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PLI Scheme: India Invites Applications for Second Round of Large-Scale Electronics Manufacturing Policy

The government has started inviting applications for the second round of large-scale electronics manufacturing under the production-linked incentive scheme with focus on some electronic components like motherboards, semiconductor devices, among others. Application window for the scheme will remain open till March 31 which may be further extended, according to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Electronics and IT. “The second round of the PLI scheme is open for accepting applications,” an official memorandum dated March 11 said. “The tenure of the second round of PLI scheme is for four years and the incentive shall be applicable from April 1, 2021.” The first round of the scheme was open for receiving applications till July 31 which attracted participation from global majors like Apple’s contract manufacturers Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron; Samsung; local players Lava, Optiemus, Dixon etc.—committing investment of over Rs 11,000 crore. While the first round targeted mobile manufacturing with incentives for 20 companies, the second round has expanded the window for up to 30 eligible companies. 

(BloomberQuint, Mar 14, 2021)


India's draft e-commerce policy calls for equal treatment of sellers Policy

India will require e-commerce firms to treat sellers equally on their platforms and ensure transparency, according to a draft policy seen by Reuters on Saturday that follows criticism against business practices of big online companies. India has been deliberating a new e-commerce policy for months amid complaints from brick-and-mortar retailers who allege online giants like Amazon and Walmart's Flipkart flout federal regulations. The companies have denied the allegations. A Reuters special report last month revealed that Amazon has for years given preferential treatment to a small group of sellers on its India platform and used them to circumvent the country's foreign investment rules. The latest draft of the policy document says operators should be impartial in their dealings with sellers. "E-commerce operators must ensure equal treatment of all sellers/vendors registered on their platforms and not adopt algorithms which result in prioritizing select vendors/sellers," it says. A spokesman for the commerce ministry declined to comment. The policy will apply to Amazon and Flipkart - two top e-commerce players in India - as well as domestic players like Reliance Industries, which has plans to expand its JioMart online platform. All three firms did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(ET, Mar 14, 2021)


OLX has recorded an increase of 35 per cent in demand from buyers in the year 2020 over 2019 General

Classifies platform OLX has witnessed high demand for pre-owned goods throughout 2020, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has said. According to an official release by OLX, “a comparison of buyers and sellers data on the platform for 2020 versus 2019 reveals a strong growth trajectory of buyers throughout all quarters in the year over the previous one.” The demand for used goods on the platform has outpaced the demand for new goods, driven primarily by consumers in non-metro markets. It has also witnessed an increase in listings by sellers from non-metros in the second half of 2020 especially for goods such as laptops, fridges and air conditioners. OLX has recorded an increase of 35 per cent in demand from buyers in the year 2020 over 2019. Demand for electronics and appliances, mobile phones, accessories and furniture has also remained steady throughout the year, as per OLX.  “Demand for technology gadgets and electronics - laptops, mobiles phones, tablets and televisions saw a spike during 2020, even during the first few months when the lockdown was announced owing to home entertainment and online education requirements,” it said. Each of these products witnessed a growth in demand by nearly 100 per cent in the non-metros, in Q2, 2020. In metro cities, there was high consumer demand for Tablets at 98 per cent.

(BusinessLine, Mar 14, 2021)


India’s move to deter digital monopolies may hit Amazon, Walmart IT

e-tIndia’s draft e-commerce rules to prevent creation of “digital monopolies” and aid local startups may raise costs and stymie expansion plans at companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.  The draft rules seek to prescribe a code of conduct for online retailers and define cross-border flow of user data, according to a note titled Draft Ecommerce Policy, a copy of which was seen by Bloomberg News. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government --beset by complaints from its traditional vote base of small retailers -- has been framing rules to reduce the dominance of Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart in India’s estimated $1 trillion overall retail market. The latest proposals build on laws that curb the two U.S. companies from offering deep discounts, deter exclusive arrangements with preferred sellers and investing in merchants offering products on their websites. The new comprehensive e-commerce policy will address growth and aim to “reduce prevalent market distortions,” the note said. The nine-page document formed the basis of a discussion by officials of various ministries at a meeting on Saturday called by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade in India’s Ministry of Commerce & Industry. The draft proposals seek to ensure algorithms created by e-retailers do not discriminate against sellers.

(ET, Mar 14, 2021)


Bengal e-commerce start-up plans to help small electronics retailers IT

Magitronix EComm, a startup firm, is focusing on buyers in small towns for its online marketplace and helping neighbourhood electronics shop owners who are not able to get access to the network of big e- commerce players, a company official said on Sunday.The startup firm from West Bengal has also received approval from the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) of the commerce ministry and will start transactions through its portal 'Ononya.com', he said. "We do not have any warehousing facility. Neighbourhood electronics shops will act as sellers. This is a startup with no funding from outside till now," Magitronix CEO Indrajit Ghosh said.The offline sales of electronics shops across the country have been hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Citing a recent study released by IT body Nasscom and retail consultancy firm Technopak Advisors, he said, "The emergence of 'online offline' (O O) market is seen as a rising collaboration of digitally enabled retail stores." He said a report of FIS also suggested the business of India's digital marketplaces will touch USD 111 billion by 2024. Nabendu Ray, former head of retail at Samsung India, has joined the startup as a director, Ghosh said.  West Bengal's home and IT departments former secretary GD Gautama is also a member of the advisory board, he said, adding Aditi Olemann, who was associated with Tata group and is now a successful startup entrepreneur in the technology space, has joined the firm.

(LiveMint, Mar 14, 2021)


AC makers set to hike prices to offset rising input costs; expect high double-digit growth this year General

Leading AC manufacturers are betting on high double-digit growth this year even as they are firming up plans to increase prices of residential air conditioners by 5 to 8 per cent before the crucial summer season starts. Leading players such as - Voltas, Daikin, LG, Panasonic, Haier, Blue Star and Samsung - are expecting a high double-digit growth, as they are betting on pent-up demand, sweltering summer and continuance of work from home, which will create demand for additional cooling products. This season, several makers have introduced health and hygiene features in their range of ACs, claiming to protect their customers from the virus amid the pandemic. They are also providing no-cost EMI, cashback and easy accessibility to boost sales. Daikin Airconditioning is going to increase the prices by 3 to 5 per cent this month as prices of metals and compressor, which are largely imported, have gone up. "It will have some impact on the sales but the pent-up demand is there and summers would be hot this year. We are expecting that even if there is some price increase, demand would be there," Daikin Airconditioning India MD & CEO Kanwal Jeet Jawa told PTI. Panasonic, which is having "robust sales" across regions, primarily helped by the pent-up demand from last year, is also going for a price increase and expects a high double-digit growth this season.

(Outlook, Mar 14, 2021)


TV prices to go up from April as open-cell panels get costlier in global markets General

Prices of LED TVs are set to rise further from April as the cost of open-cell panels has gone up in the global markets by up to 35 per cent in the past one month. Brands including Panasonic  NSE 0.98 %, Haier and Thomson are considering to increase prices from April this year, while some like LG have already raised prices due to hike in prices of open-cell. Panasonic India and South Asia President and CEO Manish Sharma said, " . "Panel prices are rising continuously and so are the prices of TVs. It is likely that TV prices may increase further by April." When being asked about the quantum on increase, he said, "Seeing current trends, it might go up 5-7 per cent more by April." Expressing similarly, Haier Appliances India President Eric Braganza said there is no other way than to increase the prices. "The prices of open-cell have gone up tremendously and the trends are that it would keep on increasing," said Braganza adding that "if that continues, we would have to continuously increase prices". 

