“Singh knows our business well:” Mr Nick Read, CEO, Vodafone’s Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region.
Telecom major Vodafone has appointed Max India founder, Mr Analjit Singh, as the non-executive chairman of its India operations. The appointment is effective 16 February 2012, following formal approval from the board of Vodafone India.
Mr Singh, a leading industry figure, is the founder and chairman of Max India, as well as, its subsidiaries like Max New York Life Insurance Company, Max Healthcare Institute and Max Bupa Health Insurance Company.
“Analjit has been a long-standing, reliable and trustworthy partner in India,” Vodafone Group chief executive officer, Mr Vittorio Colao, said in a statement.
Mr Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone’s Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region, said: “Singh knows our business well, having been the founder and chairman of Max Telecom, the business which has grown to become Vodafone India with nearly 150 million customers.”
“The high input costs have been impacting us for quite some time. We have decided to pass on some burden to our customers:” Tata Motors
Tata Motors said that it has increased the prices of its passenger vehicles, except small car Nano and premium crossover Aria, by up to Rs12,000 to mitigate the impact of high input costs. The company said the price hike has been with effect from 9 February 2012 across the country.
“The high input costs have been impacting us for quite some time. We have decided to pass on some burden to our customers. The quantum of the hike will vary between Rs7,000 and Rs12,000 depending on the model,” a company spokesperson told PTI.
Last month, other passenger vehicle majors like Maruti Suzuki and General Motors increased the prices of their various models by up to Rs17,000 to offset the rising input costs and the impact of currency fluctuation.
Maruti Suzuki India hiked the prices of its vehicles, except for entry-level sedan DZire, by between 0.3% and 3.4%. This translated into a minimum increase of Rs2,400 on the SX4 sedan and a maximum of Rs17,000 on the diesel variant of its Swift hatchback.
Similarly, General Motors India also increased the product prices by between 0.5% and 1.75% for models including the Spark, Beat, Cruze and Tavera, translating into an increase ranging from Rs3,000 to Rs15,000.
GM India, however, left the prices of its Aveo, Aveo UVA, Optra and Captiva SUV models unchanged.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor had also hiked the prices of its different models, including the Liva and Etios, between 0.75% and 3% from 1 January 2012 onwards. Mahindra & Mahindra increased the prices of its latest SUV, the XUV500, by up to Rs55,000.
Hyundai Motor India, which had in December 2011 said it would increase the prices of its vehicles by 1.5-2% from this year, however, has not taken the step as yet.
Logistics in non-metro cities and towns is an area of challenge for e-commerce companies and a major differentiating factor vis-a-vis the metro cities
With rising Internet penetration and adoption of mobile devices across the country, companies selling products and services through websites are looking at smaller cities for expanding business.
“Non-metros play a vital role in the growth of e-commerce segment in the country primarily due to ease of purchase... The convenience of shopping online and access to best international brands is driving this growth among non-metro markets,” says Mukesh Bansal, founder and CEO, Myntra.com, an online shopping portal.
According to eBay Census 2011, a study on the Indian e-commerce landscape released last year, as many as 3,311 Indian cities shopped online between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011. Of this, over 1,267 were non-metro cities.
“Metros have a dominant share of purchases, with Tier 2 and 3 cities catching up fast. Metros contributed 51% of all e-commerce transactions while Tier 2 and 3 cities contributed about 40% and rural India 9%,” the survey said.
While consumers in the metros buy products and services mainly because of convenience, those in the non-metros buy due to non-availability of products.
Big brands don’t find it viable to open shop in small towns and e-commerce is the perfect route to deliver their products to those whose can afford from non-metros, it said.
Echoing a similar view, Siddharth Puri, senior marketing manager, Fetise.com, an online shopping community for men said, “Fetise get 500-700 orders a day on an average of which about 150-220 are from the non-metros.”
Online shopping portals expect the number of orders coming in from these areas to go up further helped by rising Internet penetration, growing purchasing power and adoption of mobile devices.
“Use of mobile Internet and smart phones has definitely given a push to this sector as the access is available to the consumers on their fingertips,” Mr Puri said.
According to a Google report, over 70% of search happened in non-metros and over all 50 million people logged on to the Internet from mobile phones in 2011.
Valyoo Technologies, which runs three e-commerce site—Lenskart.com, Bagskart.com and Watchkart.com, online shoe store Fashos.com and consumer durables selling website Greendust.com—gets around 50%, 70% and 28% of its business from non-metro cities respectively and have plans to scale their business in these area.
However, logistics in non-metro cities and towns is an area of challenge for these companies and a major differentiating factor vis-a-vis the metro cities.
“The market size of online stores in India is about over Rs2,000 crore and is expected to grow to about Rs7,000 crore by 2015. The only challenge for an e-commerce organisation is logistics; last-mile-delivery and consumers still being hesitant to use debit or credit cards online” Mr Puri said.
E-commerce firms expect their business to boom once broadband connectivity across country as planned under National Broadband Plan is delivered and ecosystem for broadband on mobile is developed.
“Broadband connectivity is still a major hurdle for adoption of e-commerce. Once we figure out foolproof mobile shopping and payment system, I believe more people will use it for shopping than laptops or desktops.” Tradus.in MD Krishna Motukuri said.