Category — Market Entry

Apple to Expand Stores in India

Apple, the Cupertino, California-based electronics maker plans 500 ‘iOS’ stores in India, in its first major push that will include moving into smaller towns and cities. The company has been in the country since 2011, but its phones have not gained as much popularity as its Korean rival Samsung that dominates the Indian phone market. The company sold one million phones in India in the year ending September 2014, and expects the volume to triple this year.

The Economic Times reported  that Apple has “tentatively approved” the expansion proposal and will give a final go-ahead very soon, defining all the parameters and phases of expansion. “These new stores will be smaller in size and could range from 300-600 sq ft against the over 2,000 sq ft size of existing stores in bigger cities.” A franchise model is likely to be adopted and could be spearheaded by Redington, one of its distributors in India. Apple is also expected to increase spending for direct advertising in India, apart from publicity undertaken by its distributors.

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December 12, 2014   No Comments

Solvay Increases Resin Production in India by 25%

Solvay SA, the 150-year-old Belgian company that’s moving from commodity chemicals to specialty materials and additives, will expand a high-performance plastics plant in India to cope with demand from smartphone and aircraft makers.

Production of polyether ether ketone polymer resins, known as PEEK, will increase 25 percent at the Panoli plant in the state of Gujarat, the Brussels-based company said. Demand for PEEK and related compounds is growing at about 8 percent to 10 percent annually as handset and tablet makers need heat- and chemical-resistant plastics to fit more technology into a smaller space.

“Today’s announcement to de-bottleneck capacity shows we are determined to keep pace with this growing demand worldwide,Augusto Di Donfrancesco, president of Solvay Specialty Polymers, said in a statement on December 3, 2014.

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December 5, 2014   No Comments

Modi Administration Starts to Address Nuclear Energy Liability Law

The Indian government is working on plans to resolve the terms of the nuclear liability law that has staved off foreign and domestic equipment suppliers alike for it holds suppliers, and not just the operator, liable if an accident occurs.

The latest trigger for the government’s rethink is the unwillingness of even domestic firms to participate in the 2800 MW, $3.5 billion Gorakhpur Nuclear Power Project in the northern land-locked state of Haryana. India’s private players such Larsen & Toubro, and Walchandnagar Industries Limited, long standing nuclear equipment suppliers, have made no secret of their opposition to the liability law.

Government sources said Prime Minister Modi is understood to have asked his officials for an urgent solution to the problem which has all but neutered the landmark U.S.-India nuclear deal of 2008 because equipment suppliers aren’t willing to risk liabilities that could bankrupt them. When Prime Minister Modi visited Washington last September, the joint press release specifically mentioned finding a pathway to nuclear energy collaboration (and overcoming these obstacles). Westinghouse Electric and G.E. Power are eager to sell light water reactors to India.

Options the government is considering include: Setting up an insurance pool, fixing a limit on reactor components for the purpose of determining liability, and the Prime Minister providing a personal assurance that vendors won’t be harassed unnecessarily in the event of an accident.

The insurance pool is proposed to have all stakeholders, both operator and suppliers, contributing to the fund to cover high insurance costs. The size of the fund will depend  on the government’s own contribution, as state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd., is the sole operator of nuclear power plants in the country.

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November 30, 2014   No Comments

Indians Pre-Order Sandwiches in Advance of Burger King Opening!

Burger King was yet to open its first outlet in the country, yet over 1,200 Indians had already pre-ordered the chicken, mutton or veggie versions of its Whopper sandwich for 128 rupees (just over $2) each. Online shoppers then collected their orders in a separate line when the store opened in New Delhi’s Select Citywalk Mall on November 9.

Pre-ordering has become a bit of a  craze in India, and Coca-Cola India launched its Coke Zero exclusively through pre-orders on Amazon. Burger King entered India almost two decades after its competitor McDonald’s. Honoring the sentiments of Hindus and Muslims, the chain will not offer any items made of beef or pork. And, just as McDonald’s has done, Burger King too will Indianize its menu by including dishes made of paneer or cottage cheese that is so popular in India.

Burger King’s late entry may not be a constraint in a country where fast food is in hot demand. The segment is dominated by Western players as Indian food does not easily lend itself to the standardization demands of fast food chains. India’s organized fast food market is expected to grow to $8 billion in 2020 from $2.5 billion in 2013. Even though digital commerce is in its infancy in India, it is one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in the APAC region according to Gartner which predicts it will hit $6 billion in 2015 – a 70% rise over 2014 revenues of $3.5 billion.

 

 

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November 11, 2014   No Comments

SunEdison Wins 150 Megawatt Project in Karnataka

St. Peters, Missouri-based SunEdison Inc. won a bid to build 150 megawatts of solar projects in southern India’s Karnataka state.

The company will build and own the five projects for Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd. SunEdison was one of 44 developers vying to build 500 megawatts of projects in the state. The facilities are expected to be owned by the developer, its project holding company TerraForm Power Inc. or an affiliate. It will sell power under contract to the grid.

SunEdison recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the provincial government of Rajasthan to build 5 gigawatts of projects in the northern Indian state.

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October 31, 2014   No Comments