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Digital retail set to boom in India as it leads the world in VC investment

According to research by London & Partners and its analysis of Dealroom.co investment data, India was the second-largest global venture capital investment hub for digital retail startups in 2022, increasing sharply by 175% from US$ 8 billion in 2020 to US$ 22 billion in 2021. Last year, India came in second to the United States, which attracted US$ 51 billion in investment, followed by China, which received US$ 14 billion, and the United Kingdom, which received US$ 7 billion. Bengaluru led the way in terms of worldwide Venture Capital (VC) investments in digital shopping in 2021, with US$ 14 billion, followed by Gurugram with US$ 4 billion and Mumbai with US$ 3 billion.

Bengaluru was a global leader in digital shopping investment last year. The metropolis nearly tripled its inflows of investments from US$ 5 billion in 2020 to take first place, ahead of New York City (second), San Francisco (third), London (fourth), and Berlin (fifth). Bengaluru was placed fifth among cities with the potential to produce future unicorns, just behind London, according to the research. Following a large consumer shift to e-commerce platforms during the pandemic, global venture capital investment in digital shopping more than doubled in 2021. In 2021, total worldwide venture capital investment is estimated to have reached a new high of US$ 140 billion, up from US$ 68 billion in 2020.

Understanding India’s neutrality on Russia and Ukraine

Russia’s Putin meets with India’s Modi in 2018 – Russia has consistently supported India over Pakistan and China

India has taken a lot of criticism for not joining in global criticism of Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

In the drama of conflict, few take time to think – but India perhaps deserves you taking a moment to reflect on why it has taken a neutral stance.

At the very centre of India’s position is that in face of border challenges with China, it needs its defence partnership with Russia to continue.

Interesting that almost all western leaders recognise this strategic dilemma.

India is an important part of the move to balance China in the Indo-Pacific, so it is vital to understand their position.

Few are aware that for all of its democratic and independent life, India has been very close to Russia. It is a long standing relationship.

India is now the only Quad country to have not called Russia out by its name let alone by imposing economic sanctions.

But the other three nations in the Quad know that India’s defence relationship with Russia could be described as its “most valued partnership”, as a recent Lowy Institute paper put it.

How important is Russia to India?  A whopping 86% of Indian military hardware is of Russian origin – and this hardware is central to India’s ability to stand up to China over longstanding territorial disputes.

In 2018, India signed a US$5 billion deal with Russia to buy the S-400 missile defence system. Trump warned India that it might impose sanctions – so far, no sanctions have arisen.

And don’t forget Russia has been the only country to support India over decades of problems with Pakistan. In 1971 when India and Pakistan fought for 13 days, Russia was the only country to help India – no western country provided support. The USA ignored Delhi’s please for help over East Pakistan as it then was.

You could see this as an “over reliance” on Russia, but don’t forget it has been close to Russia since the first Prime Minister Nehru took office – and it is only recently that it has become involved closely with countries like the USA, Japan and Australia.

India’s position on Russia and problems with China were somewhat challenged by the recent Russia-China joint statement, pledging that “there are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation”. India is no doubt seeking to understand what this means – and in such a fast changing environment, is even more unlikely to call our Russia over Ukraine.

With the brutality and horror of the war on Ukraine now clearly visible, whether India will change its neutrality stance remains to be seen.

But hopefully the above information has helped you understand India’s position.

India imports of Australian wine up 81%

Ricky Ponting has teamed up with Mr Riggs for the India wine market

Sam Freeman is Trade and Investment Commissioner at Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) in India and is working with the Aussie wine industry to boost sales in India.

Now he is supporting Ricky Ponting (Ponting Wines) and Ben Riggs (Mr Riggs) in entering the India market.

He says: “Australia has witnessed a dramatic rise in the volume and value of wine being imported into India. The last 12 months have seen 81% growth in Australian exports to India and 10 new brands entering the market.

“Austrade is working with a number of wineries across Australia, to assist in their access to this small but emerging market. It was great to see coverage of one of our clients in Glam Adelaide, expressing their interest in the market and the potential it holds.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Ricky, David & Ben to help them build a strategy and channel for Ponting Wines to enter India. We look forward to seeing their labels on shelves soon.”

Can Indian Ocean nations move towards OPTIMISM and away from fear and negativity?

Could the nations of the Indian Ocean region combine to put their focus on OPTIMISM as a replacement for rampant negativity, fear politics and division?

What a contrast this would be to the so-called “Indo-Pacific Region” which seems to have one negative driver – containment of China.

Debate has started in Australia which “needs a new narrative and new thinking from the top,” according to the Centre for Optimism which has released a six-point plan for government and industry to adopt to boost their capabilities with a positive, uplifting mindset and optimistic leadership focused on collaboration, participation, and transparency.

What is wrong with the current narrative?

