Cyprus

Part
01
of twelve
Part
01

Business Statistics: Cyprus

The total number of registered companies in Cyprus in 2018 were 216,239 businesses.

THE TOTAL NUMBER OF BUSINESSES IN CYPRUS

  • The total number of registered companies in Cyprus in 2018 was 216,239 businesses.
  • In the current year (2019,) the total number of registered companies in Cyprus are 221,659 businesses.

NEW BUSINESSES IN CYPRUS

  • Cyprus had 14,526 new businesses in total in the year 2018.
  • So far there are a total 7,523 new businesses in this current year (2019).
  • In 2017, about 13,743 new companies were registered in Cyprus.

PROPORTION OF ALL BUSINESSES THAT ARE SOLE TRADERS (2017 DATA)

  • Sole Traders usually belong to the micro businesses group which employ 0 to 9 people and if this is the case, the number of businesses that were sole traders in Cyprus in the year 2017 was 47,800 businesses. (Source 7)

PROPORTION OF ALL BUSINESSES THAT HAVE LESS THAN 10 EMPLOYEES (2017 DATA)

  • As already reported above, by 2017, there were 47,800 businesses with less than 10 employees in Cyprus.

BUSINESSES WITH LESS THAN 250 EMPLOYEES

  • 51,069 businesses in Cyprus had less than 250 employees as of 2017. (Source 7)

RESEARCH STRATEGY

BROAD SEARCH

We did a broad search by analyzing data from global publications to seek information regarding the proportion of all businesses that have less than 50 million EUR in annual turnover (revenue) in Cyprus.

The information that we gathered from Global Edge wasn't specific enough in revealing the proportion of all businesses in Cyprus that have less than 50 million EUR in annual turnover or revenue. From this search, we only managed to get some general data on the economy of Cyprus.

Also, we did analyze some information that we got from PWC, a global publication, but this search also proved unsuccessful as we couldn't get the proportion of all businesses Cyprus that have less than 50 million EUR in annual turnover or revenue. Here, the only information available was about taxation in Cyprus and this was not helpful to us.

NARROW SEARCH

Since data from global publications didn't reveal the needed information, we had to narrow our search to regional and Cyprus statistics. This search aimed at finding data on the proportion of all businesses in Cyprus that have less than 50 million EUR in annual turnover (revenue). We managed to find some useful data from the Cyprus Department of Registrar of Companies about new companies and total companies. However, there was no useful information about the proportion of all businesses in Cyprus that have less than 50 million EUR in annual turnover (revenue).

Data from the European Statistical System was only about their oversight functions in Cyprus and there was no information revealing the proportion of all businesses in Cyprus that have less than 50 million EUR in annual turnover (revenue), and this search, therefore, wasn't that much helpful.

The information that we got from the European Commission sources were mainly focusing on SMEs but there was no data that specifically revealed the proportion of all businesses that have less than 50 million EUR in annual turnover (revenue) in Cyprus.

BUSINESS STATISTICAL DATA EXPLORATION

Due to the failure of our first two strategies at revealing the proportion of all businesses in Cyprus that have less than 50 million EUR in annual turnover (revenue), we had to explore business statistical data to see if we could find some useful information.

Statista, a business statistic publication, gave us the number of SMEs in Cyprus in 2017 but still, there was no useful information on the proportion of all businesses in Cyprus that have less than 50 million EUR in annual turnover (revenue), hence this data could not help us.

Just Landed gave us details on how to register a business in Cyprus. However, there were no details on our most important query.

CONCLUSION

After exhausting all means in a bid to find data on the proportion of all businesses in Cyprus that have less than 50 million EUR in annual turnover (revenue), there was no relevant data to triangulate. In conclusion, information about the proportion of all businesses in Cyprus that have less than 50 million EUR in annual turnover (revenue) was not available in the public domain.



Part
02
of twelve
Part
02

Co-Working Space: Cyprus

There are only two major co-working space providers in Cyprus, these are Regus with three locations and Ecastica Business Centers with four locations. However, there are several providers of co-working space with one location in Cyprus.

CO-WORKING SPACE PROVIDERS IN CYPRUS

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To identify the number of major co-working space providers in Cyprus, we first examined the locations listed on co-working databases such as Coworker and CoworkBooking. As these databases include thousands of co-working spaces across hundreds of countries, it is assumed that they would provide a comprehensive list of active locations/providers in Cyprus. The website of every provider listed on these databases was examined to identify the number of co-working spaces that they operate. All the five providers examined, operate in one location in Cyprus.

Next, we got creative in our search and looked for co-working space providers in each of the major cities of Cyprus including Limassol, Nicosia, Larnaca, Kyrenia, Paphos, and Famagusta. Using this strategy, we were able to find two providers Regus and Ecastica Business Centers that operate in more than three locations. The other companies that we found through this strategy operate in one or two locations in Cyprus.

Lastly, we examined some of the largest co-working companies in the world or Europe that were not listed in the sources that we went through. We have assumed that global players similar to or larger than Regus may also operate in Cyprus. However, we have discovered that companies such as WeWork, Spaces, Impact Hub, Servcorp, and Mindspace do not operate any locations in Cyprus.
The country has a relatively small co-working market primarily due to the size of its land area and population. Cyprus has a land area of around 9,241 square kilometers and a population of around 1.2 million only. A recent research conducted on co-working spaces in Europe has revealed that there are no co-working hotspots in Cyprus.
Part
03
of twelve
Part
03

Registering a New Company: Cyprus

The process of starting a new company in Cyprus consists of obtaining a company name, providing tenancy agreement and providing identification papers about company leadership, among others. The climate for opening a new business in Cyprus is favorable, since government is encouraging new business owners by implementing tax exemptions and incorporating mild regulations.

OVERVIEW

  • In Cyprus, a company can be established easily.
  • The local government is helping the local and foreign investors by implementing low taxes and mild regulations.
  • Anyone can begin the process of opening a bank account in Cyprus even before they arrive. Since their signature is required, they might need to wait until they are in-country to complete the account setup.
  • The Bank of Cyprus has a branch in London, so if the customer is UK-based he or she can open the account from home.

