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economic news of india - world economic news - economics news for students - indian economy news


Modi is giving note ban hoarders another chance to come clean

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MUMBAI: The new Vivaad se Vishwas tax litigation settlement scheme appears to have come as a blessing for those who came under scrutiny following demonetisation, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. They include promoters of several mining, commodities, textile and real estate companies who deposited unaccounted money or made supposedly questionable entries in the account books.Several sectors that transact in cash were left holding large sums when Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes were rendered invalid in November 2016. Several companies deposited the cash they were holding in bank accounts. Some allegedly faked entries in their financial statements to justify cash holdings and subsequently came to the attention of the tax department.In most cases, the income tax department issued notices to the companies and questioned the source of funds under Section 68 of the Income Tax Act dealing with unexplained cash credits in bank accounts or company books."Many promoters of companies that had received notices under Section 68 during the demonetisation are now looking to settle the litigation under the Vivaad se Vishwas scheme," said Girish Vanvari, the founder of tax advisory firm Transaction Square. "This would mean that they can just pay up the taxes and there could be no more questioning around the unexplained credits in their bank accounts or the entries in their books."For example, a Mumbai-based real estate company with a substantial presence in the western suburbs had about Rs 20 crore that it showed as cash on hand at the time of demonetisation. The taxman questioned the company later and found that the buyers mentioned by it were fictitious.Experts said the largest chunk of people taking advantage of the scheme are not those who had faced raids and searches but were served with notices during demonetisation.The settlement scheme was formulated as an estimated 480,000 cases have been pending in the courts and quasi-judicial forums for years and it could take a long while before the tax department sees any of the money, assuming it eventually wins. The total value of these disputes is pegged at Rs 9.32 lakh crore.The revenue department has issued notices to about 10,000 people seeking details on the source of income as it analyses data on deposits of cancelled notes. It also went after certain "entry operators" that helped several companies generate fake invoices as part of the exercise.All these companies are opting for the settlement scheme under which there will be no interest or penalties levied if all the taxes are paid up."The biggest relief for the taxpayer is that there would be no future investigation or prosecution if they had deposited unaccounted money in bank accounts," said Jeenendra Bhandari, partner, MGB and Co, a tax advisory firm."This would be a huge relief for several small companies that were holding onto cash during demonetisation and had to deposit that amount in their bank accounts. 74410091 In another case, a New Delhi-based commodities company used invoices to show that money had come in from certain customers. An investigation revealed these to be fake entries.The modus operandi of these firms was to get registered as suppliers on the books of companies. They would then issue fake invoices for supplying goods or providing services, receive payment by cheque and return the amount in cash after deducting a 2% commission.Experts said demonetisation brought several suspicious transactions under the tax department's scrutiny through cross-referencing with older data on cash deposits. The government had also used advanced big data tools for both structured and unstructured data and analysed and established relationships among different entities or people up to 16 levels deep, based on different sets of information such as addresses, phone calls, social media interactions, travel trends and income tax returns."Many companies have moved away from doing the business the old way and their cash transactions have gone down tremendously. These companies now want a clean slate for the earlier tax notices and this scheme could be a huge boon," said the head of a major tax advisory firm.