The Centre’s founder Victor Perton said the current national narrative is framed in old behaviours – state-federal squabbling over policy and service responsibility, hand-outs addressing market failures, institutional inertia, and short-run responses to crises.

I would add that our politicians are disconnected, use fear and manipulate the electorate through division and hostility.

The World Economic Forum recently warned its members, including Australia, that the contemporary “lack of optimism could create a vicious cycle of disillusionment and social unrest.”

Mr. Perton said that with Australia coming out of COVID lockdowns, people’s lives have changed, and people expect their governments to learn the lessons too. “They want positivity, not an aggressive fear-driven narrative,” he said.

Victor Perton was a Victorian MP for 18 years, a former Victorian Government’s Commissioner to the Americas, and the Federal Government’s Senior Engagement Adviser for the Brisbane G20 Leaders’ Summit of Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governors.

The six (6) point-plan proposed to government and political leaders is:

Collaboration – as a primary goal – Federal Cabinet should create a National Collaboration Commission to exist alongside the ACCC and National Competition Council.

Vision focus – Government Agencies should establish teams in each Department whose core purpose is to develop a vision, a long-run view of the future.

Active community engagement – through the establishment of citizen juries, in which citizens can assess policies, or plans that are either prospective, or already in place.

Reframe measurement (evaluation) – Replace the preoccupation with GDP and introduce a new Optimism indicator…increasing attention on (a) volunteerism, (b) community engagement, (c) non-market work, (d) care for disadvantaged segments, (e) satisfaction with life, and (f) confident and optimistic outlooks.

Reframe economic development – Move from a focus on size of Government to broader based policies. This to include policies on care and health sectors, innovation, education, green capabilities, and supporting them through “needs clusters”. This would involve the establishment of more public-private partnerships and socially responsible funds, including social impact funding.

Broader institutional change – The inclusion of Opposition party members in the National Cabinet to promote bipartisanship and a collective long-term view on national issues which have been clearly delineated, such as those covering climate change and immigration. The Cabinet would have pre-determined flexibility to add issues or remove them from the agenda.

Is this the optimism lens we need?

I think so, and am keen to hear your views and ideas.

https://www.centreforoptimism.com/AustraliaPositiveNarrative/

India sets world record for longest tunnel above 10,000 feet

Atal Tunnel – recently opened by Indian PM Narendra Modi – is the world’s longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet according to the World Book of Records. 

The tunnel carries a lot of importance strategically as it is 9.02 kilometres long which runs under the ‘Rohtang Pass’ and was constructed on the Manali–Leh highway.

It reduced the travel time by four to five hours and have reduced the distance on Manali–Sarcha road by 46 km. Lt General Mr. Rajeev Chaudhry, Director General of the Border Roads Organisation (DGBR), was honoured for the Border Roads Organisation (BRO’s) outstanding performance in establishing this engineering marvel connecting Manali and the Lahaul-Spiti Valley.

Time to take another look at modern India?

India ranks 3rd in US Green Building Council’s 2021 global list for sustainable spaces

Some things provide a “wake up call” on how quickly things are changing in modern India.

This is a great example.

India is placed third in the globe on the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual ranking of the top 10 nations and areas outside of the United States for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in 2021. The country has seen a 10% rise in LEED certified space since 2020. These are 146 buildings that have a total of 2.8 million gross area square meters (GSM) of space.

India has 1,649 LEED certified buildings with a total area of 46.2 million gross square metres. The Indian government has taken the lead in putting the health of its residents first, asking businesses to start with the required safety standards in place said Mr.Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan, Managing Director – Southeast Asia & Middle East, GBCI.

Time to take another look at India?

https://www.usgbc.org/leed

Are QUAD cracks showing? My article in India’s News18

India at the QUAD was being squeezed more than a little by the USA wanting the QUAD to condemn Russia over Ukraine. Russia is a long-standing friend of India (since 1947 independence).

And behind the scenes there are questions about the commitment of the USA to the region and specifically to South East Asia and the Indian Ocean.

The four QUAD countries (India, Australia, Japan and USA) are closer than ever before and doing positive things in supply chains, emergency relief and vaccines for poor countries.

But, are the cracks beginning to show?

My article in India’s biggest media group, Network 18 News:

https://www.news18.com/news/opinion/cracks-in-quad-are-showing-from-doubts-over-us-pledge-to-indo-pacific-to-differences-over-ukraine-4763273.html

Good news story of Indian entrepreneurship and creativity in Australia

Jaspreet Singh (left) and Surinder Singh started their own processing operation in 2016 in Australia.

This ABC story is such GOOD NEWS!

Two migrants from the Punjab, Jaspreet Singh and Surinder Singh, formed Kisaan – which means ‘farmer’ in Punjabi – started making Indian-style cheese before moving on to unhomogenised milk.

It has taken off!

Expecting more great things from these two!

