Booming and Bubbling India- XVIII

The politicians have been busy obstructing Indo-US Nuclear Deal and Sethusamudram Canal Project. Mayawati and Uma Bharati are creating problems for Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Fresh. However, India’s economy grows faster than ever; and its newly confident companies are showing their global ambition.

India’s moment is evident in the latest Business Week ranking of Asia’s top 50 companies. There are a dozen Indian outfits in all, ranging from automakers to a mortgage lender to pharmaceutical producers. This diversity is a surprising reversal from just a few years ago, when the entire world knew about corporate India was its software shops. This year, there’s just one tech player on the list, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (No. 23). “India is no longer a one-trick pony,” says Subir Gokarn, the chief Asia-Pacific economist for ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.

Here are some stories of the endeavours of the entrepreneuring India from the media.

Automakers racing to crack India’s hot market: FRANKFURT, Germany – Global automakers on the hunt for new and lucrative markets are jostling for a place in India, where the car market is growing at an average of 20 percent a year, outpacing even China.

India leads BRIC’s acquisition spree: In India, a total of 32 outbound deals were recorded in the first half of 2007, “an impressive figure which puts the country well on target to beat the 50 deals which took place during the whole of 2006,” according to the KPMG report. China still has some long way to go to catch up with India – which was easily the most acquisitive of the emerging nations, according to the report.

India’s CMIE raises 2007/08 GDP forecast to 9.1%: India’s Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) revised its estimate of India’s GDP growth to 9.1% in the fiscal year 2007/08, up from its earlier 9%, citing a robust growth in services and industry. The independent think tank expects industry to grow 9.5%, the services sector to rise 10.7%, and its farm output growth estimate to 3.9%, from 3.1% earlier, in the fiscal year ending March 2008.

Indian pharma market to touch $20 bn by 2015: McKinsey: India’s present pharmaceutical market that was estimated at $6.3 billion in 2005, is expected to touch $20 billion by 2015, with an compounded annual growth rate of 12.3 per cent.

BPRL-Videocon combine buys oil blocks in Brazil: A consortium of Bharat PetroResources (BPRL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), and Videocon Industries, have jointly purchased Encana Brasil Petroleo Limitada (EBPL), a subsidiary of Encana Corporation, Canada for about $165 million, to explore oil blocks in Brazil.

Pharma firms plan R&D hub in Sweden: Indian drug makers Shasun Chemicals and Drugs Ltd and Wockhardt Ltd are looking to set up research and development hubs in Sweden for ‘bio-similars’ or off-patent versions of biotechnology drugs, in a bid to jump-start their global operations in this segment.

13 Indian firms in WEF Global Growth Companies: Thirteen fast-growing Indian firms have joined as founding members of the 125-strong Community of Global Growth Companies, a new initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

KPO sector to be $11.2b by ’10-11:The KPO sector in India will be worth $11.2 billion by 2010-11 and will employ approximately 255,000 professionals.” While in 2000-01 there were nearly 9,000 billable KPO professionals who generated $260 million as revenues, by 2006-07, their numbers had gone up to 75,400 employees and revenues of $3.05 billion.

India to pass Brazil as No.1 sugar producer: India is expected to overtake Brazil as the world’s top sugar producer in 2007/08, according to the International Sugar Organization. The London-based ISO forecast in a monthly report Indian sugar output in 2007/08 (October/September) at an all-time high of 33.15 million tonnes, up 8% year-on-year.

Reliance buys Malaysian polyester firm: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has acquired Hualon Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd of Malaysia, the world’s largest integrated polyester manufacturer. The acquisition will help RIL consolidate its position as the world’s largest polyester manufacturer with a capacity of 2.5 million tonnes, 25 per cent more than its current capacity.

Rs 5 lakh crore to bolster steel sector: The Indian steel industry is poised to witness an investment of more than Rs 5 lakh crore, which is over six times the total money ploughed into the sector since independence to create a production capacity of over 240 million tonnes, nearly five times of what the country has now. According to a steel ministry document on the investment scenario in the country, 193 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) have been signed between investors and state governments as on July 1, to create an additional capacity of 242.9 million tonnes at an investment of Rs 5,14,038 crore. Posco project is on course now and the clouds of uncertainty that loomed large over the Rs 50,000 crore project have drifted away.

NHAI to invest Rs 50,000 crore: The National Highway Authority of India would invest Rs 50,000 crore in the North-East region in the 11th Five Year Plan for increased connectivity with all state capitals.

India ranks 2nd in IPO, 4th in M&As: India ranks second in capital market inflows and fourth in merger and acquisition deals in Asia Pacific (including Japan), as deals worth $65.033 billion were reported in the first eight months of calendar 2007. The data compiled by Thomson Financial revealed that 121 Indian firms mobilised $23.96 billion, while there were 697 M&A deals worth $41.069 billion.

M&M to drive in 1st India-made automatic gearbox: Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) is all set to join the league of Honda, Toyota, Ford and General Motors by offering automatic transmission in its vehicles. M&M will be the first Indian company to develop an indigenous automatic transmission, which will be initially strapped on its Scorpio SUV.

India can become an MRO hub: India could soon emerge the civil aviation maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) hub for Asia-Pacific.

KPO sector to be $11.2b by ’10-11: India is already the world leader in the Knowledge Process Outsourcing or KPO. Studies by Evalueserve show while the industry is expected to generate $16.7 billion revenues by 2010-11 – an annual growth of 39% in the next four years, – around 350,000 professionals will be employed in this sector. ”The KPO sector in India will be worth $11.2 billion by 2010-11 and will employ approximately 255,000 professionals.”-Source: Career Opportunities in India’s Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) Sector.

