12811650773_294289d2ca_b

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day Brings In Moolah

 

Alibaba raked in billions with its Singles’ day shopping festival, outdoing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. SoftBank is padding Uber with more money. Air India is borrowing yet again while it sits on a mountain of debt. Industrial output bounced a little but is still lower than August’s. 

 

$10 billion

What is it? The amount that SoftBank Group could end up committing to ride-hailing service Uber, both in fresh funding and in buying out existing investors.

Why is it important? Uber yesterday announced it had entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment. For Uber, which is in a state of flux on several fronts, it marks its association with the weightiest investor in the Internet economy. For SoftBank, it gives it a piece of the leader of the unicorn club and a pivotal seat in the ride-hailing sector.

Tell me more: SoftBank is also an investor in other ride-hailing companies, notably Didi in China, GrabTaxi in Singapore and Ola in India.

 

$25.3 billion

What is it? The sales generated by Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce firm, from its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in 24 hours, which celebrates single people.

Why is it important? The ninth edition of the annual sale is its highest ever, up 42% from 2016, cementing its position as the world’s largest shopping event. It is almost twice the combined sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US in 2016. Seen another way, it is higher than the GDP of Cameroon. Some experts say the massive growth is due to retailers competing with each other to grab a pie of consumer spending in the growing Chinese economy.

Tell me more: The online extravaganza broke other records too. Alibaba surpassed last year’s sales figure in 13 hours. Chinese postal and courier companies handled at least 331 million packages, over 30% higher than those in the same day a year ago.

 

Rs 1,500 crore

What is it? The value of loan reportedly received by Air India from Bank of India to meet its working capital needs.

Why is it important? It highlights the financial situation of Air India, which has a total debt of Rs 52,000 crore and recently received an in-principle nod for disinvestment. However, according to a report, the new owners are likely to take over only the aircraft debt and not working capital loans, which would be transferred to a special purpose vehicle (to be managed by it) before the sale. Of the total debt, Rs 33,000 crore is on account of working capital loans.

Tell me more: The recent working capital loan comes nearly a month after the national carrier floated a tender seeking government-backed short-term loans for the mentioned amount.

 

3.8%

What is it? The rate at which India’s industrial output grew in September on a year-on-year basis.

Why is it important? While this was lower than the 4.3% recorded in August, it was significantly higher than the depths of June and July, two months that also contained the overhang of the transition to a new goods and services tax (GST).

Tell me more: Of the 23 industries, 11 registered growth, indicating that stability was gradually returning to the industrial sector after the disruptions caused by demonetization and GST.

 

Rs 25,000-30,000

What is it? The amount Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reportedly spends on a cricketer for DNA testing.

Why is it important? This is to understand each player’s body needs to maintain a particular fat percentage, whose limit for a senior Indian player is 23%. This test is believed to help cricketers improve their speed in fat burning, endurance, recovery and muscle building by developing a customised and comprehensive fitness programme. However, researchers are divided on the usefulness of such tests to improve athletes’ performance: one study claims these are ‘virtually meaningless‘, while another says DNA-matched training programmes improve their performance by three times than the mismatched ones.

Tell me more: Earlier, Indian cricketers took Skinfold tests and DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scans to measure body fat percentage.

 

Read More

Banks’ capital crisis

Rs 95,000 crore

What is it? The external equity capital that 11 state-run/public sector unit (PSU) banks would need by March, 2019 to meet Basel III norms, according Moody’s Investor Services.

Why is it important? It is about four times more than the amount India’s government has pledged (Rs 20,000 crore) to support the PSU banks. The rest has to come from the market. However, with high NPAs and low valuations, it might be a stretch for most PSU banks to raise the amount, and they might need further infusion from the government.

Tell me more: The State Bank of India will be trying to raise Rs 15,000 crore equity capital by itself in FY18.

 

Rs 16,580 crore

What is it? The estimated amount of loan the Uttar Pradesh government is considering to take to fund developmental projects.

Why is it important? Saddled with a farm-loan waiver of Rs 36,359 crore, the UP government will need financing for roads such as the Purvanchal Expressway and bridges, and also development schemes including affordable houses.

Tell me more: The news coincides with farmer protests in other states such as Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu for financial aid from governments, primarily in the form of loan waivers. By the time of the 2019 general elections, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report estimates loan waivers would cost states Rs 2.57 lakh-crore.

 

$2.8 billion

What is it? The increase in net worth of Alibaba Group Holding’s chief, Jack Ma, overnight.

Why is it important? The richest person in Asia, Ma’s wealth stands at $34 billion in real-time. The surge was triggered by better-than-expected forecast of 45-49% revenue growth of the e-commerce company, China’s largest.

Tell me more: But the growth of the group is not just from online shopping, but also cloud  computing and media streaming.

 

37

What is it? The number of underground mines that Coal India reportedly plans to shut by end of this year.

Why is it important? The move is facing resistance from the labour unions, but shutting down the unprofitable mines could help the mining company cut costs. Its profits came down by more than a third to Rs2,716 crore in the quarter ending March 2017.

Tell me more: Coal India is the world’s largest coal miner and operates 413 mines including 207 underground mines. It accounts of 80% of coal produced in India.

 

22 minutes

What is it? The time taken by an AI machine to finish a two hour Chinese university entrance exam.

Why is it important? While the robot, MATHS AI, finished the exam fast, its score was below average. It got 105 marks out of 150, against the average score of 109. About 9.4 million students took the test this year. The robot, which is about the size of a refrigerator, is aiming for a score of 130+ next year.

Tell me more: The machine was developed by Zhunxingyunxue Technology in 2014 in partnership with Tsinghua University.

