Paradise Papers: Seven Steps Modi Must Take Against Black Money

Workers wait for a cargo ship to beach at Mundra Port in Gujarat April 2, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave

The ‘Paradise Papers’ expose carried out by the Indian Express in collaboration with a German newspaper and the International Consortium of Journalists (ICIJ) once again reveals the extent of the black money menace and the lack of political will to take it on. By now it is clear that the Narendra Modi government that rode to power on widespread popular anger against corruption and black money has let the people down and is actively collaborating in covering up rather than uncovering black money. In this context, celebrating ‘Anti-Black Money Day’ on the anniversary of demonetisation is nothing but a cruel joke on the people of this country.

There is a set pattern by now. Instead of taking proactive and concrete action, the government reacts only to leaks that come out from time to time. Whether it is the leaks about accounts in Liechtenstein’s banks or in HSBC bank or the Panama Papers or Paradise Papers, every time the government defends its own people and says that it has set up some task force or the other. Thereafter, we don’t know what happens. We have not seen any details of any accounts of Indians abroad obtained by the government on its own proactively or any amount recovered or any culprits jailed. For all big claims of black money caught through demonetisation, we are yet to see any names or lists. Even very specific information on black money given to the government has not led to any prosecution. Since all such exposés name politicians of the ruling party as well as the opposition, there is no concerted public campaign to bring the guilty to the book.

This is a global menace and arguably the biggest challenge to democracy today. The Paradise Papers, and Panama Papers earlier, present another example of how big corporates and the ultra-rich of various countries move their money to tax havens and out of their countries through shell companies and trusts created for this purpose. Siphoning off funds of corporations to tax havens in this manner is today arguably the biggest business in the world, involving amounts in excess of $100 billion a year. It is a malaise which lies at the root of corruption, black money, income inequalities and the continuing hold of corrupt politicians and their parties over the levers of power through this illicit money.

These two exposés reveal a standard modus operandi. In most cases, the money is the product of siphoned off funds from domestic companies by over-invoicing and under-invoicing through intermediary shell companies. Siphoning out of huge funds leads to non-performing assets (NPAs) since most of these companies take loans from public sector banks on the basis of over-invoiced costs, as the Adani, Essar as well as Sterling cases show. This also leads to the defrauding or cheating of electricity consumers by higher tariffs imposed upon them, as well as cheating of these public companies by their promoters. This is why we see this phenomenon of companies like those of Vijay Mallya going into bankruptcy, while the promoters manage to have huge assets, mostly abroad. Some of these funds could also be cases of tax evasion and not necessarily siphoning out by over-invoicing and under-invoicing. However, hardly any part of it is likely to be legitimate or above-board, because there was no reason to park it in tax havens. And it should have been declared upfront to the authorities.

This phenomenon is widely used by large corporates, and known and understood by the politicians and bureaucrats, and by this government. This device has been transparently visible in a number of big cases investigated recently by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Income Tax Department, the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. Unfortunately, as the following cases show, the government has not taken any effective action.

The Modi government’s failure to tackle black money is quire evident from some of these cases:

1. Sterling Biotech: More than Rs. 5,000 crore allegedly siphoned through over-invoicing and under-invoicing

On June 28, 2011, the Income Tax Department conducted a search and seizure under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act covering 25 premises of the Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech and Sandesara Group of Companies.

During the raid, certain incriminating documentary evidence was found and seized from the premises of the group at Mumbai and Vadodara. As per the FIR, a “Diary 2011” was found from the company premises during a raid, which detailed the monthly payouts to the accused income tax officials and several police officials and politicians in Gujarat. The FIR states that:

“The Documents seized revealed that the Sandesara group has been acting as a depository for receiving funds on behalf of persons including public servants and for further delivery to them at the place of convenience. The evidence collected by the Income Tax Department showed corruption of various public servants including three senior IRS officers”. More than 5000 crores were found to have been loaded by this company through over invoicing and under invoicing and more than 74 accounts were opened in foreign jurisdictions particularly tax havens. (FIR dated 25.10.2017 registered by CBI)

The Modi government, however, promoted Rakesh Asthana and appointed him as special director in the CBI despite the fact that his name figures in the list of persons who have received the payment and also despite the fact that the CBI director had strongly opposed his promotion citing the ‘integrity clause’ requirement.