SETTING UP A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

  • Opening a business bank account will take a maximum of two weeks, which is also the maximum amount of time the procedure for the incorporation of the Business Entity will last.
  • Shareholders are required to notarize passport copies.
  • It is necessary to obtain a company name approved by the Cyprus Company Registrar.
  • Shareholders have to provide identification papers about company leadership.
  • They also provide a bank statement indicating the deposit of the share business capital.
  • They provide tenancy agreement or property title indicating the legal address of the company within Cyprus.
  • The climate for starting up a business in Cyprus is friendly and there are no significant challenges.
  • Taxes, electricity costs and VAT rates are low.
  • The process for setting up a business is quick, the company can be incorporated in 5 days.
  • Registering a business in Cyprus is also cheap compared to other countries.
  • In addition, there is no required minimum capital for companies in Cyprus.
  • Cyprus government has introduced a variety of incentives to increase investment in industries that enhance the development of the economy.
  • These are aimed at new high-tech businesses and foreign investments.
  • The incentives include significantly lowered taxes (12.5%) and removed taxes on some sorts of income.
  • Even though the taxes have actually recently been increased from 10% to 12.5%, this is still comparatively lower than other countries.
  • When opening a business in Cyprus, foreign investors receive a non-domicile status. This cuts their personal income tax by half and eliminates taxes on dividend and interest income.
  • Cyprus is ranked as the 52nd country worldwide for opening a business by Doing Business.
  • On a scale of 1 to 100, Cyprus has a score of 91.24 when it comes to opening a business.
  • In terms of tax climate, the country is ranked as 47th, with a score of 80.78.
  • In addition to this, Cyprus has an established Intellectual Property Regime which enables companies to set up their operations.
  • Startups and companies, especially tech startups are choosing the country as the base because of high asset security under the Intellectual Property Regime.
  • In order to open a business banking account in Cyprus, a person must arrange a personal meeting at a bank business center, which means the account cannot be set up entirely online.

YOUR RESEARCH TEAM APPLIED THE FOLLOWING STRATEGY

In order to provide an overview of the process of starting a new business in Cyprus, we have examined the types of companies defined by the local laws. There, we found that "Limited Liability Company" is divided into "Public" and "Private company". The description for "private company" states the entity must not exceed 30 members, which fits the request criteria. Other business entities listed include "Branch of an overseas company", "Partnership", "Sole proprietorship" and " Incentives". Because none of these fit the request criteria, we have decided to move forward with the research focusing on process of starting a new "Limited Liability Company" in Cyprus.
Part
04
of twelve
Part
04

FinTech Climate: Cyprus

Currently, Cyprus's climate for FinTech companies is friendly as the government provides incentives for all kinds of startups and an Innovation Hub has been established for this type of businesses. The country is becoming a leader for FinTech due to its flourishing economic environment. More information is provided in the following overview.

THE COUNTRY IS FRIENDLY TO FINTECH COMPANIES OR STARTUPS

  • Recently, Cyprus government has launched "programs to enhance the local business ecosystem" by providing incentives to local and foreign startups that want to operate in Cyprus.
  • One of the most important programs was made by the Ministry of Finance along with the Unit for Administrative Reform, which aims to give attractive incentives, like tax exemptions to investors of innovative startups.
  • Tax incentives "are not specifically provided to fintech businesses". However, these could benefit from programs that provide incentives in the tax area, especially if they are start-ups.
  • Also, new fintech businesses and start-ups are able to "obtain funding through various financing means" in this country. Such means include loans, venture capital, angel investors, among others.
  • In 2018, Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) established an Innovation Hub to help "FinTech and RegTech developments that rely on distributed ledger technology (DLT)". One of the functions of this program is to facilitate communication between fintech representatives and regulators, as well as to help improve the regulatory climate for both businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • With the Innovation Hub, Cyprus will compete with other European countries to attract the best fintech innovators.

THE COUNTRY IS CONSIDERED A LEADER FOR FINTECH

  • The arrival of fintech is turning Cyprus into a major fintech hub.
  • International exchange and money transfer companies are continuously engaging in the fintech area, due to the country's role as a "global specialist center for retail foreign exchange".
  • Fintech has remarkably impacted the banking industry in Cyprus, which is an important part of the Cypriot economy.
  • This country's convenient geographic position, evolved free market economy, low corporate tax rate, progressive telecommunication network, and excellent human resources can make Cyprus a global fintech hub.
  • For the past years, the country has been an important spot for the fintech industry as it is "home to hundreds of the world’s biggest Forex brokers and online-trading platforms". Also, the number of fintech firms is growing and making use of Cyprus as a portal into and out of the European Union (EU).
  • As of 2019, there are around 200 fintech startups in the country, which include IronFX Global, Au10tix, Capital, Spotware Systems, Blackmoon Financial Group, among others.

COUNTRY'S REGULATIONS FOR FINTECH

  • Currently, "there is no specific regulation" for fintech products and services, which may governed by the actual regulatory framework, depending on the activities of the fintech businesses affected. Fintech businesses must adhere to certain conditions, or obtain a license to be able to operate in the country.
  • Fintech businesses are presently regulated in the same way as traditional financial products and services "to the extent they conduct certain regulated financial activities".
  • CySEC is developing draft legislation for the establishment of a "crowdfunding mechanism for start-ups", which will take over "initial coin offerings (ICOs), tokenisation and asset securitisation".
  • Foreign fintech companies that want to provide regulated financial services in the country, must maintain "a difference between businesses from the (European Economic Area) EEA countries and third countries". Additionally, the type of activities will determine the type of license that fintech businesses must obtain before offering their products or services.
Part
05
of twelve
Part
05

FinTech Companies: Cyprus

There are only four fintech companies that are based in Cyprus and that received series A, B, C or D funding in 2018 or 2019. Those include Hellas Direct, CreditPilot, messBusters, and HokoCloud.

FINTECH COMPANIES CYPRUS

1. Hellas Direct

  • Hellas Direct is a digital full-stack insurance company that is run on the base of cutting-edge technology and AI.
  • The company aims to "disrupt the insurance value chain by adopting an extreme focus on operational excellence."
  • Hellas Direct raised an undisclosed amount as part of Series C funding round in 2019.