Point of no return for India's Chinese expats

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MUMBAI|NEW DELHI: Chinese expats working in India are on an extended New Year holiday back home because of the Covid-19 outbreak.About 7,000 Chinese expats in sectors such as automobiles, electronics, mobile phones and ecommerce work in cities such as Bengaluru, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Jaipur. The majority had gone home for the Chinese New Year toward the end of January, a period coinciding with the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak."The epicentre of the Chinese (outbreak) may form only about 2-4% of Chinese expats, but it is fear psychosis that is putting them in trouble," said Aravind Yelery, senior fellow at HSBC Business School, Peking University. "Some of the expats who are back after being examined or quarantined at the airports may find it tough to convince neighbours on their return to India."The situation may not drastically improve in the next four to six weeks. The virus may cease to spread but worries associated with the contagion may linger. There has been a 15-20% drop in the number of Chinese expats coming to India, according to an estimate by Yelery. 74409972 Great Wall Motors (GWM) had about 20 Chinese executives in India from the end of December. While nearly half of them went back after the Auto Expo, the remaining have stayed back to set up operations in the country."The top management from China was supposed to visit during the expo," said Kaushik Ganguly, director, corporate strategy and planning, Great Wall Motors. "However, given the sentiments, they consciously took a decision to not travel for the motor show and related business meetings."Even personnel working on Indian infrastructure projects have been affected. "My business interactions with the Chinese have significantly shrunk," said Jijo KP, a Mumbai-based businessman who owns a facility at Zhejiang province in China. "Expats are finding it difficult to travel and conduct business meetings."Employers typically terminate employment contracts after a waiting period of two months in case of hard-hatted personnel. For skilled jobs, executives may have to go on unpaid vacation beyond a month.Indian companies need Chinese engineers for several industry verticals and job functions such as after-sales services, business development and market audits."Getting new investments or a business visa to India is a challenge," said New Delhi's Rishi Sahai, who provides crossborder transaction advisory services between companies in India and Chinese investors or partners. "Local employers and the government are trying to mitigate concerns through frequent announcements and palliative measures."India has suspended e-visa facilities for mainland Chinese travellers and foreigners residing there. It has also cancelled existing visas for Chinese nationals and foreigners who visited China in the past 14 days."We are watching the situation and hoping things get back to normal quickly," said Ganguly.

70:20:10 rule to counter a virus strike

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MUMBAI: Indian equities have shed their entire gains of 2020, caught in the global flight of capital from risk assets in the aftermath of the Covid-19 outbreak. But financial planners are advising savers to not only stay put, but also invest more using the systematic investment plans (SIPs)."SIP investors should allocate 70% to large-caps, 20% to mid-caps and 10% in small-caps," says Vishal Dhawan, chief financial planner, Plan Ahead Wealth Managers.Dhawan believes those investors who have strayed from this allocation, should rebalance their portfolios now. Many investors who chased past returns and started SIPs post-2017, allocated as high as 70-80% to mid- and small-cap funds with the balance to large-cap funds. With the sharp fall in the markets during this week on fears of coronavirus spreading globally, many retail investors are a worried lot.As per data from Value Research, three-year average SIP returns for large-cap funds category is 5.9%, large- and mid-cap funds 4.77%, multi-cap funds 5.24%, mid-cap funds 3.96% and for small-cap funds it is -0.16%. 74410792 Some financial planners believe it is an opportune time for retail investors to top-up their SIPs."While the markets have fallen sharply, the bounce back too could be equally fast and retail investors should stay put and not read much into this. A fall in the market is an opportunity for SIP investors as they can get more units of the scheme due to the fall in price," says Vijay Kuppa, founder, Orowealth.Financial planners believe that investors doing SIPs in equity mutual funds should come in for a time frame of 7-10 years. "Investors coming in for a shorter duration should move to other products," says Dhawan. For example, if an investor has a time frame of 3 years, he could go to dynamic asset allocation funds, or equity savings funds. These schemes have a mix of debt and equity and come with lower volatility than pure equity funds.The number of investors using the SIP route to invest in equity mutual fund schemes is increasing gradually over the last three years, with many first timers too entering the fray and mapping their longterm financial goals to SIPs.AMFI data shows that the MF industry had added, on an average, 9.81 lakh SIP accounts each month during FY20, with an average SIP size of about Rs 2,800 per account. Inflows through the SIP route have been steady and investors have poured in more than Rs 8,000 crore every month for the last 14 months, despite volatile equity markets. Investors have poured in Rs 67,190 crore through SIPs in FY18, Rs 92,693 crore in FY19 and Rs 82,930 crore in the first 10 months of the current financial year.