Read More

News in Numbers, Mar 24, 2017: Be afraid. Do something. 🏥

$6.5 billion

What is it? Snapdeal’s last known valuation, done in 2016.

Why is it important? The valuation, at which the e-commerce company raised $200 million funding in February, 2016, is likely to take a hit. Since then, it has been dogged by failed funding search and sale, as its sales trail its main competitors in India. A report two days back, later refuted by the company, put tentative sale price at $1.5-1.8 billion, almost at a third. Another report yesterday said Snapdeal was unable to rope in investors such as Alibaba Group and existing investor Softbank for fresh funding.

Tell me more: Snapdeal’s made a loss of Rs 29.6 billion rupees in FY16.

 

~Rs 1,600 crore

What is it? The estimated price Bharti Airtel will pay for Tikona Digital Networks Pvt. Ltd’s 4G network.

Why is it important? The deal, giving Bharti Airtel access to Tikona’s broadband wireless spectrum and 350 cellular sites in five circles, will expand the former’s reach, particularly in cities where it lacks strong presence in 4G services. It has already lined up high-speed 4G services for these circles, even as it locks horns with Reliance Jio.

Tell me more: The overall deal value might be a little more at Rs 1,700 crore s Bharti Airtel as to take on debt on Tikona’s books. Recently, Airtel also announced acquisition of Norway’s Telenor’s India operations, with 44 million subscribers.

 

13 degrees

What is it? The rise in the Celsius scale in Delhi in the span of 10 days.

Why is it important? In line with warnings of extreme climate and unpredictable weather changes due to global warming, spring bid adieu to the capital city quicker than usual. Thursday’s temperature of 37.4 degree-C was seven degrees above normal and the highest in March since 2010.

Tell me more: The heat onset is despite the recent spate of rain and snow in the hills. The capital is now buffeted by hot summer’s wind patterns, says Ravinder Vishen, head of IMD’s Regional Weather Forecasting Centre.

 

$70 million

What is it? The amount raised by Soundcloud, a music streaming firm based in Berlin.

Why is it important? It came in form of debt, while most tech startups tend to go for equity. There is an intense debate on which form of capital is better for a high growth company (Soundcloud said it wants to grow 2.5 times in 2017). Debt could be useful for a company if it believes it is not getting a fair valuation from equity investors, but there are risks, as one of the early backers of Soundcloud argued in a post recently.

Tell me more: Soundcloud, which faces increasing competition from Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify, tried to raise $100 million in equity recently, but didn’t succeed.

 

25%

What is it? India’s share in global tuberculosis cases, according to a new study by  Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy

Why is it important? India has the most number of TB cases in the world. Indian government’s ability to counter the crisis has come into question. An added level of danger and complexity is the growing number of multi-drug resistant TB cases. In Mumbai such cases grew by 21% in 2015-16.

Tell me more: Multi-drug resistant TB tends to be fatal, with 40% of the patients succumbing to the disease. India lacks tools that can detect such cases.

Read More

News in Numbers, Mar 08, 2017: Billions, Season 2

5

What is it? The wickets taken by R Ashwin in India’s second test cricket match against Australia, in the on-going four part series.

Why is it important? The haul helped India to its win, after a drubbing in the first match. It added to R Ashwin’s total of 269 test wickets, India’s fifth-highest.

Tell me more: This was also Ashwin’s 25th five-wicket haul in 47 test matches, the fastest among all bowlers, beating New Zealander Richard Hadlee’s 25 fifers in 62 matches. The third and the fourth matches in the series will take place in Ranchi and Dharamsala.

 

11

What is it? The number of individuals who dropped off the billionaire list in 2016.

Why is it important? The note ban in November 2016, among others, took a toll on billionaires as it stripped some of them of substantial cash wealth – enough to reduce their total wealth below $1 billion (~Rs 6,600 crore). Flipkart’s co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal are among those who lost their spots.

Tell me more: India’s loss meant Germany’s gain in the Hurun India Rich List as it climbed to the third spot with an addition of 27 new billionaires.

 

Rs 275 crore

What is it? The money the Chinese Internet giant, Alibaba, paid to buy Reliance Capital’s (financial arm of the Reliance Group) nearly 1% stake in One97 Communication, Paytm’s parent.

Why is it important? Alibaba, already a major investor in Paytm’s various ventures, had recently purchased additional stake in its e-commerce arm. Tuesday’s move being seen as a not just consolidating its place in Paytm’s owners business but also as advancing its India ambitions. The sale values One97 Communication at over $4.1 billion.

Tell me more: Reliance Capital had bought the stake in 2009, for just Rs 10 crore, gaining more than 27 times the price it paid from yesterday’s sale.

 

715 million

What is it? The number of Apple iPhones in use, according to an analyst estimate.

Why is it important? Apple sold its billionth iPhone last year, nine years after its launch in 2007. The number of devices in simultaneous use is an indicator of Apple’s strength in the services part of its smartphone business – apps, music streaming, content sales etc. Apple’s app store revenue in 2016 was $28.5 billion, with the developers claiming $20 billion of the amount.

Tell me more: BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long also estimated that 300 million second hand iPhones will be in use by end of 2018.

 

10

What is it? The number of people injured in Ujjain train blast on Tuesday.

Why is it important? The blast is said to be the first Islamic State terror attack in the country. Islamic State first came into prominence in 2014, and a number of terror attacks in US, Europe and Asia are linked to the terror group. Police said it shot down one of the suspects who had links to Islamic State and was connected to the blast.

Tell me more: The blast took place on Bhopal-Ujjain train near Jabdi station in Shajapur district of Madhya Pradesh.

Read More