Foreign Firms Surge to Provide India’s 280,000MW Solar Energy Goal

India’s $100 billion push into solar energy over the next decade is being driven by foreign players as local manufacturers are no longer protected by government restrictions on the sector. SunEdison of California will invest up to $4 billion in a manufacturing facility, and China‘s Trina Solar has unveiled plans for a $500 million plant. Both these companies will tie up with Indian firms to build the plants.

San Francisco-based First Solar will build 5,000 MW of solar power before 2020, and says it will rely on imported panels for now because it is cheaper to buy component parts internationally where they are more readily available, reports Reuters.

Solar Panels

Solar Panels

Sarus Solar, formed by Canadian Solar Inc., and two other Canada-based firms, plans to spend about $1.02 billion to build a 500-MW photovoltaic power plant in India. The first solar park will be constructed in the state of Maharashtra’s Thane district the firm’s head of operations for India, Arun Agarwal, said. The second 500-MW project will be in the northern Jharkhand state and has already been approved, he added.

Japan’s SoftBank will invest up to $20 billion. The firm said it would consider making solar panels locally with Taiwan’s Foxconn.

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July 19, 2015   No Comments

India: Fourth Largest Hub for Startups

According to the Ministry of Finance’s Economy Survey 2014-15, India is becoming the world’s fourth largest center for venture and angel funded startup businesses. The country’s technology sector is fueling this growth especially in the online space, where 240 million Indians now have internet access, according to research group IMRB International. IMRB says this is the third highest in the world after China and the U.S., which India is expected to overtake this year.

Investments into India’s startups hit more than $3.5 billion in the first half of this year, a new high, according to Yourstory.com, one of the country’s most popular websites for entrepreneurs. A significant proportion of this money comes from overseas, with funds such as Tiger Global, Sequoia and Accel in the U.S., and Japan’s SoftBank, leading the way, reports BBC.

Arjun Narayan, founder of Catamaran, a private investment company that has offices in both Bangalore and London says: “It takes a lot of learning here [India] as it is a very heterogeneous market with lots of different tastes and variants,” he says. “In many cases investors don’t have patience and don’t let that learning curve happen.” Catamaran’s principal investor is NR Narayana Murthy, co-founder and first CEO of Infosys.

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July 19, 2015   No Comments

India: Next Hot Stop for Smartphone Makers

“India presents the world’s largest smartphone growth potential for the next 5 years,” Mark Li, senior analyst at Bernstein Research said in a report titled India: The Next China for Smartphones?

India is the world’s third largest smartphone market behind China. In the next 5 years it is projected to more than double its smartphone shipments, overtaking the U.S. to become the world’s second biggest market, reports CNBC.

Smartphone manufacturers have to adapt their selling strategies to the prevailing scenario in India where the market is characterized by low average selling prices, slow technology migration and a high reliance on retail channels.

Samsung is currently the top smartphone vendor in India with a 27.8 percent market share, followed by local manufacturers Micromax, Intex, and Lava with a 15.3 percent, 9.4 percent and 5.4 percent market share, respectively. With the acquisition of Motorola, Lenovo has gained market share in India through its partnership with online marketer Flipkart.

China’s Xiaomi has made headway in the market with its low-price devices. It entered India last July and has a 5 percent share of the market already. The company has announced plans to set up a manufacturing base in the country to meet demand.

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July 3, 2015   No Comments

Beauty and the BRIC

Euromonitor International, a provider of strategic market research, says that emerging market consumers are still spending a good amount of cash on beauty and personal care. Value sales across emerging markets were up almost 10% in 2014 over the previous year at fixed U.S. dollar prices. However, annual growth did not reach double-digit levels for the first time in more than a decade.  

GCI reports that global beauty and personal care brands are now faced with a more reticent China, where the consumption culture of its mid-income consumers is changing; a more cash-strapped Brazil as the Brazilian economy is veering toward recession, and a more inward-looking Russia. Will India be the new China? GCI asks, since it was one of the best performing emerging markets for beauty and personal care in 2014, with retail sales climbing 15% from 2013.

India has some of the best growth prospects over the next five years from among all the emerging markets. India’s economy is notably being boosted by lower oil prices, and increasingly beauty-conscious urban consumers will have the money to spend on beauty products. These trends bode well for beauty and personal care categories such as deodorants, color cosmetics and men’s grooming.

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June 25, 2015   No Comments

India Tops Global Emerging Market Investors’ Country Preference Chart

According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, India topped the global emerging market investors’ country preference chart followed by China and Poland in the second and third place, respectively.  Asia Pacific investors have increased their allocations to India and Taiwan in June, reports SiliconIndia News.

“Despite having lost 14 percent (in $ terms) since January highs, India continues to be the most favored country for global emerging market investors,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in their recent research report.

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June 24, 2015   No Comments