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Industry roundup: 5 July

Contour launches trade finance innovation lab in Singapore

Contour has opened an innovation lab In Singapore where it will collaborate closely with its growing network of banks, corporates and ecosystem partners to research and develop novel, digitally native trade finance solutions. The Future of Finance Lab is designed to further Contour’s mission to develop the digital infrastructure to address longstanding inefficiencies in trade by removing barriers, simplifying workflows, and making trade more accessible to all. 

The Lab is anchored in Singapore, leveraging its conducive environment for innovation, fintech ecosystem and supportive regulations. Singapore also offers the strategic advantage of being an important trade hub. Global trade is set to bounce back in 2021 following the pandemic, with reports suggesting an estimated growth in volume of 8%. Contour and its network are supporting this growth by building an end-to-end Trade Service that connects businesses, financiers and partners seamlessly across the financial and physical supply chains. The Lab will enable continued refinement and enhancement of this offering.

Beyond its fully digitised Letter of Credit (LC) service that is currently in live production, Contour says it will soon expand into other areas of trade finance to bring greater value to its members. It has formed an in-house development team to experiment with new trade product offerings and is expected to double the team size in the next year. 

"With the launch of the Future of Finance Lab, we are excited to further ramp up our innovation efforts as we develop the digital infrastructure for the industry, making trade more accessible, simple and efficient for all," said Carl Wegner, CEO at Contour. "Singapore is the perfect environment for innovation, and we look forward to collaborating with our network both locally and globally as we work together to build the future of trade."


Trustana and OneConnect aim to facilitate trade opportunities between Singapore and China

Trustana, a curated cross-border business-to-business (B2B) marketplace founded by Temasek, and OneConnect Financial Technology (Singapore), a technology-as-a-service platform provider and an associate of Ping An Group, have announced a strategic collaboration designed to accelerate cross-border commerce. Under this collaboration, Trustana will integrate OneSME, a digital cross-border trade platform, into its marketplace. 

Building on Trustana’s cross-border trade expertise and OneConnect’s core competencies in architecting technology solutions, curating and operating an extensive network of ecosystems in China, the collaboration should enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore and ASEAN to access a larger pool of buyers in China, seize international trade opportunities, and benefit from value-added services on Trustana’s platform.

With a curated marketplace and fulfilment offerings initially focused on the food and beverage sector, Trustana’s platform aims to enable buyers and sellers to transact with greater trust and confidence. As a result of the collaboration, SMEs in Southeast Asia will be able to buy and sell their products directly to pre-screened buyers and suppliers in China who show keen interest, boosting the chances of a match. In addition, the collaboration will allow SMEs to have access to a buyer base of four million Chinese SMEs via OneConnect’s YiQiYe, an SME ecosystem that provides financing, insurance and cash management solutions to SMEs in China. Trustana will also integrate with the Guangxi Open Finance Platform, a cross-border digital financial services platform led by Guangxi district government, and jointly built and operated by OneConnect and Digital Guangxi Group to promote collaborations between governments, institutions and enterprises. 


Bigbank chooses Nets for issuer processing and digital payments

Bigbank, an international Estonian-owned bank, has chosen European payment services provider Nets, to provide issuer processing and digital services, including virtual cards and mobile payment capabilities. 

As a licensed credit institution, Bigbank delivers financial services to European private and corporate customers with a focus on loans, corporate loans and term deposits in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden and Bulgaria. The bank also provides cross-border deposit services in Germany, the Netherlands and Austria, and the partnership will further extend Nets' footprint across Europe.

Nets will support Bigbank's core offering by delivering issuer processing and digital services through its modular-based platform. This will include tokenisation, with access to Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as instant issuing with virtual cards and digital PIN. Nets will also provide Bigbank with state-of-the-art card personalisation, customer services, and fraud and dispute services.

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