Business news in brief

Kazkommertsbank (Qazkom) recently won two awards for its innovative products at the Asian Banking and Finance Awards 2018 in Singapore, reports A jury of international consulting company representatives from Deloitte, Ernst&Young, KPMG and PwC awarded Mobile Banking Initiative of the Year to Qazkom’s QR code payment product and Digital Banking Initiative of the Year to their Western Union transfers via Homebank product. The jury observed that taking into account market trends, best international practices and consumer preferences is what allowed the bank to lead in innovation. More than 200 banks and insurance companies from 40 countries were recognised at the awards.

National company Kazakhtelecom has been permitted to buy Kazakh market leader Kcell by antitrust regulators, reports The company will purchase a 75 percent stake worth $650 million and owned by Norway’s Telia and Turkey’s Turkcell. As a result of the deal, 67 percent of the Kazakh mobile phone market will be controlled by Kazakhtelecom and the market will be reduced from three to two players. The antitrust committee’s conditions for the takeover include maintaining existing subscription plans, independent management and infrastructure development deals Kcell had signed with competitors.

The Kazakh government will implement a new simplified taxation regime for the self-employed, reports the Kazakh Prime Minister’s press service. The informally employed whose incomes constitute less than 12 times the monthly wage fall under the special tax regime, in which they will make a single aggregate payment. The monthly payment amount will be 1 MCI (US$6.98) for city residents and 0.3 MCI (US$2.10) for village residents. It will consist of an individual income tax, a state pension contribution, a state social insurance fund contribution and a state health insurance fund contribution.

Internet payments account for almost half of all non-cash card payments in Kazakhstan, reports The turning point for internet payments’ popularity took place in late 2017. Less than 45 percent of non-cash transactions pass through point of sale (POS) terminals, compared to 54 percent in 2017. In May 2018, the volume of Internet payments amounted to 184.9 billion tenge (US$536.95 million), whilst POS terminals’ volume amounted to 171.2 billion tenge (US$497.17 million). Growth in the volume of non-cash payments was observed in all Kazakh regions, with Almaty seeing the greatest growth at 2.8 times.

Astana city civil servants will use taxicabs for transportation instead of administrative vehicles by the end of year, reports Astana Akim (Mayor) Asset Issekeshev said that this measure is much more cost-effective. In Russia, many large retailers, consulting companies, banks and fast food restaurants have made the switch. The Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund became the first user of the Kazakh Yandex.Taxi for Business service. The company receives statistics on the trips taken from Yandex.Taxi, allowing for greater transparency in transportation costs. The money saved by the fund will be allocated towards the expansion of its subdivisions’ activities.

Kazakh flag carrier Air Astana celebrated 16 years of operation in the Russian market, reports the airline’s press service. Air Astana President and CEO Peter Foster received an award for his contribution to the development of commercial air transport across the Commonwealth of Independent States. The airline began its Russian services in 2002 and now operates daily flights from Moscow, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. Since 2012, 4.5 million passengers and 24,000 tonnes of cargo have been transported to Russia by Air Astana. For the first half of 2018, the passenger load factor on Russian services was almost 70 percent.

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