IndUS Business Journal

Indian-origin lawyer Kirtee Kapoor dies after being hit by train in California

Jun 8, 2017 0

Washington–An Indian-origin lawyer died after he was hit by a train at a crossing in a northern California town.

Kirtee Kapoor, the head of Davis Polk & Wardwell’s India group and and a partner at the firm in Menlo Park, California, died in the accident on Monday near Atherton, the Mercury News reported.

A statement on the Davis Polk website said Kapoor was born in Bengaluru and did his L.L.B. from the University of Delhi Faculty of Law, a B.C.L. from Balliol College, University of Oxford, and L.L.M. from New York University School of Law.

Kirtee Kapoor

“Kirtee joined Davis Polk’s New York office as an associate in 1999,” said the statement.

“…Over the next 18 years he spent time in several of our offices advising clients on significant M&A matters and in investments and other transactions around the world.”

He was elected to the partnership in 2007 and moved to Hong Kong later that year. In 2015, he joined the firm’s northern California office.

“Kirtee was a truly wonderful man. His optimism, warmth, honesty and wisdom were inspiring. He will be remembered as a great partner of the firm, a beloved colleague and adviser, and a steadfast friend to so many,” the Davis Polk website said.

Kapoor is survived by his wife and daughter, who live in Menlo Park. (IANS)

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US, China, India to be top prospective destinations for foreign investment: UNCTAD

Jun 7, 2017 0

Geneva–The US, China and India are considered to be the most prospective destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI), predicted the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Wednesday in its annual report on investment.

According to the World Investment Report 2017: Investment and the Digital Economy, global FDI flows retreated marginally in 2016 by two per cent to $1,75 trillion, amid weak economic growth and significant policy risks perceived by multinational enterprises, Xinhua reported.

Flows to developing countries were especially hard hit, with a decline of 14 per cent, while FDI outflows from developed countries decreased by 11 per cent, mainly owing to a slump in investments from European multinational enterprises.

The US remained the largest recipient of FDI, attracting $391 billion in inflows, followed by Britain with $254 billion, and China with inflows of $134 billion.

According to the report, with a surge of outflows, China also becomes last year the second largest investing country.

In 2017, the global FDI is expected to rise by 5 per cent, to almost $1.8 trillion, attributed to higher economic growth expectations across major regions, a resumption of growth in trade and a recovery in corporate profits.

The modest increase in FDI flows is expected to continue into 2018, taking flows to $1.85 trillion, but still below the all-time peak of $1.9 trillion in 2007, said the report.

“Although this report projects a modest increase for 2017, other factors such as the elevation of geopolitical risks and policy uncertainty may impact the scale of the upturn,” said Mukhisa Kituyi, UNCTAD Secretary-General, adding that “the road to a full recovery for FDI remains bumpy”. (IANS)

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Fourth-Gen Bata scion wants company to embrace digital world

Jun 7, 2017 0

By Kishori Sud

New Delhi– He’s young, he’s handsome and he wants to walk in his forefathers’ footsteps. Or step into their shoes.

Twenty-nine-year old Thomas Archer Bata is carrying on the legacy of the famed name and wants to quickly bring the brick and mortar stores company into the digital world. The global Chief Marketing Officer says he aims to ensure that a Bata shoe would be available to anyone, anywhere in the country — and eventually the world.

“It’s a big shift towards retail and digital. We believe firmly that distribution and the future will be heavily digitally-oriented. So, even if you are not going to the store to buy your shoe, you are going to be perhaps buying it online. The way the people are shopping, the brand needs to change,” the fourth-generation Bata scion told IANS in an interview on the sidelines of the Bata fashion show here.

Bata has always been famous for its stores. They are present in almost every city in India, and in 75 other countries. The footwear multinational is run from its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, but, largely, each country works in a decentralised manner. All that may change if the effort to go digital worldwide in three years works out.

But it won’t be all digital, like e-commerce sites. Bata stores will still be around.

Thomas Archer Bata

The company was started by his great-grandfather, Tomas Bata, in his native town called Zlin in Southeast Moravia, 122 years ago. And for generations, shoes have been synonymous with Bata. The designing of the shoes is still mostly done in Europe, but it is manufactured in Italy, India, Indonesia and China. Globally, women form almost two-thirds of its clients, though in India men’s shoes outsell women’s.

The man who studied political science at the University of Edinburgh in England talks with passion about the science of footwear. The challenge, for him, is to ensure shoes offer both comfort and trendy designs.

“There is a conflict that exists in footwear that if a shoe looks good, it has to be uncomfortable and vice versa… We are trying to bridge that gap. We have big product development teams trying to figure that out everyday — ‘What is it about this shoe that makes it uncomfortable?’ so that we don’t have to compromise on either perceptions,” he said.

