Monthly Archives: December 2016

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Panasonic steps up India focus

Mumbai: Japanese major Panasonic is upping its  investment in India despite challenges the consumer electronics and durables market is facing in the wake of demonetisation.

In a conversation with Business Standard, Tetsuro Homma, senior managing director, Panasonic Corporation, said the pain triggered by demonetisation was short-term and would not last more than a couple of quarters.

“We remain committed to the Indian market despite the disruption triggered by demonetisation. From long-term point of view, India still remains an attractive bet for us,” said Homma, who is also worldwide president of Panasonic’s appliance company, responsible for a $25 billion (or Rs 1.7 lakh crore) business.

The maker of the Viera brand of televisions and Econavi range of air conditioners will set up a new manufacturing facility for refrigerators in Jhajjar, Haryana, at an investment of Rs 115 crore.  The plant will be operational by November 2017, with annual production capacity of 0.5 million units, Homma said.

This investment figure along with previous amounts will take Panasonic’s total investment into India in the last few years to over Rs 300 crore, company executives said. “While local manufacturing of most of our products including televisions, air conditioners, washing machines and mobile phones had begun in India, refrigerators was a gap that needed to be filled,’says Manish Sharma, president and CEO, Panasonic India & South Asia. “That process has been set into motion now,” Sharma said.

The move to manufacture and assemble Panasonic products in India also comes at a time when the Japanese major is looking to shift its manufacturing and research and development (R&D) base here from China. This comes as China loses its advantage as a cost-effective base, market sources said, compelling consumer electronic majors to look at alternatives such as India.

Homma says that India will act as a regional hub not only for the south and west Asian markets, but also for Africa. The firm will also set up its first offshore advanced R&D unit in Bengaluru next year as it looks to widen its footprint in the country, he added.  The advanced R&D unit will begin with 60 people, which is expected to be ramped up quickly over time. Exports from India into South & West Asia and Africa are also expected to increase over time, Homma added.

source: India in Businesss 07-DEC-2016

Raymond partners with Khadi and Village Industries Commission to launch new clothing line

Mumbai: Fabric and apparel major RaymondBSE 0.13 % has partnered Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to introduce a new line of clothing under the brand Khadi by Raymond, which will directly compete with Fabindia.

Raymond Trouser Length 1.3 meter

KVIC will certify Raymond to use Khadi mark to sell ready-made garments and fabric which will be available at KVIC and Raymond outlets across the country.

“Khadi is looking for an economic revolution and Raymond has technical expertise as well as significant global presence. This is a perfect match”, said Sanjay Behl, CEO Raymond. “Our idea was really to own the complete value chain by getting directly into the source of Khadi in India and the most widest and proficient in Khadi is KVIC,” he added.

The initiative is taken under the KVIC Act that permits it to promote the sale and marketing of Khadi or products of village industries or handicrafts and forge links with established marketing agencies.

As per the signed MOU, Raymond has agreed for a guaranteed initial procurement of a substantial amount of Khadi fabrics from the 2300 clusters under KVIC in the initial year.

Apart from retailing the brand, Raymond will provide technical and design expertise to Khadi manufacturing clusters for crafting readymade garments for its apparel brands.

“This is historic for us because a typical government organisation is joining hands with a private company like Raymond. Despite having the best products in the world, we could not take Khadi to the globe because of very limited resources. But this partnership will allow us to do that,” said VK Saxena, KVIC chairman.

According to KVIC this joint venture is also a step towards making a radical shift in people’s perception of Khadi from a fabric that stands for nationalism to a fabric that stands for fashion.

The association will add an incremental employment of 2.1 lakh man hours for spinners and weavers.

In the past, Raymond has had similar associations with the handloom sector which included hand-crafted khadi products as well but have never branded and marketed them on a scale this big.

Raymond has a near 60 percent market share in the Rs. 18,000-crore suitings segment.

Raymond plans to invest about Rs 500 crore to open 400-500 new stores across all its portfolios in the next 5 years. The company is also investing the same amount in setting up a new plant in Ethiopia to cater to its global markets like Europe and US.

The company, currently manufacture textiles from three manufacturing unit; Chhindwara in Central India, Vapi in Gujarat, near Mumbai and Jalgaon in Maharashtra is also ramping up its production capacity.

