India and Australia are perfectly placed to become closer allies in the post-Covid19 world

The relationship between India should flourish in strategic and defence areas plus trade and investment.

Both Australia and India are significant powers in the Indian Ocean region.

India, the world’s largest democracy, is a major power.

The trade relationship

India was Australia’s eighth-largest trading partner and fifth-largest export market in 2018-19, driven by coal and international education. Two-way goods and services trade with India was $30.3 billion in 2018-19, and the level of two-way investment was $30.7 billion in 2018.

Strategic relations much closer now

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has worked hard on the India relationship and his personal connection with Indian PM Narendra Modi.

On 4 June 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, participated in the Australia-India Leaders’ Virtual Summit. At this meeting, the two Prime Ministers elevated the bilateral Strategic Partnership concluded in 2009 to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).

The CSP is based on mutual understanding, trust, common interests and the shared values of democracy and rule of law. Through the CSP, both countries have committed to work together across a range of areas.

The CSP also marks a step forward in the two countries’ ambitious agenda to expand our trade and economic relationship, as outlined in the India Economic Strategy (IES), which was released in July 2018 and endorsed by the Australian Government in November 2018.

India’s growing economy and young population need Australian goods and services

Over the next 20 years, a growing India will need many of Australia’s goods and services, including agriculture, education and skills training, and healthcare. There will of course be growth across most areas – but these are the standouts.

Since 2000, India’s GDP has grown seven-fold to reach USD3 trillion. India’s economy is forecast to become the third largest by 2030 (currently seventh) in market exchange rate terms. India already has the third largest economy in PPP terms and is set to maintain this ranking. The two-way stock of investment was valued at AUD30.7 billion in 2018. In 2018, Australia’s investment in India was valued at AUD15.6 billion and India’s investment in Australia was valued at AUD15.1 billion. India was Australia’s 18th largest investment destination.

The Aussie “India Economic Strategy”

Australia’s economic engagement with India is underpinned by the India Economic Strategy (IES), which was commissioned by the Australian Government in 2017 and led by Mr Peter Varghese, former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2012-2016) and High Commissioner to India (2009-2012). This document is the guide for future growth.

Education is huge but facing challenges

Education is Australia’s largest service export to India, valued at AUD5.5 billion and accounting for around 85 per cent of the total. Indian students in Australia number almost 110, 000 (year to date September 2019), which marks a 33 per cent increase over the previous year. These students made 132,079 enrolments in Australia, comprising 15 per cent of international enrolments. As an education export market, India is second only to China, with exports valued at AUD12.1 billion in 2018-19 and 246,454 enrolments in Australia. Adapting to post-Covid19 education market changes will be a challenge for Australian universities.

Austrade is showing and creating the way

The Australia-India Business Exchange (AIB-X) is a new, Austrade-led, Australia-India business marketing platform that will build on the success of Australian Business Week in India, last held in 2017. This multi-month campaign included a coordinated program of activities and events. Minister Birmingham led a business mission to India in late February as part of AIB-X, with sectoral events and workshops to be held in five cities.

This will provide an opportunity to deepen trade and investment ties, focusing on small and medium across the IES’ priority sectors. Further information can be found on the Austrade website.

Plus Austrade has set up The Australian Store at Amazon India – primed to take off over the next few years.

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People-to-people links

Australia and India are building strong and lasting ties through our people-to-people links.

The Indian diaspora (comprising both Australians of Indian origin and Indians resident in Australia) is now Australia’s fastest growing large diaspora. According to the most recent (2016) Census, the number of people born in India amounts to 592,000, representing 2.4 per cent of the Australian population, or 1 in 50 people. Around 700,000 people claim Indian ancestry.

India remains Australia’s largest source of skilled migrants and the second largest source of international students. Hinduism is our fastest growing religion and Punjabi is our fastest growing language.

The Australia India Council

The Australia-India Council is also advancing Australia’s foreign and trade policy interests with India. Each year it provides grants for programs linking the two countries. I was fortunate to support the Genesis Horticulture Services research mission to India in November – part funded by AIC.

(Thanks to DFAT for lots of the above information)

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Covid19 could lead us to a cleaner more innovative world – if we rethink what we do

About seven million people are killed by air pollution every year. The current model of modern society is unsustainable.

Two leading Professors say that looking through a COVID-19 lens provides us an amazing picture outside and shows some innovative pathways on living in harmony with nature, i.e. new-modern society.

