Now India launches the worlds’ most expensive chocolate

I do love chocolate – but maybe not this much!

India’s ITC group has launched worlds’ most expensive chocolate that is priced at US$6152 per kg under its Fabelle brand name.

‘Trinity – Truffles Extraordinaire’, a limited-edition range of chocolate, that was introduced by ITC’s luxury chocolate brand Fabelle entered into Guinness World Records to become the world’s most expensive chocolate.

The chocolate is co-curated by France’s Michelin Star Chef Philippe Conticini and Fabelle’s Master Chocolatier.

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ITC Chief Operating Officer – Chocolates, Confectionary, Coffee and New Categories – Food Division, Mr. Anuj Rustagi said, “We at Fabelle are extremely happy for setting new benchmarks not just in the Indian luxury chocolate market but also now in the world with achieving the Guinness World Records feat.”

The chocolates will be offered in a hand made wooden box that will contain 15 truffles, each weighing around 15 grams. The made-to-order box will be made available at an indulgent price of US$ 1,431 inclusive of taxes.

Place your order now!

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China, Japan and India – the new startup triangle

China is a major provider of funding and control of many Indian startups. In 2015, Alibaba invested in Paytm through its affiliate Ant Financial. In 2017, Tencent took major stakes in Flipkart and Ola.

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Japan is also a serious provider of funding in India. Japanese giant Softbank has invested over US$8B in startups in the country, with a goal of $10B by 2024 that now looks surprisingly conservative.

As a result of this “triangle”, India is currently home to 26 startups valued over US$1B.

Oyo Hotels and Homes is raising US$1.5 billion from founder Ritesh Agarwal, SoftBank Group Corp., and other investors as it expands into foreign markets such as the U.S. and Europe.

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Agarwal, 25, will spend $700 million to buy new shares in the company.

Indian edtech startup CollegeDekho, which helps students connect with prospective colleges and keep track of exams, has raised US$8 million in a Series B round.

Last October, Indian e-commerce startup Snapdeal raised US$627 million at a valuation of over $2 billion. In the same month, India’s Uber-style taxi service, Olaraised $210 million, while being valued at over $1 billion in under three years.

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India’s largest online retailer and version of Amazon is Flipkart which recently raised another US$700 million at over a $11 billion valuation.

India’s online restaurant guide, Zomato, recently bought US-based Urbanspoon for over $50 million—one of the largest acquisitions by an Indian startup.

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India’s Silicon Valley – Both Koramangala in Bangalore and Hiranandani Powai (pictured below) in Mumbai – are becoming thriving ecosystems to nurture startups in India.

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Things are changing in modern India – and the “triangle” of India, China and Japan is playing a big role in the change.

 Time to look again?

Indian middle-class consumers are spending big this festive season and online shopping is booming

India’s e-Commerce major Flipkart set record sales in the “Big Billion Days” launch of festival season online sales (Navrati and Diwali are in October).

Both e-commerce majors Flipkart and Amazon India had record transactions on their platforms on the first day of their annual festive sale, which started early on Sunday.

Flipkart is now owned by American retail major Walmart.

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Flipkart had demand in all major categories, including beauty, women’s ethnic wear, kidswear, sports, fast-moving consumer goods, baby care, private labels, and furniture on the first day of the sale.

High end phones are in demand – Amazon had big sales in premium smartphone brands OnePlus (pictured), Samsung, and Apple. Large appliances and televisions showed growth.

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The company said the largest number of new customers shopped for fashion, daily essentials, and consumables.

For Flipkart, travel was also the fastest-growing category which saw 12X growth over last year.

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Also, over 2.3 million consumers engaged with games on the platform. There were close to 10 million new app downloads in less than a month in the run-up to BBD 2019.

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Candles of the Diwali celebrations coming up on 27 October – a time of gift giving and family gatherings similar in scale to Christmas

Steve’s 7 tips for exporting to India’s middle class

  1. Find the affluent millennials

India is home to the world’s largest population of millennials—typically defined as those aged 18-35. At 450 million, these millennials are influencing the way Indians eat, shop, commute and buy, much like their global counterparts. They are the first upwardly mobile group in recent history of India – and will have an impact very like the way western baby boomers changed most things.