In Feb, this year Raymond invested Rs 450 crore in a new textile unit at Nandgaon Peth in Amravati district in Vidarbha which will have an annual capacity of 20 million metres of cotton fabric.

source: India in business

We’re investing aggressively and will continue to do so: Amazon’s India head

Business Standard

In Association with

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Amazon’s India business has experienced triple digit growth rates this year when rest of the ecosystem is either flat or on a lower growth path, country head AMIT AGARWAL tells Karan Choudhury at an event in New Delhi to announce the launch of a global start-up programme. Edited excerpts:

What is your take on demonetisation?
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The idea of cashless is good for the country, for customers, businesses, I welcome that intent. How you get there, this clearly is one step towards that. For 48 hours once the initiative was announced we switched off cash on delivery part of the business, because we did not want our logistics networks to be unstable. Since then we have seen a dramatic uptick of customers opting to use electronic payments method at the doorstep, even loading up their Amazon balances so that they can shop on our site. We are mostly back to normal and are seeing triple digit growth rates.

You as of now do not have a mobile wallet. Do you consider that as a hindrance? Is a wallet in the works?

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Customers can load up their Amazon balance for shopping on the portal and many users are using this service. As far as the wallet is concerned, we do not really speculate on things we may or may not do. But yes, we had acquired a small company called EMVANTAGE Payments Pvt. Ltd, the whole focus of that is on same things we care about, we want to make it super easy for customers to buy on and payments is one of the areas where we definitely want to make it better for customers. A lot of the technology that this company has built has improved the payment experience at

There have been quite a few downgrades in valuation of ecommerce companies this year. What’s your take on it? How is it going to be in 2017?

I do not have any view of e-commerce for other companies in 2017. What I can tell you is that our view for our business is extremely positive. We are exiting this year being the leader in every single dimension that customers care about. We are exiting 2016 with triple digit growth rates year on year, when the rest of the ecosystem is mostly seeing flat to negative growth. We are exiting this year investing aggressively, to offer customers with large selection, great prices and faster delivery. So I am very optimistic. But having said that, it is very early in the lifecycle of ecommerce in India and we will continue to invest over a long period of time.

What sort of dent did business make on your global financial numbers? How long is this sustainable?

We do not break the financials by country, we look at India as a fabulous long-term opportunity for Amazon globally and we would continue to invest aggressively in areas that matter to customers over a long period of time.

Any special sales being planned around Christmas? Are you planning to bring a version of Black Friday sales to India?

We are always focused on offering products at really low prices to our customers. Customers should continue to see great selections on our website. They would see sellers bring great offers to them. I am sure the sellers would bring Christmas specials to our customers. Customers can already shop for global products on Amazon today. As far as Black Friday type sales our concerned, we do not comment on what we may or may not do (smiles).

As far as Amazon Now is concerned, how are things panning out there?

Amazon Now is our specific two hour delivery service that offers popular consumer products. That service is active in Bengaluru and we have piloted it in Mumbai and Delhi. It is doing great, customers really love this service and we will ensure that they get more selection.

What are your plans for 2017?

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Our plans would be exactly the same as they have been for the last three years. We would continue to add more selection, figure out how we lower the cost of operations, offer low prices, how we ship products to customers are low prices. It is exactly the same thing that we have been doing at Amazon for the last 20 years.

MoUs with 20 e-commerce companies to help weavers/artisans market their products directly

source: The Times of India

MANGALURU: The Union textiles ministry is looking to concentrate on new markets and opportunities for local handloom and handicraft sector as many global companies are willing to tie-up with Indian weavers and artisans, Rashmi Verma, Textiles Secretary said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi.

“There is a huge scope for promoting Indian handloom and handicraft products in the niche markets world over,” said Rashmi while addressing an ASSOCHAM Luxury Summit. She said that though most of the sectors registered a decline in exports of Indian products to global markets, export of handicrafts continued to grow at the rate of 17%.

“All stakeholders should make efforts to engage with artisans and weavers in the country and hand-hold them not only for ensuring that they get right price and market for their products and also get recognition which they deserve in the world and domestic markets,” said the textiles Secretary.

The ministry has signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 20 e-commerce companies to engage with artisans and weavers in different handloom and handicraft clusters across India and help them market their products directly. “This will go a long way in ensuring that they get the right price for their product as they are able to sell their product directly to the consumer,” she said.

The government is taking number of steps for skilling weavers, for giving them design inputs, quality raw material, tools and upgrading their looms to empower them so that they continue to remain engaged in this craft. “We are finding that younger generation is slowly getting disinterested in this sector and are moving towards information technology as the children of the weavers and artisans are not joining this profession,” said Rashmi Verma.

The Textiles Ministry has taken an initiative for training children of weavers and artisans to become entrepreneurs so that they can emerge as leaders in producers’ groups and market their products through e-commerce and other channels directly. “This is also in one way trying to attract children of weavers and artisans back into this trade,” she said.

There are a number of design workshops especially for the weavers and artisans whereby they are informed about current market trends and demand of the market because they have to be sensitised to the needs of the market and only then they will be able to produce what the consumer wants and not try to sell whatever they have made.