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They are Professor Suresh Bhargava, RMIT University, Australia (pictured above) and Professor Seeram Ramakrishnan, National University of Singapore (below).

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Here are some points from their recent paper on the topic:

Contrary to devastating effects, the COVID19 had positive outcomes in terms of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, depletion of natural resources, and climate change.  Satellite imageries confirm the reduction of NOx, SOx and other pollutants in all cities of the world.

COVID19 provides an opportunity to rethink everything humans do. The current model of modern society is unsustainable. Reversing the clock and going back to pre-modern society built on fulfilling just the needs of humans is not realistic.

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Sustaining the modern society built on fulfilling the needs and wants of humans requires out of the box thinking. In the current climate of COVID, companies are struggling to survive on top of challenges in industry 4.0 or digitalization of products and services. How will they be able to think about sustainability while their worry is about resilience, and make the necessary adjustments to their business for the long term?

Sustainability has tended to be a secondary priority for many industries and especially SME businesses. Now faced with business survival and viability concerns, what is the status of existing sustainability initiatives in companies and across industries? How has the pandemic affected existing initiatives and longer-term targets, plans and ambitions on the sustainability front?  How can organisations get back on track with regard to their sustainability ambitions e.g. are there synergistic business-led propositions that can serve these aims? What countries can do in terms of sustainability, circular economy and Paris agreement to decarbonize while growing shrink economies and rising employment opportunities?

Using a COVID19 lens, there are opportunities for decarbonisation while not compromising the modern ways of living and economic growth.

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Countries and companies will shorten the supply chains and value chains.  Globalization will take newer form relying more on digital technologies and internet.  This will be facilitated by yet to emerge innovations in finance and commerce.

COVID19 has unexpected effect on food industry. Clean meat is touted as a solution to zoonotic diseases associated with current methods of producing meat from the animals.  Clean meat is made from plant based, cultivated cells.  Hence the carbon footprint is lower than animal sourced meat.

Critics will argue for slow and careful introduction of clean meat to the mass population.  Therein lies huge opportunities for innovations, technologies, new jobs and new pathways of economic growth while caring for the Earth.

Importance of safe water and its adequate supply is highlighted by the COVID19.  Sustainable future lies in the zero-waste water innovations and technologies.

The single use plastic wastes have been identified for their pollution of the marine ecology and subsequent negative effects on the food chain and human health.  Science, business, standards, and policy innovations are needed to replace the petrochemical derived plastics with degradable bioplastics derived from the renewable sources.  Designing products with end-of-life considerations and life cycle engineering opens up opportunities for economy growth and new jobs creation while improving the quality of environment.

The Energy sector is also affected by the COVID19.  Oil futures went into negative. It is an opportune time for the governments to eliminate the fossil fuel subsidies and invest in renewable energy infrastructure as long-term nation building.

Perhaps, governments and companies should together accelerate the electrification of transportation.  New jobs and new economic growth to happen in vehicle design and manufacturing, digitization, as well as charging infrastructure.

COVID19 transformed shopping and brought almost the whole of humanity to on-line shopping.  The on-line shopping for groceries and food deliveries are on par with electronic goods and accessories.

Similarly, work has moved to telework, and the Education moved to on-line learning and assessment.

Digital services for virtual meetings, online learning, telemedical diagnostics, government services, ecommerce, grocery delivery, e-banking, and entertainment all experienced unprecedented growth in demand. The hyper scale data centres with their 24x7x365 resilient operation, are the heart of digital transformation.

Looking to the coming decade, the introduction of 5G will further accelerate the digital transformation era with its clear alignment with Industrial 4.0, in which real time data and automation will power more of the industrial world.

Clear messages emerged from the COVID19 pandemic include, the digital transformation is a necessity to keep society running; mental health is important for the general well-being and productivity of a person; and a healthy living environment is a basic human right.

The circular economy vision, decarbonisation and sustainability efforts mitigate climate change thus create opportunities for sustained economic growth and new jobs creation. 

Amazing research work by the two and continues the innovative and collaborative approaches of my friend Professor Suresh Bhargava – well done!

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Two Indian business giants are innovating during Covid19.

Expansion often means exploring the unexplored.

Two of India’s largest companies have done it.

Reliance Industries Ltd on Wednesday said it’s going to expand its food-and-grocery play in JioMart to include fashion, consumer electronics, and smartphones by this festive season. Tata Consulting Services (TCS) on July 8 launched Quartz smart solution to offer cryptocurrency trading.