According to Santosh Desai, managing director of Indian Brand Advisory Group Futurebrands, Indians used to be “born something” but now can “become something”.

2. Drill down to the real middle-class market

We know India has 1.3 billion people, but if you think too much about this you will get nowhere. Drill down to find your market.

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For example, some estimate the “middle class” as high as 300 million. For me, this is way too high. Austrade takes a dimmer view – it estimates that there are approximately 30 – 80 million people in our target demographic, many of whom live outside Tier 1 cities. That’s a big range from 30 to 80, which shows that we just do not know. But for me Austrade’s numbers are too low.

Austrade looks for consumers that:

  1. can afford international travel to destinations like Australia;
  2. can afford to send their children for study abroad; and
  3. can afford to eat at high-end restaurants and hotels or eat significant amounts of imported food and wine at home

3. Think of India as many markets

Thinking of India as “one market” will slow down your impact and waste your marketing efforts. First, there is the divide between north, south, east and west. Then there are big metropolises (8-10) and hundreds of tier one cities (around one million plus). Then there are over 26 different languages, multiple food cultures, differing beliefs and interests. It is complex, so build that into your “many markets” strategy.

4. Consumerism is changing in India

India had just 9 Shopping Malls in 2007. There are over 350 Shopping Malls in 2019. Plus 85 new Shopping Malls will be built in the next 5 years = 435 Shopping Malls in 2025.

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Add to this that online retail is taking off, with Amazon and the local Flipkart leading the way.

Dr Mark Morley Trade Commissioner India Government of Australia makes a key point about opportunities for us: “Australia is well positioned with the Indian consumer. Across India, we have a great reputation for clean, safe and reliable supply. We are well known as a premium supplier of produce, and we have a global reputation for our quality brands.”

5. Thinking local is a good way to start

Especially for those in food, beverages, education and fashion, your beginnings for India can start right here in Australia.

About 650,000 Australians claim Indian ancestry, and we have over 65,000 Indian students here, which means a significant local market spending money. Add to that the growth in Indian tourists – up to over 300,000 per year and growing at around 15%. This gives you a good market testing opportunity.

6. Collaboration is the new relationship

If you just want to “sell” to India, sharpen your pencil and think short term – sooner rather than later, India will find an alternative to you.

To be in India for the long term, seek genuine opportunities to collaborate with Indians – once you and Indian collaborators are working together, your future is more secure. This is how Indians prefer to operate, so drop “transactional” thinking and focus on “collaboration” – it is the new relationship.

7. Give India the time it needs

Cultures based on relationship (collaboration) are slower to move, so give India at least three years. You might “sell” sooner, but for most this is a very short-term market entry approach.

My “shopping mall index” shows you must revisit India for consumers

India had just 9 Shopping Malls in 2007.

There are over 350 Shopping Malls in 2019.

Plus 85 new Shopping Malls will be built in the next 5 years = 435 Shopping Malls in 2025.

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That’s my “shopping mall index” That’s why you should revisit India.

India today is a heady mix of three powerful elements – an appetite and reality of rapid change, a young population and the Governments now have funds to spend.

Add to this that online retail is taking off, with Amazon and the local Flipkart leading the way.

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Dr Mark Morley Trade Commissioner India Government of Australia makes a key point about opportunities for us: “Australia is well positioned with the Indian consumer. Across India, we have a great reputation for clean, safe and reliable supply. We are well known as a premium supplier of produce, and we have a global reputation for our quality brands.”

One challenge for Australian businesses is to fully understand the market – and the answer is that hardly anyone knows what size the market is.

We know there are 1.3 billion people.

Within that, some estimate the “middle class” as high as 300 million.

Austrade takes a dimmer view – it estimates that there are approximately 30 – 80 million people in our target demographic, many of whom live outside Tier 1 cities. Thats a big range from 30 to 80, which shows that we just do not know. Austrade looks for consumers that:

  1. can afford international travel to destinations like Australia;
  2. can afford to send their children for study abroad; and
  3. can afford to eat at high-end restaurants and hotels, or eat significant amounts of imported food and wine at home.

The point is, we need more and better data.

But my “shopping mall index” should give you a reason to revisit.

