Estonian robots will start making deliveries in Hamburg in August. The German parcel delivery company Hermes will start making deliveries by self-driving robots developed by the Estonian company Starship Technologies to 100 trial customers in Hamburg before the end of this month, German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports. (Postimees, page 3, August 8, 2016)

An Estonian is changing the security world – Veriff. A year ago, 21-year old Kaarel Kotkas started developing an identity verification solution that leaves its competitors all over the world far behind. Veriff has helped one of Estonia’s biggest e-commerce companies Hansapost to reduce the damage caused by frauds in payments by installments by identifying 1750 people and blocking all fraudsters. Currently, Veriff is also doing cooperation with Inbank and a deal with Uber is in horizon. (Äripäev, page 6, August 8, 2016)

Virtual introduction of Estonia will cost up to million euros. Enterprise Estonia is planning to launch a virtual reality environment costing up to a million euros in the next three years to introduce Estonia and the e-solutions available here. The first phase will cost 240 000 euros. Manager of the e-Estonia showroom Anna Piperal explained: "What it could look like is that when a person has entered, someone will drag them into Estonian landscapes, by leaps, so that at one moment the person will be above the Viru bog, at the next moment standing in the middle of the Song Festival Grounds, and after that near Toompea Castle where they will be able to fly into the parliament building, and then the domain of e-government will open." (Postimees, page 3, August 16, 2016)

Amendments will loosen the requirements for production of military equipment. Ministry of Defense is working on a set of amendments to allow for more flexible rules and restrictions for the defense industry. Current legislation makes it impossible to hand ammunition, explosives, and weapons outside specially designated areas, meaning that Estonian manufacturers often have to have components assembled abroad. The amendment would also make it easier for private sector companies to service military equipment. The ministry plans to draw up changes by the end of the year. (Päevaleht, page 6, August 23, 2016)

One of the managers of a giant Japanese IT company spent almost a week in Estonia and caused exhilaration. Co-founder of Rakuten Masatada Kobayashi visited Estonia last week. Rakuten has bought the Estonian robot mannequin producer Fits.me and invested over 7 million euros to language learning technology Lingvist. Last week he met with current business partners, other Estonian entrepreneurs and politicians. Mr. Kobayashi spent most of the time with Lingvist that last week organized the meeting of its supervisory board and summer days. One of the founders of Lingvist Ott Jalakas said: “For me it’s special that he makes an investment in his time to be in Estonia with his team for four days.” During the visit, Masatada Kobayashi also met with Estonian e-services and e-residency. Mr. Kobayashi and many of his colleagues are already Estonian e-residents. He also met with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and took part of the re-independence event on August 20 in President’s Rose Garden in Kadriorg. Takashi Katsuragi that accompanied Masatada Kobayashi said: “Rakuten looks at technologies that interest us. We are interested in augmented reality, voice and face recognition, big data, and artificial intelligence. Estonia is a very highly developed IT state and Japan has a lot to learn from Estonian strategy. I hope that we will have even more ties with Estonia in the future.” (Geenius.ee, August 23, 2016)

State Infocommunication Foundation (RIKS) will start developing public cloud with five partners. In cooperation with RIKS, five companies will start developing Estonian public cloud’s environment – the leading partner is Ericsson, and other partners are: EMC, Telia, OpenNode and Cybernetica. (Postimees, page 10, August 25, 2016)

An Estonian invention makes traffic signs glow when pedestrians approach. The invention created by Safelight OÜ aims to reduce traffic accidents during dark hours. The new system consists of thermal camera on top of a post and LED lighting around a traffic sign. The test project has been initiated on a crosswalk in Pärnu. (Postimees, page 10, August 25, 2016)

Enterprise Estonia (EAS) opens office in Singapore. (BNS, September 1, 2016)

P12 The market of new cars has grown 20.1% in August. In August Estonia's market of new cars made a big leap as it grew 20.1 percent compared to August 2015 and an even bigger increase was recorded on the market of utility vehicles. 1831 new cars were sold, 307 more than a year before. In the first eight months of the year 15509 new cars were sold in Estonia, 12 percent more than in the same period last year. (Postimees, Page 12, September 7, 2016)
P5 Toyota is still leading the Estonian car market. Toyota is still leading the table with 317 new cars sold, followed by Skoda (159) and Volkswagen (130). The same cars form the top three of the first 8 months of the year. (Äripäev, page 5, September 7, 2016)

Mercedes will build Estonian robots a mother ship. Estonian start-up Starship Technologies shook hands with Mercedes-Benz that will start manufacturing a “mother ship” van for Starship Technologies’ pack robots. Business manager of Starship Technologies Allan Martinson said: “Robots need to live somewhere, someone has to load merchandise and change its batteries. They need to have a station. We carried out simulations and it became clear that the best station would be on wheels – a van will drive to the area and put the merchandise into the robots.” (Äripäev, page 6, September 8, 2016)

