Business news in brief

Kazakhtelecom has created the iKapitalist crowdfunding platform to enable citizens to directly finance small and medium-sized businesses. The service provides new opportunities for the country’s entrepreneurs and financiers who want to attract investment for further develop business. According to Chief Innovations Director Nurlan Meirmanov, the company has a network of data centres throughout Kazakhstan and provides a wide range of information and communication technology (ICT) services with a high level of fault tolerance and network connectivity. Kazakhtelecom also provides high-quality and affordable service that meets Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA) security requirements and ensures protecting user data, he added. The company previously launched its own Blockchain platform, which allows creating applications using Blockchain technology and SmartContract.

The Almaty akimat (city administration) began developing rules Jan. 10 to organise trade, which will define the basic requirements for locations installing non-stationary objects of trade (NOT), a common design code and mechanism for allocating seats to entrepreneurs. To date, 250 land plots for NOT installations have been proposed to the chamber, 85 of which have been selected for the first stage, according to Almaty Entrepreneurship and Investment Department head Yerkebulan Orazalin. The tracts will be provided through an auction or by directly concluding agreements with domestic producers. In addition, 50 spots have been identified for food trucks. Special attention will be paid to rules concerning activities at summer venues to ensure they are operated safely. According to the new rules, seasonal platforms can only be placed with stationary catering facilities.

The Development Bank of Kazakhstan provided a loan for Shymkent Chemical Company to construct a new plant in the city producing methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE). The project cost is 13.7 billion tenge (US$36.2 million). The bank is providing a 10-year, nine billion tenge (US$23.8 million) loan and the company will invest the remaining 4.7 billion tenge (US$12.4 million) at its own expense, reported kapital.kz. The project is aimed at developing the Kazakh petrochemical industry by increasing petrochemical raw materials production. The new enterprise will have an annual capacity of 57,000 tonnes of MTBE, said company General Director Manat Bibasov. The products will allow producing high-quality petroleum products, thereby ensuring the country’s energy security and meeting the needs of the domestic MTBE market, said bank Deputy Chairperson of the Board Duman Aubakirov. Construction is expected to start in mid-2020.

More than 5,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and approximately 42,000 agricultural producers in the Turkestan Region received funding under national and regional programmes. The government allocated 74.6 billion tenge (US$197.3 million) for the projects last year, 16.5 billion tenge (US$43.6 million) more than in 2018, said regional Deputy Akim (Governor) Meirzhan Myrzaliev, reported kapital.kz. The region currently has 141,992 SMEs, 108.6 percent more than last year. The businesses manufactured products worth 450 million tenge (US$1.1 million), 133 percent more than last year, he added.

Halyk Bank and Samsung Electronics debuted the new payment service Samsung Pay in Kazakhstan Jan. 21. For its customers participating in the open beta testing, the bank will provide a 10-percent bonus on every purchase made using the system. The bank is the first in the country to install the Samsung Pay app and connect its Visa or MasterCard bank cards. The payment service allows customers to pay for goods and services directly from their smartphones in any retail shops that accept cashless payments. The platform has three-level protection that ensures the security of payment transactions – fingerprint authorisation, tokenisation and Samsung KNOX (a built-in security system that protects the smartphone from malicious attacks and continuously monitors possible vulnerabilities).