(ET, Mar 11, 2021)


Will the DRDO make AIP ready by 2023 to be fitted on Kalvari Class submarines? General

The Fuel Cell based Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System of the Defence Research and Development Organisation has cleared another level of testing on Tuesday (March 9, 2021). An official statement issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has stated that land-based prototype has crossed another milestone in user specific tests on March 8, 2021. According to the statement, the system being developed by Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) of DRDO, as per the user requirements, was operated in endurance mode and max power mode. As has been reported earlier the AIP is considered critical for the Kalvari class submarines, as it makes the diesel electric submarine more lethal as they can remain submerged for longer duration. And, according to DRDO the Fuel cell-based AIP has merits in performance compared to other technologies. It uses hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity and has almost no moving parts (this helps in making them quieter) and produces minimal waste. “Compared to the AIP systems being used by other navies internationally, the fuel cell-based AIP of NMRL is unique as the hydrogen is generated onboard. This technology has been developed with the support of industry partners including L&T and Thermax,” says the official statement. In October 2019, as has been reported earlier, the DRDO had announced a major breakthrough in the fuel cell-based AIP system for Indian Naval Submarines after crossing several milestones in technology maturity.

(FE, Mar 09, 2021)


India to launch more Aadhar like Public Digital Platforms shortly – Secretary, MeitY General

Mr. Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India, while addressing the inaugural session of IndiaSoft-2021 International Exhibition and Conferences, organized by Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) yesterday late evening said that the public digital platforms being developed by India for healthcare, education, agriculture, matching jobs with skills, logistics etc would be launched soon. The public digital platforms in these avenues would add to India’s digital backbone and are being developed by a pool of experts and will open up a lot of opportunities for the private sector for developing tools and devices that can help citizens to access such platforms and to carry out their innovative pursuits; Mr Sawhney said, adding that countries, all over the world, could take advantage of these innovative products. IndiaSoft 2021, which is being held digitally this year, will have country specific buyer-seller meets and conferences to promote Indian products and solutions mostly from the MSME and startup sectors. There will be B2B meets focusing on North America, Europe, Africa, Japan, South Korea, Latin America and the Middle East.

(Orissadiary.com, Mar 08, 2021)


Twitter India Looks For Law Enforcement Liaison As Govt. Clears Air On IT Rules Policy

Minister of electronics and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad has clarified that the Indian government does not intend to interfere in the activities of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and others. This at a time when Twitter India has put out a job posting looking for an executive to liaison with law enforcement agencies, or a law enforcement (LE) outreach manager. The IT minister’s statement comes in the backdrop of India’s latest IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules of 2021, which states due diligence, grievance redressal and self-regulation for news portals, social media and over-the-top (OTT) platforms.The government will soon constitute an inter-departmental committee (IDC) consisting of representatives from various ministries, to look into complaints regarding the online content of these digital media intermediaries.  The minister referred to these guidelines as a “soft-touch oversight mechanism” to prevent “abuse” and misuse” of digital intermediaries and social media platforms. The union minister, in an interview with ET, said that the government would not want to look at the content or seek decryption of messages, but only to trace the origin of a message that caused serious criminal offences. He was referring to the traceability clause that mandates messaging platforms to report to the government within 72 hours on the origin of messages that lead to offences that are serious in nature. Prasad added that the government will follow due legal procedures and seek the court’s orders or law enforcement agency’s permission before submitting such requests.

(INC42, Mar 08, 2021)


India must to develop technology to indigenously manufacture electronic materials: MoS IT

Sanjay Dhotre, MoS for Education, Communications, Electronics and IT Monday said that materials are the backbone of the manufacturing sector in the country and that India’s electronics manufacturing has grown from Rs 1.90 lakh crore to Rs 5.33 lakh crore in recent years. He was delivering the inaugural address organised at an event to mark the 30th foundation day of city-headquartered Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET), which operates under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). ” In 2014 – 2015, the manufacturing of mobile phones was worth about Rs 6 crore which in 2019 – 2020, grew to Rs 33 crore. From contributing approximately 1.3 per cent in 2012, the share of mobile phone manufacturing has increased to 3.6 per cent during 2019 – 2020. This growth has opened employability for thousands,” said Dhotre. “With the Centre pushing for being Aatmanirbhar in all sectors, the country needs to be greatly involved in materials technology, ” said Vijay Bhatkar, Vice Chancellor, Nalanda University. ” In the past, India had not done significant research on electronics hardware, which is entirely dependent upon materials technology,” said Bhatkar, who led India’s supercomputer programme in the 1990s. NITI Ayog member VK Saraswat too stressed on the urgent requirement for developing technology to develop materials within India and cut imports.

(The India Express, Mar 08, 2021)


Panasonic to buy software firm Blue Yonder for $6.5 billion: Report General

Panasonic Corp will buy U.S. software firm Blue Yonder for 700 billion yen ($6.45 billion), the Nikkei reported on Monday, saying it was the Japanese electronics firm's biggest acquisition since 2011. While Panasonic bought 20% stakes of Blue Yonder in 2020, it is now in the final stage to acquire the rest from shareholders including Blackstone Group Inc, the Nikkei said, citing unnamed sources. The move comes as the Japanese company aims to expand hardware that combines software, sensors and other devices to help companies improve operational efficiencies, Nikkei said.

(ET, Mar 08, 2021)


SC Gives Relief To Google, Facebook, Other Tech Giants Over Royalty Taxes General

Big tech companies Google, Facebook and Amazon could start claiming hundreds of crores in refunds from the Indian government, as a Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday clarified that payments made by local users for the purchase of software from non-resident sellers or distributors cannot be taxed as royalty. India charges a 10% royalty tax, but the SC ruling means a non-resident foreign software seller without a permanent establishment in India would not have to deduct the royalty tax at the source. Instead, sellers such as the tech giants and other software providers would have to pay the 2% equalization levy, which was introduced in the Finance Act, 2020.  With the relief, multinational companies such as IBM, Hewlett Packard and Samsung Electronics, which import software for sale in India, could even lower their prices for the end-user, as their tax liability will now reduce.  The SC ruling came after an examination of around 86 appeals and counter appeals by various software firms as well as India’s Commissioner of Income Tax. Software companies have been deducting the royalty tax at source for years or have been in litigation for the same. 

(INC42, Mar 04, 2021)


Addverb Technologies inaugurates Robots manufacturing facility 'Bot-Valley' in Noida IT

Addverb Technologies, one of India’s biggest Automation and Robotics companies, has launched its Rs 75 crore manufacturing facility in Noida. The company said that the facility has a capacity to manufacture more than 50,000 robots of varied types in a year, and is equipped with best-in-class electronics and mechanical machines. "We have entered a nascent paradigm shift (industry 4.0) where technology will help Addverb meet the growing needs and demand of the present business ecosystem. Robotics holds huge potential in streamlining the processes across industries right from retail to healthcare and from warehousing to supply chain," said Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, who inaugurated the Addverb facility. Spread over 2.5 acres of land, this new manufacturing unit is equipped with the best-in-class electronics and mechanical machines and has a capacity to manufacture more than 50,000 Robots of varied types in a year. This one-in-a-kind manufacturing hub will employ 450 workforces and provide equality and empowerment to both men and women. 