And if you act soon but take a long term view, now is the time to start.

Uniqlo to open first Indian store in Delhi

Further evidence of rapid change in retail in India – On 4th October 2019, Japanese apparel retailer “Uniqlo” will open its first store in Delhi and as a part of its strategic roll-out plan, it will open three stores in the Delhi-NCR region by end of 2019.

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Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj

The government has further improved sourcing patterns for the international companies that enter India through its single brand retail route.

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Mr. Tomohiko Sei, Chief Executive Officer, Uniqlo India, said, “We are very excited to announce the opening date today. We look forward to formally opening our doors to the Indian customers and offering Uniqlo’s high quality, highly functional apparel that we call LifeWear starting from Delhi at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj.”

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The 4 paradoxes of doing business with India

Slow and Fast

We think you need to commit three years to building business in India – but when you first go be ready for anything because demand can be instant. Or not. A careful understanding of the market and assessment of whether it is right for you is essential.

Price and Relationship

We know Indians chase a bargain. But price alone is not enough for longevity in India – you need to build relationships. I would build the relationship first, because anyone can undercut your price.

Status and Money

Status in a hierarchical society such as India is paramount. But now so is money. Making it. Showing it. If your product combines status and money it is a good fit. When there, be careful to fully respect the status of whoever you are dealing with.

“India” and “Many Indias”

India is not one market – it combines many languages and cultures, with people in one part of the country not even being able to understand people in another part. We begin by understanding the regional differences between north, south, east and west – but this is only the beginning of drilling deep to know who you are dealing with and who you are targeting. Beware someone who promises to take you “across India” in one major campaign.

Step one is to get some good market research – the only safe and sound beginning. Add to that some cross-cultural training.

Time, knowledge and patience are the keys.

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Stephen Manallack speaking at Australia India Business Council function

India’s richest man to target retail as a balance to energy investments

Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man and boss of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), is launching an ambitious plan to boost retail revenue as a balance to his energy interests.

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RIL will soon hire distributors to sell private-label brands owned by its retail unit through neighbourhood stores – across categories such as staples, food, home and personal care and general merchandise.

RIL sells these products through its retail stores under brand names such as Best Farms, Good Life, Masti Oye, Kaffe, Enzo, Mopz, Expelz and Home One.

Ambani expects the consumer businesses to contribute nearly as much to RIL’s overall earnings as the energy and refining businesses by 2025.

As part of this strategy, RIL is taking on online retailers such as Amazon and Flipkart in the e-commerce segment and the likes of Hindustan Unilever Ltd and ITC Ltd in the offline segment.

Watch this space!

Reliance Retail already operates neighbourhood stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets, wholesale, specialty and online stores.

Delhi’s Connaught Place 9th “most expensive” for offices

New Delhi’s Connaught Place is the ninth most expensive office location in the world with an annual rent of nearly USD 144 per sq ft, according to property consultant CBRE.

CP is located in the heart of India’s national capital.

In its annual Global Prime Office Occupancy Costs survey, CBRE tracks the cost of leasing prime office space globally.

For the second year, Hong Kong’s Central district retained the top spot as the world’s most expensive market for prime office rents, with the prime occupancy costs valued at USD 322 per sq.ft.

Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex and Nariman Point CBD slipped to 27th and 40th positions.

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India-Australia trade relations set to grow at critical time

Many of us have championed closer economic ties between Australia and India. It is now more important than ever to get closer to India.

As Austrade expresses it – “With trade wars, powerful neighbours, and the odds on a recession narrowing within the next two years, considering Indian market entry has never been more mission-critical for Australian business.”

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Some key statistics:

•In 2018, Australia’s total exports to India grew 10% to A$22.3 billion. India ranked number five in Australia’s export destinations.

•Two-way trade increased by a similar percentage to A$30.4 billion, making India Australia’s sixth largest two-way trade partner.1

•Australian investment in India increased almost 12% to A$15.6 billion, slightly ahead of India’s investment in Australia at A$15.1 billion.

However – and here is why Australia needs to balance trade – according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2016–17 (the latest year for which there is data), only 2,087 exporters engaged with India, compared to 7,214 for China.

Time to think India.