A second, more incriminating FIR was lodged by the CBI on October 25, 2017 against the Sandesara Group company Sterling Biotech Limited, its directors, chartered accountant and the then director of Andhra Bank for allegedly cheating public sector banks of Rs 5,383 crore. The FIR alleges that the Sterling Biotech group companies availed of more than Rs 5,000 crore in loans from State Bank, Andhra Bank and other public sector banks, which turned into non-performing assets. The CBI has alleged that the group was laundering money through a circuitous route and indulged in insider trading. The FIR states that the directors falsified the records of the company related to production, turnover and investment in capital assets using various India-based entities and entities situated abroad. On the basis of these false and fabricated documents, manipulated balance sheets were prepared to induce the banks to sanction higher amounts of loans, which were later diverted for personal purposes.

The CBI has alleged that the company even falsely represented its market capitalisation. For this, the CBI says, “the shares in India and abroad in the names of non-promoters were in fact held by the directors themselves which were concealed from the banks with the dishonest intent to cheat them.” According to the CBI, manipulations were done in reporting turnover, investment in capital goods and taxes to be paid on the turnover. The bogus turnover was in turn arrived at through bogus sales to benami companies in Dubai and India and inflated export bills. (FIR dated 25.10.2017 registered by CBI)

2. DRI investigations of Adani Power and Essar

Indian power companies directly import the coal/equipment from the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), based mostly in China. The foreign intermediary company is a wholly controlled/owned subsidiary of these Indian companies, set up solely for the purpose of generating two sets of invoices for such imports. The invoices generated by the OEMs on the intermediary company reflect the actual price of the imports. The invoices generated by the intermediary company on the Indian companies can be inflated almost to the extent of 400%. The amount of over-valuation is the illegal profit generated by the promoters of the Indian companies, in the garb of costs, which is siphoned out by their subsidiary intermediary foreign companies, into accounts owned by the promoters situated mostly in tax havens.

Artificial over-invoicing of coal and power equipment by such companies is a practice adversely impacting millions of consumers in the form of higher tariffs since the increase in the inflated costs of coal/equipment is realised from the consumers in the form of higher electricity tariffs. Further, the share holders of such power generating companies have been cheated of their rightful dividends since these companies artificially reduce profits by showing higher costs. Moreover, the loans issued by banks for the purpose of imports, are used to disburse the loan amount to foreign intermediaries, in the garb of inflated invoices, for generation of unaccounted profit. This is a major reason for the alarming growth of non-performing assets in the banking sector. The Income Tax Department is also unable to tax huge profits since the amount is absorbed by the foreign intermediary company, incorporated in tax havens such as UAE and Mauritius, leading to the evasion of tax of thousands of crores of rupees.

For more than three years since May 2014, the DRI sat over this matter, after its initial show cause notices to various companies which detailed the entire modus operandi of over invoicing through shell companies and money laundering to tax haven accounts owned by the relatives of the promoters. However, after The Guardianpublisheda detailed and very embarrassing story on Adani, the adjudicating officer of the DRI passed an order saying that this does not amount to over-invoicing, citing some untenable reasons.

In March 2016, the DRI issued an alert that about 30 power generating companies have been indulging in artificial over-invoicing of coal which is being imported from Indonesia. The DRI alert said that this is being done for two objectives: “(i) siphoning-off money abroad and (ii) to avail higher power tariff compensation based on artificially inflated cost of the imported coal.” (DRI alert circular dated 30.03.2016). However, no action has been taken despite the passage of more than one and a half years. No show-cause notice has also been issued so far to major companies like Adani etc mentioned in that note.

3. Complaint against Mukesh Ambani

The Indian high commission in Singapore made a starting disclosure to the government of India in a letter dated August 31, 2011. The high commission stated that Rs 6,530 crores have come into India from Bio Matrix Marketing Ltd., a one room company in Singapore that does not do any business. It was pointed out that this is a company with no assets, no equity and does not file an income tax returns in Singapore claiming to be a small company. Yet, the huge investment by this company of Rs 6530 crores is the single biggest FDI into India from Singapore. The high commission had stated that all this money has gone into the Reliance group of companies in India with the major chunk going to Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Ltd, which is a company 100% owned by Mukesh Ambani personally.

We had, therefore, made a detailed complaint on July 8, 2014 to the SIT on Black Money but still not action has been taken.