Tata Motors to shut Concorde as part of trimming flab

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MUMBAI: Tata Motors is winding up its auto retail business Concorde Motors as part of its strategy to move away from non-core businesses. Set up in the late 90s in partnership with Jardine Matheson's Jardine Motors, the Concorde retail business over the years has been losing money on account of high costs and low volumes.The company has registered a loss for seven consecutive years with cumulative losses crossing over Rs 366 crore. The winding-up process is in the final stages and it will be consummated before the end of this fiscal year. The company has sold almost all its outlets barring a couple of locations, which too may be executed shortly, say people in the know.Interestingly, this happens at a time when market leader Maruti Suzuki has decided to invest over Rs 1,500 crore annually on acquiring its own real estate for dealership as the high-cost structure in major cities is dissuading many entrepreneurs from entering the auto retail business or take up any new opportunities.Concorde is a fully-owned subsidiary of Tata Motors and has been a one-stop solution to provide sales, service and space parts for the Tata Motors passenger car. The company had 34 showrooms and 17 workshops with a workforce of 2,200 plus employees at end of FY19, which are on the last stage of liquidation.One of the people in the know of the matter said a corporate running a dealership has multiple challenges of governance which also spikes up the cost. "The nimbleness is missing. As against an entrepreneur taking his own calls, the decision-making for a corporate has to follow a certain structured process which adds to the cost and inefficiency. The operational performance of Concorde clearly underlines the issues company faces," added the person requesting the anonymity.74410198 Tata Motors spokesperson confirmed the development and told ET the company believes the original goals of setting up Concorde have been met and to enable and drive the next phase of growth, the company will move out of the dealership business and focus its resources on the core areas."The operations of Concorde are being seamlessly transitioned into other dealer partners in the various cities that Concorde is present in thereby building significant scale to their business while our customers will continue to enjoy uninterrupted excellent service," added the spokesperson.The revenues at Concorde grew annually 12% to Rs 1,215 crore between FY14 and FY19; however, the profits continues to remain under severe pressure. It has posted losses for the last seven fiscal years, according to data compiled from the historical Tata Motors annual report. In FY12, the company posted net profit of Rs 0.70 crore with a turnover of Rs 939 crore.In the past two fiscal years, the company has been Ebitda negative and the overhead costs were higher than gross profit of the company. Beside this, there was substantial increase in working capital requirements, leading to 16% increase in interest costs from Rs 47.38 crore to Rs 54.95 crore. The debt of Concorde stood at Rs 582 crore at end of FY19, out of which Rs 337 crore is secured and the remaining is unsecured.The cumulative losses of the company have been Rs 393 crore between FY15 and FY19, according to data compiled by ETIG from Concorde annual report of FY19.The exit from the company would mean, existing dealers can get a bigger pie of the market which was earlier being shared by the company owned outlets. This may boost dealer viability. Post closure, the revenues wont have an impact on company's financials, however the absolute losses of Concorde wont reflect on Tata Motors standalone business, and thereby it will boost the bottom-line, say people in the know.

Tata Motors to shut Concorde Motors as part of trimming flab

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MUMBAI: Tata Motors is winding up its auto retail business Concorde Motors as part of its strategy to move away from non-core businesses. Set up in the late 90s in partnership with Jardine Matheson's Jardine Motors, the Concorde retail business over the years has been losing money on account of high costs and low volumes.The company has registered a loss for seven consecutive years with cumulative losses crossing over Rs 366 crore. The winding-up process is in the final stages and it will be consummated before the end of this fiscal year. The company has sold almost all its outlets barring a couple of locations, which too may be executed shortly, say people in the know.Interestingly, this happens at a time when market leader Maruti Suzuki has decided to invest over Rs 1,500 crore annually on acquiring its own real estate for dealership as the high-cost structure in major cities is dissuading many entrepreneurs from entering the auto retail business or take up any new opportunities.Concorde is a fully-owned subsidiary of Tata Motors and has been a one-stop solution to provide sales, service and space parts for the Tata Motors passenger car. The company had 34 showrooms and 17 workshops with a workforce of 2,200 plus employees at end of FY19, which are on the last stage of liquidation.One of the people in the know of the matter said a corporate running a dealership has multiple challenges of governance which also spikes up the cost. "The nimbleness is missing. As against an entrepreneur taking his own calls, the decision-making for a corporate has to follow a certain structured process which adds to the cost and inefficiency. The operational performance of Concorde clearly underlines the issues company faces," added the person requesting the anonymity.74410198 Tata Motors spokesperson confirmed the development and told ET the company believes the original goals of setting up Concorde have been met and to enable and drive the next phase of growth, the company will move out of the dealership business and focus its resources on the core areas."The operations of Concorde are being seamlessly transitioned into other dealer partners in the various cities that Concorde is present in thereby building significant scale to their business while our customers will continue to enjoy uninterrupted excellent service," added the spokesperson.The revenues at Concorde grew annually 12% to Rs 1,215 crore between FY14 and FY19; however, the profits continues to remain under severe pressure. It has posted losses for the last seven fiscal years, according to data compiled from the historical Tata Motors annual report. In FY12, the company posted net profit of Rs 0.70 crore with a turnover of Rs 939 crore.In the past two fiscal years, the company has been Ebitda negative and the overhead costs were higher than gross profit of the company. Beside this, there was substantial increase in working capital requirements, leading to 16% increase in interest costs from Rs 47.38 crore to Rs 54.95 crore. The debt of Concorde stood at Rs 582 crore at end of FY19, out of which Rs 337 crore is secured and the remaining is unsecured.The cumulative losses of the company have been Rs 393 crore between FY15 and FY19, according to data compiled by ETIG from Concorde annual report of FY19.The exit from the company would mean, existing dealers can get a bigger pie of the market which was earlier being shared by the company owned outlets. This may boost dealer viability. Post closure, the revenues wont have an impact on company's financials, however the absolute losses of Concorde wont reflect on Tata Motors standalone business, and thereby it will boost the bottom-line, say people in the know.

