So who stands to benefit from an Ola-Uber merger? It is not the customers or the drivers as the monopoly will drain the market off of choices.
Written By Sulekha Nair
Uber Technologies Inc. had to eat crow and almost exit Southeast Asia because of competition from rival Grab, but for a deal that gives the American firm a 27.5 percent stake in the latter. After news of that surrender broke earlier this week, rumours about Uber merging its operations in India with that of its biggest competitor Ola have been doing the rounds.
Sources in the know of the development have reportedly confirmed that senior executives from both firms have met several times over the past several months. The talks indicate that homegrown Ola will take over Uber India. However, the blueprint of a deal is yet to be worked out and could take several months, an unnamed source told the PTI. Japan’s SoftBank is the largest investor in both firms and is facilitating these talks.
Ola shot down claims about talks with Uber, and told the news agency that, “Ola is always actively looking for opportunities to expand its footprint. SoftBank and all other investors are committed to realising this ambition.”
Two analysts Firstpost spoke to were of the opinion that a merger seems unlikely. Two others said it could go through.
Paula Mariwala, Partner, Seedfund and co-founder, Stanford Angels, ruled out the possibility of a merger. She reasoned that both taxi-hailing apps were the fastest growing in the sector that they operate in. “Both face the same issues and have come in the crosshairs of the government.” For instance, they were pulled up for surge-pricing in the NCR during the Delhi government’s implementation of the odd-even car scheme. Mariwala added that there is no need for consolidation, given that there is no other player like Ola and Uber in the Indian ecosystem, referring to their deep pockets.
Another reason cited for a merger not going through is that there is considerable headroom for growth for both players. Kavan Mukhtyar, Partner and Leader – Automotive, PwC India said that when there are leading players in any sector, there isn’t much scope for consolidation. “There is private equity capital that both the players are pursuing and there is expectation of growth.”
Ola has seen an increase in its market share, from 53 percent in July 2017 to 56.2 percent in December 2017, according to market intelligence firm KalaGato. Uber’s market share for the same period slid from 42 percent to 39.6 percent, according to a report in Scroll. But there is still room for growth, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, Mukhtyar added.
Written By John Hey
Devangshu Dutta, founder and CEO of consulting firm Third Eyesight, will keynote this year’s Fresh Produce India on 26-27 April with his expert perspective on the changing landscape of India’s consumer market– and what it means for fresh produce marketers.
With a young, educated population– and an economy tipped to become the world’s third largest by 2030–India’s consumer market is poised for dynamic growth.
Second- and third-tier cities across the country are emerging rapidly as income levels rise. Traditional retail channels still control the vast majority of India’s fresh produce sales, but modern retail has begun to gain traction, boosted by recent fiscal reforms. Digital channels are also increasing their influence over what Indian consumers buy, and how.
Dutta, whose specialist management consulting firm focuses on retail and consumer products, will analyse all these changes in the opening session of Fresh Produce India.
Joining him for the ensuing panel discussion will be K Radhakrishan, co-founder of Starquik.com. With an impressive track record in food and grocery retail, Radhakrishan’s latest venture is focused on developing an omnichannel grocery business for Tata aligned to the Star Bazaar store network.
Bringing an international perspective, Filip Fontaine, general manager of Belgian cooperative BelOrta, will explain the growing strategic importance of the Indian market to Belgium as a key export nation, and to the European business at large.
After the opening plenary session, Fresh Produce India Expo kicks off, showcasing a range of products and services for delegates to take in.
Running alongside the expo is a programme of special workshop sessions for delegates to choose from. Covering everything from investment models to supply chain technologies, these workshops offer practical solutions and advice on a range of issues.
Apples continue to dominate India’s fresh fruit import market, but a temporary ban on one of the dominant suppliers – China – has opened the way for other exporting countries to capitalise. In the session, ‘New sources for India’s apple market’, Aysel Oguz, export sales manager for major Turkish grower-shipper Anadolu Etap, will discuss what Turkey has to offer the Indian market. Gagan Khosla of importer NGK Trading, which has actively been developing alternative supply sources, will assess the commercial prospects for a range of newer and prospective entrants.
Berries have become big business for the global fresh produce trade, but India remains largely uncharted territory for international players. Parth Karvat of Yupaa Fresh will lead a session exploring the opportunities and challenges to developing the berry category in India. Karvat, whose family has its own berry farms in India, will discuss the development of domestic production, as well as the increasing demand for imported berries. Tracey Burns, export division manager at Freshmax New Zealand, will also deliver a case study on kiwiberries, an exciting new product recently launched onto the Indian market together with local partner Suri Agro Fresh.
