most exposed to automation, with nearly a quarter of tasks considered highly exposed.

The report also highlights significant differences in the effects on countries at various development levels. High-income countries have 5.5% of total employment potentially exposed to automation, compared to only 0.4% in low-income countries. However, the potential for augmentation is nearly equal across nations, indicating that technological transformation could benefit developing countries with proper policies.

The study also reveals that the effects of Generative AI could differ significantly for men and women, with automation potentially affecting more than twice the share of female employment. This is linked to women’s over-representation in clerical work, particularly in high and middle-income countries.

The paper concludes that the socioeconomic impacts of Generative AI will largely depend on how its diffusion is managed. It calls for policies that support an orderly, fair, and consultative transition, emphasising workers’ voice, skills training, and adequate social protection. Without proper management, the risk is that only a few well-prepared countries and market participants will benefit from the new technology. The authors stress that the outcomes of the technological transition are not pre-determined and that human guidance is essential in the process.

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