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Showing posts from March, 2016

How will New FDI Rules for B2C e-commerce affect eBooks?

Will the new FDI rules for B2C marketplaces in India, affect Amazon's eBook business? The new FDI rules include provisions restricting e-commerce firms from directly or indirectly influencing the sale price of goods on online marketplaces and Amazon has very detailed terms and conditions about the price of eBooks on its platform.
Times of India reports that the next time you turn online for a big discount, chances are, you will come away empty-handed. The government's new e-commerce policy that has opened the gates for 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in B2C online marketplace, restricts e-commerce companies from directly or indirectly influencing the sale price of goods on online marketplaces.
This could mean, no more jaw-dropping discounts on smartphones or televisions -- or at least, online prices will be on a par with what your neighbourhood retailer offers. "This was needed. They will now not only stop giving huge discounts but also perhaps not advertise openly …

Voice Communication via App

Messaging apps are taking over from the telecom operators - See Killing everything but the messenger
Times of India reports that, in India, you may soon be able to dial landline or mobile phone numbers from popular Internet apps such as Skype, WhatsApp or Viber, following clearance for inter-connect agreements between Internet service providers and telecom operators by an inter-ministerial panel of the government on Monday.
The move may result in substantially lower charges for voice calls (which would be billed as per data usage), though poor quality of Internet networks - a general irritant with broadband services in many parts of the country - could be a dampener.
A part from being a consumer-friendly move, the decision to allow inter-connect agreements between ISPs and telecom operators will be a shot in the arm for Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio Infocomm, which will soon begin services across the country . Reliance Jio plans to offer voice over its 4G network. Following the pa…

Shanghai Meet: Great Expectations

Backroom currency deals in Shanghai? More going on than meets the eye? Probably a golden opportunity here for investors.
Economic Times reports that the US dollar has just been knocked down and forced to serve the interests of the world against the will of the  American people. The dollar has been Shanghaied! Based on the best information we've been able to obtain, it looks like the dollar has just been Shanghaied by the G-20 (the unelected, unaccountable group of 20 nations that collectively control the world monetary system). This could be the most important financial development of 2016, with enormous implications for your portfolio. This new effort to knock out the dollar was contrived at a secret meeting in Shanghai on February 26. 
WHO ATTENDED THE MEETING?  The list of names reads like a rogues' gallery of central planners and currency manipulators. Janet Yellen from Fed, Christine Lagarde from IMF, Mario Draghi from ECB and US Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew were there, a…

eBook Marketplaces

Is Amazon India a marketplace for eBooks? Does Amazon India allow buyers and sellers to transact without themselves selling anything and derive revenues largely from fees for services provided and should not be trading on their own account? With regard to eBooks, Amazon applies so many terms and conditions before an eBook is published that it applies too much control over publishing and leaves very little revenue for the others. Can Amazon India really be treated as a marketplace?
Times of India reports that the Indian government will soon issue a clear definition of what constitutes a 'marketplace' in the context of ecommerce in the country's foreign direct investment (FDI) policy, hoping to end disputes over popular online retail websites and encourage entrepreneurship in the digital space by leaving it unfettered. Central to this is the future of the model that's used by companies such as Flipkart, Amazon India and Snapdeal, all of which call themselves marketplace…

Digital Content is King with 4G

Digital content is king with 4G.
Times of India reports that the share prices of some media companies have soared nearly 60% in March alone owing to the rapid growth in demand for movies and entertainment content from subscribers amid an aggressive expansion of 4G services by telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea.
Analysts expect content owners with movies and entertainment libraries to gain significantly as they are expected to monetise their assets. Telecom operators with 4G services and distribution platform companies such as Hungama and Hooq are increasingly looking to bolster their content offering as the number of subscribers is growing fast.
Mukta Arts has surged 58% in March so far this year, while Shemaroo Entertainment 29.5%, Eros International Media has rallied 29%, Raj Television Network has gained 23%, Saregama India 20%, and Tips Industries, Balaji Telefilms and Sun TV Network have appreciated nearly 15% each. All these stocks have outperformed the …

Startup Investors Liquidation Preference

Startup investors get to choose what they take out from the startups they invest in.
Economic Times reports that Simply put, it is the preference towards exit pickings for each class of shareholders in a company in the event of a strategic exit or sale for the shareholders. The Liquidation Preference clause and the waterfall it ensconces is a watershed provision in all term sheets and investment documents that usually decides who walks away grinning to the bank or otherwise. Since a company chiefly bears exit returns to its shareholders and investors either through an IPO (which is when all private contractual agreements governing classes of securities fall away) or pre IPO sale of business, it is imperative for an investor to pre determine what component or percentage of the sale proceeds it will be entitled to when the cash is counted.
Picture a liquidation preference waterfall as exactly that; a waterfall that cascades upon each class of shareholder in a company, bestowing it with …

Entrepreneurs Pitching with their Lead Investors

New format for pitching startups comes to India.
Times of India reports that in the startup world, everyone is familiar with the pitch events - entrepreneurs pitching their idea to investors, and reverse-pitch events - representatives of venture funds pitching to entrepreneurs. This Friday, Bengaluru saw a new type of pitch session emerge - where entrepreneurs pitched their startup ideas to other investors, along with a lead investor. "The whole investor coming in gives a big boost for a small startup like us. It shows a big picture to the people who are coming in when an investor believes in you. And the other thing is they take very good care of understanding who we are. So it's very sector specific. Otherwise, you don't know which investors to talk to and how to talk to them," said Nikalank Jain, CPO of Qiddle, an online interaction platform for mothers.
Qiddle was one of the nine startups that were joined by investors for the pitching session at an event organis…