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JioMart’s plan to revolutionise the e-grocery space involves the Kirana stores, the oldest form of local mum and dad retail in India.

JioMart has been bringing small stores online, thereby putting kirana store owners at the centre of its plans. What’s in it for Reliance? The Kirana stores become last point of delivery in the logistics trail, plus, by digitising a local store you open a minefield of hyperlocal information. With a larger size of kirana-store customers, B2B e-commerce platforms get a robust database of actual sales instead of estimates. This data can be sold to brand manufacturers. It’s one of the biggest revenue streams for any company taking kirana stores online. RIL is one smart business!

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TCS is looking to get an early-mover advantage with Quartz, having a big impact in the global enterprise blockchain-solutions market. Its new product, Quartz, aims to make swift inroads into cryptocurrency trading in countries such as Switzerland and Singapore where it’s legal. TCS is eyeing high-net-worth investors, private banking, and wealth-management segments. However, Quartz may not find takers in India in the absence of regulatory clarity.

India to benefit from Industry 4.0 says head of Rolls Royce

The fourth industrial revolution also known as Industry 4.0 or a new age of connected technologies and data-driven insights is now upon us and is changing the way we live, work, and interact with each other.

One of India’s inspirational business leaders is Kishore Jayaraman, President, Rolls-Royce, India & South Asia. He has a vision for India and Industry 4.0.

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Industry 4.0 is all about innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), mass automation, industrial communications, Big Data, robotics and 3D printing.

According to HSRC’s “Global Industry 4.0 Market & Technologies 2018-2023” report, the global Industry 4.0 market is projected to reach US$214 billion by 2023.

The Indian government estimates India’s manufacturing sector would breach US$ 1 trillion by 2025.

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But Kishore Jayaraman (pictured above) warns that Indian manufacturers need to move beyond the current status, characterized by manual inputs, lack of ICT integration in manufacturing, and critical gaps in capability, to move to the next stage and fill the critical technology gaps.

He says: “To that end, government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative is providing the groundwork for both small and large companies to develop advanced manufacturing capabilities and invest in technology upgradation.

“Additionally, programmes such as green corridors and smart cities have been launched to support critical technology interventions across various industries. Besides creating jobs, these initiatives appeal to a new generation of workers with different values and skills that boost synergies,” he said.

Here’s how he sees India benefiting from Industry 4.0:

First, it will allow manufacturers to improve productivity, efficiency, safety and performance and help position India as a global manufacturing hub.

Several Indian e-commerce companies are using advanced data analytics to gain insights on customer behavior and improve business performance. Likewise, manufacturers can implement data analytics to improve forecasting, predict and prevent manufacturing downtimes, manage supply chain and enhance production capacity and quality.

Second, Small and Medium enterprises (SMEs), which form the backbone of Indian manufacturing, can leverage Industry 4.0 technologies to become more agile, enhance productivity, streamline costs and reduce risks.

Third, employers will be able to increase the skills of their workforce. While some jobs may be lost, new ones will be created in the new economy. New technologies inadvertently require new skills and trained Industry 4.0-ready workforce especially in areas of cognitive robotics, advanced automation and industrial ICT. Training in safety-related skills will also come into play with an increased level of human-machine cooperation.

Finally, Industry 4.0 could provide a pathway for Indian manufacturing to transform to an innovation-led and high-value manufacturing stage. Technology-intensive sectors such as the Aerospace & Defence (A&D), which is at the cusp of innovation and growth in India, are clear beneficiaries.

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At Rolls-Royce, Industry 4.0 is a critical aspect of business and strategy – using connected systems to make better decisions. This brings together a number of technologies, such as the Internet of Things, intelligent manufacturing, digital product verification as well as virtual design and simulation.

 

Marketing to India’s millions is now about social media and e-commerce

India has 560 million internet users – and growing fast.

Over 450 million will be social media users within 2 years.

India is a young population – the median age is just 27.

E-commerce will be over A$100 billion by 2026.

Australia now has a good starting point thanks to Austrade – we have the AUSTRALIAN STORE at Amazon India.

Check it out.

India also has some of the world’s best digital marketing agencies – one leader was SOCIAL WAVELENGTH which has now become Mirum India – top outfit.

I have great respect for Mirum India which is led so well by Sanjay Mehta and Hareesh Tribrewala.

Indian startups are driving growth and change

There are many drivers of India’s economic growth and transformation – but certainly punching above their weight are Indian startups.

There were over 50,000 startups in India in 2018.

