India economy

Ratan Tata (pictured), who was the head of India’s powerful Tata group until 2012, ushered in a period of ambitious international expansion at the company. He is one of the most respected figures in the business community today.

On Wednesday, it was announced that the illustrious businessman has personally invested in Snapdeal, the online marketplace that is battling to win a share of India’s fast-growing market for ecommerce. Continue reading »

Deutsche Post DHL, which makes money by shipping parcels around the world, plans to invest at least €100m in India over the next two years and is piloting a new e-commerce model for the Asia Pacific in the fast-growing market.

The move reinforces the recent take-off in India’s online shopping sector, as large platforms consolidate, infrastructure improves and internet penetration rises. Continue reading »

Yoga guru BKS Iyengar passed away last week. As the tributes poured in, Iyengar was credited with spreading awareness of Indian culture around the world.

The yoga master was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in India, earlier this year – and his style of teaching has become big business in the western world.

The New Yorker provides a glimpse into the master’s childhood and his own education in yoga as a young man in the 1930s, when ‘physical culture’ was taking off around the world: Continue reading »

The details of Gap’s move into the India yields insights into how Asia’s third largest market remains both very distinct from the West and at the same time increasingly similar.

In the US and European markets, womenswear is central to any brand’s expansion strategy, but in India this segment is dominated by traditional dress supplied by local companies. Thus, successful western retailers targeting India have either focused on menswear or on accessories, such as shoes and handbags.

But the strategy of San Francisco-based Gap reveals a market in flux. The group’s local franchisee, Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd, envisages the lion’s share of revenue still coming from menswear but at the same time perceives a growing following from women born after 1990. Continue reading »

Japanese and Indian culture could hardly be more different, but senior executives at Toto, the Kitakyushu-based toilet products manufacturer, say doing business has been a breeze in Asia’s third largest economy.

The Japanese group, whose fancy ceramic toilet fittings are already used in premier properties like the Four Seasons and Oberoi hotels in Mumbai, opened a manufacturing facility in India this week hoping to expand in the fast growing market.

Toto launched a 180,000 sq metre plant in Halol, Gujarat, that will produce some 500,000 toilet bowls every year. The group’s president, Madoka Kitamura, told beyondbrics that he expects about half of the output to be sold within India while the rest is exported to the Middle East and Europe. Continue reading »

Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, the world’s biggest marketing services company, is bullish about India, suggesting the market is set for strong growth and that local companies should focus on tapping this vast market before expanding abroad.

Sorrell considers what he would do right now if he were an ‘Indian oligarch’. Some groups have succeeded in expanding globally, be it organically or inorganically, but that strategy comes with its own challenges.

“India is a massive market – it’s a 1.2bn person market, it has benefited from the rise of the middle-class,” he says. “I would milk the opportunities here until I have exhausted them before moving abroad.” Continue reading »

Since the early days of its software industry in the 1980s, nearly all of India’s large IT companies have earned their crust selling software to companies in America, who have tended to be more open to outsourcing than competitors in Europe and Asia.

But for how much longer? Not that long in the case of Tata Consultancy Services at least, the country’s largest IT group by sales, which soon looks set to earn more than half of its revenues outside the US for the first time, according to chief executive Natarajan Chandrasekaran. Continue reading »

Introducing Raghuram Rajan, governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), at an Independence Day lecture on Wednesday evening, Sajjan Jindal of JSW Steel said he felt ‘at peace’ since the former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist took over at the central bank last year. That was at a time of turmoil, as a financial crisis swept through emerging markets and the rupee plummeted.

“You’re at peace but you still want lower interest rates,” quipped Rajan in response. “They’ll come.” Continue reading »

Just three months ago, this blog reflected the widespread public interest in Narendra Modi, now India’s prime minister. His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power in May’s general election with a majority that India hasn’t seen in three decades. It was seen as a presidential campaign, with the charismatic and controversial leader at the forefront of public debate.

Back then zealous optimism had commentators suggesting the former chief minister of Gujarat would do for the country what he did for the state and quickly turn around the beleaguered economy. Perhaps disappointment was inevitable – but is it fair? Continue reading »

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) gave its final approval this week for Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits) to be set up and listed on Indian exchanges, a long-awaited move that will open up financing in India’s cash-strapped real estate sector.

The move also creates an opportunity for Indians keen to put their money into property. The new rules also provide plenty of safeguards to protect investors. Continue reading »

India’s central bank left interest rates unchanged for a third straight meeting and tweaked a banking regulation to encourage lending as Raghuram Rajan, governor, sought a balance between promoting economic growth and maintaining vigilance against inflation.

Rajan kept the benchmark repurchase rate at 8 per cent, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in a statement on Tuesday, as economists had widely expected. The statutory liquidity ratio – which mandates how much banks must invest in government bonds – was reduced to 22 per cent of net liabilities from 22.5 per cent, effectively freeing up funds for lending. Continue reading »

Investors gave new Infosys chief executive Vishal Sikka a show of confidence on Monday, as shares in the IT outsourcer closed up nearly 4 per cent. Rupee weakness was part of the reason — software exporters prosper as India’s currency drops — but a large chunk seems to stem from optimism about Mr Sikka himself.

Is that optimism justified?

beyondbrics took a trip to Bangalore to meet him last week, as reported here last Friday. Sikka then met with various Indian journalists the following day, prompting various stories over the weekend. The combination of these appears to have soothed investor worries. Continue reading »

It’s all kicking off in Indian ecommerce. Flipkart, an ecommerce website founded by two former Amazon employees, raised $1bn in equity this week. Amazon itself quickly followed, with an announcement on Wednesday that it was investing a further $2bn in the country.

As competition becomes fierce at the top of the market, beyondbrics went to Bangalore to meet senior executives from Myntra, the fashion retailer that Flipkart acquired this year. Continue reading »

As Narendra Modi, India’s new prime minister, gets his feet under his desk in New Delhi, it seems everyone is optimistic about the country’s prospects. That includes Ravneet Gill, chief executive of Deutsche Bank in India.

Modi won this year’s election with a powerful majority, having promised to restart India’s manufacturing sector, to get investment going by cutting red tape, and to improve the country’s crumbling infrastructure. Gill says all this will help India’s struggling banking sector – but running a bank in the country still isn’t an easy job. Continue reading »

Jimmy Choos under your sari and an African safari for the Diwali long weekend?

A new report by Kotak Wealth Management and Ernst & Young – Top of the Pyramid 2014 – finds that India’s super rich are “ready for change” as a strong new government comes to power in New Delhi – and they’re spending to prove it.

 Continue reading »