Wipro opens new global development centre in Mexico: Wipro Technologies announced the opening of the company’s first development centre in Monterrey, Mexico, where it aims to reach a headcount of 100 in a year’s time. The Aditya Birla Group plans to invest $200 million in Mexico’s carbon black industry over the next five to seven years to increase the capacity of the Mexican business from around 60,000 tons to a quarter of a million tons,

Best paymasters in IT: According to the study, the average salary hike received by software professionals in 2007 was 18.7% compared with 18.3% in 2006; and the average salary of people in the IT industry, across all management levels barring the top management has grown 11% to Rs6.2 lakh per annum.

Indian IT professionals in US returning to homeland: With India becoming a favoured destination of several multi-national companies, thousands of Indian IT professionals in the United States are returning to their homeland with good pay packets, according to a survey, conducted by Indus Entrepreneurs, an association of Indian IT professionals settled in the US. “Around 60,000 professionals have returned to India in recent years.”

Tech firm in global top list: iViz, a network security firm, with its origin in IIT Kharagpur, has made it to the global league of network security companies. iViz is the only Indian company that has made it to the semi-finals of the Global Security Challenge competition.

Software exports up 32% in FY07 at $31.3 billion: India’s software and services export is estimated to have grown at a robust 32% to $31.3 billion (Rs1.41 lakh crore) for 2006-07, as per the official figures of Department of Information Technology.During 2006-07, electronics and IT exports are estimated to be Rs1,53,300 crore, compared to Rs1,13,725 crore in FY05 -06, a growth of about 35%.

Wipro Infotech launches supercomputers in India: Wipro Infotech, the India, Middle East and Asia Pacific IT business unit of Wipro Ltd, on 13 September announced the launch of Wipro Supernova — a range of supercomputers and superstorage in India. Supernova includes a complete range of supercomputers with an entry level configuration delivering one trillion mathematical calculations per second going up to hundred thousand trillions of calculations per second and superstorage scaling to multiple hundred petabytes.

NTPC plugs on to LED lamps manufacture: NTPC Ltd plans to get into manufacturing Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps, widely considered the future of lighting technology.

Rice that can beat heat: Indian molecular biologist Shital Dixit at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands and her colleagues in Bangalore and five other countries have developed the plant that uses water far more efficiently than existing rice crops. The new rice plant appears to grow well in severe drought-like conditions.

Indian doctor develops enzyme that can destroy HIV: Dr. Indrani Sarkar and a team of scientists have developed an enzyme called Tre, a custom enzyme capable of detecting, recognising and destroying HIV, much like a pair of molecular scissors.

More rural mobiles than fixed-line phones in India: Rural mobile phone connections stood at 39.46 million up to June 2007. With a total subscriber base of 185 million that month, rural subscribers formed a formidable block of 21.31 per cent, or over one-fifth of the total mobile user base in India.

7 Indian firms among top 250 global energy companies: As many as seven Indian companies figure in the list of the world’s 250 top performing energy firms, with Reliance Industries, ONGC and NTPC grabbing the top Asian ranks. In the annual rankings of Platts Top 250 Global Energy, ONGC and Reliance Industries have made into the top 50 with rankings of 23 and 39 respectively. ONGC has also been named as the third best performing energy company in Asia.

Narayana Murthy, Bill Gates bag Indian & American Achiever Awards: Infosys chairperson NR Narayana Murthy, Microsoft chief Bill Gates, music composer AR Rahman, Hollywood actor Richard Gere and the late Dhirubhai Ambani have won the Indian & American Achiever Awards.

India’s forex reserves rises to $230.377 bln: India’s foreign exchange reserves rose to a record $230.377 billion on September 7 from $228.847 billion a week earlier.

Inflation falls to 17-month low: Inflation fell to a 17-month low of 3.52 per cent for the week ended September 1 due to cheaper minerals, fuels and some manufactured products, giving the government positive ammunition to woe investors to revive sluggish industrial production.

India braces for wave of more equal auto parts JVs: JD Power and Associates estimates India will buy 2 million cars annually by 2012, and export another 1 million, making the country a sought after destination for global auto part makers. Besides Indian firms that earlier made nuts, bolts and routine casts, leaning on the west for design, are now one of the lowest cost manufacturers, making them attractive partners.

Ganesh graces Paris: On September 2, Paris was blessed with another year of good luck from Lord Ganesh at the Fete de Ganesh. Well over 10,000 people joined in the procession through the streets of Paris to worship the Hindu god. The ‘exotique’ festival highlighted the widespread interest in Indian spirituality among Europeans, inspired to learn about and experience the rich diversity of religions celebrated in India.

Innovation guru, Robert Tucker who has worked with a wide range of companies which include IBM India, Satyam Computer Systems Ltd, Nokia Oyj, American Express among others. He is also the author of ‘Managing the future’: 10 Driving forces of changes for the new century’, and ‘Driving Growth through Innovation’. He talked of changing India:

“I was here in 2003, and Tata (Tata Group) was a $12billion company, somewhat sleepy. Today Tata is generating $63billion in sales and revenue. They have restructured and embraced innovation and global markets.”

And so say many including the so-called Diaspora who visits India after a gap and sees the bubbling India all around in malls, multiplexes and on expressways.

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