India has the third largest startup ecosystem in the world.

The success is partly driven by corporate India (which is providing much of the funding) and by the Indian Government policies.

Bengaluru is in the world’s top 20 startup cities and ranks in the top 5 of the “fastest growing”.

Some of the best known Indian startups include Ola Cabs, Snapdeal (e-commerce), OYO (hotels), Swiggy (food delivery), Big Basket (food e-commerce) and BYJU’s (ed tech).

Watch this space.

Abu Dhabi invests big time in India’s Jio

India has close economic and diplomatic ties in the Middle East. They just got stronger.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) invested US$ 806.28 million in Jio Platforms, taking the total capital raised by its digital services subsidiary to around US$ 14.19 billion in just seven weeks.

The UAE is India’s third largest trading partner and more than three million Indians live in the Emirates.

So far, Jio Platforms has raised US$ 13.89 billion from seven marquee global investors.

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ADIA, which is a globally diversified investment institution, invests funds on behalf of the government of Abu Dhabi through a strategy focused on long-term value creation. It has made several investments in India, mostly through its private equities department.

Jio Platforms is at the forefront of India’s digital revolution.

Jio, with 388 million users, combines all of RIL’s digital and telecom initiatives, including Jio digital services, mobile and broadband, apps, tech capabilities such as artificial intelligence, Big Data, and Internet of Things, and other investments such as in Den Networks, Hathway Cable, and Datacom.

Flipkart and the amazing growth of Indian startups

Year 2007 saw a landmark event in the history of Indian enterprise – one of many events that mean you should change your strategy for India market entry.

In October 2007, two young Amazon executives – Sachin and Binny Bansal (pictured above) set up an e-commerce website they called Flipkart, India’s most iconic startup story till date.

Flipkart was valued at US$ 21 billion when it was eventually acquired by Walmart in 2018.

Flipkart

The success of the Bansals also inspired many a startup journey in this period. Flipkart was obviously not an isolated event.

More top-notch professionals started sensing lucrative opportunities, leading by example and setting up their own ventures in the 1990’s.  Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder & Executive Vice Chairman, Info Edge India Ltd (of Naukri.com fame), and VSS Mani, founder of Justdial, were some notable examples.

Deep Kalra, (pictured below) Founder, Chairman and Group CEO, MakeMyTrip.com, got acquainted with the potential of the internet as an avenue for distribution while working at GE Capital and decided to set up the popular travel portal.

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The most significant game changer is the manner in which mobile phones and more specifically smartphones have penetrated the Indian market. The direct implication of this has been that a large majority of Indians have, or are about to access the internet for the first time on their mobile phones.

A report by Kantar-IMRB in March 2019 estimated India’s internet users at 566 million, projected to reach 627 million by the end of the year.

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Around 97% of India’s netizens use mobile as one of the mediums.

This has created new avenues of growth and spurred startups like InMobi, Ola, Zomato, Practo, UrbanClap, BigBasket, Pepperfry and more.

These startups have been fueled by several other factors – increasing affinity towards entrepreneurship, potential of the Indian market, globalization and the resulting interface with other ecosystems (particularly Silicon Valley), rising confidence towards startup funding and facilitating policies.

According to the NASSCOMZinnov Startup Report 2019, the ecosystem added around 1,300 startups in 2019, taking the total to 8,900 tech startups.

India ranks third both in the number of startups and unicorns. The aggregation space has definitely been the beehive for startup innovation. The top ten unicorns of India as on date include 6 aggregators, two fintech firms and one edtech firm.

Investments by VCs have grown by four times during the period, and number of deals increased from 130 in 2013 to 270 in 2017.

India needs more stories like Delhivery (logistics), Vortex (solar ATMs) and Ather Energy (electric mobility).

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A welcome trend is that of well-established corporates engaging with startups to bring greater innovative capabilities in their own DNA. This could be pivotal for India as it seeks to move ahead of the curve in areas like AI and machine learning.

Meantime China is part of this Indian story.

Chinese tech giants Alibaba and Tencent, early-stage investors Hillhouse Capital and CDH Investments, large corporations such as Meituan and Fosun, and smartphone makers Xiaomi and Oppo — a little over 100 Chinese firms have made investments in Indian startups.

Chinese VCs have invested over USD8 billion and hold large stakes in a number of Indian startups, including unicorns and “soonicorns”.

Watch this space…

Thanks to the Trade Promotion Council of India for information for this blog.