4. Complaint against Anil Ambani

The CBI in its chargesheet in the 2G scam had confirmed that Swan Telecom was set-up by Reliance Telecom owned by Anil Ambani. We all know that as consideration of the transfer of Swan Telecom to Balwa and Goenka, they could not have directly transferred the money to Anil Ambani companies since that would have exposed the fact that Swan Telecom was owned by Reliance. Hence a circuitous route had to be followed. We had therefore found and complained to the SIT on Black Money on July 18, 2014 that M/s AAA & Sons Enterprises (an Anil Ambani company) received a huge sum of $750 million from a company, EMITS Singapore in December 2007, which was later transferred to other Anil Ambani-owned Reliance group companies. The entire amount transferred by EMITS Singapore was not used for any project by AAA & Sons but only transferred to other group companies. Though this was also an apparent case of taking funds abroad and then bringing them back to India circuitously, no action was taken even on this complaint, which was backed by all documentary evidence.

5. Finance Act amendments

Instead of taking action on such clear cases of siphoning of funds through over invoicing and instead of using that money and bringing the culprits to book, the Modi government has made many retrograde amendments to the laws dealing with political funding in order to allow foreign companies and Indian corporates to donate unlimited anonymous funds to political parties.

Retrograde amendments have been made by the government through the Finance Act, 2016 and Finance Act, 2017, both passed illegally as money bills. These amendments have opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate donations to political parties and anonymous financing by Indian as well as foreign companies which can have serious repercussions on the Indian democracy. These amendments have removed the caps on campaign donations by companies and have legalised anonymous donations.

The Finance Act of 2017 has introduced the use of electoral bonds which is exempt from disclosure, opening the door to unchecked, unknown funding to political parties. The Finance Act, 2016 has also amended the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010, to allow foreign companies with subsidiaries in India to fund political parties in India, effectively, exposing Indian politics and democracy to international lobbyists who may want to further their agenda. These Amendments pose a serious danger to the autonomy of the country and are bound to adversely affect electoral transparency, encourage corrupt practices in politics and have made the unholy nexus between politics and corporate houses more opaque and treacherous and is bound to be misused by special interest groups and corporate lobbyists.

Seven demands

If this government is at all serious about the menace of black money, it should take some immediate steps and carry out some long-term changes in the legal framework instead of sham exercises like ‘Anti Black Money Day’.

One of us (Prashant Bhushan) had, in fact, written a letter to Prime Minister Modi as far back on June 23, 2014 pointing out the steps that need to be taken to tackle black money.  The letter had suggested the following changes in the legal frameworkFirst, a new law, or an amendment to an existing law (such as the Prevention of Money Laundering Act), requiring all Indian citizens to disclose all their assets and liabilities, including their stakes in companies or trusts registered abroad, needs to be introduced. Second, any income or assets not disclosed in the required form would be deemed to be “proceeds of crime”, and included as ‘predicate offences’ defined under the UNCAC. Third, instruments such as participatory notes and anonymous investments by funds or shell companies need to be disallowed with immediate effect.  In the case of investments made in the name of a company or a trust, the major stakeholders of the company, or the trustees of the trust, must be determined and duly recorded, before the investment is allowed.

We therefore demand that:

  1. Specific and immediate action must be taken in all the cases detailed above.
  2. The government must disclose full details of the action it has taken on black money by way of recovering any money from named individuals as well as prosecutions of named individuals.
  3. Instead of making vague claims about the unearthing of black money through demonetisation, the government should disclose the details and make public all the cash deposits made by all MPs, MLAs or political parties and their office bearers between November 8 and December 31, 2016.
  4. We understand that the SIT on Black Money has also made several recommendations to the government but in most cases these recommendations have not been implemented. The government must therefore place the reports and recommendations of The SIT before the people as well as the action taken by it on those.
  5. The government must rollback the retrograde amendments made in the finance act of 2016 and 2017 relating to the FCRA as well as the funding of political parties, including electoral bonds.
  6. A law must be passed on the lines suggested above requiring all citizens to declare their foreign assets and providing for confiscation of all undisclosed assets.
  7. Rakesh Asthana must be removed from the CBI forthwith as suggested by the CBI director.

Source:-thewire.

Education is a must for any sportsperson, says Bedi

Emphasises need for planning a career after sport

Former India left-arm spinner Bishan Singh Bedi was at his best during a talk ‘The Spirit of the Game — Life Lessons From Sports’ as part of Educational Outreach Program by Ratnasagar Pvt Ltd, being bang on the target on the need for the educationists to make the youth think and act properly.

