Technology expansion in India: traveling in more than one direction

T&A’s weekly blog is an initiative to keep various stakeholders especially overseas companies looking at India market entry and Trade Promotion and Economic Development agencies abreast of latest developments in India.

We talk about developments in the Indian economy from a Trade and Investment perspective, updates on outward Foreign Direct Investment, outward student mobility, outbound tourism and finally offshore capital raising.

India witnessed a series of historic and economic events in the first week of May. The most important one, however, was the launch of South Asia Satellite, an initiative that envisages transforming the lives of the people of SAARC nations (sans Pakistan) through cooperation in space technology covering various areas including broadcasting, tele-education, tele-medicine and banking/ATM services.

What would certainly transform the lives of many Indians, especially those living in rural areas, who were earlier either unaware or partially aware of the advantages of technology, Facebook has announced a pioneering initiative to connect the Indian villages with its Express Wi-Fi internet services. California-based technology major joined hands with 500 local service providers offering these facilities through pre-paid vouchers. Facebook said it was not looking to generate any profit from this initiative, but was rather willing to extend its technology and expertise to link villages through express internet.

On the international higher education front, the number of applications to the US universities is expected to drop this year, due to US President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ policy. Trump’s rhetoric around strict visa rules has prompted many international students to look beyond the US. The Trump phenomenon is corroborated by the fact that many American universities have started to waive off application fees this year for foreign students. Currently, nearly 166,000 Indians are studying in the US.

It has been an interesting week on the offshore capital raising, wherein NTPC Limited spiced up its rupee-denominated 5-year Masala Bonds offering for USD 308 million for the second time in international markets. This is the eighth offering under the company’s USD 4 billion Medium Term Note (MTN) programme since 2006, taking the cumulative amount raised under the programme to approximately USD 3.5 billion. In terms of geographical distribution, Asia took the bulk of the transaction at 83 per cent while the European Union accounted for 14 per cent and the US share was 3 per cent.

On FDI front, the government seems to be striking the right chords with regular FDI reforms announcements. The government is contemplating on permitting retail sales of India-made personal care items to the extent of 25% of total merchandise sales. According to T&A Consulting analysis, Indian retail industry will register tremendous growth, cloaking as much as 15% year on year in the next five years. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos is leading the pack when it comes to seizing the opportunity; he recently announced Amazon will continue to invest billions in the lucrative Indian retail market.

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