Indian Auto Industry Records Historic Sales Figures - Business Guardian
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Indian Auto Industry Records Historic Sales Figures



In a landmark achievement for the Indian Auto Retail Industry, the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) released the Vehicle Retail Data for November 2023, showcasing record-breaking sales figures. Surpassing previous highs, the month witnessed a staggering sale of 28.54 lakh vehicles, outstripping the industry’s transition period in March 2020 from BS-4 to BS-6 emission norms, which saw 25.69 lakh vehicles sold.

Breaking down the numbers, the categories of 2-wheelers (2W) and passenger vehicles (PV) hit unprecedented peaks. Two-wheelers soared to 22.47 lakh vehicles, surpassing March 2020’s 20.7 lakh vehicles, while PV reached 3.6 lakh vehicles, topping October 2022’s sales of 3.57 lakh vehicles. Overall retail sales for November 2023 grew by an impressive 18 per cent Year-on-Year (YoY).

The growth rates for two-wheelers, three-wheelers (3W), and PV categories were remarkable, standing at 21 per cent, 23 per cent, and 17 per cent, respectively, on a YoY basis. However, the tractor (Trac) and commercial vehicle (CV) categories experienced a decline of -21 per cent and -2 per cent, respectively.

The surge in sales has been attributed to various factors, notably the festive season, especially during Deepawali, and robust rural sentiments fuelledby thriving agricultural income. Additionally, the ongoing marriage season between November 23 and December 15, expecting around 38 lakh marriages, has significantly contributed to high vehicle sales, particularly in rural India.

Despite these soaring figures, challenges loom on the horizon. Severe rains and hailstorms in west and south India might impact rabi cultivation, potentially affecting crop output and leading to increased inflation. This could subsequently make daily essentials more expensive, impacting vehicle sales in the short term.

FADA acknowledged the reduction in PV inventory but stressed the importance for PV original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to curtail dispatches of slow-moving vehicles in the entry-level category. Urging PV OEMs to roll out attractive schemes to bolster year-end buying and reduce inventory at dealerships, FADA emphasized strategic adjustments in inventory management and the reduction of dispatches for slow-moving vehicles to navigate through the complexities of the auto retail landscape.

The near-term outlook remains optimistic, anticipating a liquidity boost benefiting the 2W category, especially in agricultural regions and during the ongoing marriage season. However, challenges persist, including weather conditions impacting rural incomes. Recovery for the CV category is expected post-elections, coupled with positive movements in key sectors. Meanwhile, the PV sector exhibits potential for growth, with year-end offers and discounts anticipated to stimulate sales. While opportunities abound, challenges stemming from consumer preferences, high PV inventory, and external economic factors necessitate careful strategic planning within the auto retail industry.

Amidst the remarkable sales surge, FADA’s insights shed light on the necessity for strategic foresight and nimble adaptation within the auto retail landscape. The need for PV OEMs to recalibrate their strategies by unveiling attractive schemes echoes the evolving market demands. This call aligns with the need to balance inventory and stimulate demand, especially as consumer preferences and economic conditions continually shape the industry’s trajectory.

The looming impact of adverse weather conditions on rural incomes poses a critical challenge. The anticipated repercussions from severe rains and hailstorms in key agricultural regions could disrupt the agricultural output, potentially tightening the financial constraints of rural consumers. Should these challenges materialize, it might temper the enthusiasm witnessed during the ongoing marriage season, affecting the expected vehicle sales.

FADA’s emphasis on the reduction of dispatches for slow-moving vehicles underscores the importance of prudent inventory management. As the industry grapples with a high inventory of PVs, strategic adjustments become imperative to prevent stockpiling of unsold vehicles. This strategic manoeuvre aims to align the supply chain dynamics with the dynamic market demands, ensuring a more balanced and sustainable approach for dealerships.