There are other challenges, he says — of shodding individuals with small feet or those with large ones.

“I’m aware of that problem. It is not actually terribly that simple to resolve. The solution that we are looking at is having those kind of collections online. I am a size 46, which is a eleven and half (UK size). I have very big feet, so it’s also quite difficult for me to buy shoes,” Archer Bata said.

“The solution we are looking at is to have some articles in small sizes in stores and have a wider selection available online. Unfortunately, because of capacity in the stores, it is not feasible to have every article in every size. If you don’t like it or have issues with the shoe you buy online, you can return it,” says Archer Bata who was born in Toronto and lives in the UK and Switzerland.

In India, Bata started in 1932 as a small operation in Konnagar, near Kolkata. From that, it has grown into the largest footwear retailer having some 1,200 outlets across the nation. It also has around 30,000 dealers.

Archer Bata, has thrown a challenge at the Indian company — of trying to reach a turnover of $1 billion (Rs 6,500 crore) by 2020 in annual sales — from Rs 2,450 crore in March 2016. That appears to be a tall order, even for a man with a footsize of 11-and-a-half. (IANS)

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Indian millennials feel AI can bring global peace

Jun 7, 2017 0

New Delhi–When it comes to achieving global peace and addressing social causes via technology, Indian millennials look forward to embracing artificial intelligence (AI) that can help find better solutions, a survey revealed on Wednesday.

According to the regional online survey by mobile operator Telenor Group that assessed the attitudes of Asia’s millennials towards technology and social impact, Indian millennials believe artificial intelligence (AI) will help governments and entreprises develop platforms to achieve peace.

“When asked about the technology that has the largest potential to give rise to peace, 36 per cent of India’s respondents placed their bets on AI, followed by the Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual reality (VR),” Telenor said in a statement.

Across all six markets (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand) surveyed, AI, IoT and VR ranked consistently in the top three.

“These results suggests the vast potential seen in future technologies by the Internet generation,” the statement added.

The survey also found that India’s millennials are most passionate about providing opportunities for children to get an education, followed by employment to youth. (IANS)

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Elgi Equipments targets $1 billion revenue in five years

Jun 7, 2017 0

Chennai– Rebranding itself, air compressor major Elgi Equipments Ltd is looking at acquiring distributors overseas to increase its market share at a fast pace and also set up assembly lines abroad, a top company official said on Wednesday.

Targeting to become number two in the global compressor market by 2027, the company hopes to touch a revenue of $1 billion in five year’s time from the current revenue of around $230 million.

“Our acquisitions will be in developed markets like the US and Europe. We are looking at acquiring existing distributors in those markets,” Managing Director Jay Varadaraj told reporters here.

Agreeing that the target is certainly a “Hanuman” jump from the current position, Varadaraj said he is confident of achieving the target owing to the product’s technology.

He claimed that Elgi’s air compressors are more power-efficient than competing products in the overseas markets.

Varadaraj said the company will set up an assembly line in the US once the sales volumes there touch 1,000 units per year.

According to him, the company may invest around Rs 1,000 crore in the short term beefing up its infrastructure while progressing towards its target of becoming number two in the global compressors market a decade down the line.

“We are not interested in acquiring a competitor as they will be having some baggage,” he added.

Varadaraj said globally the air compressors market is estimated at around $15 billion and the Indian market is around $600 million.

He said the company’s revenue is shared equally between domestic sales and exports.

Queried about plans for the company’s products for the automotive sector, Varadaraj said the company is planning to reorient that business contributing around 10 per cent of the total revenue.

Speaking about the rebranding exercise involving new logo and colour scheme, Varadaraj said it was done by the Brand Union agency. (IANS)

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India approves $9 billion export credit with South Korea

Jun 7, 2017 0

New Delhi– The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank) and Export-Import Bank of South Korea (KEXIM) for export credit of $9 billion for infrastructural development in India and for the supply of goods and services as part of projects in third countries.

The MoU is proposed to be signed between the two banks during the forthcoming visit of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to Seoul, South Korea, on June 14-15 for the Annual Financial Bilateral Dialogue, an official statement said here.

The decision is expected to promote the country’s international exports, and deepen political and financial ties between India and South Korea.

“The export credit will be utilised through lending by EXIM Bank for promoting projects for priority sectors, including smart cities, railways, power generation and transmission etc., in India and for the supply of goods and services from India and South Korea as part of projects in third countries,” the statement said.

Under the implementation strategy, the parties to the MoU will hold mutual consultations to structure the financial assistance, review the existing arrangements and related procedures.