“Education is a must for any athlete even though there are some exceptions like the great Sachin Tendulkar who is blessed in many ways,” Bedi said.

“I was the least educated compared to my great fellow players Prasanna, Chandra, Venkatraghavan. But, was fortunate to play along with them and learn so many things especially from Pras,” he recalled.

Exceptional cases

“It is important for any budding sportsperson to think of life after a career in sports. If you look at most of the success stories in cricket say with the exception of someone like ‘Tiger’ Pataudi, Sourav Ganguly and M. L. Jaisimha who were born with a silver spoon, the others have all come from middle-class families,” he said.

“Cricket is one game which teaches you many lessons in life. And, that is why there is a famous saying — this is not Cricket — when something goes wrong not just on the cricket field but in many aspects of life too. It is a sport which is associated with integrity and honesty,” Bedi said.

High commitment

“I have seen young talent who train at my small academy in Delhi and who score high percentage of marks struggle to express their thoughts in writing,” he said. “Marks marks for sports is good and not harmful but the youngsters can’t take it for granted.”

“For any student or any budding talent in any field, focus and concentration are essential ingredients to succeed. Look at the great example of Gopi (chief national badminton coach) and his wards Sindhu and Srikanth. Their commitment levels and obsession with what they love (the sport) is something totally different and a role model for all youngsters in the country,” Bedi said.

“Let children get involved in sports and enjoy, but ensure there is the desired detachment from it too to spare equal time for studies too. You put in your efforts, results are not in our hands,” he felt.

[“Source-thehindu”]

Seven Must Have Apps for Your Amazon Fire TV Stick

Seven Must Have Apps for Your Amazon Fire TV Stick

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Amazon Fire TV Stick is available in India for Rs. 3,999
  • All apps below are free to download, though many require subscriptions
  • Apart from streaming apps, VLC is great for local content

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick launched in India last month, and in that time, we’ve seen a number of companies get on the bandwagon to provide their services through the platform. At Rs. 3,999, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is priced similarly to the Google Chromecast, though the two products are actually very different, as we noted in our review.

Getting the Amazon Fire TV Stick without subscribing to Amazon Prime doesn’t make a lot of sense. Not only is the device cheaper if you’re a Prime member – you get a Rs. 499 cash back as Amazon Pay balance after purchase – but only Prime members get access to Amazon Prime Video, which is a very good video service that’s reasonably priced. It’s also got its share of exclusives, including, most the latest one, American Gods.

The Fire TV Stick is well suited for people who want to browse around to find something they would watch, a little like you would on a regular television. If you’ve bought a Fire TV Stick, or are planning to do so, getting the right apps will certainly help. Here are seven apps that your Fire TV Stick should have, apart from Amazon Prime Video, obviously.

ALSO SEESeven Must-Have Apple TV Apps for Cord Cutters in India

1. YouTube
The YouTube app is basically just its TV website, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the most used apps on our Fire TV Stick. It’s easy to find the content you want, or browse your subs, and the world’s biggest video destination really needs no introduction.

youtube fire TV app youtube

Many publishers upload shows directly to YouTube, and it’s still home to a plethora of viral content. Once you’ve signed in, you can even control YouTube via your phone, so it’s really convenient.

Get YouTube for the Amazon Fire TV Stick

2. Netflix
Another obvious pick is Netflix, though the Netflix app doesn’t seem to be available in the India store as of now – hopefully it will be restored soon. While a Netflix subscription costs a lot more than Amazon Prime membership, the service has its share of much-loved exclusives.

netflix fire TV app Netflix

If you’re a fan of shows such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, or Iron Fist, or if you follow other originals like Master of None, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Orange is the New Black, or House of Cards, then Netflix is the best way to stay up to date with the latest episodes.

It helps that the Netflix interface translates really well to the big screen, loading smoothly and allowing you to quickly start browsing on the Fire TV Stick.

Get Netflix for the Amazon Fire TV Stick

3. Hotstar
If you think a Netflix subscription is too expensive, Star’s Hotstar is worth considering. It will give you access to HBO’s catalogue, with shows like Game of Thrones, Westworld, and Silicon Valley, along with the Disney and Marvel movies. On top of that, you can watch popular shows such as Modern Family, and Homeland. On top of this, for cricket fans, Hotstar is also where you can stream IPL, all international games played in India, and a whole lot more sporting action, including the likes of Premier League.