Looking ahead, while the short-term outlook reflects optimism with the anticipated liquidity boost benefiting the 2W category, sustained growth hinges on navigating the volatile economic landscape. The anticipation of recovery in the CV category post-elections and positive movements in pivotal sectors underscores the industry’s resilience. Simultaneously, the PV sector’s potential for growth through year-end offers and discounts presents a promising avenue to stimulate sales, but prudent management remains pivotal amid uncertainties.

In sum, while the Indian Auto Retail Industry celebrates historic sales figures, the road ahead demands a delicate balance between seizing opportunities and addressing the multifaceted challenges. FADA’s strategic recommendations serve as a guiding beacon for stakeholders within the industry, urging a proactive approach in adapting to the evolving market dynamics to sustain this unprecedented momentum.

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Huge discounts on ACs, refrigerators, coolers & fansp: Flipkartannual sale



Flipkart on Tuesday announced its annual week-long summer sale starting from April 17 to April 23, 2024, offering a wide selection of cooling.

Flipkart has announced the 6th edition of Super Cooling Days 2024, a week-long annual sale event offering exciting deals on cooling home appliances. The sale, scheduled from April 17 to April 23, 2024, aims to provide customers with a wide range of products at affordable prices to combat the intense summer heat. Super Cooling Days 2024 will showcase an extensive selection of cooling appliances, including Air Conditioners (ACs), Refrigerators, Air coolers, and Fans from leading brands such as Samsung, LG, Whirlpool, Haier, Godrej, and IFB.

The sale will feature India’s biggest refrigerator store, offering various types of refrigerators with the latest technology and prices ranging from Rs 9,990 to Rs 2,00,000. ACs starting from Rs 25,000 In the AC category, customers can choose from a premium store featuring a variety of brands with prices ranging from Rs 25,000- to Rs 65,000. The sale will also offer an extensive range of Inverter ACs for different room sizes, with features like Wi-Fi connectivity and energy-efficient ratings. ACs, Air coolers starting from Rs 1,299 Flipkart will offer a vast array of ceiling fans ranging from Rs 1,299 to Rs 15,000, along with energy-efficient BLDC fans at Rs 1,999 and various Table, Pedestal, and Wall Fans.

Air coolers, including Personal coolers starting at Rs 3,999 and Desert coolers from Rs 6,499, will also be available to cater to diverse cooling needs. Deals and payment options To make the shopping experience more rewarding, Flipkart will provide multiple deals and payment constructs, including a New Customer offer, Tap & Win, and offers on SuperCoins.

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Industry for streamlining listing process for SMEs on bourses, quicker fund raising



Amidst India’s equity market emerging as the 5th largest globally by market capitalisation with exponential increase in retail investor participation, Indian industry has called for stimulating growth in small and medium enterprises (SME) capital markets by reducing the time it takes for SMEs to raise funds and streamlining the listing process on stock exchanges for SMEs.

A report by Assocham and Resurgent India has highlighted the traditional challenge for SMEs to utilise traditional capital markets for financing largely due to an ecosystem that has not been fully accommodating. It also draws attention to the considerable benefits of accessing capital markets for Indian SMEs like access to essential capital needed for growth, enhanced corporate governance and boost to visibility and credibility among both customers and investors.

The report also reflects the increasing utilisation and success of IPOs as a financing mechanism, highlighting the growing confidence in the market. Initially, the number of IPOs and the capital raised showed variability, with a notable increase peaking in 2018. Following a downturn in 2019 and 2020, influenced by market volatility, there was a significant recovery, reaching an all-time high in 2023 in terms of both the number of IPOs and the amount raised.

The early data for 2024 suggests a decrease, indicating a potential normalization of market activities or the preliminary nature of the year’s data. The BSE and the NSE have established specialized platforms for SMEs, designated as BSE SME and NSE EMERGE respectively. These platforms have been specifically designed to furnish SMEs with a more accessible channel for securing capital via the public market. They permit listings under more lenient criteria in comparison to those required for the main board, thus catering to the distinctive requirements of SMEs. Though there is a noticeable shift towards these markets, a significant number of SMEs lack knowledge about the listing requirements and procedures on stock exchanges. The costs associated with listing even on the BSE and NSE remain prohibitive for many.