(India TV, Mar 04, 2021)


Used-phone seller Cashify raises $15 million from Olympus Capital Telecom

Cashify, a re-commerce marketplace that sells and buys used smartphones and other electronic gadgets, has raised $15 million from Olympus Capital Asia. Olympus Capital will make the investment through Asia Environmental Partners (AEP), its clean energy and sustainability platform.  “We are looking forward to accelerating our investment in the electronics reuse and recycling sector and thereby enabling OEMs and consumers to materially reduce their carbon footprint," said Mandeep Manocha, founder and CEO of Cashify. Founded in 2015 by Manocha, Nakul Kumar, and Amit Sethi, Cashify is an online platform to sell used mobile phones for instant cash and offers free home-pickups. The start-up plans to use these funds to expand its footprint in India, through offline retail expansion. “We plan to grow our offline stores from 60 to 150 over the next one and one-and-a-half years, as people like to touch and feel the phone before buying," said Manocha, adding that the pandemic has boosted demand for second-hand smartphones and laptops because of online learning and work from home.  From selling 80,000 devices per month in September 2020, Cashify today sells more than 125,000 devices a month and is looking at achieving profitability in the next 6 months.

(LiveMint, Mar 04, 2021)


Silver accounts for 10% of PV module costs General

Silver accounts for 10% of PV module costs: The share of silver in PV module costs has risen by around 5% in recent months to account for approximately 10% of the total, according to U.S.-based analyst Matt Watson. “With PV module costs in the neighborhood of $0.018-$0.019/watt and silver representing around 10% of the overall module cost structure, and module and cell prices still declining, finding a means to lower the silver cost component is going to become an increasingly difficult task,” Watson told pv magazine. “Over the past 20 years, silver has averaged an 8.31% year-on-year growth in prices, which is greater than the current rate of design thrifting. This means lowering that silver $/watt component is going to be very difficult.” Watson noted that silver is now sold at around $26 per ounce, but said that prices will continue to climb. “When you study the silver market, electronics demand, led by the Solar PV markets, all have increasingly larger forecast demand,” he said, noting that silver is becoming more of an industrial metal with each passing year. “The projected solar PV module silver cost per watt produced is leveling out going forward as a result of these silver price climbs.

(PV Magazine, Mar 04, 2021)


Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting India biz grows 14 per cent in Apr-Dec General

Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting (WCCL) on Thursday said it has seen about 14 per cent growth in its India business in the first nine months of the fiscal ending March, even during a pandemic-hit year, on the back of operational efficiencies and new product launches. The company, which also witnessed strong performance in international markets, also plans to introduce new products exclusively on e-commerce channels as it looks to tap into the increasing adoption of digital platforms in the country. "Our India business has done very well during the COVID times. We did get hit in Q4 of last year but starting Q1, followed by Q2 and Q3, we've done well, largely because our teams really moved fast in the initial week. We realised that distribution reaching the retail was key and we needed to get to the retail as fast as possible," Vineet Agrawal, CEO of Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting and Executive Director of Wipro Enterprises, said. Agrawal said the team worked closely to ensure that distributors and retail partners can be serviced well even during the lockdown, and also start a new factory in Hyderabad that started operations at the end of May last year. 

(ET, Mar 04, 2021)


India's electronics exports cross pre-Covid levels, touch record high of Rs 8806 crore in December General

India’s exports of electronics goods have not only recovered to pre-Covid levels but also touched an all-time high of Rs 8,806 crore in the month of December 2020, data released by commerce ministry last week showed. Of this, mobile phones remained the top contributor with exports worth Rs 3,061 crore - or roughly 35% of total electronics exports - which though is still to reach pre-Covid levels which were as high as Rs 3,254 crore. For 2020, however, electronics exports declined 4.32% to Rs 73,132 crore due to washout of production for 45 days during shutdown of factories. Import also continued to remain high at Rs 3.5 lakh crore as India mostly imports components required to assemble electronic goods which are then exported.  The National Policy on Electronics 2019 envisages total production of electronics in India to the tune of $400 billion by 2025. Close to $190 billion, or 48% of this is expected to come from mobile phones as per official figures. Further, the industry is estimating that 13% of this target production can be achieved from laptops, tablets or PCs and another 22% from industrial electronics. Although, handset production is steadily catching up to targeted levels with production in FY21 estimated to be Rs 2.14 lakh crore, laptops and PC segment is still lagging behind. For instance, among all electronics goods, laptops/tablets/PCs is the largest category of imported products valued at close to Rs 30,000 crore while exports are abysmally low at Rs 122 crore during calendar year 2020. 

(ET, Mar 02, 2021)


Huawei aims to make electric cars later this year General

Chinese tech giant Huawei is planning to make electric cars under its own brand, and some models may even be launched before the end of this year. According to GSM Arena, Richard Yu, head of Huawei's consumer business group, who was in charge of the company's amazing rise in the smartphone world, is said to shift his focus to EVs, which will target the mass-market segment. Huawei is in talks with state-owned Changan Automobile and other automakers to use their car plants to make its electric vehicles (EVs), according to two of the people familiar with the matter. Huawei is also in discussions with Beijing-backed BAIC Group's Blue Park New Energy Technology to manufacture its EVs. In addition, another Chinese tech company Xiaomi is also planning to build its own car and is considering it as a strategic decision, but specific details and the path it aims to take are yet to be determined As far as project leadership is concerned, Xiaomi's current CEO, Lei Jun, will be directly heading it. Back in 2013, Lei Jun had visited the US twice to meet with Tesla CEO Elon Musk and now it seems that its interest on the field has grown.

(ET, Feb 28, 2021)


BlueStacks to revolutionise mobile gaming in India: CEO Telecom

BlueStacks, the world's largest Android gaming platform for PCs and Macs, is bullish on India and with over 2 million games across numerous developers, the company is revolutionising the way Android gaming is taking shape in the country, a top executive said on Monday. BlueStacks has over 500 million users globally across more than 200 locations. "India is an extremely large mobile gaming market for us. Last year, the pandemic drove a surge of gamers across the world, including India, which saw a near 100 per cent jump in user base," Rosen Sharma, CEO BlueStacks, told IANS in an interview.  A typical BlueStacks user is spending an average of 5 hours playing mobile games every day. According to Sharma, the gaming eco-system in India is majorly driven by mobile games. "With developers coming out with bigger and heavier games, more mobile gamers will play in interruption-free environments and migrate to PC-based platforms. Mobile games are not designed for long gameplay," he noted. The new BlueStacks 5 (Beta), which will support ARM devices, offers significantly faster boot, install and launch times and core gamers can look forward to better gameplay experiences.

(ET, Feb 22, 2021)


Telecom and networking equipment PLI norms finalised for cabinet approval Policy

The government has finalised the norms for Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the telecom and networking equipment for the cabinet’s approval, sources informed CNBC TV-18.

The product categories will be divided into five, sources said. The types of equipment for the PLI scheme will include core transmission equipment, 4G/5G next-generation radio network, wireless equipment, access & customer premises equipment amongst others. The PLI benefits include 7 percent for MSME companies per year on eligible incremental sales for the 5 years period. Similarly, Non-MSME companies will be eligible for a 6 percent incentive in the first and second year, 5 percent in the third and fourth year, and 4 percent in the fifth year.