The ministry had conducted an analysis and found that many of the weavers and artisans have become workers and labourers in the hands of traders or exporters. “They get paid wages on a daily basis on whatever work they do in one day, so instead of selling their craft and talent, they are now selling their labour, as a result, this has disinterested the young generation,” she said.

 dearth of working capital, dependence upon middle men for raw material, working capital and even the design are certain factors forcing the weavers and artisans to sell off their talent and craft. “It is very-very important that we all together take steps so that dignity of the weaver and artisan is restored and we empower them to be able to sell their talent and their products and not their labour,” she said.
“Sometimes, it is important to have these traders and exporters because they give them the kind of market which these products deserve but it is also important to ensure that these people continue in the tradition of handloom weaving and handicrafts by empowering them by ensuring that they get working capital, are able to get good designs and also have a marketing nexus of their own,” she said further.

Apple plans to set up a distribution centre in India

source: Economic Times 02-December-2016

Kolkata: Apple will move to a dedicated distribution centre for its products in India for the first time, consolidating its logistics operations to ensure common pricing for offline and online sales and acquiring greater control over the supply chain.

Apple’s global logistics partner DB Schenker will own and operate the centre, which will come up at Bhiwandi near Mumbai, two senior industry officials said. DB Schenker, one of Europe’s largest logistics companies, has signed an agreement to run the Indian centre, which will help to ensure that Apple products are rarely sold out at the retail level, as it happened after the launch of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in October.

Currently, iPhones, iPads and Mac computers are brought into India through Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chandigarh, New Delhi and Hyderabad – where value-added tax rates vary – and transferred to distributors from the airport itself.

Online sellers often source the devices from low-VAT markets, gaining a price advantage over their offline rivals.

“The distribution centre will allow Apple to stock its products adequately, will ease operations and streamline its logistics and supply chains. It will also help in maintaining uniform price for its products, which will become much easier under the Goods and Services Tax regime,” said one of the executives.

Email queries sent to Apple and DB Schenker seeking comment did not elicit any immediate response.

Apple is expanding in India, widening distribution to the smaller cities and working with application developers. The company was the country’s second-largest smartphone maker by revenue in 2015-16, pipping local rival Micromax Informatics after sales increased 54% to Rs 9,997 crore.

One industry executive said the distribution centre will help Apple provide hardware such as Mac computers tailored to the needs of business customers.

“Earlier, this flexibility was not there. The company is currently reviewing this and any such effort will be for enterprise clients only,” he said. Apple allows customisation only for consumers who place orders through its online store, which would require retail foreign direct investment approval from the government. Its retail and online store plans are still stuck after the government revised its FDI policy this year.

Mahindra and IBM to develop blockchain solution for supply chain finance

source: livemint – Nov 30 2016.

Mumbai: The Mahindra Group and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) will co-develop a blockchain solution, which the companies claim, has the potential to reinvent supply chain finance across India by enhancing security, transparency and operational processes.

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This cloud-based application, one of the first projects of its kind in India outside of traditional banking, is designed to transform supplier-to-manufacturer trade finance transactions, Mahindra said in a statement.

The blockchain-based supply chain finance solution will enable all parties involved in the transaction to act on the same shared ledger, with each party updating only its part of the process, ensuring efficiency, consistency, trust and transparency, while safeguarding sensitive information.

Invoice discounting, the process of bundling and selling invoices at a discount, is a major source of working capital finance for many suppliers. This new solution aims to enable more suppliers to access credit, with the goal of driving more financial inclusion throughout the supply chain. The solution aims to simplify supplier-to-manufacturer invoice discounting processes that have historically been difficult, slow and risky, requiring each party to maintain and manually update separate ledgers.

Anish Shah, group president (strategy), Mahindra Group, said the group is pioneering the use of blockchain to disrupt its traditional businesses and drive future growth.

The company is also actively looking at other applications across the group in financial services, auto, mobility and agritech. “This proof of concept represents a significant step forward in making blockchain, still a new technology, a more compelling and efficient supply chain solution for Mahindra Finance’s small and mid-sized enterprises loans business. Working with IBM, we will work to build, test, scale and refine this solution over time,” said Shah.

Blockchain technology can help enable Mahindra Finance access transactions recorded on a shared ledger in near real-time, enabling it to develop and offer new products to small and mid-sized enterprises. This is a radical process and technology shift which has the potential to drive business growth into the future.

“Blockchain is poised to revolutionize business like the Internet did,” said Lula Mohanty, managing partner of IBM Global Business Services.

The work with Mahindra has the potential to fundamentally transform the way businesses interact with one another and their customers and suppliers, “and we’re confident that this engagement can be replicated not just in the finance industry but across other sectors as well,” he said.

In an interview with Mint in June 2016, Shah said Mahindra is sharpening its focus on digital technologies such as blockchain, Big Data analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and even augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), to boost growth.