Engineering Change in India

Ola and Uber are setting up engineering teams in India to look at new products and services. They are hiring teams of software engineers to do this. Just like Google, Amazon and Facebook, once digital tech companies reach a certain size they use their capital to branch out into other tech fields. They become like digital tech conglomerates. From the Industrial to the electronic and now digital revolution - mechanical then electronic and now software engineering is the new phase of change. 
SJP @DigitalAsian

Indian Startups on a Down Note with Funding Crunch

Indian startups on a down note for the first period of 2016 as the funding crunch bites.
Economic Times reports that a few months after Indian startups set records in hiring from premier engineering and management schools, some have begun to renege on their offers or are marking down salaries. Hiring by startups at college campuses during the November-January placement season had surged as emerging businesses competed to recruit the best talent, but the recent  funding crunch is forcing them to focus on profitability and paring costs. Investors weary of startups burning their cash too fast without building solid businesses have increased pressure on them to clean up and improve their strategies, and hiring has become a big casualty of this. 
Taxi aggregator  Ola and online marketplace Snapdeal, among India's most valuable Internet companies, were even absent from campus placements this academic year, a stark contrast from a few months back when leading startups lobbied with top e…

Daily Intake of Fibre: Internet Speeds in India

Internet services in India need a lot of improvement, even in the main cities. The speeds are poor and the service is not consistent.
Times of India reports that Vedanta group company Sterlite Technologies, which is rolling out a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in the country, has signed partnership deals with mobile carriers Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices, and Internet service provider Spectranet, according to people aware of the development. The Pune-based company has kept its network-ready fibre infrastructure open to allow service operators to plug in and play their services on a revenue sharing basis. Sterlite Technologies refused to reveal the project cost, but said the ongoing programme is self-funded.
Its chief executive Anand Agarwal told ET that the company is open to multiple partnerships for its FTTH network. "We are the largest FTTH service provider in the country and the project is fully funded by us," Agarwal said, adding that telcos and Internet servic…

Searching for Charges on Google

Google is looking for new and innovative ways to monetise its search engine.
Times of India reports that earlier this year, Google launched a new tool to let presidential candidates publish posts about their views directly to Google search results, like this: Now, the company is extending the feature to the commercial realm and offering it to a select group of small businesses. Google is calling the Posts tool "an experimental new podium on Google" and says it plans to make it available to "other prominent figures and organizations." The new tool is not ad, as Google is not currently charging businesses for the privilege. Of course, that could change in the future.
"This is an experimental search feature we are testing, but it is not tied to Google+," a spokesperson tells Business Insider. "We are currently experimenting with presidential candidates and just started with some SMBs for a select pilot period." The small business aspect was first …

Amazon gets into every Nook and Cranny

Amazon gets into every nook and cranny. The Amazon juggernaut carries on. 
The publishing house Barnes & Noble, which also sells eBooks has announced that it will stop selling its digital book brand Nook in the UK. Its UK version of its online book store and app accessed through Nook devices will also close.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Killing everything but the Messenger: Messaging Apps Takeover the Smartphone

Most people do a lot of things on their smartphones with their messaging apps. WhatsApp being the dominant app but there are others trying to compete. The messaging app on the smartphone may be the most used function, day to day. 
With more functionality being added to messaging apps all the time, they will displace other apps gradually.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Is your mobile phone listening to you?

Is your mobile phone listening to you?
Have you ever had a conversation with someone when your mobile phone was nearby and then next time you use the phone, you see adverts which are connected to the conversation you had? Read this spooky article from BBC News:
BBC News reports that "It all began with a car crash. I was doing some ironing when my mum came in to tell me that a family friend had been killed in a road accident in Thailand. My phone was on the worktop behind me. But the next time I used the search engine on it, up popped the name of our friend, and the words, "Motorbike accident, Thailand" and the year in the suggested text below the search box....." 
Click on http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35639549 to read the full article.
SJP @DigitalAsian

Transforming Financial Transactions

Does the Blockchain technology behind Bitcoin have the power to transform financial transactions?
Times of India reports that Bitcoins could transform the remittances business in the country and the digital currency could gain increasing acceptance in India, given its gold-like attributes, the chairman of the global Bitcoin Foundation told ET. The Bitcoin Foundation was started in 2012 to standardise, promote and protect the use of Bitcoins. The foundation lobbies, organises conferences and provides technical support for the digital currency. "I am really surprised bitcoin isn't more popular in India, given the strong gold culture here. I call it Gold 2.0. It has all the attributes other than the fact that it isn't tangible, and tangibility is less important in the digital age," Brock Pierce, chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, said on the sidelines of the SingularityU India Summit held by INK Talks.
Pierce said the digital currency could be used in the remittances …

Getting Digitally Literate in India

Getting Digitally Literate in India.
Times of India reports that the Indian government plans to launch a mission to provide digital literacy to around six crore additional rural households. "We now plan to launch the digital literacy mission scheme for rural India to cover around 6 crore additional households in the next three years, details of the scheme will be spelt out separately," finance minister Arun Jaitley said while announcing Union Budget 2016-17.
The government has already approved two schemes to promote digital literacy -- national digital literacy mission and digital saksharta abhiyan. "We need to spread digital literacy in rural areas. Of the 16.8 crore rural households, as many as 12 crore households do not have computers and are unlikely to have digitally literate people," Jaitley said. Digital literacy can be defined as the knowledge to handle digital devices like computers, tablet PCs and smartphones, and Internet usage.
SJP @DigitalAsian