The annual incremental sales will be calculated over the base year of FY20. The amount of the incentive will be capped and the scheme will be implemented through a project management agency. The PLI conditions will include criteria of a minimum threshold of cumulative incremental investment over the 4 years period. To reap the benefits under the PLI scheme, an entity will have to invest 20 percent of the promised investment, 40 percent in the second year, 70 percent in the third year, and 100 percent by the fourth year. The companies interested to avail of the benefits of the PLI scheme will also be eligible to invest in single or multiple eligible products to meet the minimum criteria for sales and investment. The scheme will also include contract manufacturers as defined by the Foreign Direct Investment Policy. The government also plans to constitute an empowered panel to review rates, ceilings, target segments, and eligibility criteria. The telecom and networking equipment PLI will have no overlap with the Ministry of electronics and information technology.

Source: https://www.cnbctv18.com/telecom/telecom-and-networking-equipment-pli-norms-finalised-for-cabinet-approval-8045331.htm


Meity to keep ₹7.5 k cr outlay for IT hardware products Policy

The government may keep an outlay of ₹7,500 crore under the production linked incentive scheme for IT hardware products. Foreign companies looking for incentives under the scheme may have to invest ₹500 crore over four years. Threshold for domestic firms is to be around ₹20 crore for 5 years. The government may keep an outlay of ₹7,500 crore under the production linked incentive scheme for IT hardware products like personal computers, laptops, tablets and servers, according to a source aware of the development. Foreign companies looking for incentives under the scheme may have to invest ₹500 crore over four years, while the threshold for domestic firms is likely to be around ₹20 crore for five years, the source who did not wish to be named said. "Meity (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) will take the Cabinet approval of the detailed guidelines soon and is hopeful of rolling out the scheme from next financial year. The incentive outlay is likely to be around ₹7,500 crore," the source said. The scheme is expected to be notified within 2 weeks of cabinet approval and the government may invite applications within 4 weeks of notification of the scheme. The aim is to implement PLI schemes starting in April 2021 and the allocation for the telecom and networking equipment PLI is Rs 12,195 crore.6

Source: https://www.livemint.com/technology/tech-news/meity-to-keep-rs-7-k-cr-outlay-for-it-hardware-products-11611014683943.html


Indian government clears $6.5 billion deal for homemade Tejas fighter jets General

India cleared the country’s largest-ever indigenous defense deal worth $6.5 billion for the purchase of 83 LCA MK1A Tejas light combat aircraft. The deal was approved by the government’s apex security body, the Cabinet Committee on Security, which is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The deal will see state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited manufacture 73 LCA MK1A Tejas fighter versions and 10 trainers versions, the Ministry of Defence said. “This deal will be a game-changer for self-reliance in Indian defence manufacturing. It would act as a catalyst for transforming the domestic aerospace ecosystem. The LCA-Tejas is going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in the years to come,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said. “Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, India is continuously growing in its power to indigenously design, develop and manufacture advanced cutting edge technologies and systems in the defence sector,” the MoD said in a statement. “About 500 Indian companies including MSMEs in the design and manufacturing sectors will be working with HAL in this procurement. The programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant self-sustaining ecosystem.”

(Defence News, Jan 15, 2021)


Mobile users spend 3 crore hours on Covid message, which holds up distress calls: Consumer Group Telecom

India’s billion-plus mobile users spend a whopping 3 crore hours a day listening to a 30-second Covid19 message Kolkata. When’s the last time India wanted to tune out after Amitabh Bachchan started speaking? But when India’s billion-plus mobile users spend hours every day for months listening to 30-second covid messages, then even the famous baritone of the iconic actor, who lends his voice to one of the message variants, can’t prevent fatigue. Voiceover artist Jasleen Bhalla lent her voice to another variant of the covid pre-call announcement. Lately, there's a third variant that starts with a man coughing. Consumer groups say those pre-call covid messages are hugely problematic. They say the message being played across networks is estimated to be causing a wastage of around 1.3 crore man-hours a day, and invariably holds up or delays distress calls from going through during emergencies. Also, it eats up precious bandwidth resources. A leading consumer association has dialed communications and consumer affairs ministries respectively, and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Chairman P D Vaghela, saying the repetitive nature of the pandemic-related messaging has outlived its relevance. And that it has become a source of annoyance, and that mobile users largely ignore it because people are already aware of the criticality of social distancing protocols and usage of masks.

(ET, Jan 15, 2021)


5 consumer hardware VCs share their 2021 investment strategies General

Consumer hardware has always been a tough market to crack, but the COVID-19 crisis made it even harder. TechCrunch surveyed five key investors who touch different aspects of the consumer electronics industry, based on our TechCrunch List of top VCs recommended by founders, along with other sources. We asked these investors the same six questions, and each provided similar thoughts, but different approaches:

  1. Hans Tung, managing partner, GGV Capital
  2. Dayna Grayson, co-founder and general partner, Construct Capital
  3. Cyril Ebersweiler, general partner, SOSV
  4. Bilal Zuberi, partner, Lux Capital
  5. Rob Coneybeer, managing director, Shasta Ventures

Despite the pandemic, each identified bright spots in the consumer electronic world. One thing is clear, investors are generally bullish on at-home fitness startups. Multiple respondents cited Peloton, Tonal and Mirror as recent highlights in consumer electronics.  Said Shasta Venture’s Rob Coneybeer, “With all due respect to my friends at Nest (where Shasta was a Series A investor), Tonal is the most exciting consumer connected hardware company I’ve ever been involved with.” Besides asking about the trends and opportunities they’re pursuing in 2021, the investors we spoke to also identified other investors, founders and companies who are leaders in consumer hardware and shared how they’ve reshaped their investment strategies during the pandemic. Their responses have been edited for space and clarity.

( Jan 15, 2021)


Dixon Technologies to make Nokia mobile phones, Toshiba TVs in India: Report General

Dixon Technologies has won a contract from Nokia to manufacture the latter’s mobile phones and smart TV, besides manufacturing contracts from Lloyd, Intex and Toshiba as well. Dixon will through its subsidiary Padget Electronics begin assembling phones for Nokia and Motorola parent HMD Global, at its Noida factory, The Economic Times reported. Further, smart TVs of Intex, Lloyd, Nokia and Toshiba will be manufactured at its Chittor factory, two sources told the paper. Financial details are not yet known. Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report. India’s second largest electronics manufacturer, began assembling LG smartphones at this factory in July 2020. The deals have put Dixon “well on track to become the first Indian electronics manufacturing services (EMS) player to compete with Chinese and Vietnamese giants,” one sources added. Notably, this is the first time that Japanese brand Toshiba will be manufacturing its TVs in India and another contract for the product has also been awarded to Videotex International, the report said. The companies did not respond to queries, it added.