M&M Alyte to be cab aggregator for corporates

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MUMBAI: Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) plans to launch a cab aggregator for corporates called Alyte, expand its fleet of electric vehicles for taxi services, and bring all mobility businesses under a single business vertical. It will be a significant push into cab aggregator and shared mobility services segment."We are introducing a nationwide brand around our mobility service, called Alyte, this quarter," Rampraveen Swaminathan, CEO, Mahindra Logistics, told ET in an interview.Alyte, run under Mahindra Logistics; Meru Cabs, in which Mahindra group owns 55%; etaxi service Glyd; and First Choice, M&M's used car business, will be housed under the new mobility services vertical.M&M plans to roll out a mobile application for Alyte in the next month. It will work on the basis of contracts with companies — ferrying employees to and from workplaces to homes, warehouses or meetings.It will later diversify into an on-call service for corporates, allowing their employees to book a seat for airport drops, and other services. The app will work by punching in employee IDs or other account details.74410153 TOUGH ROAD AHEADAlyte will put Mahindra into direct competition with Ola — through Ola Corporate's significant presence — as well as Uber, which has entered more recently through Uber for Business. Over 10,000 companies across 22 different industries work with Ola Corporate.Uber during its IPO prospectus last year, said it got 1% of its global revenue from Uber for Business. Alyte, though, will be a business-to-business application and work through corporate tieups and not a public business-to-customer application such as Uber and Ola.While Mahindra plans to tie up with cab aggregators, it is also working on a scheme to help drivers get good deals from auto makers as well as vehicle financers. Mahindra also plans a "significant" investment in electric vehicles (EV) for Alyte, said Swaminathan. Mahindra currently has a leased fleet of 100, which it plans to increase five times by March 2021, he said, seeing as multinational companies have started to treat environmental sustainability as a priority.Uber plans to quadruple its electric vehicles fleet in India by the end of 2020, ET had reported earlier this week. Most mobility platforms, including Ola's electric arm, Bounce, Vogo, Yulu, as well as auto makers such as like Bajaj, Hero and Tata Motors are sharpening focus on electric mobility. Ola Electric is also running pilot electric mobility projects in Gurgaon, Bengaluru and Nagpur.Swaminathan said 30% of Alyte's fleet in three to four years will be electric. He did not share any more details.In December, non-executive chairman Anand Mahindra had made a reference to the new sector, called mobility services.