ALSO SEEAmazon Fire TV Stick vs Google Chromecast: Which One Is Right for You?

hotstar fire TV app hotstar

Between the two apps, Netflix definitely has a much better interface. But if you’re a cost-conscious streamer, then going with Hotstar is the obvious choice, because of its far more reasonably priced library of content.

Beyond that we should add that the app has been steadily improving since it first launched, and there’s every hope that it will get better on the Fire TV Stick as well.

Get Hotstar for the Amazon Fire TV Stick

4. Gaana
With the first three apps, you’ve got video-on-demand sorted out, but if you’re using YouTube to listen to music, you’re doing it wrong. Music discovery on YouTube is not great, and you’re also wasting a lot of bandwidth on the videos if you just want it for the songs.

gaana fire TV app gaana

We tried a number of different options for music streaming, but eventually we settled on the Gaana app. These are a few quirks about how search works, and the radio function, but the collection is good, the whole experience is free, and once you’re streaming, it works reliably. If you like a mix of Indian and international music, then Gaana is your best bet – on many days, we just planted ourselves in front of the TV, and let an automated playlist take over while getting work done on our laptop.

Get Gaana for the Amazon Fire TV Stick

5. DittoTV
DittoTV is an app that you stream live TV that’s otherwise broadcast to your televisions, and you can choose from a wide variety of content at just Rs. 20 a month, making it the most affordable ‘premium’ offering.

dittoTV fire TV app dittotv

With DittoTV, you get all the Zee channels, along with a number of additional channels. If you’re thinking of cord-cutting but haven’t made the leap yet because your favourite shows aren’t available online, DittoTV could help you to bridge the gap, at a fairly affordable rate – just be sure the channel(s) you want to see are part of the package.

Get DittoTV for the Amazon Fire TV Stick

6. VLC for Fire
You can get a number of different free media players for the FireTV, but our pick is VLC for Fire, a name that should be familiar from the PC world. The app lets you play locally stored videos, which you could have downloaded to the Fire TV Stick itself, or videos stored on the network.

vlc for fire fire TV app vlc

VLC plays a plethora of formats, and handles just about every kind of video smoothly, with options for subtitles and various playback controls. It’s smooth and reliable, and if you have a lot of offline content, getting VLC is an obvious decision.

Get VLC for Fire for the Amazon Fire TV Stick

7. Kodi
Formerly known as XBMC, the Kodi media centre is one of the most advanced ways to manage your library of content, and comes with a host of plugins that make it easy to enhance its capabilities.

The app was officially removed from the Amazon Appstore because it can be used for piracy, but it’s really easy to side-load apps onto the Fire TV Stick. All you need is the APK file, and a file management app. If you need a step by step guide, check out this detailed explainer.

kodi tv app kodi

Kodi allows you to manage your local library, and has a number of add-ons that really boost its functionality, turning it into a homepage where you can get all kinds of information such as your Twitter and RSS feeds, or weather updates, if you want the app to do all that. You can also get music and video plugins to automatically fetch lyrics and subtitles, and there are also a number of plugins that enable piracy for users so inclined.

Get Kodi from the Amazon Fire TV Stick

Bonus picks Although we’ve kept our main list to just media apps, there are a couple of other things we would strongly recommend you install on your Fire TV Stick. The first is ES File Explorer – this is one of our favourite file managers, and it’s really easy to use. It works well on the Fire TV Stick too, and is very useful if you’re storing videos on the Fire TV Stick, or if you’re trying to side-load apps like Kodi.

Second, we’d recommend getting the Firefox browser. You’ll need to side-load it similar to installing Kodi, but once you are up and running, Firefox a convenient way of finding new files for the Fire TV Stick using the device itself. Yes, it’s hard to navigate to a website if you are typing URLs using the TV remote, but you can connect a Bluetooth keyboard to the Fire TV Stick or use the companion app on your smartphone to make your life simpler.

Before we go, it’s also worth reminding that the Amazon Fire TV Stick supports a number of casual games. These go largely ignored since it’s pretty low-end and the remote isn’t well suited to gaming. However, if we had to recommend just one game for you to try, it would be Crossy Road, which is still free and fun.