2. CreditPilot

  • CreditPilot is mobile and digital financial services company that is focused on helping mobile operators and retailers to come up with new revenue sources from financial services.
  • The company is based in Limasol, Cyprus, and in 2018, CreditPilot’s different platforms and its affiliates and licensees have processed €2.7 billion worth of transactions.
  • CreditPilot raised an undisclosed amount from IPSP GMBH as part of Series A round in 2018.

3. messBusters

  • messBusters is a fintech company based in Pophus, Cyprus. It has been operating since 2015 and it currently has operations around the EU.
  • messBusters aims to "remove the friction between man and technology by running a Software Investment group that acts as a technological shelter for innovative and cool companies that share the company's beliefs."
  • The company raised €50,000 as part of Series A in 2018.

4. HokoCloud

  • HokoCloud is a broker "agnostic social trading platform" that allows users to manage portfolios by using Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics powered risk management. On top of investing, HokoCloud's platform allows investors to also earn returns while lowering capital exposure in markets.
  • The company's HQ is in Limassol, Cyprus.
  • HokoCloud raised an undisclosed amount from a multitude of investors at the end of 2018 as part of the Series A funding round.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

According to the two main databases for companies in the world — Owler and Crunchbase, there are 21 fintech companies registered to be based in Cyprus as of August 2019. As we used CrunchbasePro for this research, we included screenshots of the list of all fintech companies in the attached document, in case the free version of Crunchbase doesn't display all the results. The main reason why there are so few companies present in the fintech sector in Cyprus is most probably based on the fact that the whole country has a population of only 800,000.

Out of the 21 fintech companies present in Cyprus, only Hellas Direct, CreditPilot, messBusters, and HokoCloud, received series A, B, C or D funding in 2018 or 2019. A large portion of companies are still in the Seed round, including Blackmoon Crypto, TradeSocio, Investing.com, Impact Tech, Rectify, and Polycoin. The rest of the companies are operating as private, for profit companies, and are not in the funding phase anymore. These include 24option Brokers, Stoics IT Solutions, easyMarkets, Windsor Brokers, Solar Staff, Globaloption.com, Cocoon Creations, Kvantor, Jando International, AMD Venture Capital, and Huas Gruppe.
Part
06
of twelve
Part
06

Digital Services Trends: Cyprus

There is insufficient information available to the public to determine the trends in terms of digital services being offered to business organizations in Cyprus. Some services being offered to businesses in Cyprus include payments and remittance services, digital lending services, financial management services, online services, and asset management services.

PAYMENTS AND REMITTANCE

  • According to Currency Transfer, businesses use its online service to "transfer money to Cyprus." These businesses trust the award-winning platform for money transfer.
  • The 2018 World Payments Report reveals that digital payments (that did not require cash) in Cyprus grew by 6.6% between 2012 to 2015.
  • Between 2015 and 2016, digital payments (that did not involve physical cash) in Cyprus grew by 8.1%
  • The 2018 World Payments Report reveals that digital payments (that did not require physical cash) in Cyprus grew by 6.6% between 2012 to 2015.
  • Major players in the payments and remittance segment of Cyprus include an online platform Currency Transfer, which transfers money for business organizations to Cyprus daily.
  • The growing demand for non-cash-based payment is driving this growth and providing a windfall of opportunities for payments providers.
  • Another trend driving the growth of the payments and remittance sector include increasing incidence of electronic transaction, growth in digital commerce, and growing activities occurring across borders.

ONLINE SERVICES

  • Online sales/purchase services are already available in Cyprus. Some online services already available in Cyprus as of 2019 include indices, Forex, metals, commodities, futures, as well as cryptocurrency.
  • According to the speaker of Cyprus House of Assembly, Demetris Syllouris, Fintech are "not entirely new," to Cyprus. The use of credit card purchase goods online purchases with "online stores" has already been occurring in Cyprus.
  • The above statement credited to Demetris Syllouris implies that "online stores" have already subscribed to services, and such services help them sell to customers in Cyprus.
  • IronFX Global is a Fintech that provides several online trading platforms for indices, Forex, metals, commodities, futures, as well as cryptocurrency trading to investors in Cyprus. The company also offers MT4, PMAM, as well as Web Trader trading platforms to promote desktop and mobile-based online trading.
  • IronFX Global was founded in 2010, is located in Limassol (Cyprus), and had $100 million in funding as of 2019.
  • Large scale internet penetration (57%, i.e., 4.388 billion as of 2019) and a correspondingly vast scale annual growth of internet user (January 2018 to January 2019 recorded 297 million additional users at a growth rate of 10%), will continue o drive demand for online services across the world.

DIGITAL LENDING SERVICES

  • A Financial Mirror article on technology, "Cyprus as a Fintech centre," reveals that the action plan of the House of Representatives of Cyprus in 2018 involved promoting digital lending services through Fintechs.
  • According to the speaker of Cyprus House of Assembly, Demetris Syllouris, there is a need for an appropriate infrastructure that will ensure that "borrowers and investors can contact each other in a faster, more direct manner." Direct borrowing between investors is known as P2P lending.
  • A Tracxn Technologies publication (screen capture available here), reveals that Blackmoon is a Fintech based in Limassol (Cyprus). Blackmoon offers digital lending services to businesses known as "marketplace lending as a service (MPLaaS)." The company was founded in 2010 and has raised about $16 million in funding.
  • The peer-to-peer (P2P) lending market is estimated to surge at a CAGR of 51.5% between 2016 and 2022. This expected surge is due to new/emerging markets, increasing knowledge of the lending marketplace, higher investment transparency, as well as "lower interest rates" accrued to consumers.

INVESTMENT SERVICES

  • According to Forbes, Point Nine is a Cyprus-based Fintech that has disrupted the banking and financial services in Cyprus. Point Nine achieved "what the local authorities couldn't achieve" despite significant effort.
  • The Fintech, Point Nine, commenced the provision of digital investment services to business organizations in Cyprus by 2018.
  • Capital is a Fintech based in Cyprus that provides a mobile app which enables users to invest/trade in a collection of financial assets. The app promotes investment in stocks, commodities, as well as indices.
  • The Fintech, Capital, was founded in Limassol (Cyprus), in 2016. It has raised about $5 million in funding.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES

  • The Cyprus House of assembly recently called for financial resilience and organized a conference with Fintechs. The conference aimed to promote financial management among individuals and business institutions on how to "manage their services better."