Read on…

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-07/shepparton-kisaan-dairy-company-thrives/100806084?fbclid=IwAR0PBDGM0nN8wHdFi7f7iOpoZJrPhLq45Mra7Lvu9L23jYo4a6vWGLGsrLA

India’s middle class and wealthy consumers – the facts reveal why you should engage with India

Conservative figures put the Indian middle class at 228 million

How big is India’s middle and wealthy class? And where are they?

Although this information is essential to your India engagement strategy, until now the answers have really only been speculation.

Lack of data continues to be a challenge, and estimates can vary wildly.

So, INTO INDIA brings you some numbers robust enough for you to use in your planning.

While some estimates put the middle class at 500 million or more, using a much tighter definition of middle class, Hurun Research produced much smaller numbers than most. They defined middle class as households who have more than over A$4,682 per year to spend on housing, travel, cars, education and products. These numbers found 57 million Indian households in the combined class of middle class and wealthy. Now, assuming each household might be four people, that becomes 228 million people.

Things are changing so fast that researchers have added a new category – the “New Middle Class”. In 2021 this new group was 633,000 households – around 2.5 million individuals. Who is in this group? It is those households who have approximately A$37,500 per year to spend on housing, travel, cars, education and products – a very exciting market!

Most of my research – but not all of it – comes from the Hurun Report, a leading research, luxury publishing and events group established in London in 1998 with presence in India, China, France, UK, USA, Australia, Japan, Canada and Luxembourg. It is widely recognized world-over for its comprehensive evaluation of the wealthiest individuals across the globe.

There are 412,000 dollar-millionaire households/affluent households in India with a networth of at least US$1 million.

Hurun Rich Listers have a wealth of Rs 1,000 crore (142 million), the report says, and pegs the number of such cumulative households in India at 3,000.

At the other end of the spectrum is the ‘Indian middle class’ that has earnings of over Rs 2.5-lakh per annum (over A$4,682) and a net worth of less than Rs 7 crore (A$1.3 million). 56,400,000 families in India fall under this category – approximately 224 million individuals.

The McKinsey Global Institute, which defines India’s middle class as households with real annual disposable incomes between 200,000 and 1 million rupees (US$3,606 to $18,031), estimates the ranks of middle class will more than double by 2025 to 583 million—41 percent of the population.

Where are they?

The top 10 states home to 70.3 per cent of millionaire households in India are Maharashtra (capital is Mumbai) has the highest number of millionaires (56,000), followed by Uttar Pradesh (36,000), Tamil Nadu (35,000), Karnataka (33,000) and Gujarat (29,000). City-wise, Mumbai is home to most millionaires (16,933), followed by Delhi (16,000), Kolkata (10,000), Bengaluru (7,582) and Chennai (4,685).

Aslany, who published a study on the Indian middle class in 2019, found that contrary to most assumptions, a significant segment of the Indian middle class resides in rural areas. About 28.05% of India’s population was middle class, Aslany found, adding that 52.31% of the lower middle class, more than 32% of the comfortable middle class, and more than 23% of the upper-middle class was in rural India. Most of the lower middle class in rural India are involved in agriculture, he said.

These realistic numbers should excite you to engage with India – right now demand for everything has gone through the roof!

Indian Budget 2022 – 6 takeaways

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivers the 2022 Indian Budget

Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has delivered the 2022 Indian Budget – here are my 6 takeaways:

India is the fastest-growing large economy

At 9.2% for 2021-2022, India’s GDP growth will be the fastest of all the large economies.

Launching a digital currency

Indian minister’s 2022 budget speech focused on various incentives to boost India’s digital economy, including the launch of a digital rupee within 2022. Minister Sitharaman noted that the central bank digital currency will “give a big boost to the digital economy and lead to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system.”

India is going green

Calling climate change one of the highest external risks facing the country and the green economy a sunrise economy, the finance minister presented multiple proposals and pathways to climate action across different sectors. These include raising climate finance and developing greener public transportation.

Emphasizing inclusive development

The pandemic financially hurt millions of Indian families and analysts have warned against the threat of growing inequality amidst the pandemic. Prime Minister Modi’s government has, since 2014, laid a strong focus on citizen empowerment. India 2022 budget aims to expand its support for Indians, particularly vulnerable groups such as girls, women, senior citizens and farmers. The budget expands social welfare support, while economically empowering marginalised groups through job creation.

Expanding education and mental health care

The pandemic has meant that many Indian school children have lost up to 2 years of valuable schooling. Major educational programs include expanded digital tools for schools in remote regions.

In a significant move, Minister Sitharaman announced the launch of a National Tele-Mental Health Programme, which, built around 23 core health centres, will provide citizens with access to quality mental health counselling and care services.

But Covid is the big concern this year

With a new growth in Covid numbers, there is growing concern that the pandemic could hit India big again this year and could impact the budget numbers.