The 7 ways business and brand can thrive in Industry 4.0

The world is moving quickly into a new era known as Industrial Revolution 4.0 and business brands will have to adapt. This will be our biggest challenge “after coronavirus”.

We have already seen Tata Consulting Services (TCS) shake the world of work by announcing a target of 75% or its 450,000 workers operating from home or remotely by 2025. Others will have to follow.

The fourth industrial revolution sees at least ten major changes, each reinforcing the other so that how we do business and how we work will be totally transformed. The first three industrial revolutions were each about only one change – steam, electricity and computers.

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Companies will need to be nimble and honest about the status of their brand – the immediate future can either build or destroy your brand credibility. Here are my 7 tips for thriving as a brand in Industry 4.0:

  1. Show your company can continue to learn

Having a “we want to keep learning” brand is highly desirable for the market, clients and future employees. Audit your brand communication – does it show the organisation is curious, reading and listening widely, entering staff and customers into discussion groups and a genuine “learning organisation”.

  1. SECOND – Demonstrate wisdom and common sense

Your clients look for more than knowledge from you – they want a brand that demonstrates common sense. The best way to describe the difference is through the humble tomato – knowledge tells you a tomato is a fruit (not a vegetable) – but common sense prevents you adding the tomato to a fruit salad. Making sure your senior people have mentors can help their levels of common sense.

  1. THREE – Gain good collaboration and friendship skills

Industrial 4.0 will make collaboration easy and instant with anyone, anywhere and anytime – and the change will benefit those businesses that have the skills to reach out, make friends, work across the globe and build collaboration. It is worthwhile evaluating how much you are seen as a collaborative partner.

  1. FOUR – Build cross-border understanding and skills

Already our lives in one country are intersecting with lives of other countries, and Industrial 4.0 will make the globe an even smaller place. Those who have travelled, who have acquired both knowledge and experience of other cultures will be in high demand, simply because almost every job will have global aspects. Prepare your employees via cross cultural training and global exposure.

  1. FIVE – Make everyone an outstanding communicator

Traditional “soft skills” training will not prepare your team for the fast future – outstanding communication skills for Industrial 4.0 will include rapid pitching, ability to support points in a way which moves others, skills to relate directly and closely with those above and below you. The irony is that as the technology impacts even more, it is the brands that communicate well who will succeed.

  1. SIX – Be known as team-based problem solvers

More work will be team-based, and a powerful brand characteristic is being “team-based problem solvers”. Do your problem-solving teams include members from other companies? Should you offer clients and customers a role?

  1. SEVEN – Build self-reliance and resilience

With the pace of change, your people will need to be more self-reliant and resilient. Life will present challenges almost constantly. Make sure your people can cope, because that reflects in your brand being a steady and trusted delivery sources. When staff lose resilience, your brand is also diminished.

Stephen Manallack is the author of four books, including one published in India (“Soft Skills for a Flat World”, Tata McGraw-Hill India), a speaker on communication and is delivering a series of webinars on Industry 4.0 for Indian and Australian universities. He is a blogger at Into India and regular visitor to India. EMAIL stephen@manallack.com.au

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India’s TCS to move 75% of employees to work from home – permanently!

Remember this man – his name is Rajesh Gopinathan, Chairman of TCS, and he is about to turn the way we work upside down – permanently!

India’s biggest IT firm, TCS, is set to shake up the global IT industry employment practices – and maybe start a global revolution in how we work.

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Post-coronavirus, TCS has announced it will not go back to the old way, launching instead a new model called 25/25 using what is called Secure Borderless Work Spaces (SBWS).

Running up to 2025, TCS will ask a vast majority of 75% of its 450,000 employees globally to work from home, up from the industry average of 20% today.

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TCS will discard its 20-year-old operating model and leapfrog into a new mode of work.

Others will have to follow. For a start, how will they compete for the best recruits? And how else will they achieve productivity gains?

The new model called 25/25 will require far less office space than occupied today. “We don’t believe that we need more than 25% of our workforce at our facilities in order to be 100% productive,” says TCS’s chief operating officer NG Subramaniam (pictured below).

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TCS is something of a bellwether among India’s IT services firms, so Wipro, Infosys and others will likely follow.

Experts say before the lockdown no more than 15-20% of employees ever worked from home among the Indian services firms.

I have been on some of the Indian IT “campuses” – huge sites usually on the edge of the city in a park-like area with multiple buildings, lifestyle facilities and essentially a “living away from home” model for thousands of employees.

All this will change – and fast.

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