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Foreign Direct Investment

  • ~ By Charmaine Mirza

    There’s no sale without scale. Or at least not in the virtual world. Ladies and gentlemen, grab your mouse tightly – the great e-commerce chess game has begun.

    As the Amazonian giant from the USA makes its great leap into the subcontinent, local e-commerce players in India, such as Flipkart and Snapdeal are scrambling. But wait – there just maybe a silver lining in the offing, as China rubs its magic lamp and produces an investor in the form of Alibaba.

    In a dramatic move that has swiveled eyeballs in the FinTech world, Alibaba has agreed to double up on its investment – putting down 1,100 crore (Approx. US$177 million) to increase its stake in PayTM, and more significantly, launch PayTM Mall, a direct rival to homegrown e-commerce players.

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  • ~ by Charmaine Mirza

    “…you cannot ignore a fifth of the world’s population…as an entrepreneur, if you have the opportunity to build both Amazon and Alibaba at the same time, you’d be crazy not to try.”

    Travis Kalenick, CEO Uber.

    Is Uber’s unicorn cowboy trying to do precisely this?

    As the date for its hyped up IPO draws closer, investors are questioning whether the unicorn will be a rainmaker – or be reined in.

    On the surface, it appears as if Kalenick has sacrificed his Alibaba genie for the Amazonian advantage. After losing two billion USD initially in a head to head battle with Chinese rival Didi Chuxing, Uber has “closed” its China operations, a move that investors see as positive, given the losses it has racked up – but will it turn the tide completely for Uber’s global push?

    Inchin Closer reviews the situation from an Asian perspective.

    • Is Uber moving out of China or simply taking a strategic side-step that may light its candle at both ends – for its US IPO, and its Chinese market share?
    • Is Didi a friendly investor or a dragon crouching in the shadows, waiting for the right moment?
    • Is Uber really being bought out, as it claims, or buying in?

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  • BATWe live in an interesting investment climate, where India and China can’t either do with or without each other.

    Cross border investments in online apps and platforms are breaking traditional barriers and creating healthy, profitable companies for both nations. For the Indian start-up market to flourish, Chinese investments are important and a vital cog in the wheel that will turn the Indian economy around.

    For Chinese investors, India is a massive market, similar to theirs, with a huge growth potential. Smell a win-win situation? Yet there are hurdles, a lack of political will and diplomatic trust enter at various points in a healthy India-China relationship to often mar the smooth functioning and often put a spanner in the works. However, since there is a strong potential that the bond between India and China will withstand political head winds, Inchin Closer takes a look at the India strategy for the Big 3 Chinese investment heavy weights – Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent – or BAT as they are more commonly referred to. The article aims to demonstrate where these investment bell weathers are now and the direction they are looking at. It is expected to foretell, the direction Chinese investments into India will take and subsequently how the rest will follow.

    ALIBABA: A scion for a variety of low priced goods, Alibaba has recently tied up with Indian payments gateways Paytm to initially allow select Indian Indian sellers to source products from China at cheaper rates as well as help them with logistics and payments. India is an inevitable market for Alibaba for whom a developing market in search of cheap goods is perfect, as compared to Europe. As a result, Alibaba India already has 4.5 million registered users, making it the world’s second largest market for Alibaba after China. Additionally, Alibaba invested US$680 million into Paytm last September making it the largest investor in the mobile payments leader. In October, Alibaba joined softbank to invest US$125 million out of a consolidated investment of US$500 million into Snapdeal an online shopping portal.

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  • wagesAs India stands in the sunshine with her rising GDP projections, growing investments and overall sunny outlook over a gloomy global economy, in the shadows lurks responsibility. The responsibility of sizing her social sector up to International (read Western) standards.

    Taking a cue from her more stalwart neighbour China, India needs to know that with being a growing emerging market comes caveats of all kinds from afar. Looking into the growth of China and her boom from the 1990’s spurred by foreign investments, technology and capital, came the over arching western regulations to industrial production.

    Chinese factories which initially ran robust on low wages suddenly had to deal with the western concept of a minimal wage scheme. Office goers got insurance and social security benefits and companies had to own up to stricter environmental laws. Papers were written on the appalling state of sanitation in China’s rural areas and education was kick started by making English learning enigmatic.

    When the West invested in China, they didn’t just do so with their money, but they also poured time and energy in making her more like them. Fashion and diets changed. Holiday destinations and aspirations altered and consumer demands and family structures changed. Bringing in foreign capital meant sweeping changes for the Middle Kingdom. The resident soothsayer at Inchin Closer predicts the same. With India on the rise again, western media eyeing her for potential investments, collaborations and growth, the country will need to simultaneously pull her socks up in other aspects too. For investors don’t come in with a blind eye. They will want better security for their women, better infrastructure and cleaner air.

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  • herbal-formula-2 ~ By Charmaine Mirza

    Indian pharmaceuticals have been trying to enter the Chinese market for a while. Priced cheaper than drugs available on the Mainland, Indian pharma companies have always been kept at bay for fear that they may disrupt the industry. However, there might be light at the end of this tunnel.

