Mark Mobius (investment guru) calls for reform of FDI in India

The Economic Times recently spoke to Mark Mobius, emerging markets guru and Founder of Mobius Capital Partners:

What are your thoughts on Indian economy currently?

I think the (economic) growth is still going to be higher than China. We will probably see around 7 per cent, and that itself is a tremendous accomplishment. I know unemployment is a real issue, and this is something that whoever comes to power in the next election, is going to have to address very forcefully. They will have to think how to make it work, and that means making it easier for foreign investors to come in.  ..

Bengaluru and New Delhi 3rd and 4th fastest growing office markets in world

Bengaluru (Bangalore) is the third fastest growing office market globally in terms of prime rental values for office space, mainly due to continued supply crunch, a recent survey found.

According to a global study by property consultant Knight Frank, the estimated growth in office rental values in Bengaluru by end of 2019 is expected to be 6.6 percent.

Bengaluru is the “Silicon Valley” of India, employing 35% of India’s 2.5 million IT professionals. But it is also big in food (Cafe Coffee Day), pharma and biotechnology, aerospace, cars, and is home to Ola Cabs (competitor to Uber).

The report evaluates 33 global cities and gives insight on office rental growth – it noted that New Delhi, in fourth position, is expected to see a rise of 6.5 percent in prime rental values in 2019. Delhi is more than a government centre – it is big in consumer goods manufacturing, IT, telecoms, banking, construction, retail and tourism.

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Delhi’s Connaught Place

Bengaluru is impacted by demand from the IT/ITeS and the start-up sectors, so the lack of quality space in key markets is pushing the rentals up.

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Infosys headquarters in Bengaluru

Mumbai is however expected to see stable rentals in 2019 with an outlook of marginal rental growth due to anticipated supply for 2019 in the prime market.

Where would you locate your India headquarters? One challenge is that with so much regulation and the need to deal with government, wherever your HQ is based, your people will have to travel often to New Delhi.

But options exist outside of these three major cities and it is worth evaluating tier two cities.

Please share your thoughts and experiences…

PM Modi leads India to 6th largest economy in the world with high growth

Things are happening fast under the leadership of the Prime Minister,  Shri Narendra Modi – India is having its best phase of macro-economic stability, becoming the sixth largest economy in the world from being the 11th in the World in 2013-14.

Presenting the Interim Budget for the year 2019-20 in Parliament this week, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri  Piyush Goyal said “India is the fastest growing major economy in the world” with an average GDP growth  of 7.3% per annum, the highest ever achieved by any Government since economic reforms began in 1991.

Shri Goyal said  under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, a clean, decisive and stable Government reversed the policy paralysis, laid the foundation for sustainable growth  and restored the image of the country.

New India by 2022

Shri Goyal said that a New India would celebrate its 75th Independence year in 2022 when every family would have a house with access to water, electricity and toilets; farmers income would have doubled; and the country would be free from terrorism, communalism, corruption and nepotism.

This is clearly an ambitious government, and the track record so far proves that Modi does get things done.

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Can you name India’s biggest hotel chain?

This chain started in India, expanded to China and has now invested heavily in Indonesia. It is called OYO (On Your Own) and was started in 2011 by then 18-year old Ritesh Agarwal. It is like the “Uber” of hotels – acquiring and setting standards for previously struggling hotels.

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The group now has more hotel rooms in India than Taj Hotels – of course, Taj is at the top end while OYO has been a big provider of budget rooms.

Within three months of its foray into Indonesia, the company has launched the first phase of expansion in 16 cities and witnessed a 5x growth. It aims to expand to 100 cities by the end of the year.

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The company is adding on an average 70 hotels in Indonesia every month.

OYO created a uniquely Chinese identity for its local Chinese business and is localising in Indonesia.

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OYO is in over 280 cities in China, with about 5,000 hotels, and over 260,000 rooms.

The company has already started operations in Malaysia and will enter Philippines soon.

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It plans to have a pan-southeast Asian presence by the end of the year, before it starts making a move towards Europe.

India’s Bajaj Auto to jump into electric vehicles next year

Pune-based Bajaj Auto is planning to make a foray into electric vehicles (EV) next year and is hoping to build market share in India, its Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj said Monday. The new marketing slogan is “The World’s Favourite Indian”.

