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Diversifying Jersey’s Economy – Mobile Payments?

13 February, 2013
5 min

The current rumblings in the press about the UK government clamping down on tax avoidance is nothing new but still pose a big concern for an island heavily dependent on its financial services industry.  LVCR’s disappearing act between 2010 and 2012 showed just how little influence the States of Jersey have on the UK government and how fragile our economy can be.

Diversification of the Jersey economy – The Island Lab

Initiatives such as Digital Jersey have been put in place to diversify the island’s economy.  Many however view the scope for these schemes as too broad and therefore rendering them ineffective.  I believe the States need to target more specific markets where Jersey could hold a competitive advantage, there by making better use of the funding available.

JT have been playing with the concept of JT Lab for a while.  In a nutshell, the company wants to sell the island as a test bed for new products and services to global technology innovators.  One example they are looking at is Internet TV which will become more feasible with an audience connected to the Internet through high speed fibre cables (Gigabit Isles).  It’s a brave vision to think they can attract the blue chip technology giants to the island, but the rewards are high, and if you think about it, the island does present a great opportunity for large scale, big budget market research.

Mobile Payments, Mon Vie!

One area that has got my entrepreneurial juices flowing in the last couple of years is mobile payments – that is, making small value, in-person payments through contactless technology on your mobile phone.  There is little doubt that this technology will replace notes and coins sometime soon.  For me there is a real attraction in being able to pay for a bus journey, newspaper or sandwich without checking you have the notes and coins to pay for it.

Could Jersey team up with the likes of Google (Google Wallet), Mastercard (PayPass) or Visa (Paywave) to do a mass roll out of the technology on the island?  There are certainly factors which make this more feasible than you might think if you look at Jersey as a micro environment.

  • Comparable demographics to a major western city
  • Generally, high income tech savvy inhabitants
  • Skilled workforce within administration and finance roles
  • Responsive government looking for new opportunities
  • All major banks represented on the island
  • A technology savvy, affluent, mainly desk based work force
  • A single town location with many of the major high street retailers represented
  • Easy marketing communication through a monopoly media
  • English speaking island culturally similar to UK and US
  • A controllable, micro environment locked in by the sea
  • Government involvement with telecoms, public transport etc.
  • A flexible Government looking to diversify the island economy
  • A telecoms provider also looking to diversify

Your views?

What are your views?  How should Jersey diversify its digital economy?  Do Mobile Payments look like a valid option?  Share your comments below.

Further Information

What is Google Wallet?

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Phil de Gruchy

Phil is the owner of Blue Llama, a digital agency in Jersey, Channel Islands. He has worked in digital for most of his career and has a wide knowledge of UX, web and app design and digital marketing.