    Shanghai based Fosun Pharmaceuticals has recently emerged as the billion-dollar bidder for India’s KKR backed Gland Pharma, outstripping US-based Baxter and Advent, as it aims to increase its research and manufacturing prowess. As China gets old before she gets rich, the pharmaceutical industry is now waking up to partnering with Indian drug companies to benefit their billion plus populations and avoid a healthcare meltdown. Both ancient nations have their medical advantages – – China and India supply much of the world (and the same pharma multi-nationals) with their APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) and generics. – The roots of modern medicine lie in two ancient systems – Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. So who really wields the whip in this pharmaceutical circus? Inchin Closer pauses to examine the larger picture.

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  • jaitley + guoliIndian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is on a five day tour of China to pitch for Chinese investments from the slowing Chinese economy. India which is on a growth trajectory is aiming for 7.5 to 8 percent GDP growth at a time when China’s GDP has decelerated to 7 percent.

    While the Chinese are interested in investing in India – a neighbour and a large market most investors are yet skeptical on her policies. Mr. Jaitley’s aim is to convince Chinese bankers and wealth fund managers to invest in India. The finance minister is not alone. His visit was proceeded by the Chief Minister of several Indian states, the last being Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the CM of India’s central and second largest state Madhya Pradesh who was in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou last week with a 20+ member business delegation to pump investments into his state. Madhya Pradesh has already allotted land at Pithampur towards Chinese investments in automobiles, pharmaceuticals and technology and has promised massive discounts in land, taxes and electricity.

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  • ma-modiWith most of the money pouring into start-ups across China and India drying up, investors are getting a lot more sharp edged and nickel nosed about where they put their money.

    China’s slowing economy earlier pushed several investors to India to reap rich dividends from her large population. However Chinese companies now too are second guessing putting their money into India and are rather cooling their heels even as the summer approaches.

    Several Chinese companies including Qufenqi, a student loan company owned by Alibaba which was looking at buying into an Indian student loan firm have back tracked and are no longer interested in the Indian market as of now. The only beacon on the horizon seems to be Jack Ma’s Alibaba who are keen to enter India’s burgeoning e-commerce market. India is roughly estimated to be 5 years behind that of China when it comes to the adoption and implementation of new technology. This gives Alibaba a huge head start in implementing strategy for a market similar in size and value to China, and also a great advantage in knowing where the market is headed.

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  • make-in-indiaTaking a leaf out of China’s development handbook, India launched her “Make in India” week on Monday with much fan fare. Inspired by Germany’s annual Hannover Messe, India’s Make in India week is New Delhi’s effort to bring India’s manufacturing sector on par with her services sector, generate jobs and ease imports.

    Estimated to create a 100 million jobs and increase manufacturings contribution to the national output to 25 percent from the current 17 percent, the initiative is a massive nationwide drive to boost manufacturing in India.

    China’s manufacturing sector in comparison contributes 35 percent to the GDP. Initiated in 2014, ‘Make in India’ is a flagship of the Modi regime. The main objective is to develop a Chinese-style global manufacturing and export powerhouse that will make India one of the top 50 nations in the world on the World Bank’s Ease of Business ranking.

    Currently, India stands at 130. In comparison to her sweet and sour neighbour, India’s desire to propel manufacturing comes from weak industrial data. Never a manufacturing powerhouse, India is now keen to increase factory output and industrial production. However in order to do this and bring in fresh investments, New Delhi needs to cut the proverbial red tape and lay out the red carpet instead. Like China she needs to give funds at affordable rates, offer cheap inputs and provide world-class infrastructure. In addition, she will also need to bring in technology, regulate environment norms and create skilled talent to attract both domestic and international manufacturers.

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  • cnfdi ~By Charmaine Mirza

    Chinese investment in India’s real estate sector increased six-fold in 2015, topping out at approx. US$870 million. The door is still wide open. The Indian government’s decision to allow 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment into the real estate sector has lead to a spike in interest from Chinese investors.

    Haryana has certainly jumped on the bandwagon. Dalian Wanda’s MoU with the Haryana State government to develop the Wanda Industrial New City that spreads over 100 kilometers, has flagged off a trickle of investment from China into India that could turn into a steady stream. China Fortune Land Development is also sizing up large-scale industrial park projects in Haryana, while Gezhouba, another real estate player from the mainland, is eyeing an investment in Telengana. Not to be left far behind, Madhya Pradesh is also seeking Chinese help to develop large scale industrial projects, while in the private sector, financing major China Fosun International, is considering investing in Locon Solutions, the owner of housing finance start up, Housing.com. So why is there such a sudden gold rush from China into India’s real estate segment?

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  • India_Budget_2016India’s union Budget 2016-17 wasn’t centered around Chinese investments which are flocking into the nation and looking for a quick return on investments, but was rather focused around long term players.

    With India’s rural economy occupying centerstage, New Delhi’s aim is to spend on rural India, create jobs and boost the agrarian economy which in turn will reap rich dividends in the years to come. The belief that rural India will run India’s economy is a pluralist concept which bodes well for all governments catering to the vote bank, however it does little to spur the growth of an economy in the near term. Chinese investors and companies on the other hand are more interested in the new India, one that sizzles on software and is tethered to technology for which India’s union budget gave little leeway.

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