These are our top picks, though there are a lot more apps you can and should install on your Fire TV Stick. Indian news channels have a presence – the apps could be better, but you should get your favourite channel anyway to stay up to date – and there are also some great DLNA apps you can install to easily get video content from your phone to your TV.

There’s a lot to choose from today, and it’s more feasible to ditch linear television than ever before. Have you taken the step yet, and if so, which of these apps are your favourites? Tell us via the comments.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

[“Source-ndtv”]

2016 Is the Year Small Businesses Must Develop Mobile Apps

Apps are no longer considered merely a “branding exercise” for small businesses. Business owners are becoming wise to the marketing power a well-designed, intuitive app can bring. From simplifying online purchases to providing easy-to-access information, the benefits are undeniable which is why small businesses must develop mobile apps to stay competitive.

Why Small Businesses Must Develop Mobile Apps

In previous years, the rising cost of custom app developers made apps an impossible expense for small businesses. The recent growth of software development kits that streamline the app development process and allow even non-coders to create a fully-functioning app have dramatically reduced the cost of creating an app.

The affordability and fast development times these kits allow has encouraged more businesses than ever to create their own apps.

As social media use continues to rise, consumers are becoming more open to engaging with brands on a day-to-day basis, even if they aren’t specifically loyal to or purchasers of that particular business. Business owners and marketers are capitalizing on consumers’ desires for interaction by producing entertaining mobile apps. While being fun to use, informational or inspirational, a common characteristic of these apps is that they feature a strong call-to-action to persuade the user to purchase a product or in some way benefit the company in question.

What Types of Small Businesses are Making Apps?

A 2015 analysis of 40,402 apps created with an app development platform found that while “expected” businesses such as restaurants and gyms were highly prevalent, others such as golf courses, hotels, politicians and plumbers were also on the rise.

But why are these industries building more apps? Well, as the ease of building apps increases, so does the amount of potential functionality. One-off investments in systems such as in-app payments or bookings can save businesses money in the long-term as they reduce the amount of time their staff needs to spend fulfilling orders, taking payments or completing bookings.

For businesses that meet potential clients at various locations, the ability to show data or portfolio pieces offline using an app can make the difference between closing the sale and losing the prospect to a competitor.

How are Small Businesses Benefiting from Mobile Apps?

A recent survey showed that 62 percent of the businesses asked already had apps or were in the process of building one. Of those, 20 percent used their apps purely for branding purposes, 30 percent have revenue generating apps and 50 percent use them for support and engagement.

We spend 174 minutes on mobile devices every day. Mobile sales are estimated to have reached $74 billion in 2015 — up 32 percent from 2014. Thirty percent of all online purchases by Millennials are done on mobile devices. This jumps to 33 percent for moms and 43 percent for U.S. Hispanics.

However, apps aren’t just for commerce businesses. Push notifications can be used by any niche to put your brand name directly in front of the smartphone owner. Apps can be used for any type of activity: booking systems, file uploads, vouchers, newsletters, digital magazines, support, providing information, logging exercise or nutrition, showing videos and so much more.

Even businesses that you wouldn’t have thought would benefit from an app are proving critics wrong by producing innovative and engaging apps. For example, an independent pet food supplier could have an app that encourages users to upload comical photographs of their pets for a chance to win a prize. A product for new mothers could build a community of local mums and arrange meet-ups. A realtor could create an app that compares local house prices now to five years ago. The possibilities really are endless. All it takes is a little imagination to devise a system that consumers will enjoy engaging with.

What Does the Future Hold?

The projections around app driven revenue are staggering. Non-game app downloads are estimated to grow 23 percent in the next five years, exceeding $182 billion in 2020. Smartphone adoption in emerging markets should see mobile app store downloads more than double between 2015 and 2020.

Current data about mobile purchasing across the different age groups gives a strong indication that in 5-10 years, everyone is going to be a mobile shopper. Sixty-nine percent of millennials buy products on their smartphones, compared to 53 percent of Gen Xers and 16 percent of Boomers.

The increased market share and spending power this brings will make apps a necessity for B2C businesses in order to streamline a consumer’s journey from product browsing to payment.

The above statistics are also good news for digital agencies that offer mobile app development. As more businesses adopt apps, the demand for their services grows. The development of new ‘smart products’ such as virtual reality and wearable technology may compound this further as apps will need to be adapted to work on new online platforms.

Mobile Phone User Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]