TransferWise arrived to Japan. According to co-founder of TransferWise Taavet Hinrikus, the company’s target group in Japan is the 1.3 million Japanese that live abroad and would be interested in sending money home, and also, the 2.2 million foreigners that live in Japan. The company is cooperating with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group for completing transactions and ensuring liquidity. TransferWise will start operating in Japan with 3 local employees. The number of employees should reach to 10 in a year. The web page is made both in English and Japanese. The aim for the next few years is to possess 5% of the Japanese market share. This year, TransferWise has additionally started operating in Brazil, Canada, China and Singapore. The next destinations will be New Zealand and Hong Kong. (Äripäev, page 12, September 8, 2016)

Three Estonians among the world’s most influential scientists. In the list made by Thomson Reuters, we can find 3 Estonians among 3000 world’s most influential scientists – Andres Metspalu (biotechnology) and Martin Zobel (plant ecology) from University of Tartu, and Ülo Niinemets (plant physiology) from the Estonian University of Life Sciences. (Postimees, page 6, September 10, 2016)

Estonia’s retirement age employment is one of the highest in Europe. According to Eurostat, 29.3% of the Estonian people aged 65-69 are employed. In Europe, this is second only to Iceland (54.5%). Estonia is followed by Norway (28.9%), Switzerland (21.9%) and Sweden (21.6%). (Postimees, page 11, September 16)

Michal: I can do what I like. Economic Minister Kristen Michal said in an interview that the states participating in Rail Baltic have agreed on what will be the tasks of the central company of Rail Baltic, and what will every country do itself. He believes that Rail Baltic should be ready in 2025. He also feels that Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel would give a lot for trade in Europe. However, he admitted that Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel plan is still tens of years away from us. A thorough feasibility study will be ready in two years and further decisions can be made based on it. (Äripäev, page 8, September 22)

Government approved the privatization of Eesti Teed. The Estonian government on Thursday gave its backing to the plan of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to end current contracts of the state-owned road maintenance company Eesti Teed and start preparations for privatizing the company. (Postimees, page12, September 30, 2016)

Old and new economy are competing in the top rich list. The founders of TransferWise Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus took the top 2 positions in this year’s Äripäev top rich list. They are the only ones in the table whose assets exceed 200 million euros. Third place is held by a construction entrepreneur Toomas Annus. From the rankings we can clearly see that old economy has fallen – the biggest losers compared to last year’s Äripäev rich list were transit businessman Oleg Ossinovski (62 million euros less) and trade businessman Hillar Teder (99 million euros less). (Äripäev, page 4, September 30, 2016)

The new age of Estonian ferry traffic. Today marks the new era of Estonian ferry traffic, as the public enterprise Port of Tallinn took over the ferry traffic from businessman Vjatšeslav Leedo and his company Tuule Laevad. (Postimees, page 4, October 1, 2016)

Tax Foundation: Estonia still has the best tax system among the OECD member states. The annual report of the Tax Foundation organization reveals that the Estonian tax system is the most successful among OECD’s 35 member states for the third consecutive year. Tax Foundation attributes Estonia's success to lack of corporate income tax, the individual income tax system, and the decision to tie real estate tax to the value of land and not property or capital on it. The foundation also praises Estonia for not taxing profits its companies earn abroad. (Postimees, page 10, October 7, 2016)

This year’s cruise season brought almost 475 000 tourists to Tallinn. During the cruise season that ended on Monday, Estonia received 271 ship visits that brought 474 700 tourists to Tallinn, it appears from preliminary figures released by Port of Tallinn. Last year, Tallinn hosted 280 cruise ships with 500 000 tourists on board. (Postimees, page 3, October 11, 2016)

More tourists needed accommodation in August. The number of domestic and foreign tourists who stayed in the accommodation establishments of Estonia in August was 417 000, 6% more than in August 2015, Statistics Estonia said on Tuesday. The number of foreign tourists was 256 000, 15 000 more than in August 2015. 38% of the foreign tourists came from Finland, 10% from Germany, 8% from Russia and 7% from Latvia. Foreign tourists mainly preferred the accommodation establishments of Tallinn (63% of the accommodated foreign tourists), Pärnu (10%), Tartu (6%), and the island of Saaremaa (5%). (Äripäev, page 17, October 12, 2016)

Editorial: Lower taxes bring a higher benefit. ABB opened a new business service center in Ülemiste that created 150 new jobs. The number of employees should increase to 400 in the coming years, which creates tension to Estonian labor market. Editors of Äripäev believe that it’s positive that ABB decided to expand their activities in Estonia, as it shows that Estonia can be a successful place for international companies. However, such investments could be increased with changes in taxation. (Äripäev, page 13, October 13, 2016)

There were few surprises among the best entrepreneurs. Engineering company Hekotek (woodworking technologies and facilities) was named as the best company of the year, Kohila Vineer (plywood, Latvia) was awarded with the best foreign investor title, and the founder of Taxify (Taxi App) Markus Villig was named as the best young entrepreneur. (Postimees, page 13, October 14, 2016)