The workshop programme also provides strategic insights and advice. In a session on investment models for India’s horticulture business, Asish Puri, vice-president of Avalon Consulting (part of the Cordence Group), will outline the key trends in India’s food and agribusiness investment landscape. He will be joined by Kushal Agrawal, chief financial officer of venture capital firm Aspada, which has invested in a range of horticulture start-ups, including INI Farms, All Fresh, Leaf, SV Agri and Waycool. Agrawal will discuss the practical process of raising funds, and share the keys to the success of some of the ventures it has invested in
Elsewhere on the programme, Geoff Green, head of Capespan Global Procurement, will lead the session ‘Creating a sustainable future for Indian grapes’. Green, who heads up Capespan’s global grape business, has been visiting India to procure grapes for the last 16 years. He’ll share his vision of how the country can fulfil its potential in international markets by addressing a number of key issues. CEO of Hamburg-headquartered importer Don Limón Andréas Schindler, will also join the session. Sourcing grapes from across the world, Don Limón has also developed commercial imports from India under a grower-empowerment project in recent years.
In addition to taking advantage of the abundant information and insights at the conference, Fresh Produce India delegates get ample time to meet and do business at Fresh Produce India Expo, which is the primary networking arena. A wide range of companies are showcasing their products at Fresh Produce India Expo, which runs from 11:00-19:30 on Day One, and 10:30-14:00 on Day Two.
Written By Sagar Malviya, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: Reliance Retail plans to raise Rs 4,000 crore through rights issue to help fund expansion, especially at a time when global rivals Amazon and Walmart are increasingly threatening the dominance of the country’s biggest retailer.
The Reliance Retail board has agreed to offer 800 million non-cumulative optionally convertible preference shares (OCPS) of Rs 10 at a premium of Rs 40 per share worth Rs 4,000 crore to existing shareholders through rights issue, the company said in its filing with the Registrar of Companies this week.
As entrepreneurial aspirations go up, aided by an ecosystem that encourages it, small businesses are finding a cozy corner on social media, particularly Instagram, to find takers of their products.
Written By Shinmin Bali
There are many ways a technology can be used for business and the same is true for communities as well. This is especially so on the digital platform, owing to the reach, personalisation and engagement opportunities, and the fact that it has little to no entry barriers. These factors have emboldened everyone from multinational companies to say, a mom-and-pop store to even individuals who can pick and choose which platform in the online space works best for them.
And lately, a lot of budding entrepreneurs have found their sweet spot on Instagram. It has become fairly common for a consumer to find out what is latest in say, fashion, makeup or jewellery from Instagram. If not latest, it is a space where the chance of discovering newer products is higher, rather than waiting to be targeted by brands and being presented with a product portfolio.
Written By Shambhavi Anand, ET Bureau
Myntra is offering EMIs of as little as Rs 51 a month for purchases of clothes, becoming the first online fashion retailer to broaden its appeal to consumers in the extremely competitive sector.
Equated monthly instalments, which are typically offered on credit card purchases of high-value items, are now available for some products sold on Myntra that are worth Rs 1,300 or even less. However, this option is not available on Jabong, the Gurgaon-based rival acquired by Myntra for $70 million in July 2016.
Sellers on both portals claim Myntra is virtually turning Jabong — once a marketplace for exclusive international brands — into a platform for its private labels.
While Myntra declined to respond to an email seeking details about the initiative, a person directly involved in the implementation of the scheme said this has been done to encourage consumers who can buy first and pay later. It will help Myntra compete with brick-andmortar retailers, said another person from the online fashion industry.
The move will likely attract young buyers — below 30 — who are fashion-oriented and have fewer financial responsibilities, said Devangshu Dutta’s of Third Eyesight, a retail consultancy firm. It may help consumers from tier-II and tier-III cities who like to spread their expenses over a period of time, said experts.
The Flipkart-owned company has tied up with HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Citi, State Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Amex, HSBC and others, which will charge 13% to 15% interest on credit card purchases of selected items that can be paid over three to 24 months.
“This will translate into lower price a customer has to pay each month. Whether it will drive demand remains a question,” Dutta of Third Eyesight said.
India’s fashion retailing is at the threshold of a digital transformation as the number of buyers with internet access increases. Over 10% of the $70 billion Indian fashion market is already digitally influenced and this share is expected to rise fourfold to about $30 billion by 2020.
This number will constitute 60-70% of the total branded apparel market, according to a report by management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group and social networking company Facebook titled, ‘Fashion Forward 2020.’
According to the report, the digital footprint has more than doubled in the past three years and it will expand rapidly as internet penetration is expected to grow 2.5 times by 2020.