A couple of months back, I wrote about Kerela’s ban on organized retailing. Most readers agreed that it was wrong-headed. But there was some skepticism about my claim that organized retailing would be beneficial to the farmers. Well, here’s the tangible evidence.
Among business newspapers in India, Business Standard is good and is constantly improving; Mint is new but very good too. Both have an online presence [B-S Mint] and do not have irritating pop-up ads. The B-S site is not password protected (Mint is) which makes it an ideal solution for linking to. I wouldn’t want my readers to be subjected to the advertising irritants that an Eco Times creates.
Here is my first link to B-S. An article in today’s B-S reports that BEST buses in Mumbai have installed TVs in their buses which will show ads. The idea is clever but not novel. It has been tried but has met with resistance in the US where fares are not (or less) subsidized. Bus Radio is a similar project that does radio advertising in school buses. In India where the fares have to be kept very low to remain affordable, this could be an interesting way to help keep the fares down.
If you happen to travel in the US-India corridor, as I do, next time watch CNBC in the US and then go watch CNBC in India, or vice versa. You’ll immediately notice some differences.
One difference is in how the two channels see the stock market. CNBC in India treats the market as an ‘actor’. It doesn’t just go up or down, it often has a mind of its own and moves in ‘mysterious ways its wonders to perform’. A lot more air-time is spent on the ‘technical’ analysis of the market. CNBC in the US takes a more ‘fundamental’ view of the market – changes in the market are an ‘outcome’ of what’s happening to the economy, sub-prime loans, oil prices or whatever. More time is spent on analysis of companies and the economy. I wonder what lies at the bottom of this difference in how they see the markets.
Another difference that is immediately evident is how articulate business leaders are on CNBC in the US compared to their counterparts in India. They are not only better tutored on how to handle the press and TV but they are just plain better speakers.
The ongoing saga of contaminated toothpaste and food imports from China into the US is in its third month but is far from over.
For those of you who haven’t heard about it here’s what’s been happening.
In October 2006, at least 100 people in Panama died from cough syrup contaminated with diethylene glycol, a poisonous low cost substitute for glycerine. In May 2007 the contaminated glycerine was traced back to its Chinese manufacturer Taixing Glycerine Factory. The same month, the US FDA issues guidance to the industry to test products containing glycerine for diethylene glycol. On June 8, the FDA issued a ‘toothpaste FAQ’ for the general public.
Landed in Mumbai a couple of days ago. Sahar airport has improved quite a bit in the last 2 years that I have been flying into Mumbai. It is far from the kind of airport that one would expect the financial center of India to have, but I think the airport authorities are doing a good job with what they have. The immigration lines are now well managed. Baggage claim has more capacity and the baggage carts are new and improved.
Spent a couple of days last week at the Charles River Ventures conference. (CRV is the lead investor in Gridstone). The attraction of the conference to me was to meet other entrepreneurs and to meet a great roster of speakers. As it turned out, the former objective wasn’t quite fulfilled, for good reason. But the speakers made the trip more than worthwhile.
This year the INS received 150,000 H1-B visa applications for the coming year starting in October, on the first day that it started accepting applications – for a total of 65,000 visas! An article in the New York Times takes a look at the issues surrounding this. A table from the same article reproduced below gives you the breakup of the visas requested by company. Indian IT Services companies are the only companies at the top of the list.
It’s back. With the Democrats in Congress and soon perhaps in the Whitehouse and an economy that most think will turn sour soon, it is almost the perfect storm. Trade in services, fondly called “offshoring” is back on the front pages and it bodes ill for global business.