Last year I wanted a xiaomi box (a bit like apple tv but optimized for China)
They only release x amount of units on a certain day at a certain time on a monthly basis. These will be sold out in seconds. I'm pretty sure most of these items are bought by scalper bots then resold on taobao.com etc. I never successfully managed to order and eventually bought on the secondary market for a small markup
This is great for xiaomi. They create hype and each of their sales are a sellout. The next month they come out with a slightly improved version of their product based on user feedback
As their founder said Electronics are like seafood you don't want it hang around a warehouse too long
to sum up
your chances of getting on of these from xiaomi.com are really really low
The true effective interest rate varies with time so the answer to your question would be a set of equations.
Professor Stefan Yard at Lund University in Sweden has made a calculation with a 10-year JAK loan, and compares it to borrowing money in a normal bank for 5 years and then saving money in the same bank for 5 years without interest (this is how a 10 year JAK loan work)
The effective interest rate of the JAK loan is then 6.5% which is higher than the normal bank.
I unbanked many years ago (a decade now?) and the only practical local difference between a bank and my credit union is the CU is non profit and unsurprisingly the related fees and interest rates are microscopically more consumer friendly, and arguably less of a "screw the customer to earn your paycheck" attitude exists so in a fluffy and subjective manner customer service seems a lot better. Thats it. They still pay and charge interest, just better rates than a for profit bank, etc. No fooling around with a fake currency of "points".
I have no idea why any locals do business with a for profit bank, other than maybe some conspicuous consumption thing to prove the can afford to make the bank shareholders richer. "In the old days" CUs had strict membership requirements like "military veteran" or "holder of teachers license" (no kidding). My local CU membership requirement is "mailing address at time of account opening within same county as CU branch". That's it.
There are two interesting aspects of "points". Not being legal currency I imagine the tax implications are bizarre, probably more of a pain than bitcoins. And the article didn't touch on "points" being inheritable or taxable. So assuming old people live in apartments and forfeit their point collection at death, that is an income stream situation that was not discussed.
Not surprisingly I've found customer service at CUs to be much better as well. Before I switched to a CU, my bank had about a dozen paper forms and things to be filled out and notarized, with a branch manager or higher present as a witness in order to do something as mundane as open a CD.
When I switched to my CU I asked about opening a CD with some funds from my account and 30 seconds later it was done. I switched all of my business over to the CU that week and closed my account with my bank and never looked back or regretted it. All the dumb little nonsense I had to deal with with my bank is all gone poof and banking with my CU has been more or less a pleasure.
How is your CUs website? My biggest observation that smaller CUs have a low IT budget, so even though the Chase's of the world have very annoying websites, CU's tend to be even worse. I guess for most people just checking balance and transactions online is enough, but I do enjoy some fancy stuff from the bank like deposit check via smartphone.
My CU is fairly large and though their site isn't fancy with lots of bells and whistles, it's pretty good for most normal transactions. For anything else I just go to one of the branches and can usually sort pretty much anything out inside of 5 minutes and a remarkably small amount of normal bank B.S.
Several local CUs obviously partner for IT. Locally there are special CUs for teachers union members (aka K-12) and a state U CU and many other company based CUs, along with location based CUs like the one I'm in (must have a mailing list in county, or be employed by some industrial conveyor belt company or something like that to qualify). I can use the ATM at the teachers union CU for free, just as they can use "my" CU ATM for free. My former bank wants a mere $3 per transaction at an ATM, I don't miss them very much at all.
IT as a service is not unusual in finance. More than two decades ago I worked at a stock trading outsourcer, based in the USA believe it or not, who for a fee, would do absolutely everything computer related for a small brokerage office from trades to research to even printing payroll checks (so I'm told, maybe it was just calculating commission checks?)
Another example is supposedly the majority of direct stock investment plans are outsourced to one provider (compushare?) That's the deal where if you live at an address that pays an electric company bill, you're auto-qualified to buy shares in the electric company directly without paying commission or going thru a brokerage. I've been in the that ownership plan since I was 12 or 14 or so, which reminds me to sign my kids up soon.
The 400m people who can't speak mandarin statistic is a bit misleading. Most of these people are likely to be old and out of the workforce. it's rare to meet someone under 40 who can't speak ok Mandarin. Also a lot more people can understand it than speak it.