In today’s top Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) news, the European Union could fine Apple $2.7 billion over its near-field communications (NFC) chip technology, and Google pledges $1 billion to boost internet and startups in Africa. Plus, Berlin-based firm Swarm Markets targets the masses of decentralized finance (DeFi) skeptics, Amazon opens its first 4-star store outside the U.S., and Stockholm FinTech Anyfin raises $52 million for German expansion.
Apple could be hit with charges as early as next year, as well as a steep antitrust fine from the EU over its NFC chip technology. The European Commission can fine companies up to 10% of their global profits for skirting EU rules. In Apple’s case, that will amount to a $2.7 billion fine based on its 2020 revenue of $27.4 billion.
Google will inject $1 billion in Africa in the next five years to enhance internet connectivity and help startup companies with funding. The search platform announced an Africa Investment Fund that will give startups access to its employees and technology during the Google for Africa event. Google is also teaming up with nonprofit Kiva to offer $10 million in low-interest loans for small businesses in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
Traditional banking and DeFi are often at loggerheads with many who doubt the ability of decentralized, permissionless platforms to provide the same level of consumer protection as is available on regulated platforms. But Swarm Markets co-founders Philipp Pieper and Timo Lehes told PYMNTS that regulation and decentralized finance don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and they’re on a mission to prove the naysayers wrong.
The first Amazon U.K. 4-star store has opened outside of the U.S., offering a wide variety of products excluding food items. The 3,500-square-foot brick-and-mortar store is on High Street at the Bluewater shopping center in Kent and offers merchandise based on data gleaned from online sales. All products have a minimum 4-star rating, hence the name of the shop.
Swedish FinTech startup Anyfin has raised close to 45 million euros (about $52 million) in a Series B funding round to expand its business across Germany and Northern Europe. Anyfin gives consumers the ability to refinance existing loans while also managing their financial health. The round was led by FinTech Collective, with participation from Accel, EQT Ventures, Northzone and Global Founders Capital (GFC). New backers included Quadrille Capital and Augmentum FinTech.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has returned a cryptocurrency bill to Parliament for revision. Approved by the Ukraine Parliament in September, the bill initially requested the establishment of a new regulatory body to oversee cryptocurrency, but Zelensky has instead recommended that the National Securities and Stock Market Commission — Ukraine’s version of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission — handle the oversight.
Finnish eInvoicing solutions provider Basware is expanding its partnership with the payments firm Comdata to create what they call “a powerful procure-to-pay ecosystem.” The combination of technical and product integration with sales and customer success teams will help clients further automate accounts payable (AP) processes.
Global insights and credit reporting firm TransUnion has invested an undisclosed amount in the personal credit platform Monevo to advance solutions that will help lenders and aggregators work together more efficiently. A subsidiary of Quint Group, U.K.-headquartered FinTech Monevo is part of several different businesses that serve the consumer finance space. As part of the investment deal, TransUnion will join Monevo’s board.