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TLDR: E-commerce logistics, Jio results, Instagram NFT, WhatsApp, Uganda, and more

Tussle between e-commerce logistics companies and aggregators intensifies

Last month three of the largest e-commerce focused logistics players – Delhivery, Ecom Express and Xpressbees – simultaneously increased shipment prices for their aggregators (Shiprocket, Pickrr, Shipyaari and others). Some of these aggregators asked the logistics companies to reconsider their decision or partially roll back the hike, but the companies paid no heed.

As a part of a reminder note to acknowledge the new shipment rates, Xpressbees notified some of its clients that they won’t be picking up any new orders unless the aggregators formally agree to the new pricing. Delhivery and Ecom Express gave a grace period to some of the aggregators last month, but have eventually decided to stick to their hiked rates. This price hike has now forced aggregators to increase prices for their customers, a report by Economic Times revealed.

Reliance Jio Infocomm reported a 24% jump in March-quarter profit

On Friday, Reliance Jio posted an about 24 per cent increase in standalone profit after tax to ₹ 4,173 crores for the quarter ended March 2022. The company’s net profit rose to 41.73 billion rupees for the quarter ending March 31, from 33.60 billion rupees in the financial year 2021.

EU’s anti-trust chief calls for a global approach toward tech giants

Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s antitrust chief has called for a global approach toward Big Tech to prevent companies from taking advantage of enforcement gaps, Reuters reported. She also said that this issue now has a ‘strong political attention’  and urged antitrust watchdogs around the world to work together to tackle it.

E-commerce sales increase despite offline sales recovering back to pre-Covid levels

Consumers continue to buy online even after sales and footfall of offline markets and retail stores recover to pre-pandemic levels. Retailers like Reliance reported a 17% contribution from online sales as compared to 10% in 2021. Companies like Hindustan Unilever, Tata Consumer Products and Dabur also reported a surge in e-commerce contribution in 2022, Economic Times reported.

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Instagram to support NFTs

According to a report by CoinDesk, Instagram is planning non-fungible token (NFT) integrations for Ethereum, Polygon, Solana and Flow. The social media platform also intends to support widely used crypto wallets such as MetaMask and will allow users to prove their NFT ownership, showcase them on their profiles and tag the creators by plugging in their wallets. Users won’t be charged for posting and sharing NFTs and as per a previous report by the Financial Times, Meta would follow up its NFT pilot on Instagram with minting and group membership options on Facebook.

WhatsApp is rolling out the ability to add up to 512 people to groups

After announcing the release of the feature of reacting to messages for android, iOS and desktop users, WhatsApp is now going to allow users to add up to 512 people to groups. According to a blog post on the company’s website, the new features for WhatsApp, which also include sharing media files up to 2GB in size, will be available to users in the coming weeks.

Ola Cars CEO resigns

Soon after GR Arun Kumar, Chief Financial Officer of Ola took up a wider role including overseeing the Go-To-Market or GTM function, Ola Cars chief executive Arun Sirdeshmukh resigned from the company, according to a report by Economic Times. Sirdeshmukh was heading the GTM strategy for Ola Electric before he took the responsibility of heading Ola’s second-hand car business in October 2021. Prior to his stint with Ola, Sirdeshmukh was leading the fashion business at Amazon.

Google Play blocks paid app downloads, and updates in Russia

Starting May 5, Google has blocked Russian users and developers from downloading or updating paid applications from the Play Store due to sanctions, Bleeping Computer reported. In an update on its support website, the company said that this is done as a part of its compliance efforts. However, users are still allowed to download free apps published and updated by Russian developers. Google first paused its Google Play billing system in Russia on March 10 due to sanctions, preventing them from buying apps and games, paying for subscriptions or any in-app purchases.

China has ordered live-streaming platforms to step-up governance of underage users

As part of an ongoing regulatory crackdown on the booming sector, China has ordered internet platforms to step up governance of how minors use their live-streaming services. According to the National Radio and Television Administration, the platforms need to step up controls to stop underage users from becoming live-streamers without parental consent.

This order comes after China launched a two-month special campaign in April to clean up “chaos” in online live-streaming and short video businesses.

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Uganda’s Central Bank to consider issuance of digital currency

Uganda’s Central Bank is considering issuing a digital currency but is sceptical about the risks from the technology including consumer protection and financial inclusion according to a Reuters report. Andrew Kawere, the bank’s director for national payments,  has expressed concerns regarding consumer protection and financial exclusion of those who don’t have access to digital currency.

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