In an effort to bolster SME participation in capital markets the Government along with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) have simplified compliance norms to lower the regulatory and compliance hurdles for SMEs aiming to list on specialized SME platforms and established a ‘Fund of Funds’ by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to provide indirect financial support to SMEs thereby aiding their growth and ensuring they meet the prerequisites for listing. Even then, the report observes that SMEs in India face significant barriers to accessing capital markets.

These challenges stem from a lack of awareness and prevalent misconceptions about the complexity and cost of listing on SME exchanges. Additionally, the extensive preparation required for a public listing including financial restructuring and meeting corporate governance standards can be overwhelming for SMEs. To stimulate growth in SME capital markets, the report calls for development of a robust investor base that is keen on investing in SMEs. This involves not just attracting institutional investors but also individual investors who see value in SME growth. Policy measures could include tax incentives for investments in SME sectors, creation of dedicated SME investment funds, and facilitating platforms that connect SMEs with potential investors.

Encouraging venture capital and private equity investments into SMEs by providing regulatory ease and financial incentives can also play a significant role in stimulating growth in SME capital markets. Streamlining the listing process on stock exchanges for SMEs is crucial, suggests the report. This can involve reducing the paperwork, lowering the costs associated with listing, and providing a simplified regulatory framework that balances investor protection with the need for SMEs to access public markets. The development of dedicated SME trading platforms or boards within existing exchanges can also provide tailored listing options that are more suited to the needs and capabilities of SMEs.

Another recommendation is enhancing market literacy among SMEs and investors. For SMEs, understanding the nuances of accessing capital markets, the requirements for listing, and how to manage investor relations is crucial. For investors, understanding the unique value proposition of SMEs, the risk profile, and the potential for growth within the SME. The report also brings out the need for creating fast-track listing processes for SMEs and enabling technology-driven platforms for quicker fundraising. For example, digital crowdfunding platforms and peer-to-peer lending can offer SMEs quicker access to capital.

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Telegram on Track for 1 Billion Users, Founder Predicts Massive Growth



Durov, Telegram’s sole owner, emphasized the app’s impressive growth, boasting 900 million active users and a versatile platform for seamless communication.

The Telegram messaging app, hailed as one of the most popular social media platforms in Ukraine and Russia, is poised to exceed 1 billion active monthly users within the next year, according to its founder Pavel Durov. In a rare interview with US journalist Tucker Carlson, Durov expressed his optimism about the app’s meteoric rise, likening its growth to that of a “forest fire.”

Durov, who fully owns Telegram, shared his insights during the interview, highlighting the app’s remarkable trajectory. With currently 900 million active users, Telegram has emerged as a ubiquitous platform for communication, offering users the ability to send and receive messages, make calls, and share files seamlessly.

Emphasizing Telegram’s commitment to neutrality, Durov stressed that the app aims to remain a “neutral platform” and avoid entanglement in geopolitical issues. This stance aligns with Durov’s personal experiences, as the Russia-born entrepreneur fled his homeland in 2014, citing government interference in his company.

Despite its massive user base, Telegram faces stiff competition from Meta Platforms’ WhatsApp, which boasts over 2 billion monthly active users. However, Telegram’s rapid ascent suggests its potential to challenge established players in the social media landscape.

Reports have surfaced indicating Telegram’s intention to pursue a US listing once the company achieves profitability. This strategic move could further solidify Telegram’s position as a formidable contender in the global market.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Telegram has emerged as a pivotal tool for both governments and citizens seeking unfiltered information about the conflict. Major media outlets, government entities, and public figures in both countries utilize Telegram to disseminate news and engage with their audiences.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy leverages the platform to share daily video addresses, while the Ukrainian armed forces utilize Telegram to provide updates on battlefield developments and warn of impending air raids. Similarly, the Kremlin utilizes Telegram to announce President Vladimir Putin’s activities, while Russia’s opposition leverages the platform to rally support.