Virus threatens to chill frenzy for SBI Card IPO, cut listing gains

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NEW DELHI: The sixth-day stocks rout on Dalal Street that culminated in Friday's meltdown has cast dark clouds over the much-awaited initial public offering of SBI Cards & Payment Services (SBI Card). The IPO, India's fifth largest, is set to open for subscription on Monday and runs through Thursday.Small investors in the primary market are worried if the carnage can hurt the prospects of the IPO. As much as 35 per cent of the issue size is reserved for small investors.Analysts said while the steep fall in the market is worrying for equity investors, it is unlikely to make a big difference in the primary market. In the worst-case scenario, there would be a marginal hit on IPO subscription level, which then may go on to affect listing premium.Analysts and traders in the unofficial market for unlisted shares have had bullish projections on the IPO and expect the stock to list with a decent premium.Unlisted shares of the company are already commanding Rs 350-365 premium over the IPO price range in grey market. If anything, this premium has only risen after the price band was fixed at Rs 750-755 on February 24.India's stock market has been under pressure ever since coronavirus fears hit Dalal Street for the first time on February 12. BSE benchmark Sensex has since plunged some 3,000 points, destroying some Rs 11.52 lakh crore of equity investors' wealth. "SBI Card was trading at a premium of Rs 250-280 per share in the grey market before the price band was announced. Post the announcement, the premium has surged to Rs 365 from Rs 325 per share (on the day of announcement)," said Dinesh Gupta of Unlisted Zone, a trader who deals in unlisted shares. He said the demand for the paper has remained strong.The premium for SBI Card shares has risen despite a steady fall and value erosion in the secondary market.Sandip Ginodia of Abhishek Securities that deals in shares in the unofficial market for unlisted stocks, said a Rs 5-10 change in premium makes no difference. "We have not seen any change in demand for SBI Card," he said.Astha Jain of Hem Securities, who reviews primary issues, said she has seen cycles where good IPOs have faced no trouble sailing through bad markets."It's a one-of-its-kind IPO. Investors have fancy for this issue. The worst that could come to mind is a slightly lower listing premium," she said.Deepak Jasani of HDFC Securities echoed similar views, noting that the issue would run for four days instead of regular three days.Barring the horrible experience with Reliance Power, hardly any big issue has found difficulty in sailing through.The Rs 11,560 crore Reliance Power IPO, Indian second largest thus far, got subscribed 70 times between January 15 and January 18, 2008. The issue was subscribed within a few minutes of launch of the book-building process. By the end of Day 1 of the bidding process, the issue had received over 10 times subscription. The issue attracted over 5 million bids across categories.But that enthusiasm did not last. Investors, who had been overjoyed on receiving IPO allotments, were in for a rude shock when the stock had a terrible start amid adverse global market sentiment at the start of the meltdown following the US housing crisis.The stock surged 19 per cent to Rs 538 at start, but saw the expectation of a dream debut vanish into thin air within four minutes of listing as it nosedived to Rs 355 before closing the session at Rs 372 against an issue price of Rs 450. In just one day, the stock wiped out billions of rupees of investor wealth. The stock never rose from there.The Coal India issue had a stellar run. The Rs 15,100 crore IPO, India's biggest-ever, was sold between October 18 and October 21 and the issue had left marketmen making all sorts of predictions about how it might suck out liquidity from the secondary market.The issue garnered bids worth $53 billion, more than the individual GDP of 140 countries as of FY10. It was 10 times India's health budget for 2010-11, five times India's education budget and one-fourth the size of the Union Budget itself.SBI Card IPO will be India's fifth biggest. The issue win run from March 2 to March 5.