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The company plans to launch electric version of its quadricycle Qute along with electric three-wheelers next year.

He also said the company would bring KTM-owned ‘Husqvarna’ motorcycle brand to the Indian market this year with “half a dozen” products in the pipeline.

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Bajaj said the company has leadership positions in over 20 overseas markets such as 70 per cent share in Bangladesh and around 50 per cent in Nepal and Sri Lanka and it would like to replicate this in India.

“We would like to be a little more successful in the domestic market than we have been so far in the motorcycles market,” he said.

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In India: “We have only 20-21 per cent share. We think now the time has also come that after having done a good job overseas, after having huge dominant position in India in three-wheelers, it is about time we make the same impact in the domestic motorcycle segment in India as we have done across the world.”

Other big motorcycle makers in India are Yamaha, TVS and Honda.

Bajaj also has a partnership with British niche bikemaker Triumph.

Indian economy to pass the UK in 2019 to become 5th in the world – PwC

India is likely to pass the United Kingdom in the world’s largest economy rankings in 2019, becoming number 5, according to a report by global consultancy firm PwC.

The report said: “While the UK and France have regularly switched places owing to similar levels of development and roughly equal populations, India’s climb up the rankings is likely to be permanent.”

PwC’s report projects real GDP growth of 1.6 per cent for the UK, 1.7 per cent for France and 7.6 per cent for India in 2019.

PwC’s Global Economy Watch is a short publication that looks at the trends and issues affecting the global economy and details its latest projections for the world’s leading economies.

Really engaging with India becomes a smart step for anyone in business, politics or education – but start with the right strategy.

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Kerala – great tourism but also good for innovative business

India got its largest startup ecosystem Sunday when Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated a facility housing incubation set-ups across a string of segments in modern technology.

The Integrated Startup Complex under the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) includes the ultra modern facilities of Maker Village that promotes hardware startups, the BioNest that promotes medical technologies, BRINC which is the country’s first international accelerator for hardware startups; BRIC which aids developing solutions for cancer diagnosis and care, and a Centre of Excellence set up by industry majors such as UNITY.

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After the completion of three more projects, Kerala will have startup and incubation space of 5 lakh sq ft, which will be the largest of this type in the world.

No less than 30 applications for patent has gone from startups with the 13.5-acre TIZ, the CM noted, lauding it as a sign of the high-quality work in the zone. Simultaneously, Kerala was sensing increasing optimism in boosting software export from the state.

M Sivasankar, secretary, IT (Kerala), pointed out that the entire space at the TIZ facility has been sold out.

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“This has never happened in our country, where it usually takes a couple of years for an incubator to get the whole area occupied,” he said. “The first three floors of the new complex have been furnished, while the rest of the floors have already got allotted to various startups.”

“The campus has another incubator complex coming up and it will be opened early next year,” Sivasankar said.

Besides the Maker Villager with its 30-odd startups, the facility has nascent firms working in fields such as biotechnology, computer-aided design, augmented/virtual reality and advanced communication.

So – Kerala is “gods own country” for tourism but also a magnet for innovative business. Worth a visit.

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India the place for investors in 2019

According to India Avenue Investment Management, India is the growth market for investors this year – with a young population and strong economy. The company is based in Sydney and has an office in Mumbai.

India Avenue are very keen on the Indian banking sector and consumption providers.

Here are their thoughts:

“We expect companies in the Banking, Consumption and Industrial companies to outperform in the first half of 2019. Provisioning in Banks have bottomed out and we expect earnings to improve significantly from here, particularly given credit growth.

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“Our top picks here are ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Kotak Bank, State Bank of India, IndusInd Bank and Axis Bank.

“Consumption will also remain a dominant theme as interest rate cuts are delivered, retail credit growth increases and the benefit of handouts to rural India (Government initiatives, populist measures and farm loan waivers) lead to a pick-up in spending.

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“Our top picks here are Mahindra and Mahindra (autos/tractors), Dabur (consumer health products), Britannia Industries (biscuits, milk and basic foods), Crompton Greaves (consumer products) and Sun TV (media/television).”

More information:

https://indiaavenueinvest.com/