EXIM Bank will identify viable projects in India. For projects in third countries, both parties will jointly identify viable projects, the statement added. (IANS)

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India’s seafood exports at record high, up 23 percent

Jun 7, 2017 0

New Delhi–Riding a robust demand for its frozen shrimp and fish, India exported 11,34,948 tonnes of seafood worth $5.78 billion (Rs 37,870.90 crore) in 2016-17, 23 per cent more over the $4.69 billion figure a year earlier, the government said on Wednesday.

India exported 9,45,892 tonnes of seafood in 2015-16.

With the US and SouthEast Asia continuing to be major importers, the demand from the European Union grew substantially during the period, a Commerce Ministry statement said.

“Increased production of L. Vannamei (whiteleg shrimp), diversification of aquaculture species, sustained measures to ensure quality and increase in infrastructure facilities for production of value-added products are largely responsible for India’s positive growth in seafood exports,” Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said.

“Frozen shrimp maintained its top position in exports, accounting for 38.28 per cent in quantity and 64.50 per cent of total earnings in dollar terms. Shrimp exports increased by 16.21 per cent in quantity and 20.33 per cent in dollar terms. Frozen fish was the second largest export item, accounting for a share of 26.15 per cent and 11.64 per cent in dollar earnings, a growth of 26.92 per cent in terms of value,” the statement said.

The US imported 1,88,617 tonnes of Indian seafood, accounting for 29.98 per cent in dollar terms. Export to the US registered a growth of 22.72 per cent, 33 per cent and 29.82 per cent in quantity and value in rupee and US dollars respectively.

SouthEast Asia remained the second largest destination of India’s marine products, with a share of 29.91 per cent in dollar terms, followed by the EU (17.98 per cent), Japan (6.83 per cent), the Middle East (4.78 per cent), China (3.50 per cent) and other countries (7.03 per cent).

Overall, exports to SouthEast Asia increased by 47.41 per cent in quantity, 52.84 per cent in rupee value and 49.90 per cent in dollar earnings.

The export of Vannamei shrimp, a major seafood delicacy, improved from 2,56,699 tonnes to 3,29,766 tonnes in 2016-17, a growth of 28.46 per cent in quantity.

In value terms, 49.55 per cent of total Vannamei shrimp was exported to the US followed by 23.28 per cent to SouthEast Asian countries, 13.17 per cent to the EU, 4.53 per cent to Japan, 3.02 per cent to the Middle East and 1.35 per cent to China.

Japan was the major market for Black Tiger shrimp with a share of 43.84 per cent in terms of value, followed by the US (23.44 per cent) and SouthEast Asia (11.33 per cent).

Frozen shrimp continued to be the principal export item to the US with a share of 94.77 per cent in dollar value while Vannamei shrimp to that country showed an increase of 25.60 per cent in quantity and 31.75 per cent in dollar terms.

The EU continued to be the third largest destination for Indian marine products with a share of 16.73 per cent in quantity.

Frozen shrimp was the major item of exports, accounting for 40.66 per cent in quantity and 55.15 per cent in dollar earnings out of the total exports to the EU. Exports of Vannamei shrimp to the EU improved by 9.76 per cent in quantity and 11.40 per cent in dollar value.

Japan, the fourth largest destination for Indian seafood, accounted for 6.83 per cent in earnings and 6.08 per cent in quantity terms.

Frozen shrimp continued to be the major item of exports to Japan with a share of 45.31 per cent in quantity and 77.29 per cent in value.

India’s other major seafood product was frozen squid, which recorded a growth of 21.50 per cent, 59.44 per cent and 57 per cent in terms of quantity, rupee value and dollar earnings respectively.

Export of frozen cuttlefish showed a decline in quantity terms, but increased in rupee value and dollar terms by 18.85 per cent and 16.95 per cent respectively, it said. (IANS)

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RBI maintains short-term lending rate, cuts SLR

Jun 7, 2017 0

Mumbai– Belying hopes of both the government and India Inc., the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) — in its second bi-monthly monetary policy review of 2017-18 — on Wednesday kept its key lending rate unchanged at 6.25 per cent.

However, to induce liquidity into the system, the RBI reduced by 50 basis points to 20 per cent the Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR), which is a reserve requirement that commercial banks have to maintain.

The apex bank maintained at 4 per cent the cash reserve ratio (CRR), or the quantum of liquid funds which commercial banks have to keep.

This is the fourth consecutive policy review in which the apex bank has maintained status quo on its repo, or short-term lending rate, since it reduced it by 25 basis points to 6.25 per cent in October 2016.

Consequently, the reverse repo rate, under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF), remains at 6 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the bank rate at 6.50 per cent.

The decision to maintain the repo rate was taken by the six-member monetary policy committee (MPC) headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel. In Wednesday’s decision, the MPC voted five-to-one in favour of holding the rate.

