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Alibaba breaks sales record



E-commerce giant Alibaba has beaten its sales record for its annual Singles Day event.

The company said sales this year had reached 121bn yuan ($18bn; £14bn), a rise of 32% on last year’s sales which were worth $14.3bn.

But some have questioned the accuracy of the numbers, amid claims of inflated sales data at Chinese online retailers.

Merchants passing off counterfeit goods as genuine is also a problem in the industry.

Alibaba reported 82% of purchases had been made on mobile phones during Singles Day.

The company has also been experimenting with new technology including augmented reality and virtual reality to give shoppers other ways of buying items.

And the event had a blistering start with sales hitting $5bn (£4bn) in the first hour, Alibaba said, though that total included pre-orders made by customers who could “lock in” prices. It took 90 minutes to hit that milestone in 2015.

Singles Day is held every year on 11 November. The day is also referred to as Double Eleven because of its date.

Originally claimed as a celebration for China’s young singletons, Alibaba turned it into a shopping bonanza in 2009.

While Alibaba is undeniably the driving force behind the event, other retailers have also started to piggyback off the idea, including extending the concept to Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Alibaba’s rival, which focuses more on electronics, reported receiving more orders in the first nine hours of trading on Friday than it had done during the whole of Singles Day 2014.

It said sales passed last year’s Singles Day total in the early afternoon, but gave no figures.

Patty Cao, an analyst at Aberdeen Asset Management, said that the pace of Alibaba sales “show that Singles Day might be the ultimate symbol of how the Chinese economy is changing”.

She said: “Alibaba is a bit of a bellwether for the country’s consumer… China is trying shift the economy away from a reliance on investment and manufacturing towards one driven by consumer spending and services.

“It’s not been plain sailing. Growth has taken a significant hit. So events like Singles Day are important indicators to feel the pulse of China’s economy.”

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Wapi Pay secures $2.2 million to expand Africa-Asia trade payments and remittances



Left: Paul Ndichu Co-Founder, Right: Eddie Ndichu Co-Founder & CEO (Image & Release: Wapi Pay)

Wapi Pay, based in Singapore and headquartered in Kenya has raised $2.2 Million in pre-seed funding to scale up global payments and remittances between Africa and Asia. Making international transfers faster, easier and much cheaper. The investors included EchoVC & China based global fund MSA Capital, who have invested in domestic Asian unicorns such as Meituan and NIO, and international unicorns such as Nubank and Klarna. Additional investors include Kepple Africa Ventures. Existing investors are Future Hub, Gobi Ventures and Transsion Holding.

Eddie Ndichu, co-founder at Wapi Pay commented on this funding milestone: “These funds will help Wapi Pay diversify our products range and drive growth so that we can evolve remittances into real-time global cross-border payments, starting with Africa and Asia. All while minimising the cost of transactions, it needs to be as easy as sending M-PESA”

EchoVC commented on this funding milestone: “Wapi Pay is an exciting fintech that is removing friction in an enormous payments space for Africa and powering the circular trade economy. As the symbiotic relationship between Africa and Asia deepens, Wapi Pay’s ecosystem of services will become increasingly critical to bridge and drive economic value between the two continents. We look forward to working with Paul and Eddie on this next phase of growth.”

MSA Capital commented on this funding milestone: “Africa to Asia is a large trading corridor overlooked and underserved by tech today. We believe Wapi Pay is the best team to build the necessary infrastructure to support its growing trade volumes. We are excited to support with our extensive China fintech network and playbook.”

Wapi Pay focuses on the Africa-Asia remittance corridor. China-Africa trade jumped 27% to $52.1 billion in the first quarter of this year 2021 compared with 2020, buoyed by the recovery of economies after the coronavirus pandemic.

Today traders have to endure high remittances fees of up to 15% of the amount, waiting period of up to five days, and are exposed the high risk of consistent reversals due to unmatched instructions, with Wapi Pay the cost reduces to below 3% and same day payout.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most expensive region to send money to and out, according to the World Bank, with the average cost of sending $200 being 8.02% of the principal amount compared with 4.64% for South Asia, the lowest cost globally. Seamless payment platforms such as Wapi Pay can greatly ease trade and investments, according to Ndichu.

“Wapi Pay bypasses traditional payment networks, optimizing efficiency and cost for our customers. Users choose the delivery channels they want such as Bank to Bank, Wallet to Wallet, Bank to Wallet and Wallet to Bank options to transfer funds as well as make merchant payments, with settlement done within 24 hours.”

Wapi Pay is in China, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, India, Taiwan and Vietnam — working with local banks and platforms. It targets to process $500 million in remittances by the end of 2022, grow the number of registered suppliers and beneficiaries in Asia to 100,000; and sign up at least 500,000 merchants, traders and businesses in Africa.



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Ola Williams Named as Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria



Ola Williams (Image & Release: Microsoft)

Ola Williams has been announced as the new Country Manager for Microsoft Nigeria. Previously the Specialist Sales Leader working with the extended team and the company’s partner organizations to grow cloud revenue across enterprise customers, she takes over from Akin Banuso who is the Enterprise Commercial Lead for Middle East and Africa– Multi market region.

In her new role, Ola will lead Microsoft efforts to accelerate Nigeria’s Digital transformation and cloud adoption across all our customer segments. She will work to identify new opportunities and mobilize internal organization resources as well as external stakeholders.

Ola joins Microsoft’s Middle East and Africa – Multi market region’s Leadership team reporting directly to Microsoft’s Middle East and Africa – Multi market region’s General Manager, Ibrahim Youssry.