ASSET MANAGEMENT SERVICES

  • According to Forbes, a Fintech (Pont Nine) is at the front of the provision of asset management services in Cyprus.
  • In 2019, Point Nine succeeded in bringing asset management solutions to Cyprus after "local authorities" had tried but couldn't achieve it.
  • The Fintech, Eztd, is an online platform that allows traders to manage assets such as commodities, etc. The Fintech, Eztd, was founded in 2001.
  • According to PwC, an increase in the size of investable assets from $64 trillion to $102 trillion will occur between 2017 and 2020, at a CAGR of 6%. More assets would be sold pan-regionally across Europe.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Our team scoured through financial market publications such as Financial Mirror, etc. We studied trends in terms of digital services being offered in the financial services sector to businesses in Cyprus. We researched factors driving various trends, and company at the forefront of each trend. This strategy revealed some trends such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, internet of things, big data analysis, and cloud computing. A speech by the Speaker of Cyprus House of Assembly, Demetris Syllouris, revealed a limited number of trends like online commerce, etc., which are already popular in Cyprus. Study for statistics that back up the level of implementation of Online commerce by business organizations in Cyprus failed to reveal any useful insights/information. We also studied for top players implementing online banking for businesses in Cyprus and for how long they have been doing this. Again, the speech did not reveal any of this information.

The research also reviewed scholarly and academic publications such as Researchgate, etc. We studied the various digital channels used by business organizations in Cyprus to engage consumers and close sales. We also researched the type of digital services business organizations in Cyprus obtain from financial institutions. This strategy revealed that online platforms and online advertisements are used by business organizations in Cyprus to reach their clients. However, there was no insight revealing that financial service sector companies that offer these digital services to business organizations. We further studied to uncover the sector of origination of the above services used by business organizations. Researchgate did not publish this information. Our research for insights into the number of business organizations that utilize listed services (online sales, online advertisement) to reach their customers was futile. We also researched how long they have been using online, but this failed to reveal useful insights. Unfortunately, such information was not uncovered from any of the uncovered scholarly articles.

Going further, we scoured the websites of companies that offer financial services to business organizations and individuals in Cyprus. We studied the website of Fintechs, digital banks, Fintech-based publications, etc. Fintechs are known to offer digital-only financial services. This strategy revealed several Fintechs that provide digital services to businesses and individuals in Cyprus, such as IronFX Global, Blackmoon, etc. Blackmoon is a Fintech based in Limassol (Cyprus). Blackmoon offers digital lending services to businesses known as "marketplace lending as a service (MPLaaS)." We studied factors driving this trend in Cyprus. Unfortunately, there were no insights uncovered pertaining factors that promote the use of digital services among business organizations from financial organizations.

We studied global business and payments reports published by international banks such as BNP Paribas, etc. We examined the digital financial services various business organizations and companies in different parts of the world obtain to conduct business. This strategy revealed that companies and individuals utilized non-cash transfers in Cyprus to make payments between 2012 to2015 grew by 6.6%. Unfortunately, this percentage was not broken down to represent business and individual transactions separately. Research for the statistical breakdown of the growth rate of payments made by business organizations within the specified time frame failed to uncover any useful finding. We also studied factors driving online payments among business organizations in Cyprus. The BNP Paribas publication did not reveal this information. Cyprus is a tiny island country located in the Mediterranean Sea. Being one of the smallest countries in the world, it has approximately 1 million residents. Publicly available information regarding the trends in terms of digital services being offered to businesses in Cyprus is very limited.
Part
07
of twelve
Part
07

Google Pay Statistics: Cyprus

After an extensive search, the research team discovered that Google Pay is not available in Cyprus. However, research revealed different payment methods that are available in Cyprus and the market share of these payment options. The findings are listed below.

USEFUL FINDINGS:

PAYMENT METHODS IN CYPRUS:

  • Credit cards
  • Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Direct Debit: It is a payment arrangement where the debtor/payer authorizes a creditor to collect payment from the customer's bank account through a signed mandate.
  • Mobiamo: This is a mobile payment solution that allows customers to make payments form mobile devices.
  • Mint: It is prepaid card used to pay with cash online for digital goods and services worldwide.

PAYMENT METHODS BY MARKET SHARE IN CYPRUS:

  • Credit Cards: 17%
  • Prepaid Cards: 60%
  • Mobiles: 18%
  • E-Wallets: 2%
  • JCC Payment Systems Ltd (JCC) and FBME Card Services Ltd (FBMECS) are the service providers for card payment schemes in Cyprus.
  • In 2018, RCB Bank became the first bank in Cyprus to launch a Digital Wallet application for mobile payments utilizing Visa’s Tokenization Services to the Cypriot market.
  • According to ING International survey, about 1% of consumers in Europe use Google Pay for online transactions.


Research Strategy:

1. WHAT INFORMATION IS NOT AVAILABLE

Information on Google Pay Statistics in Cyprus is not available as Google Pay is not available in Cyprus.


2. RESEARCH STRATEGIES:

Our first strategy was to search for the payment system reports in Cyprus. We looked at reports of Central Bank of Cyprus and Association of Cyprus Banks among others. The objective of this strategy was to see if any of these sites have published information on the payment system methods with statistics for different types of methods including Google Pay. This strategy did not work as the required information was unavailable. Instead, we found information on domestic and international card payments, etc.

Our second strategy was to check for information on statistical databases that report the payment methods at regional and international levels. We looked for information on websites like CYSTAT, Europa, Statista among others. We hoped that one or all of these sites would have published business stats information. Through this search, we found information on payment methods in Europe, but these findings did not provide anything specific to Cyprus or Google Pay's presence in Cyprus.