View: If virus hits India, market mayhem will be unimaginable

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I am seeing Bank Nifty down about 800 points, 1,000 points plus on the Sensex, Dow Futures pointing to another 200-point plus cut already. What are we looking at here?I know it is looking depressing, but actually it is quite positive because what we are seeing is something which was happening in the US. The leveraged guys are getting killed here. Here also, if you look at the stocks, it is all about the Nifty stocks. They are the ones which have high FII representation. This means that they are deleveraging overseas, which is what is getting hit. If you look at Unilever or the Nestles of the world, they have not moved at all. So to that extent, Indian market and investors are holding strong because we have a very deleveraged setup compared to the global markets and that is holding us in true step today. All the stocks that are non-FII driven, by and large where domestic investors and mutual funds have large holdings, continue to do well at this point of time in context of the market. There is nothing much to grieve and worry about. It is the Nifty stocks that will be part of the global rout but our market has held firm compared to the rest of the world.Would you buy these dips given that we are not quite sure where the bottom is right now?There are two ways to look at it. One, if you are taking future positions in the market, where you need to cover up the margins, you have to be careful in an environment like this. We have been lucky so far on the virus, but if the virus hits Kolkata or Delhi or Mumbai, I do not think we have the wherewithal to do what is required for this virus and nobody knows where this will end up. We are in a territory where the future is so uncertain that we do not know if it comes into India in a big way, where will we end up in terms of the economy, which is already quite weak. So buying is a little speculative. If you have got cash on the side and if you have not invested, it could be a decent buying opportunity. You know that you cannot go very wrong with the top banks or with the top mortgage lender because ultimately, when all the dust will settle down, we will start to live again. But we need to wait it out to see where this thing is going to end up. If it comes to India, this red is nothing. What more will come is something which we do not want to even imagine.Let us talk about the overall crude oil impact. Do you think that some of these fears that are working in our favour also seem to be patchy in nature because the macro backdrop does not look too encouraging?The macro backdrop is changing because one big item of the Budget was disinvestment. One, we are not exactly sure in this kind of an equity environment, what is going to happen to the disinvestment. Two, if the trade stops, the tax collections will obviously drop. As it is, we had a bad Budget in terms of what it came out to be. On top of that, if the LIC IPO gets postponed or the BPCL or Air India disinvestment for that matter, it will be a big lynchpin. This is an issue that is bothering India. But yes, you have rightly said that oil is greatly favouring us. In terms of the price, oil has gone down quite substantially. There is a lot of tailwind on the Indian economy but it doesn't matter anymore. We are not talking about the economy. We are just purely talking about the sentiment with respect to what will happen if this virus lands up in a big way on Indian shores. We are already seeing what has happened to America, and Nifty as we are seeing is deleveraging. I am not saying that I am not buying. For instance, my team bought an airport company in the morning because airports will eventually make it and we are buying aviation stocks. It is not that we are not buying aviation stocks but a wholesale deployment of cash is something which we are worried about at this point of time. And two, the correction is not so deep. If you look at the Nestles of the world, the correction is about 4-5%; unless they go to 10-20%, they do not make sense. So in the deep correction, Indian stocks, by and large MNCs, are still quoting at PEs of above 60. Now that is a steep price to get in even at this correction.

Chinese rivals and brand arrogance led to Samsung's fall from grace

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NEW DELHI: It's been a tough few years for Samsung in the Indian handset market, where it has struggled to keep pace with or beat back competition from Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo.The first signs of vulnerability came when Samsung lost the smartphone crown to Xiaomi in the September quarter of 2017. In July-September 2019, it was pushed to No. 3 in smartphones by another Chinese player, Vivo. In the same quarter, Samsung also lost its top position in the overall market – smartphones and feature phones – to Xiaomi, after some nine years at the top. Xiaomi though only sells smartphones. Meanwhile, Oppo and Realme are breathing down its neck.According to analysts, Samsung wasn't as nimble as its Chinese rivals and couldn't take advantage of the expansion in the online segment. They however added that Samsung can bounce back, given its investments in technology and local manufacturing, the reputation of its devices and the deep penetration of the offline phone market. It's the only major handset company to manufacture from the ground up in India."The gaps in Samsung's portfolio have provided opportunities for other smartphone brands, especially new market entrants, to strategise, spot the gaps, and leverage market opportunities," said Prabhu Ram, head of the industry intelligence group at CyberMedia Research (CMR).Faisal Kawoosa, founder and principal analyst at research firm TechArc, added that Samsung's "brand arrogance has caused it to grossly underestimate the marketing potential of the Chinese companies who have now created a niche in almost every price segment. And, of course, their exclusive channel strategy has failed them too."Other factors include brand fatigue among buyers excited by the offerings of newer brands, said market watchers."Samsung must shun its brand arrogance at a time when other competitors are winning in their brand messaging, especially on digital media," said Kawoosa. "Samsung is nowhere close to social media marketing by its Chinese counterparts."Samsung didn't respond to ET's queries.But the company isn't like others that didn't invest in technology and were vanquished by Chinese entrants, said a person familiar with Samsung's strategy, pointing out that it has so far invested nearly Rs8,500 crore just in local manufacturing in India in recent years. Noida is the company's largest manufacturing facility in the world and Samsung has one of its best R&D centres in Bengaluru, the person said.As India's smartphone market slows, analysts said Samsung needs to ramp up its strategy in three areas—price points, sales channels and marketing. They point out that the company had fended off competition from the likes of Asus, HTC and Blackberry early on."Samsung has technological leadership in foldable smartphones and holds the edge with its new premium 5G and 4G offerings," Ram said. "Lastly, it has a deep mastery of the offline market segment that is critical to fuel the next wave of smartphone growth. Samsung's Make in India moves also enable it to offer more India-specific customizations for Indian consumers and roll out new offerings swiftly."Analysts expect Samsung to regain some lost ground by taking advantage of the disruption in the Chinese supply chain because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Samsung has lined up nine new launches in early 2020 as per data from the Bureau of India Standards.Most of Samsung's competitors are diversifying in terms of products and channel strategy, said Tarun Pathak, associate director, Counterpoint Market Research. "Samsung also needs to do that, if they have to reclaim some of the lost share," he said.Samsung reoriented and strengthened its product portfolio last year, launching the M and A series of smartphones targeting value-for-money buyers. The first was aimed at online buyers and the second at the offline market."Of the new product offerings, smartphone models such as A50 and M30 did perform well for Samsung," Ram said. "While Samsung was able to build inroads into the online segment, it ceded some space for brands such as Vivo in the offline segment."In its bid to succeed online, it hasn't handled the offline channel too well, said Navkender Singh, research director at International Data Corporation (IDC). Offline contributes more than 55% to sales, he said."Online share can always be claimed back because the stakeholders are very few," he said. "But the commitment, investment and management that Samsung has built in offline retail over the past 20 years will be challenging to claim back."Samsung will look to boost its offerings in the premium segment this year at various price points, ranging from uber-premium foldable phones to premium flagship handsets. It needs to complement this with aggressive marketing, across both online and offline platforms, said Ram.Several storied brands have fallen victim to complacency, experts recalled. "Samsung's transition from the older J series to the fresh A series came really late in 2019 when all major brands were already spicing up the space with newer specs," said Pathak.The company needs to have a plan to take on the likes of Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Realme, already foraying into the mid-premium space, and Apple, which rules the uber-premium market."It's all about aspiration of the brand—if they want to rule the premium and mid-premium segment" said IDC's Singh. "At the same time, they cannot ignore the below $200 space, which is still 80% of the market in India."

