Make in India & More

Good morning, folks. Quick question. Does WFH take away the Monday blues also or had it ended up coming in with far more intensity? Ponder on this question as the markets wake from their weekend slumber.

MAIN STORIES

Bronze medal to India for global manufacturing potential

Global property consultant Cushman & Wakefield has given a boost to the government’s “Make in India” campaign by ranking the country third out of forty eight in a list of most suitable locations for global manufacturing. This predictably places India behind China and US, but registers a one position upward movement from fourth for India.

What’s the catch? If the outlook is so bright and sunny, why are companies not lining up to make in India? When the cost scenario is considered, China still rules the roost followed by Vietnam and then India. The bigger problem is that in risk scenario ranking that covers political and economic risks, India slips to the third quartile with a ranking of 30.

Silver lining: Before you throw your hands up in the air in frustration, note some developments which have happened in this direction. Taiwanese component maker Pegatron, second largest manufacturers for Apple, has registered an Indian subsidiary and is reportedly in talks with multiple state governments to finalise land deals.  Another Apple manufacturer, Foxconn has already reportedly committed to investing $1 Billion in it’s Tamil Nadu facility. Earlier, this month, Samsung announced manufacture of smart watches from it’s Noida facility.

Passing of the baton at HCL Tech

On turning 75, HCL co-founder Shiv Nadar decided to pass the baton of Chairperson of the $9.9 billion company. However, he continues to be the Managing Director and Chief Strategy Officer, signalling a longer path to succession. Considering HCL is present across 49 countries with an employee strength of 1,50,000 a sudden, swift change in leadership could have been tricky.

Tell me more about Roshni Nadar Malhotra: Already the wealthiest woman in India with a net worth of Rs. 36,800 Crore Roshni who also became the first Indian woman to head a listed IT giant, is Shiv Nadar’s only child. An MBA from Kellogg University, her grooming into the company has been ongoing for quite some time. In 2009, she was appointed on the board of the parent company HCL Corp, while getting inducted as additional director on HCL Tech’s board in 2013.  

Why am I reading about it? This is a symbolic step towards closing some of the gender chasm that seems to have widened in this pandemic. A report from McKinsey & Co. shows that women are 1.8 times more vulnerable than men to job-loss in this time especially because of a disproportionate constitution in the most impacted sectors. While they make up 20% of the work force, unemployment surveys suggest they make for about 23% of the job losses. If this interaction about the “awkward” sexist logo on Scotch Brite is anything to go by, more symbolic cues relating to gender might be on their way to change.

Vaccine hacking games

In the modern version of Hunger Games, coronavirus vaccine arena keeps heating up amid country borders. In a rare show of collaboration, US, UK and Canadian governments jointly accused a Russian group of hacking into ongoing research for the coronavirus vaccine. The group, linked to the Russian intelligence is called, wait for it, Cozy Bear! Reason for attempted hack? Not a mission against humanity but simply to win the race for the vaccine.

Diplomatic denial in place: Russia’s ambassador to London Andrei Kelin has attacked the logic of the accusation claiming it made “no sense”. He also put forth the implication that “in this world, to attribute any kind of computer hackers to any country, it is impossible.” Almost made hackers sound like mavens of peace who belong to the entire world and no country can call their own.

Where is Russia on the vaccine path anyway? There are three main threads to this story. One, Russian firm R-pharm has signed an agreement with British-Swedish firm Astrazeneca and as per a top Russian official all resource transfer has happened for production to start although Astrazeneca is yet to comment on the claim. Two, the said officer Kirill Dmitriev (chief exec of government-backed Russian Direct Investment Fund) also exuded confidence that Russia would win the vaccine race with one out by September. The lead in the 26 experiments being run, is one by Gamaleya Institute in Moscow which is due to start phase 3 trials in Russia, Saudi Arabia and UAE on August 3rd. Third, earlier this month, Russia had created waves by claiming a “safe “ coronavirus vaccine after a successful Phase 1 trial on 18 respondents! Coronavirus vaccine is one bizarre topic where the sensational headline could hide a true-blue devil in the details.

IN SNIPPETS

Some relaxation: In a sigh of relief for Vodafone Idea, the telecom tribunal court allowed them to go ahead with their premium plan of RedX instructing TRAI to investigate only in case it was found violating service norms.

Reliance Industries stuffs the cash from stake sale: Not content with taking major responsibility of keeping the equity markets boosted, Reliance industries set about to spread some cheer in debt markets as well. Rs. 35,000 Crores from the Jio Platforms stake sale was invested in debt funds of varying duration including money market, ultra short and three-to-five years.

Alexa, tell me about probe initiated on you and your friends: The European Union announced a “sweeping” anti-trust probe into all voice controls including Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. The accusation? These big three are using voice tech to make their big piece of the pie even bigger, eliminating fair competition. 

EU economic band aid: When there’s big money on the table and multiple parties with their own interests, you know everyone’s not going to be happy. The European Union leaders failed to reach a consensus on the details of the fund, especially with respect to proportion to be distributed as grants and those as loans. It is hoped that they do find a middle ground. 

Multi-tasking like how: Foregoing our practice of limiting international snippets to two, a gasp-inducing action begged to be mentioned. On Friday, Iceland Air announced that in the light of negotiation failure with the cabin crew union they would be firing all, yes all, cabin crew to be temporarily replaced by pilots on the bench. Although some cool-off seems to have happened over the weekend making both parties go softer towards each other at the negotiating table. 

MARKET PULSE

With a full day in green, Nifty and Sensex ended at approximately 1.5% higher levels on the back of buying in four main stocks – RIL, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and HUL. Within IT, HCL and TCS got some brick bats on the basis of their first quarter results and the drop in revenue from last quarter.

WILD CARD

Worried that your communication will suffer with the mandatory wardrobe accessory of a mask? The C-mask from Japanese company Donut Robotics has got you covered. It connects to your phone app and helps amplify the users’ voice, translate messages from Japanese into 8 languages, make calls or even transcribe spoken messages. Before you fish out the $40 (expected market price), hold on to your horses because the first batch of 5000 units is expected to ship in September with further expansion to China, US and Europe planned later.

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