We also used analytical apps to find information specific to Cyprus and Google Pay's presence in Cyprus on sites in SensorTower. However, we were unable to find information on Google Pay's presence in Cyprus. Without a direct answer or the data necessary to triangulate one, we were unable to determine the number of Google Pay users, the number of payments by volume or overall, or the number of merchants using the service in Cyprus. We thought this strategy would work as sites like SensorTower provide app intelligence data and may have published information on user stats for Google Pay.

Our third strategy was to look for information published by the company Google or parent company Alphabet in its annual reports, press releases, executive statements, etc. The objective of this strategy was to see if the company had released reports on the stats of the Payment System in Cyprus as companies often publish information in the annual reports or press releases, about performance of products and services. However, this strategy proved futile as there was no information published on such statistics for Cyprus. At most, we found information on overview of the Google Pay app and its benefits etc.

Our fourth strategy was to search for information in financial publications and media publications in Cyprus with focus on the payment systems in the country. Our objective was to see if any news agencies had published reports about the payment systems in Cyprus with user statistics. We looked for information on sites like financialmirror, newsincypurs, euronews etc. This strategy was also unsuccessful as the required information was not available. Instead, we found information on the other payment systems used in the country. We hoped that this strategy would work as media companies publish information about different industries along with statistics from own or third party research.

3. WHY THE INFORMATION COULD NOT BE TRIANGULATED

  • There are no reports, articles, publications available that provide information on Google Pay user stats in Cyprus.
  • One of the probable reasons for this could be that Google Pay may not yet be available in Cyprus as there is no mention of Google Pay launch in Cyprus.
Part
08
of twelve
Part
08

Apple Pay Statistics: Cyprus

Unfortunately, information regarding the number of Apple Pay users in Cyprus and transactions volume and value could not be retrieved in public. Extensive searches across several credible business and news databases returned findings predominantly on the launch of the service in the country that happened almost two months ago. Data on merchants supporting Apple Pay did not disclose the types of platforms but provided a general figure indicative of the estimated total number of retail locations available for Cyprus Apple Pay users. Below are findings uncovered on Apple Pay, including a research methodology outlining the search processes deployed to try to retrieve the information.

NUMBER OF APPLE PAY USERS

  • According to Cyprus Mail, Apple Pay is available to all Cyprus Visa cardholders. Unfortunately, extensive searches across multiple financial technologies, business finance, and news databases did not yield hard statistics regarding the number of Apple Pay users in Cyprus.
  • Attempts to uncover usage information resulted in more information regarding Apple Pay launch in Cyprus and European countries.
  • The lack of users' data is likely because the Apple Pay service has not run in Cyprus even for a quarter financial year, for that information to be included in quarterly or annual reports. The assumption stems from the fact that Apple Pay launched in Cyprus on 26th June 2019, and is currently supported by Bank of Cyprus and Monese in the country.

APPLE PAY PAYMENTS BY VOLUME

  • There is no statistical data on both Apple Pay website, fintech reports, Bank of Cyprus, and business databases in Cyprus detailing the amount of Apple Pay payments by volume.
  • While statistical usage data is unavailable for Cyprus Apple Pay users, it is impossible to determine Apple Payments by volume.

APPLE PAY PAYMENTS BY VALUE (EUR)

  • There is no information regarding Apple Pay payments by value (Euro) in Cyprus in public. Business and news reports examined did not feature such data as well. The only data available on the same revolves around the technology and who can use it and where, but not about the value of transactions supported.

APPLE PAY MERCHANTS

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To determine how widely used is Apple pay in Cyprus, we started first by examining the vendors who support Apple Pay in Cyprus, including the Apple Pay website, which are likely to contain such specific information. We then proceeded to examine Monese and Bank of Cyprus, which support Apple Pay in Cyprus, along with the Apple Pay website. These resources were considered first since they are likely to contain such primary data as opposed to any other website. Unfortunately, none of the three sources featured hard statistics on the number of Apple Pay users in Cyprus and transactions by volume and value. These resources featured information on the payment method, how to access it or use it, but not on the number of individuals who have adopted the payment method or transaction volume and value.

Next, we proceeded to check local news and business outlets to see whether they feature any relevant information on Apple Pay usage in Cyprus. We checked credible sources, including but not limited to local news providers such as Cyprus Mail and reports published by financial institutions like Bank of Cyprus and Cyprus Credit Union. These sources did not feature information regarding Apple pay usage and transaction data but had more information primarily about the launch of Apple Pay. Further searches across other business and news report that focus on the entire Eastern Europe region did not return relevant results as well. Extended searches across other industry reports, including financial technology databases and market research reports, also did not retrieve reliable data.

Third, using available qualitative and quantitative data, we decided to try to triangulate the data about Apple Pay users and transactions by volume and value. On that note, we assumed that since Cyprus Mail asserts that Apple Pay in Cyprus is available to all Cyprus Visa cardholders, we can determine the total number of Visa cardholders in Cyprus, and use the figure to approximate the estimated number of Apple Pay users in Cyprus and transaction volume based on average transaction value by cardholder. Unluckily, there was no hard data as well concerning the total number of Visa cards currently active in Cyprus, because these cards have a limited lifespan, around three years maximum. Moreover, the assumption that all Visa cardholders in Cyprus could constitute Apple Pay users did not account for many factors, including new account applicants, active and dormant cards, among other attributes.

In closing, it is hard at this time to establish how many people use Apple Pay in Cyprus when such data is held by private companies that are under no obligation to publish users' data for the public. Additionally, Apple Pay service in Cyprus and many other Eastern Europe countries is barely two months old, since it launched in the region on 26th June 2019.
Part
09
of twelve
Part
09

Digital Banking: Cyprus

About 39% of individuals in Cyprus use internet banking, 28% percent of whom are ages 16 and 74. People in Cyprus make use of their User ID and Passcode to access internet banking.

