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Amazon vs Reliance: Jeff Bezos losing out to Mukesh Ambani as e-comm rules change
Posted on 6th February 2019
Amazon.com and Walmart’s plans to dominate India’s online retail landscape have been ambushed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political priorities heading into a tightening election. The vote, likely to be held in or around May, has increased the influence of local retailers that lobbied for growth-crimping curbs on the US giants. On cue, India this month rolled out constraints on foreign e-commerce players, including Jeff Bezos-led Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart, which together control 70% of its online shopping. The tighter rules, aimed at protecting small traders, may end up benefiting the country’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, who is building a homegrown competitor.

The BJP is still licking its wounds after being trounced in three key recent state polls and a year ago fighting an unexpectedly close contest in Gujarat — Modi’s home state. Among small businesses, which are a traditional support base, the government’s popularity has been eroded by 2016’s surprise note ban and the subsequent roll-out of GST.

The rules now bar Amazon and Flipkart Online Services from owning inventory, and require them to treat all vendors equally, throttling discounts and exclusives — a huge advantage to homegrown firms, including Ambani’s new venture. His Reliance Industries, which owns India’s largest retail chain and third-biggest telecom network, has the potential to evolve into a local version of Amazon or Alibaba, UBS said last month.

“Whether serendipitous or not, India’s tightened regulatory regime for online retailers is a huge win for Reliance with its new retail ambitions,” Greyhound Research CEO Sanchit Vir Gogia said, “This could be a field leveller for them.”

Ambani wants his consumer offerings — covering telecom, fibre-to-home broadband, media and entertainment and retail — to contribute nearly as much to the conglomerate’s overall earnings as its bread-and-butter energy and petrochemicals businesses.

He’s fresh from disrupting the nation’s telecom sector, which he entered in 2016 with services so cheap that rivals have quit, merged or gone bankrupt, including a carrier controlled by his younger brother. On the back of that success, he last year unveiled plans to create a model that combines Reliance’s consumer offerings into a “hybrid, online-to-offline new commerce platform.”

Analysts at UBS predict Reliance can gain market share in new-age retail given its starting point of 280 million telecom subscribers, a broadband offering, extensive content and a web of 10,000 stores nationwide. The company also wants to partner with India’s 12 million mom-and-pop shops to create distribution and delivery centres.

Reliance resembles Alibaba in its ability to offer bundled services in a fast-growing, fragmented market with low online penetration, according to UBS. Representatives for Reliance, Walmart, Amazon and India’s commerce ministry didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Meanwhile, the US retail giants are being curbed in a market where they have committed billion of dollars and, till recently, looked to have already won. Both will have to cut back on cash-back payments and discounts — a sore point for smaller sellers, who accuse the pair of predatory pricing.

Flipkart’s losses may rise 20-25% following the changes, according to Morgan Stanley, which said in a report that it didn’t think Walmart was considering walking away from the investment. Reliance will probably use the opportunity posed by the government’s tighter rules to make a “grand entry” into e-commerce, said Praveen Khandelwal, national secretary general for the Confederation of All India Traders, a lobbying group that had threatened political repercussions if the February 1 rollout was delayed.

Related Companies: Amazon India   Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)   

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This helicopter company stock zooms 112% in six weeks
Posted on 18th April 2019
Shares of Global Vectra Helicorp surged 9 per cent to Rs 127 in the intra-day trade on Thursday, gaining 53 per cent in the last one week on the BSE, on expectation of strong earnings growth. The stock was trading close to its 52-week high of Rs 131 on April 23, 2018 on the BSE.

In past three weeks, the stock has rallied 112 per cent from level of Rs 60.30 on March 8, 2019, as compared to 7 per cent rise in the S&P BSE Sensex.


Hyundai eyes leadership position in compact SUV segment: MD
Posted on 18th April 2019
Hyundai Motor India is eyeing a leadership position in the compact SUV segment in the country with its upcoming model Venue, a top company official said.

The company will face stiff competition in the sub-4 metre compact SUV segment from the likes of Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Tata Motors Nexon, Mahindra XUV300 and Honda WR-V.


Mahindra, Ford to co-develop mid-sized SUV for India, emerging markets
Posted on 18th April 2019
Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Ford Motor Company on Thursday said they have signed a definitive agreement to co-develop a mid-sized SUV for India and other emerging markets.

The new agreement reinforces the steady progress made since the announcement of a strategic alliance between the two companies in September 2017, followed by an announcement on powertrain sharing and connected car solutions in October 2018.


JustDial data leak exposed personal details of 100 million users: IT expert
Posted on 18th April 2019
Justdial, a company that provides local search for different services in India over voice calls and internet, suffered a data breach last week that compromised the personal details of 100 million users, according to independent cyber-security researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia.

Inc42 quoted a senior JustDial executive on Monday as saying that the company is investigating the alleged loopholes in its database and that the company's systems are foolproof.


Now, Mamata Banerjee objects to no non-veg on Air India
Posted on 18th April 2019
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched a new attack front against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and registered a delayed protest against the decision to stop serving non-vegetarian food to economy class passengers of Air India's domestic flights.

Air India does not serve non-vegeterian food in economy class. Only business class passengers are entitled to have chicken. Why will Modi babu decide what others will eat? the firebrand leader lashed out when addressing a public meeting at Kandi in Murshidabad.


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