At its last policy review in April, the RBI had kept the key lending rate unchanged but narrowed its policy corridor and hiked the reverse repo rate to six per cent.

The equity markets remained unmoved by the RBI decision. The Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded flat at 9,640.10 points — up a mere 2.95 points or 0.03 per cent (at 2.30 p.m).

The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 31,252.71 points, traded at 31,197.46 points — up 6.90 points or 0.02 per cent from its previous close at 31,190.56 points. (IANS)

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US-India Business Council delegation meets UP Chief Minister Adityanath

Jun 6, 2017 0

Lucknow– A delegation of the US-India Business Council called on the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday and discussed the possibilities of a closer economic relationship, an official said.

Led by Mukesh Aadhi, the delegation praised the decisions being taken by the present government and said they will go a long way to develop the state.

The delegates expressed their desire to cooperate in education, healthcare, production of world class medical devices like stents, food processing, potable water techniques, technology, tourism and other sectors.

Yogi Adityanath

Aadhi added that in its purpose of fostering economic links between the two countries, the council wanted to extend cooperation with the state in taking forward its development programmes.

Reciprocating the desire to work together based on policies and objectives of the state government, Adityanath said that it was committed to the welfare of the poor, exploited, marginalised and the deprived sections of the society and was working in this direction.

Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar, who was present, apprised the USIBC representatives about the policies and programs of the state government and said that it was willing to take the mutual ties forward. (IANS)

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Plagiarism is by-product of fashion industry: Anita Dongre

Jun 6, 2017 0

By Nivedita

New Delhi– Her designs are widely replicated by shop owners, and bought by those who want to ace their style quotient in an affordable way, but designer Anita Dongre feels plagiarism is a by-product of the fashion industry. However, she says a true fashionista will know how to spot what’s authentic.

“Plagiarism and knock-offs are by-products of the fashion industry,” Dongre, who has created a revolution with her brand House of Anita Dongre Limited (HOAD), told IANS in an interview.

“A good designer would never feel the need to replicate designs as the audience is extremely aware in this digital world. There is no shortcut to innovation and success, and this has stayed constant through the years. While plagiarism is greatly diluting fashion, true connoisseurs of fashion will know how to differentiate,” added Dongre.

HOAD Limited owns and operates three brands with three extremely distinct identities: AND — with its line of chic, contemporary western-wear for women; Global Desi — a young, free-spirited, vibrant line of boho-chic ensembles; and the Anita Dongre label offering breathtaking, curated looks in bridal, couture, pret, menswear.

This label also includes Pinkcity, handcrafted jadau jewellery and the recently-launched luxury pret label Grassroot which is a tribute to the handcrafted traditions of India, and seeks to revive, sustain and empower heirloom traditions from across the country and fashion them into contemporary tales.

Anita Dongre

Dongre, whose creation was famously flaunted by Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton on her India visit, enjoys working with artisans.

“This is a partnership of mutual respect. There is a skill and expertise that they have always brought to the bridal and couture looks, and with Grassroot, that expertise is carried to everyday looks.

“I work with artisans more closely through Grassroot, often in their homes, exchanging ideas about a new language for traditional crafts. I am inspired by the lives these artisans live, the crafts they have practised for generations and their respect for all living beings. They contribute not only to making my brands what they are, but also the person I am today,” the veteran designer said.

Her journey as an entrepreneur is an inspiration for many and she feels that being a woman was no advantage in achieving success.

“I don’t believe that it should be any different just because I am a woman. Irrespective of gender, our work demands creativity, commitment and efficiency, which I put in every single day. Fashion for me is about functionality and wearability.

“When I started this business, I was designing clothes that modern women wanted to see in their wardrobes. And today, the initial point of inspiration remains the same for every brand from the House of Anita Dongre. It is about making what today’s woman wants to buy and wear. It is the wearability of our garments that has made each brand successful,” said Dongre.

Over the years, HOAD has gone from strength to strength — embracing change, redefining fashion, setting trends and making a difference with over a 1,000 points of sale in India.

Asked how she sees the evolution of fashion from past to present, she said: “Fashion in the past was more inclusive and rested in the hands of a select few. These days it’s become highly competitive, hence the need to experiment and innovate in order to stand out from the rest.

“Numerous budding designers are being launched each year and only the best stand the chance to shine. It’s all about constant innovation and staying true to your aesthetics and design philosophy, and I believe change is the only constant.”

For her, Indian fashion is going in the right direction with government initiatives like Make in India and Handloom Week, which have given a great boost to sustainable fashion.

“We need more intervention for Indian designers who are supporting crafts to make it big on a global front,” she said. (IANS)

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