DIGITAL BANKING POPULARITY IN THE UK

  • Cyprus is experiencing a steady adoption of digital banking, 6% of individuals in Cyprus used internet banking in 2015 as compared to 39 percent in 2018.
  • In 2018, 33 percent of all people used the internet for online banking, "but usage was higher among those who had used the internet within the last three months, at 39 percent."
  • According to a report from Eurostat, about 51% of adult Europeans use internet banking. This figure is steadily growing and has increased since 2007 when it held at 25%. About 28% of individuals ages 16 and 74 use internet banking in Cyprus.
  • According to research, the Bank of Cyprus (BOC) was the first bank to introduce internet banking to its customers in Cyprus in the year 2000.
  • 1bank is one of the most innovative and first e-Banking solution in Cyprus. The solution was launched in 2010 by the bank of Cyprus, 1bank is designed to provide enhanced and more convenient service to customers in Cyprus. This innovative e-banking solution led to an increase of 350% e-banking usage within a year.
  • The Cooperative Central Bank is designing its own I-phone and Android mobile application to improve its internet banking services. The company has seen a 500% increase in its Internet banking usage.
  • The bank of Cyprus is working to promote digital banking services in the country.

ACCESS TO DIGITAL BANKING IN CYPRUS

  • In order to access internet banking, individuals need their User ID and Passcode.
  • Several banks in Cyprus offer online banking. Individuals are allowed to use their bank’s website to check account balance, transfer money from checking to savings, or change their details.
  • There were about 584,863 internet users in Cyprus for the year 2012 and 844,680 in 2017.
  • According to a survey by the Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus, about 30% of the 584,863 internet users in Cyprus" used mobile or smartphones to access the internet away from home or work while 25,9% used a laptop or notebook."

Part
10
of twelve
Part
10

Digital Banking By Industry: Cyprus

The biggest industries in Cyprus include finance, tourism, industry and manufacturing, mining, and agriculture.

Digital Banking By Industry — Cyprus

  • Bank of Cyprus, which provides both brick-and-mortar and digital banking services is expected to "support tourism, trade, professional services, information/communication technologies, energy, education, and green projects" in the future.
  • RCB Bank Cyprus CEO has announced his bank is closing brick-and-mortar branches and increasingly investing in digital banking means, possibly entirely moving online in the future.
  • In 2018, Hellenic Bank, a Cyprus-based bank has won the "Best Digital Bank" award for the fifth time in a row, for providing digital banking services. The bank is traditional, that is, operates both in brick-and-mortar branches and online.

The Biggest Industries In Cyprus

  • Financial — the sector consists of commercial banking, cooperative credit, accounting, tax, capital markets, and insurance and contributes to the country's GDP by 69%
  • Tourism — this industry sector contributes around 17% to the island' GDP, while the world average is 14%
  • Industry & Manufacturing — this sector has been slightly decreasing in the past few years but is still one of the biggest industries in Cyprus
  • Mining — this includes copper, gold and iron pyrite and asbestos
  • Agricultural — this sector contributes to the country's GDP by 2% and employees 4% of the nation's labor

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To start the search, we checked local and international business publications such as inbusiness news.reporter.com.cy, economy.cyprustimes.com, and entrepreneur.com. No relevant reports were available. The international reports focused on events related to digital banking such as conferences while local sources highlighted specific banks such as Bank of Cyprus and digital developments.

Next, we checked local university research databases such as Cut.ac.cy, pure.unic.ac.cy, and cyprus-university.com. We also searched international research databases such as scholar.google.com. In-depth studies are often conducted on the topic of digitalization and published by local universities, where relevant insights can be found. Our search returned no relevant studies specific to Cyprus. Though some studies focused on digitalization in Cyprus, they did not even briefly focus on the digitalization of banking services in the country. We only found a study that listed industries that use digital banking the most in Greece and not Cyprus.

Following this, we decided to identify existing digital-only, EMI banks that operate in Cyprus and look through their business and financial reports to find segmentation of their turnover by business lines their clients are coming from. Our goal was to use this information as a proxy, that is, to list business lines that most contribute to Cyprus digital-only banks revenue as industries that use digital banking services in Cyprus the most. We hoped, this way, we can either find charts that bifurcate the banks' revenue by business lines or statements that describe which industries contributed most to their revenue. To locate digital-only banks, we searched market reports on the topic, looking for key players in the digital banking industry on Cyprus, as well as banking industry publications looking for mentions of banks that are entirely digital. This attempt proved to be futile because we were not able to locate banks that operate fully online, instead we found data on e-commerce companies that operate fully online. This could be because no EMI banks exist to date on the island. This way, we were able to find a report about a bank that is planning to go fully digital in the future but that was all.

Finally, we decided to identify the biggest industries on the island and look into industry reports to find mentions of industry demand for digital banking services, since the biggest industries will likely have demand for digital banking services as turnovers are larger. To identify the top industries, we used this source. Then, we searched industry analyses for the identified industries in Cyprus, looking for mentions of industry demand for digital banking services. For this, we searched relevant local publications such as mof.gov.cy, ebhek.org.cy. One industry analysis focused on internet speed industry demands and nothing more.

Our research suggests there is no information on industries in Cyprus that have seen the biggest uptake of digital banking services, which could be due to the fact that no digital-only banks exist in Cyprus.
Part
11
of twelve
Part
11

Challenger Digital Banks: Cyprus

Revolut, Tide, Monese, and Cynergy Bank offer challenger digital business banking services in Cyprus. The newcomer, Tide, is gaining in popularity and processes over eleven million transactions per month.

REVOLUT

  • Revolut was founded in 2015 and is based in London. In 2017, they reported $15.67 million in revenue, and $17.31 in 2018. From 2016-2017, their revenue growth was 443%. They offer personal and business products.
  • Their market valuation is currently $1.7 billion, with $336.5 million in total funding over 12 rounds, with the last being March 27, 2019. They are a private company and considered a tech unicorn.
  • Revolut has completed a total of 350 million transactions at a total value of $48.9 billion.
  • Revolut states they have 7,000 new accounts opened daily.
  • They have nearly 20,000 businesses as customers, along with 4.5 million customers total. In the UK, they have 1.6 million customers.
  • Businesses may hold, receive, and exchange 29 currencies without charge.
  • Revolut claims they are ten times cheaper than a bank.
  • They have had significant reported losses.
  • Their business customers have an Open API to integrate their Revolut account into their current workflow and stack.
  • Revolut operates in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
  • Their website may be viewed here.