“I’m proud of the significant contributions Akin has put in to accelerate the transformation journey our customers in Nigeria,” Ibrahim said. “I’m thrilled that Ola will bring her unique expertise to take the country to new heights and also play a part in the larger leadership team to design how we address the Africa’s business landscape.”

“It’s a great honour to be taking on this exciting journey at a time when the organisation is focused on growing and accelerating Africa’s transformation,” said OIa. “I am very optimistic of where Africa is headed and how we have a unique opportunity to use technology to really transform the lives and business in this region.”

Ola joined Microsoft in 2010 as the Enterprise Voice Technology Specialist. She has also held various positions including Partner Technology Manager, Dynamics Partner Sales Executive as well as Account Technology Strategist. Ola has over 21 years of Information technology experience which spans through Solution implimentation, Solution Sales and Channels Management. She is graduate of Computer Science from the Federal Polytechnic, Offa and has a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Liverpool.



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How to manage your crypto portfolio in a bear market



After reaching an all-time high of $64,863 in April 2021, bitcoin experienced a sharp drop trading close to $30,000. The prices of other crypto assets (altcoins) also plummeted and the entire cryptocurrency market began to consolidate downwards. Such sharp declines may be typical to those who have been participating in digital currency markets for a while, but for new entrants, the shocks can catch them off guard, causing many to panic sell – potentially resulting in significant losses.

Huge market swing are common in digital currency markets since crypto trading is generally volatile. For this reason, people looking to buy bitcoin in South Africa or any other country should always bear that in mind. What’s important however, is that traders can still make profits even when the market is in a downtrend. But before we explore how, we need to define what a bear market is.

What is a bear market?

Markets generally have three main movements. Upwards, downwards or sideways. When a market is on an upward trajectory this is referred to as a ‘bull market’ and when the market is on a downward trend, that is what is referred to as a ‘bear market’. When the market is not experiencing noteworthy price swings, the market is said to be moving sideways.

During a bear market, it’s not unusual to witness assets prices decline over a sustained period. When this happens investor sentiment tends to turn pessimistic but what most people don’t realize is that for seasoned investors, this is generally a good time to take positions and accumulate assets at low prices. The old adage ‘buy low, sell high’ means that smart money buys when its bearish and sells when sentiment is too bullish and there’s euphoria or irrational exuberance in the market. With the proper risk mitigation, a bear market can be a blessing in disguise for any trader or investor. 

How to manage your portfolio in a market downtrend

There are several ways investors can take advantage of a bear market and set themselves up to profit when the market reverses and turns bullish. For traders, there are even opportunities to still make profits even as the market continues to fall. Below are some of the ways investors and traders can take advantage of a bear market scenario:

  • Taking Short Positions

Taking short positions or shorting is basically the opposite of when you buy bitcoin or any other crypto asset with the hope that the value will appreciate. Short selling is a strategy where the trader enters a market position hoping that the value of the asset drops below their entry price. In short selling, you are basically borrowing the cryptocurrency you want to short with the aim of settling the debt when the price drops. The reason traders short is that they typically don’t have the funds to buy the asset that they can then sell at a profit, thus, they are ‘short’.

There are several exchanges that allow you to carry out this strategy. The process involves borrowing the crypto assets you intend to short from the exchange and selling them for a stable crypto asset or fiat currency at the going rate. After closing the position, you’d then wait for the price to drop to buy back the same number of coins you owe but at a discount. This would enable you to settle your debt and keep the profit made as a result of the price difference. It’s akin to an inflationary strategy that allows a debtor to pay a lender back with money that is worth less than it was when they originally borrowed it. The downside with taking this approach is that if things don’t go according to plan i.e. the crypto asset prices shoot up instead, you stand to lose your funds in the process.

  • Swing Trading

Swing trading is a strategy that involves trying to predict the price movement of an asset within a specific period, usually a few days or weeks. Even as the market seemingly moves in a general direction, there will always be subtle price movements forming highs and lows. The swing trading strategy involves predicting these small price fluctuations. Implementing this strategy requires carefully studying the market and involves some technical analysis to help you make the right prediction so that you can enter a trade at the right time. The process involves making a prediction based on analysis, entering a position (long or short), and taking your profit if the market goes as predicted. So even in a bearish, traders can take advantage of the slight upward and even downward swings.

  • HODLing

HODL which is short for ‘hold on for dear life’ involves holding on to a digital currency despite the price action. This strategy is very common with long-term investors who understand that the crypto markets can be highly volatile and trading in and out of positions or trying to time the market can be a lot riskier than simply holding the asset over a longer period. Historically, the market has always corrected and even if prices have dropped significantly, over time the likelihood that the market will recover is always fairly high meaning that the lost gains can always be recouped and profits can even be made as long as the asset holder doesn’t sell when the market is down.


Traders and investors need not panic during a bearish trend or when crypto asset prices crash. There are also several strategies that can be employed to reduce the effect of a market dip on a portfolio including moving assets into stable coins such as USDT or USDC which are pegged 1:1 to the dollar. This also gives an investor or trader liquidity to re-enter positions a lower prices meaning that they get more crypto assets for their money. However, while this can be a good move as far as minimizing portfolio losses, if the market experiences a flash crash and rebounds almost immediately one can also miss the opportunity to buy back into the market before asset prices start rising which can mean paying even higher prices for the same assets. This is why most seasoned investors simply recommend the buy and hold strategy to novice traders and investors.

Furthermore, companies operating in the crypto tend to offer more incentives during bear market periods in an effort to retain users and as a way to continue spurring the adoption of blockchain-based technologies. In the recent bear market, Remitano for instance, decided to introduce its native token RENEC as a way to reduce transaction fees for users and ensure secure and swift transactions. The peer-to-peer exchange even introduced an incentive scheme where users of their platform can get free tokens via the mobile application.




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