(MoneyControl, Jan 14, 2021)


Tata puts post-pandemic bet on digital, electronics and health General

Tata, whose operations span hotels, steel, airlines, electronic goods and technology services, will also place big bets on electric vehicles, renewable energy and battery storage, N Chandrasekaran, who is also known as Chandra, added. “When you look at trends for the future, definitely there are clear signs you can pick up. Anything that is digital, we’re making a big bet on,” Chandra told the Reuters Next conference. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology, changing the way people live, work and consume as well as how companies operate, he added. Tata has already made public its intent to launch an umbrella app enabling access to all its consumer businesses, Chandra said, in a concept borrowed from China where apps such as Alipay allow everything from hotel bookings to e-commerce. Tata is also building an online business-to-business platform. The owner of British luxury brand Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is placing big bets on electric vehicles as well as on battery storage and renewable energy for consumer and industrial use.“We are very serious about electric vehicles,” Chandra said, adding that Tata is investing in developing clean technology cars at home through Tata Motors and at JLR.

(Reuters, Jan 14, 2021)


Optic fibre makes a major part of telecom carriers digital infrastructure spend Telecom

Optic-fibre cable or OFC contributes a major pie of the Indian telecom carriers expenditure on creating digital infrastructure which is also a backbone to achieve Centre's ambitious Digital India vision, an executive of the country's top fibre maker said. "Telcos are making aggressive investments in digital network infrastructure, and optic-fibre cable holds a major share of telcos’ overall digital infrastructure investment," Anand Agarwal, group chief executive Sterlite Technologies Limited (STL) told ETTelecom. Following the demand triggered by service providers' aggressive Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) strategy, and upcoming fifth generation (5G) networks, the Pune-based predominant optic-fibre producer is planning to invest Rs 300-crore to boost its production capacity, while the second-largest HFCL Limited is also eyeing to increase production capability by at least 33%. "Optical fibre infrastructure is the cornerstone for achieving the goals of Digital India vision. Fibre networks are at the core to address the digital divide in the country," Agarwal added. India's top fibre manufacturers -- Sterlite Technologies and HFCL Limited -- are banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's prestigious Digital India umbrella program that aims to achieve 100% tele-density, broadband for all, and fibre-based national backbone called BharatNet for seamless delivery of public services.

(ET, Jan 14, 2021)


Stars aligned for India’s Internet cos to create value in next 10 years: BofA Securities Telecom

The COVID-19 pandemic may have propelled India’s Internet sector into a phase of hyper growth that will result in staggering value creation in the next decade, brokerage house BofA Securities said in a note on Thursday. “We consider the India internet sector to be at an inflection point to witness hyper-growth in the coming years as we see tech companies steadily disrupting the traditional services by eliminating ‘middle men’, delivering faster, cheaper and more convenient products & services,” the brokerage said. The brokerage firm credits the rollout of 4G telecom services by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries in 2017 for the mass adoption of the Internet in India, and believes COVID-19 has accelerated the path towards profitability. A supportive government, tech-savvy young population given more than 60 per cent of Indians are aged below 35 years, ongoing digitization of small businesses and a well-funded private equity ecosystem, suggest that the stars are aligned to create investor value in the coming decade, the brokerage said. BofA Securities is of the view that Reliance Industries remains the best play on the Internet ecosystem as it will garner over 500 million users over the next 3-5 years, offer broadband services to 20-25 million households and cater to 12-15 million small businesses. “RIL’s approach of owning the “pipe” as well as the “services” offered on the pipe should help it earn incremental digital revenues,” the brokerage noted.

(ET, Jan 14, 2021)


Samsung, LG highlight food tech leveraging AI, IoT solutions at CES 2021 General

Samsung and LG are promoting their latest technologies on home cooking and meal services at the world's largest tech expo, industry officials said on Wednesday, as they highlight connected and personalised experiences amid the pandemic-induced stay-at-home trend. The two South Korean tech firms unveiled food tech services compatible with their home appliances leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions at this year's all-digital Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021. At its press event for CES 2021 on Monday, Samsung introduced SmartThings Cooking service that uses technologies from Whisk, a British food tech startup acquired by the South Korean tech titan in 2019, Yonhap reported.  Samsung said the service, which is scheduled to be launched in the first quarter of the year in the United States and South Korea, is designed to deliver a "seamless culinary journey" to people who search, plan, purchase and prepare for their meals. "An automatic Meal Planner powered by Whisk's Food AI recommends meals for the whole week, makes shopping lists with the ingredients you need, and connects to grocery retailers for one-stop shopping straight from the Family Hub refrigerator or your mobile screen," Samsung said. "Recipe instructions can be sent directly to synced Samsung cooking devices to minimize hassles and mistakes."

(ET, Jan 14, 2021)


Dixon Technologies rebounds 8% from day's low on stock split plan General

Shares of Dixon Technologies (India) moved higher by 4 per cent to Rs 15,180, bouncing back 8 per cent from the day's low of Rs 14,090, on the BSE on Thursday after the consumer electronics company announced stock split plan. Dixon Technologies on Thursday said its board is scheduled to meet on February 2, to consider sub-division of equity shares of the company from Rs 10 paid-up to in such manner as may be determined by the board of directors. The board will also to consider and approve unaudited financial results of the Company for the quarter ended December 31, 2020, it said. Generally, a company plans to go for a stock split to make the shares more affordable for small retail investors and increase liquidity. In the past one year, the stock of Dixon Technologies has rallied 251 per cent as compared to an 18-per cent rise in the S&P BSE Sensex. In past six months, it surged 129 per cent, against 38 per cent gain in the benchmark index. The stock hit an all-time high of Rs 16,788 on January 8, 2021. Last week, Dixon announced that it has entered into an agreement with Imagine Marketing Private Limited (boAt) for manufacturing of Twin Wireless Speakers. The company shall be manufacturing the said products from its manufacturing facility located at Noida, Uttar Pradesh. boAt is the leader in the earwear segment. Their high quality audio devices are known for their style and efficiency.

(BS, Jan 14, 2021)


Manish Bhardwaj the man leading Foxsky Reveals the secret behind his success General

COVID-19 has severely impacted businesses across the world. Many went into losses, and many were compelled to shut operations. However, there is one Indian business that did not suffer despite the pandemic. Foxsky, the Ghaziabad based company, owned, and operated by the Bharadwaj group, joined India’s largest e-commerce, Amazon, in February 2020, and since then there has been no looking back for them. Despite the pandemic, they have managed to grow, and they are still growing and making waves in the consumer electronics business. They are on the path to becoming a 100-crore brand. The brains behind this growth are Manish Bharadwaj and Sachin Bhardwaj, who serves as the Product Head of Foxsky. It was because of his vision and focus that Foxsky has grown to be a formidable force in the industry. He gives credit to his team and his family too who placed their trust in him and encouraged him to lead this brand. Manish Bharadwaj never believed in a conventional education system. He studied till class 12th and dropped out after his 1st-year college exam. He had the kind of business acumen no college could offer him; hence he did not pursue his studies further. He rejected the concept of school and college and proved to the world that you do not need a formal education to succeed. Life is the biggest teacher, and if you have learned to crack it, then you need no college or school.