TIDE

  • Tide launched in 2017, and operates in the business banking market.
  • Tide has raised a total of $40.8 million in funding over five rounds, with the latest being June 2019.
  • They have over 86,000 small and medium business customers.
  • Tide processes over 11 million transactions per month with an annual transaction volume of almost $7.3 billion.
  • They have a goal to secure 8% of the business banking market by 2023.
  • Tide currently has 1.4% of the UK's SMEs as clients.
  • They received a $73.4 million dollar grant to increase their business offerings.
  • Their website may be viewed here.

MONESE

  • Monese was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in London.
  • Monese has raised a total of $80.4M in funding over 8 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Jun 13, 2019.
  • Monese offers a business basics account that includes a personal account as well.
  • Monese has over 800,000 customers in 30 countries, including Cyprus. In early 2018, they only had 270,000 customers.
  • Monese states, "Monese is a 100% mobile, multi-award winning current account provider. With Monese you get the ability to receive your salary, shop online, make purchases at stores, and withdraw cash from ATM's. Monese provides you with a fully functional UK GBP account number and sort code, a MasterCard contactless debit card, and access to speedy customer support."
  • Their website may be viewed here.

CYNERGY

  • Cynergy Bank is headquartered in London.
  • Their annual revenue in 2018 was $5.6 million.
  • Cynergy Bank is a rebrand of the Bank of Cyprus, UK branch. They were acquired by Cynergy Capital in 2018.
  • The new bank focuses on the SME sector in the UK, including the Cypriot community.
  • Cynergy states, "A Business Current Account with Cynergy Bank gives you everything you need to keep your business in order. It’s quick and easy to manage, and helps you keep track of your cashflow."
  • Their website may be viewed here.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

The number of Cypress banks proved to be a challenge for this research. To better understand the banking in Cyprus, we obtained listings of all banks doing business in Cyprus. This allowed us to have a foundation to locate challenger digital banks.

To locate the top challenger digital banks, we first located industry articles that stated who the best digital challenger banks were. To be included in the next stage of our research, a bank had to be mentioned multiple times. Once we had our list, we then researched each bank separately to obtain an across the board metric. This proved difficult, as some banks did not list their annual revenue. We believe this happened because some banks are operating at a loss due to how new they are. Our next approach was to order them by their customer numbers. This again proved difficult, as the biggest bank we researched did not separate their customer base, and some banks only do business banking. Active users and monthly transactions also ran into the same issues. To combat this problem, we holistically looked at all the metrics we obtained to get our top listings.

To assess the market penetration, we began by locating industry reports and market studies. This did not give us enough information to triangulate a market share, as most of the information was global. Consulting business press releases from Globe Newswire, PR Newswire and from each business’ website gave us the bulk of our information. To finish our research, we researched available banking information from the government. Again, this gave us a few facts. Ultimately, we were able to put together a snapshot of the market, but not exact figures.
Part
12
of twelve
Part
12

English Usage: Cyprus

According to Eurobarometer, 73% of the population in Cyprus speak English either as a first or second language. Even though the official languages are Greek and Turkey, English is popularly spoken and written since it is the language for international business.

OVERVIEW

  • English served as the official language of Cyprus during the British colonial rule and was the country official language till 1960.
  • According to Eurobarometer, 73% of the population in Cyprus speak English either as a first or second language.
  • English is presently not an official language in Cyprus, but it is the most popular foreign language in Cyprus.
  • Cyprus Courts utilized English till 1989, while it was used in the legislature till 1996.
  • English is taught in Cyprus schools in the primary and secondary level.
  • Majority of the local universities and colleges in Cyprus s also teach English.