Logistics vertical sees maximum job growth in 2019: OLX People study

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Bengaluru: Logistics, sales, and customer service were the top three job functions that saw maximum demand for jobs this year, according to the 'Blue Collar Jobs Digest 2020' study by OLX People, a tech-powered HR platform. The study on India's blue collar jobs industry takes a closer look at the job situation in the blue collar sector in India and how it is going to shape up in 2020. With over 1.3 million monthly active users and over 426 active clients present across 200+ cities, the conversion ratio of selections made-to-jobs posted was 33.85% in 2018, which rose to a whopping 70% in 2019. This has led to employers witnessing a 2X increase in conversion rate on the platform owing to the use of artificial intelligence and other emerging technology tools, making it easier for HR recruiters to find the right candidates. While there was a 60% growth in the number of candidate profiles registered on the platform, there has been a significant increase in women candidates, who comprise nearly a quarter of all candidates registered. The platform also provided a healthy choice of candidate profiles - on average, there were 30 applications per job posted on the platform, over 2018 and 2019.Women candidates over the past two years have shown an upward trend in taking up jobs in logistics, and are listing their profiles along with required skills to get shortlisted by corporates and startups. There was an overall increase of 18% among job posts for women in 2019 as compared to 2018."Jobs in the logistics vertical have seen the maximum growth on our platform, driven by the logistics outsourcing need of ecommerce companies, infrastructure development, boost in government policies, and advancement of technologies. This has also been a result of better payouts and facilitation of flexible hours for gig workers, " said Nilabh Kapoor, business head - India, OLX People."Industry estimates suggest that the logistics sector will create employment for at least three million people by 2022. We envision logistics to be the biggest job creator in 2020 on our platform, mirroring this trend," he said. OLX People, a Naspers group entity, was founded in 2014 and seeks to leverage India's rich human resource pool by making recruitment easy for employers and job seekers across industries, hierarchies, cities in India. Currently, it manages payroll and hiring for over 350 clients spread over 200+ locations. OLX People is a part of OLX Group , a marketplace for jobs, pre-owned cars and motorbikes, mobile phones, household items and real estate.

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