(Forbes India, Jan 14, 2021)


Triton Electric brings N4 sedan to India at Rs 35 lakh; in talks with BEL for JV General

The US-based electric vehicle manufacturer, Triton Electric Vehicle LLC, plans to launch its electric sedan Model N4 in India priced at INR 35 lakh. Meanwhile, the company is said to be in talks with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for a possible joint venture to produce batteries and electronics systems for energy storage units and EVs. The Triton electric sedan will be available in four variants: N4, N4-S, N4-R, and the high-performance limited edition N4-GT of which only 100 units will be produced, the company said in a press release. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA, Triton Electric has opened bookings for Model N4. It can be booked on the company website.  Model N4 is powered by a 75 kWh battery giving it a range of up to 696 km. Upgrades will be available for higher variants. It has a solar panel on the roof to charge the battery, limiting the need for conventional sources. This will help reduce charging cost, battery load, and increase the mileage of the electric sedan. The company claims that solar power can reduce 10% of the battery’s load by rerouting power from the solar panel to the battery using the distribution power unit. Himanshu B Patel, founder, and CEO of Triton Electric Vehicles said, “I want to thank all our critics and supporters on social media for their exponential support, participation, and constructive feedback. As we are heading to a new era of commitment to our environment, EVs are going to make a definite contribution to building a future-ready society.”

(ET, Jan 11, 2021)


Apollo Micro Systems sizzles after order win General

Apollo Micro Systems jumped 11.07% to Rs 144 after the company said it bagged a supply order from Bharat Electronics worth Rs 49.86 crore. The company in an exchange filing on Saturday announced that it has bagged a Rs 49.86 crore order from Bharat Electronics, a Defence Public Sector Undertaking with a repeat order clause, for maximum of 120% of the units originally ordered. Apollo Micro Systems is an electronic, electro-mechanical, engineering designs, manufacturing and supplies company. The company designs, develops and sells high-performance, mission and time critical solutions to defence, space and home land security for Ministry of Defence, government controlled public sector undertakings and private sectors. On a consolidated basis, the company's net profit rose 25.3% to Rs 3.62 crore on a 16.5% rise in net sales to Rs 66.31 crore in Q3 December 2020 over Q3 December 2019.

(BS, Jan 11, 2021)


Amid farmers’ protests, govt plans to scale up Kisan e-mart IT

The Central government is planning to scale up the digital online platform, Kisan e-mart that allows farmers to directly sell their produce to private buyers, even as the impasse over the three new agricultural laws continues. According to people familiar with the matter, the pilot, which is currently active in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Haryana, will now be extended to Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura, Gujarat and Telangana. The Kisan e-mart is a partnership between Agri10x and the Common Services Centre (CSC) scheme, which operates under the Digital India project of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Nearly 375,000 CSCs are functional at the panchayat-level across India. Farmers are allowed to register at the CSC and after their KYC is completed, they can sell produce online without the hassle of having to transport it.  According to Pankaj Ghode, CEO of Agri10x, nearly 500,000 farmers are registered on the portal, which provides them access to 5,000 buyers. The buyers include major grocery retailers such as Big Basket, Reliance Fresh, Ninja Kart, Venky’s and Haldiram’s. The online platform provides direct access to buyers, doing away with mandis. This has been a major point of contention for the farmers under the new farm laws. Farmers have been demanding a repeal of the laws as they say the legislations will hurt their livelihoods. While the government has agreed to set up a committee to look into the law, it has stayed firm on not repealing them despite several rounds of talks with the farmers. “The buyers offer the farmers their prices and they can choose who to sell the produce to,” said an official on the condition of anonymity. “The farmer gets a chance to assess which is a better and fairer price.”

(HT, Jan 11, 2021)


Hybrid renewable tariffs unlikely to match PV-specific General

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) believes that wind-solar hybrid project tariffs are unlikely to match the levels seen in recent solar auctions (as low as INR1.99/kWh), at least for now. The ratings agency said while the competitive bidding guidelines address many of the issues in such projects, technical complexities related to grid integration and inclusion of floor capacity proportion of wind projects (at least 33% of the total contracted capacity) in the hybrid mix could weigh on the developers’ project economics and tariff assumptions. As a result, the upcoming solar-wind hybrid auctions may see cautious participation from independent power producers. On the contrary, individual renewable auctions (especially solar) are likely to garner higher interest due to developing comfort around photovoltaic technology, improvements in panel efficiency, lower volatility in the generation, increasing economies of scale, and decreasing operating costs, it added. The tariff-based competitive bidding guidelines for grid-connected solar-wind hybrid projects, laid out by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy during October 2020, provide must-run Status forhybrid projects and compensation at PPA tariff for any grid backdown. However, no generation compensation is applicable if backdown is on account of grid safety. This caveat keeps hybrid projects exposed to the risk of permanent loss of revenue due to grid curtailment on occasions, said India Ratings. 

(PV Magazine, Jan 11, 2021)


Cleantech Solar a big wheel in Asia’s C&I rooftop PV scene General

Whether electric or petroleum powered, cars currently still need tyres, and Cleantech Solar, one of Asia’s largest C&I solar PV developers, is steering its second major tyre manufacturer in the region, Indonesia’s Elangperdana, towards renewable electricity use with a 4.5 MW system on the roof of its Java-based production facility situated near the Sentul International motor racing circuit. Elangperdana Tyre Industry produces high performance radial tyres for the Indonesian and international tyre markets, as well as radial and conventional tyres for light trucks and buses.  “This solar project will play an important role in reducing our carbon emissions,” said Dicky Mursalie, Managing Director of Elangperdana, in a statement which claims the installation will displace an annual 117,500 tonnes of CO2. Singapore-based Cleantech Solar, which was founded in 2014 by a group of former Barclays executives led by present Cleantech Chairman Raju Shukla, has more than 500 MW of commercial and industrial (C&I) solar projects in operation, construction or development across India, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and in Singapore itself. In 2016, it installed a 1.81 MWp system for Apollo Tyres in the Chennai industrial region of Oragadam, India, producing not only 2.5 million kilowatt hours of clean energy per year, but also providing shading and thereby lowering the temperature of the plant’s manufacturing unit.

(PV Magazine, Jan 11, 2021)


Rajasthan’s second-largest solar park to complete by March 2022 General

The Indian State of Rajasthan could have its 925 MW Nokh Solar Park in the Jaisalmer district operational by the end of the financial year 2021-22. The Nokh solar park will be the State’s second-largest after the 2250 MW Bhadla Solar Park in the Jodhpur district.The project is expected to complete by March 31, 2022 and will attract investment worth INR 3300 crore, Hindi news website Patrika quoted Subodh Agarwal, chairman and managing director, Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Ltd (RRECL). The Nokh solar park will be spread over 1850 hectares land and have solar projects developed by the state-owned power producer NTPC. Rajasthan’s installed renewable energy capacity reached 9.6 GW at the end of FY 2019-20. This included 5.2 GW of solar. Also, during FY2019-20, it added more solar power capacity (1.7 GW) than any other Indian state—ahead of Karnataka (1.4 GW), the state with the highest installed solar capacity, and Tamil Nadu (1.3 GW), according to an Ieefa report. High solar radiation and wind speeds and an abundance of barren land make Rajasthan suitable for utility-scale solar parks.