ENGLISH USED FOR BUSINESS AND IN THE MEDIA

  • Cyprus laws and land registry system laws are derived from the British common legal system; this has encouraged the widespread use of English in business settings.
  • Cyprus formal language is Greek, but English is predominantly used for business.
  • With English, a business can deal government departments without any complications as most government departments have English websites.
  • Cypriots are highly educated and multilingual, though the official languages are Greek and Turkey, English is popularly spoken and written and is the language for international business.
  • In Cyprus, there are several English daily and weekly newspapers they include Cyprus Mail, Many UK, In-Cyprus, Cyprus Financial Mirror.
  • There are specific magazines that target business people like the InBusiness and Gold. 
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
From Part 03
Quotes
  • "Once all the required documents have been lodged with the Registrar of Companies and he has satisfied himself that they are in order, he will issue a Certificate of Incorporation. The formation and registration procedures, including printing of all official stationery and opening the necessary bank accounts, can usually be completed within a period of two weeks, whereupon the company can start operating immediately."
  • "The procedure for the incorporation of a Cyprus Legal Entity can be completed within a maximum period of two weeks at the most, and enables the legal entity to start business forthwith."
Quotes
  • "Apart from this, the business-environment in Cyprus is friendly for foreign investors. A company can be incorporated in 5 days and a bank account can be opened in 10-15 days. Rents are low, electricity, salaries, VAT rates are also low. There is a huge tank of university educated experts to populate your business. Investment opportunities in Cyprus are booming at a rapid pace and registering a business in Cyprus is simple, fast and comparatively cheap when it comes to costs, compared to other countries. "
Quotes
  • "Furthermore, it has one of the most beneficial tax plans in the world, including more than 40 double tax treaties. And although the authorities recently increased the corporate taxes from 10 to 12.5 percent, these figures can still be considered comparatively moderate."
  • "These tax laws are, of course, absolutely impressive. Yet, the most remarkable aspect has not even been listed so far. With successful immigration into the state of Cyprus after July 2015, applicants will be awarded with non-domicile status (non-dom)."
  • "Not only does it reduce your personal income tax by 50 percent, it also eliminates any taxes on dividend and interest income. As this can be combined with the offshore solution, you will surely recognize the significance of this legislation. "
Quotes
  • "You can begin the process of opening a bank account in Cyprus even before you arrive. Any Cypriot or foreign bank should allow you to get the ball rolling online. Your signature is required, so you might need to wait until you’re in-country to complete the account setup. The Bank of Cyprus has a branch in London, so if you’re UK-based you can open your account at home."
Quotes
  • "Cyprus has been a well-established business center for more than two decades now and continues to attract businesses from all over the world,startups that choose to use the country as their base of operations, entrepreneurs and investors chose to relocate for tax and lifestyle purposes."
  • "As an EU state member, Cyprus has developed one of the most important business centers due to various programs, developments, growing business sectors all combined with the attractive Tax regime and its advantages that help companies develop here. The high level of business services come to support the attractive Tax regime along other business friendly mechanisms. In Cyprus is easy and fast to setup a company and operate in 8 days."
  • "Trade freedom, Intellectual Property rights, free capital movements, incentives for investors, tax exemptions are only some features available for international companies."
  • "Cyprus has a well-established Intellectual Property (IP) regime that big companies like Wargaming take advantage and setup their operations. Tech companies and startups choose the country as a home not only because of Tax but also because of security of their assets under the structure IP Law in compliance with various international agreements."
Quotes
  • "Establishing a company is an easy thing to do in Cyprus. The Cypriot govern is helping the foreign investors in its attempt to attract foreign capital especially by using an advantageous tax system and low red tape."
From Part 06
Quotes
  • "Card ownership The vast majority of euro area consumers (93%) owned or had access to a payment card25 in 2016 (see Chart 16). The lowest level of card dissemination can be observed in Cyprus where only 66% of the Cypriot adult population said that they owned or had access to a payment card. In general, one can conclude that card ownership seems to have little explanatory value in the general payment behaviour in a certain country."
Quotes
  • "SunSoft Inc. has $20.1M in estimated revenue annually."
Quotes
  • "It is a broad concept that promotes easy-to-use provisions for banking and financial services but is also divided into two categories: one category includes companies that offer digital tools to users for borrowing and money management, while the second category includes businesses that provide support services and help financial institutions to manage their services better."
Quotes
  • "Point Nine and MUFG Investor Services started cooperating in February 2018. As it was announced then, in light of increased regulations, such as MiFID II and additional requirements for asset managers to handle more data, the partnership aimed to relieve some of the operational burdens for managers. "
  • "But what the local authorities couldn’t achieve, was made possible by a small fintech company based in Cyprus, Point Nine. A company offering outsourced operations, processing and reporting for post-trade execution. "
From Part 09
Quotes
  • " digital banks such as start-up Revolut have not only made their appearance in the Cyprus banking market but have also launched a series of joint activities such as the prepaid VISA card issued in cooperation with telecom provider PrimeTel. “Digital services are a cheaper, safer and easier transaction option both for customers and the bank and as such, the bank is working to promote these services,” the Bank of Cyprus official said."
Quotes
  • "A survey by the Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus in the first quarter of 2012, showed that almost 30% of the 584,863 internet users in Cyprus (representing 52.2% of the population) used mobile or smart phones to access the internet away from home or work while 25,9% used a laptop, notebook or netbook"
  • "innovation lead to an increase of 350% on usage within a year (Table 3). In June 2012, a complete I-phone and android application was launched. This innovation has lead to a further 250% increase on usage until today"
  • "Alpha Bank launched its mobile banking service in 2009, and has seen a 50% increase in usage by its customers. The Cooperative Central Bank, has had a striking 500% increase in its Internet banking usage since it was launched in 2008. This bank is also in the process of designing its own I-phone and Android mobile application in order to further enhance its services to its customers"
From Part 11
Quotes
  • "Cynergy Bank is a rebrand of the Bank of Cyprus UK branch, following its acquisition by Cynergy Capital. The deal, announced July 2018, was closed at a value of £103 million later that year and the new brand was unveiled in December."
  • "The new bank focuses on the UK’s business/SME sector, including the Cypriot community."
Quotes
  • "Following the acquisition of the Bank of Cyprus UK branch by Cynergy Capital, the newly renamed Cynergy Bank has gone live today (3 December) with its rebrand."
  • "Cynergy has assumed all aspects of Bank of Cyprus UK including banking business, all assets and liabilities."
Quotes
  • "Yes! Applicants who are not based in the UK may apply for a Registered Business account, as long as they are directors of a company registered with UK Companies House. In some cases, we may have to complete additional checks in order to process your application."
Quotes
  • "The Monese basic business current account costs £9.95 a month and also includes the bank’s Plus personal account."
  • "This business account allows users to make cash deposits at over 40,000 Post Offices or PayPoint retail locations in the UK. It also comes with a contactless business card and is accessible in ten European languages. The banking app, founded in 2013, has over 800,000 customers across 30 countries, and adds that a Euro business account is “coming soon”."
Quotes
  • "Business eligibility requirements to open international accounts • Companies registered in the EU or British Overseas Territories "
Quotes
  • "27-31 Charlotte St., London, Greater London, W1T 1RP, United Kingdom"
  • "Revenue: 5.6M "
Quotes
  • "Yes, you read that right - all EEA residents from the following countries are welcome! Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. "
Quotes
  • "Monese is a 100% mobile, multi-award winning current account provider. With Monese you get the ability to receive your salary, shop online, make purchases at stores, and withdraw cash from ATM's. Monese provides you with a fully functional UK GBP account number and sort code, a MasterCard contactless debit card, and access to speedy customer support."
Quotes
  • "Monese is an online banking platform that offers quick current account opening for all EU residents. London, England, United Kingdom"
  • "Founded Date Oct 7, 2013 Private Company"
  • "Monese provides instant on-demand UK current accounts and European IBAN accounts in 20 countries regardless of the customer's citizenship. This revolutionizes banking for expats, digital nomads and new residents as ‘residency restrictions’ imposed by traditional high street banks are one of the single greatest barriers to accessing the banking system when they arrive in a new country. Monese's breakthrough technology can validate the identity of customers in real time enabling customers to open an account in a matter of minutes, using a mobile app. Monese's fully-featured UK banking account comes with cheap global payments and a contactless debit card. Monese was born after founder's first-hand experience of the hassle involved with opening a bank account in a new country."
  • "Monese has raised a total of $80.4M in funding over 8 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Jun 13, 2019 from a Venture - Series Unknown round."
Quotes
  • "Monese's Users was reported to be 270 k in Jan, 2018."
Quotes
  • "Founded 2015 HQ London, GB "
  • "Business Accounts 60 k "