However, Telegram’s growing influence has not been without controversy. Critics argue that the platform has become a breeding ground for misinformation and manipulation. In response to these concerns, a bill was submitted to the Ukrainian parliament in March, proposing stricter regulation of Telegram and other social networks. Moreover, the Kremlin has urged Durov to exercise greater vigilance, following allegations that Telegram was used to facilitate the recruitment of gunmen responsible for an attack on a concert hall outside Moscow in March.

This incident underscores the challenges associated with managing a platform of Telegram’s scale and reach. Despite these challenges, Telegram’s exponential growth and widespread adoption underscore its significance in the global social media landscape. As the app continues to expand its user base and influence, it remains to be seen how regulators and stakeholders navigate the complex dynamics of information dissemination and user privacy in the digital age.

Telegram’s ascent to becoming a powerhouse in social media has been propelled by its commitment to user privacy and encryption. Unlike many other platforms, Telegram offers end-to-end encryption, ensuring that users’ communications remain private and secure. This feature has garnered praise from users concerned about data privacy and surveillance, further contributing to Telegram’s popularity.

Moreover, Telegram’s open-source nature allows developers to create a plethora of third-party apps and bots, expanding the platform’s functionality and versatility. From productivity tools to entertainment options, Telegram’s ecosystem continues to evolve, offering users a wide array of features tailored to their needs.

The platform’s versatility extends to its role in facilitating communication during times of crisis. During emergencies, such as natural disasters or political unrest, Telegram’s ability to provide real-time updates and coordinate relief efforts has proven invaluable. Its decentralized infrastructure and robust encryption make it a preferred communication channel for activists, journalists, and citizens seeking to disseminate information securely.

However, Telegram’s rapid growth has also raised concerns about its potential misuse for nefarious purposes. The platform has been criticized for enabling the spread of fake news, hate speech, and extremist propaganda. In response, Telegram has taken steps to curb misinformation and illegal activities, including implementing AI-powered content moderation tools and banning channels promoting violence or hate speech.

Despite these efforts, the platform continues to grapple with the challenge of balancing free expression with the need to maintain a safe and responsible online environment. As Telegram approaches the milestone of 1 billion monthly active users, the company faces mounting pressure to address these issues effectively while preserving its core principles of privacy and neutrality.

Looking ahead, Telegram’s trajectory as a leading social media platform appears promising. With its commitment to innovation, user privacy, and decentralization, Telegram is well-positioned to continue shaping the future of digital communication. As the platform expands its reach and influence, stakeholders must work collaboratively to address the challenges and opportunities that accompany its growth, ensuring that Telegram remains a force for positive change in the global social media landscape.

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Elon Musk: New X users may face annual posting fee



Elon Musk revealed that new users could face fees for posting content on the social platform X (previously known as Twitter). In response to a user inquiry on the platform, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX clarified that introducing “a modest fee for new user write access” is essential in addressing the ongoing challenge posed by bots. Regrettably, instituting a nominal fee for new user write access is the sole method to deter the continual barrage of bots. Current AI (and troll farms) can pass “are you a bot” with ease.

Musk was responding to a tweet made by the X Daily News which had posted a notice by the platform stating that new accounts are required to pay a “small annual fee” before being able to “post, like, bookmark, and reply”. The notice added that this was to “reduce spam” and “create a better experience for everyone.” Users can, however, continue to follow accounts for free. “The onslaught of fake accounts also uses up the available namespace, so many good handles are taken as a result,” Musk explained in his response.

Musk also highlighted that current AI can easily bypass traditional bot detection measures. “Current AI (and troll farms) can pass ‘are you a bot’ with ease,” he said. Emphasizing that this measure targets new users exclusively, Musk clarified that after a probationary period of three months, users would regain free write access. This announcement follows the platform’s decision last October to charge new unverified users in New Zealand and the Philippines a fee of $1 per year. Recently, X initiated a massive purge of spam accounts, resulting in some users losing followers. The platform has been grappling with an influx of spam and porn bots in recent months, prompting Musk to initiate the purge.