(PV Magazine, Jan 11, 2021)


Ghatak Stealth Unmanned Combat Drone Programme Reaches New Milestone; DRDO Lab Hands Over Landing Gear General

India’s highly secretive unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) programme, under which a technology demonstrator called stealth wing flying testbed or SWiFT is being developed, has reached a new milestone. Livefist has reported that the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment, a Chennai-based lab of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, has handed over retractable landing gear systems for SWiFT. In a technology bulletin released in October 2020, the DRDO had said that it had completed the designing of the landing gear for the programme and the manufacturing of the airworthy components was under progress. SWiFT is a precursor to India’s stealthy UCAV Ghatak. “SWiFT UAV is a...scaled-down version of Ghatak UCAV The main intent of SWiFT UAV is to demonstrate and prove the stealth technology and high-speed landing technology in autonomous mode,” the DRDO has said. A model of this platform was recently seen in a video lecture published by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, which is involved in the fundamental research and testing related to the stealth UCAV programme. It was most likely a “mockup or a sub-scale flying model” of the SWiFT.

(Swarajya, Jan 11, 2021)


ELCINA EMS Task Force Report Launched by Mr. Ajay Sawhney, Secretary, MeitY Policy

ELCINA constituted a Task Force to study the EMS Sector and come up with a Research Report providing details of the status and prospects of this ESDM segment. The task force had representation from MeitY & Invest India. The EMS Task Force commenced deliberations in July 2020 and concluded the same in November, coming up with valuable details such as the sector’s current size, growth potential, exports and policies which impact its progress.

Globally, EMS sector was valued at US$ 832 Bn in 2019 and estimated to grow to US$ 1055 Bn by 2025. The Task Force report predicts that the Indian EMS industry will gallop from US$ 23.5 Bn in 2019-20 to US$ 152 Bn by 2025. This effectively means that it has the potential to grow from <3% of the global industry to about 14% within 5 years. The global EMS industry has grown very quickly during last 15-20 years as it has expanded the scope of its activities for the Electronic Systems Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) sector. From a small share of 10-15% in the ESDM industry, EMS now straddles in excess of 40-45% of its value. In addition to PCBA and pure assembly services, EMS has now expanded to include research & development, supply chain management, global distribution, logistics, customer support and even warranty repairs. There has been a complete transformation of the role of EMS in the ESDM industry globally.

Secretary Ministry of Electronics & IT, Government of India, Mr Ajay Sawhney, while releasing the Report, reinforced the need to manufacture PCB assemblies within the country and reduce import dependence. He said that there was plenty of opportunity for utilising the existing Schemes of NPE 2019 and additional Schemes which were being promoted for other sectors, such as medical electronics, defence and aerospace which had created huge demand for electronics. Mr Sawhney mentioned that there was a huge opportunity in products such as Servers, Laptops, Tablets etc and encouraged industry to take up these high value and large volume products. He also informed that government was keen to support expansion of the components eco-system in the country and certain follow up schemes were in the works to enable participation by more domestic companies including the Medium and Small enterprises.

Printed Circuit Board Assemblies are at the core of every electronic device. And constitute anywhere from 40-50% of the BOM of the device. To develop India as an electronics manufacturing hub, it is crucial that we expand the manufacturing ecosystem for EMS and PCBA’s in India.

Key Findings of EMS Task Force Report on Market & Industry Analysis of EMS Sector of ESDM Industry

Ø  Currently EMS Industry (Contract Manufacturing Services) are valued 832 Bn $ and are projected to grow 1055 Bn by 2025.

Ø  Current estimate of EMS Industry in India is USD 23.5 Bn only which is <3% of global mfg.  EMS Industry has an estimated 700 Firms with about 600 Indian and 100 Multinational Companies.

Ø  China exported US$ 685 Bn of electronics to the world during 2019-20. There is huge export potential for India EMS sector and govt has set a target of US$ 100 Bn exports of mobiles alone by 2025. This is driven by the PLI Scheme and targets about 25% of the global mobile market valued at US$ 415 Bn.

Ø  In Non-Mobile segment, China exported electronics worth USD 50Bn to India friendly countries. Government support of 5% will empower Indian EMS sector to capture 30-40% of this, which is USD 15-20 Bn.

Ø  Domestic electronics manufacturing is estimated at USD 75 Bn of which 39 Bn constitutes EMS value.  This is divided into 23.5 Bn domestic Mfg. and USD 15.5 Bn PCBS/Sub-Assembly imports.

Ø  Further USD 53.5 Bn is finished Electronic Goods imports of which USD 17 Bn is EMS value. Thus total EMS opportunity loss is US$ 32.5 Bn (15.5 +17).

Ø  We estimate that EMS production can grow realistically from USD 23.5 Bn today to USD 152 Bn by 2025 at CAGR of 45%.  This will meet 75% of the countries EMS requirement of US$ 203 Bn by 2025 against a total estimated market of 400 Bn.

Ø  The Industry is broadly categorized into HVLM (High Volume Low Mix) which are the large global MNCs and few large Indian Firms and the other category is HMLV (High Mix Low Volume) largely constituted by the Indian EMS Companies catering to lower volume industrial/professional sector products.

Ø  HVLM & HMLV have very different characteristics with respect to volume, risk, automation, supply chain, costs etc.

 

Note: The detailed report is available with ELCINA secretariat, please contact at ashish@elcina.com.


Indian B2B e-commerce startup udaan raises $280 million, valuation jumps to over $3 billion General

Indian B2B e-commerce platform udaan has raised $280 million. The additional financing was led by the startup’s existing investors Lightspeed, DST Global, GGV Capital, Altimeter, and Tencent, while two new investors Octahedron Capital and Moonstone Capital too participated. The latest round takes udaan’s overall funds raised to $1.15 billion. According to reports, the startup’s valuation has soared to $3.1 billion, from its last reported valuation of $2.8 billion in 2019. Udaan works as a marketplace for products across lifestyle, electronics, home and kitchen, staples, fruits and vegetables, FMCG, toys and general merchandise. Its clients are manufacturers and business owners like shopkeepers. The startup’s co-founder Amod Malviya said that COVID-19 accelerated the already fast digital-led evolution of India’s trade and retail industry, which has led to udaan’s growth.

(Business Insider, Jan 06, 2020)


$100 million! What floats this boAt? General

Indian hardware makers have usually found it hard to raise capital. That’s mostly because India has been a weaker hardware ecosystem as compared to China. And a few attempts to change that in the past have ended up in failures. Moreover, India has been open to doing business with China. This means Chinese hardware companies could easily sell to India and out-compete local players. Those who have followed the smartphone business are familiar with the rise of Xiaomi and Chinese companies such as OnePlus, Oppo, and Vivo, and the fall of Indian brands like Micromax, Lava, and Karbonn. With the exception of Samsung, the top five selling brands in India now are Chinese. The pecking order was upset because of Xiaomi’s ability to price high-quality products affordably, market efficiently, and use China’s hardware making prowess to launch products in quick succession. The rise of online commerce and the shift to 4G telecom networks in India also gave Xiaomi and other Chinese companies a leg up. It caught Indian brands off guard. boAt started by selling charging cables. It has then moved upmarket into other devices such as smartwatches and speakers. In total, it sold goods worth over Rs 701 crore in the year ending March 2020. It is targeting Rs 1000 crore in revenue by 2024.

