Friday, 20 March 2015

Another Chinese Phonemaker Wants A Piece of India: Top India Headlines

Indian smartphone buyers are going to be spoilt for choice, again. After Xiaomi and One Plus, it’s now Meizu’s turn. The Chinese smartphone maker, which had been making noises about an international foray, launched a Facebook page for India and a giveaway contest.
There is no information about which model it will sell in India or the price, so industry watchers say the phones that will be given away may be an indicator and early signs point to the Mi Note. Xiaomi had an exclusive tie-up with Flipkart, while One Plus signed up with Amazon; it remains to be seen how Meizu will launch in India.
Here’s some news from the e-commerce world. It turns out that eBay may havemore investor rights in Snapdeal than Softbank and other venture capital firms. Filings show that eBay has been listed as a strategic investor unlike the other funds and this may mean eBay has the first right of refusal when other funds want to sell their holdings. Considering eBay’s Indian operations have paled in the onslaught of the Flipkarts and Amazons of the past few years, this may be its only hold on the Indian market.
Meru Cabs, India’s oldest radio taxi operator, is looking for more money. After raising $50 million from existing investor India Value Fund Partners, it plans to raise another $100 million over the next few weeks. After Ola Cabs bought TaxiForSure, creating a formidable rival for Meru, and after pooh-poohing reports that Uber may acquire it, Meru appears to be pushing hard on all fronts to retain its competitive edge. Of course, we will be happy if we can just find a cab when we need one.
Tata Motors is staging a comeback. At one time, this was India’s top utility vehicle maker, but a shift in focus to passenger cars, including the acquisition of the troubled Jaguar Land Rover and its turnaround, had distracted it from its stronghold. The company is now planning to launch no less than six utility vehicles over the next couple of years, seeking to win back market share lost to Mahindra & Mahindra. We are in for some interesting times in the auto industry for sure.
Whatever happens in the U.S., don’t worry about India. That seems to be the message coming from some Indian economists. Investors are spooked, remembering the rout in 2013 when the U.S. said it was tapering off its monetary stimulus. The simple conclusion is that higher rates in the U.S. mean less incentive to keep money in emerging markets like India. But Indian economic indicators are far healthier this time around and we have less to worry even if the Fed does end up raising interest rates. And of course, the promise of reforms from the not-so-new government is also keeping foreign investors interested.
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