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Microsoft invests $1.5 bn in UAE’s G42 AI firm, secures minority stake



Announced yesterday (15 April), the deal will give Microsoft a minority stake in the company that is currently the leading AI firm in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

According to a statement released on Tuesday, Microsoft is set to invest $1.5 billion in G42, an artificial intelligence company based in the United Arab Emirates. This investment will provide the US tech giant with a minority stake in G42 and a position on its board of directors. Under the partnership, G42 will run its AI applications and services on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure to deliver advanced AI solutions to global public sector clients and large enterprises. Microsoft President Brad Smith, who will take a seat on G42’s board, said “We will combine world-class technology with world leading standards for safe, trusted, and responsible AI, in close coordination with the governments of both the UAE and the United States.”

The firms will work together to bring advanced AI and digital infrastructure to countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. The partnership comes amid Washington’s efforts to hobble Beijing’s technological advances, with the US adding four Chinese companies to an export blacklist for seeking to acquire AI chips for China’s military. G42 had divested its investments in China and began the lengthy task of pulling out Chinese hardware amid US concerns over its relationship with Chinese businesses. Microsoft and G42 will support the establishment of a $1 billion fund for developers to boost AI skills in the UAE and broader region. The partnership stipulates several safeguards for the AI technologies shared with G42.

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Samsung reclaims smartphone crown as Apple shipments slide



According to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphone shipments worldwide experienced a decline of 7.8% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2024 (1Q24), amounting to 289.4 million units. This downturn led to a reshuffling of the market, with Samsung surpassing Apple to become the leading smartphone provider once again. Apple’s smartphone shipments fell by approximately 10% in the first quarter, attributed to heightened competition from Android smartphone manufacturers vying for dominance.

Despite Apple’s strong performance in the preceding quarter, where it briefly claimed the top spot, it slid back to second place with a market share of 17.3%. On the other hand, Samsung saw a marginal decrease of 0.7% in shipments, retaining its position as the leading smartphone seller globally with a market share of 20.8%. The resurgence of Chinese brands like Xiaomi and Transsion contributed to the competitive landscape, with Xiaomi experiencing a remarkable increase in sales of nearly 34% year-over-year.

Xiaomi, ranked third in terms of smartphone shipments during the quarter, reported robust growth, shipping 40.8 million units. Similarly, Transsion witnessed a substantial surge in shipments, marking an 85% increase compared to the previous year. The overall growth in smartphone shipments signifies a recovery in the market, despite prevailing macroeconomic challenges. Higher average selling prices indicate consumer preference for premium devices, reflecting a trend of holding onto smartphones for longer durations.

Apple’s slip in rankings underscores the dynamic nature of the smartphone market, where shifts in consumer preferences and competitive pressures influence market dynamics. As smartphone manufacturers navigate evolving trends and market conditions, the competition intensifies, driving innovation and strategic manoeuvres to secure market share. The rise of Chinese smartphone manufacturers, including Xiaomi and Transsion, has contributed significantly to the competitive landscape, challenging established players like Apple and Samsung.

Xiaomi’s aggressive expansion strategies and focus on offering feature-rich devices at competitive prices have resonated with consumers globally, driving its impressive sales growth. Transsion’s success can be attributed to its strong presence in emerging markets, particularly in Africa, where it has gained considerable market share by catering to the diverse needs of consumers with affordable yet reliable smartphone options. The evolving dynamics of the smartphone market underscore the importance of adaptability and innovation for manufacturers seeking to maintain their competitiveness.

As consumer preferences continue to shift and new technologies emerge, companies must anticipate and respond to these changes effectively to stay ahead of the curve. While Samsung reclaimed its position as the leading smartphone provider, the intensifying competition highlights the need for continued investment in research and development, marketing, and customer engagement to sustain growth and market relevance. Overall, the smartphone market remains dynamic and fiercely competitive, offering both challenges and opportunities for manufacturers. Success in this space hinges on a combination of factors, including product innovation, strategic partnerships, and agility in responding to market trends and consumer demands.

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