(Money Control, Jan 06, 2021)


E-commerce: Trends to watch out for in 2021 IT

: With the second-largest internet user base, India has emerged as one of the most prominent markets globally. Being stuck at home because of the pandemic further triggered the desire to make life and work easier at home, which resulted in a significant increase in shopper spends. People who would otherwise go out to buy groceries and medicines at the pharmacy, turned to e-commerce platforms to get essentials delivered at their doorsteps. 2020 accelerated the e-commerce industry by a decade, revolutionizing the way brands operate, run, and grow their businesses, as well as how consumers choose to shop and pay. As per Nielsen India’s E-commerce Consumer Panel (E-Analytics Solution), there was a double digit increase in average spend of online shoppers for electronics and accessories (39%), mobile and accessories (12%), and fashion, including apparel, footwear, and accessories (10%) after the pandemic. Appliances (e.g.TV, WM, refrigerators, etc.) also saw notable shopper spending increase at 9%. This growth trajectory of e-commerce platforms in India testifies how customers are increasingly recognizing the importance of comfort shopping within closed doors, and after seeing their businesses take a plunge in the first three months of the lockdown, more and more sellers are also coming online.

(Business Insider, Jan 06, 2021)


Centum Electronics Limited Receives DRDO’s Prestigious Defence Technology Absorption Award General

Bangalore-based Centum Electronics Limited, the leading Electronics Company, was awarded the prestigious Defence Technology Absorption Award by DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization), India’s premier research and development organization for military and defence technology, at a ceremony hosted at the DRDO HQ recently. The award was handed over to Centum CMD, Mr. Apparao V Mallavarapu by Hon’ble Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh in recognition of Centum Electronics’ outstanding contribution towards the absorption of critical technology in defence space systems and pioneering the development of Space Grade Hardware of onboard Satellite based Electronic Warfare Payload for the Satellite Mission Kautilya. Mr. Apparao V Mallavarapu, Chairman and Managing Director said, “It is a great honour and privilege to receive this wonderful recognition from Mr. Rajnath Singh, Hon’ble Defence Minister of Government of India. It was the extraordinary teamwork and support we received from the Scientists and Engineers of DRDO that enabled us to deliver this State-of-the-Art System of National Importance. There have been many first-time technologies and processes developed by Centum Electronics that made realizing this Complex system possible. This is a very proud moment for all of us at Centum.”

(Businesswireindia, Jan 04, 2021)


Bharat Electronics to supply laser dazzlers to Indian Navy General

India’s state-owned defence and aerospace firm Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has received a contract to supply light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation dazzlers (laser dazzlers) for the Indian Navy. Under the contract, BEL will initially supply 20 Laser Dazzlers, which would be manufactured at the company’s Pune facility. The laser dazzler is used as a ‘non-lethal method’ for stopping suspicious vehicles, aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from approaching secured areas. According to a statement released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the weapon has been ‘indigenously designed and developed’ for the first time for the military forces. Laser Dazzlers are also capable of ‘dazzle’, helping in the suppression of the person’s or optical sensor’s action with ‘disability glare in case of non-compliance to orders’. The weapon system is portable, shoulder operated, and is ruggedised for military use. The technology of the laser dazzler was developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). This unique product will support India’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

(Naval Technology, Jan 04, 2021)


Lenovo expects 25-30% growth this fiscal, to begin manufacturing tablets in India General

PC maker Lenovo expects to grow by 25-30 per cent in the current financial year due to increase in demand from education segment and large enterprises, a top company official said. However, the growth may decline in the next financial year, Lenovo India CEO and Managing Director Rahul Agarwal told , adding that the company has always grown in double digits and will continue to maintain the trend. Lenovo is also planning to start manufacturing tablets in India and expand laptop manufacturing by about 10 times. "It has been a roller coaster ride this year, but we will grow by 25-30 per cent for the full financial year if we remove the ELCOT deal. The ELCOT deal was 1.5 million PCs which has not happened this year," Agarwal said. "The consumer market is to be 4 million. It has been flat for the last 5 years. It is suddenly exploding because of learning from home and is growing by 40 per cent," he added. In 2019, Lenovo India had bagged an order from ELCOT, the nodal agency for procuring electronic hardware and software for Tamil Nadu government and its schemes, for providing over 1.5 million laptops to students in the state. Agarwal said B2B (business-to-business) demand is still muted and it may grow by 4-5 per cent for full year.

(ET, Jan 04, 2021)


Indian B2B e-commerce startup udaan raises $280 million, valuation jumps to over $3 billion General

Indian B2B e-commerce platform udaan has raised $280 million. The additional financing was led by the startup’s existing investors Light speed, DST Global, GGV Capital, Altimeter, and Tencent, while two new investors Octahedron Capital and Moonstone Capital too participated. The latest round takes udaan’s overall funds raised to $1.15 billion. According to reports, the startup’s valuation has soared to $3.1 billion, from its last reported valuation of $2.8 billion in 2019. udaan works as a marketplace for products across lifestyle, electronics, home and kitchen, staples, fruits and vegetables, FMCG, toys and general merchandise. Its clients are manufacturers and business owners like shopkeepers. The startup’s co-founder Amod Malviya said that COVID-19 accelerated the already fast digital-led evolution of India’s trade and retail industry, which has led to udaan’s growth.  “udaan is at the forefront of this uniquely Indian eCommerce opportunity, emerging in the last 4 years as one of the largest eCommerce platforms in India, while taking an India-first mobile-first approach to e-commerce. This financing enables us to further our journey of taking eCommerce to the depth and breadth of the country, with udaan’s unique low-cost model for core middle India,” said Malviya.

(Business Insider, Jan 02, 2021)


LG sees 'window of opportunity' to come back into Indian smartphone market Telecom

South Korean electronics major LG is planning to use the “window of opportunity” provided by the anti-China mood in India currently to stage a comeback in smartphones, targeting the sub-Rs 15,000 segment to claw back its way back in an industry now dominated by brands from across the Great Wall. The company is seeking to scale up local manufacturing by 15 times until Diwali and expand distribution.  In an interview with ET, Advait Vaidya, business head - mobile communications at LG Electronics, said the brand has seen 10 times increased sales of smartphones in the past two months due to the anti-China sentiment. “The short-term window of opportunity is big enough for us to enter the space and achieve scale,” he said. Diverging from its global portfolio, this year, LG is building an ‘India specific and India first’ product portfolio to cater to unique consumer demands here, Vaidya said. “So, this year, starting August, we will be launching six phones across all segments - starting from the sub-Rs 10,000 category up to the flagship segment. We are ramping up distribution across channels, online and offline,” he said. The company is also targeting corporate sales and foraying into the tablet market by year end.

(ET. July 05, 2020)


Hyundai, Uber join hands to develop electric air taxis General

South Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai Motor Company today entered into a partnership with US ride-hailing giant Uber to produce electric air taxis. Hyundai also unveiled a new full-scale concept PAV (personal air vehicle), developed jointly with Uber, at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show 2020. Hyundai is the first automotive company to join the Uber Elevate initiative. Under the partnership, Hyundai will produce and deploy the air vehicles and Uber will provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation and customer interfaces through an aerial rideshare network. The two entities are also collaborating on infrastructure concepts to support their take-off and landing. The concept PAV -- S-A1 -- is an eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft designed for aerial ridesharing purposes. The S-A1 will seat five people, including the pilot, and have a cruising speed of 290 kmph, with a flying trip up to 100 km. The cruising altitude of the air vehicle will be around 1,000-2,000 feet above the ground. Being a completely electric air vehicle, the S-A1 will utilise distributed electric propulsion, powering multiple rotors and propellers around the airframe to increase safety by decreasing any single point of failure. During peak hours, it will require about five

(India Today, Jan 07, 2020)