PoS-itive additions 💳📊

1.4 billion

What is it? The amount e-commerce firm Flipkart raised from eBay, Microsoft and Tencent

Why is it important? It’s the biggest amount raised in a single funding round by an Indian start-up. It came at a pre-money valuation of $10.2 billion, signalling the confidence investors have showed in the company that saw a series of markdowns in the last couple of years. The funding – and acquisition of eBay India, that was a part of the deal – will strengthen Flipkart as it fights its aggressive and better endowed competitor Amazon.

Tell me more: There have also been talks that Snapdeal, the third largest commerce player in the country will be merged with Flipkart, along with additional funding from SoftBank.



What is it? The share of the Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) region in the global IPOs (initial public offerings) in first three months of 2017.

Why is it important? India with 26 IPOs accounted for nearly 34% of the region’s activity that ranked it second to Asia-Pacific in IPO numbers. EMEIA ranked third with 15% share in global proceeds, behind Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

Tell me more: The EMEIA region had 77 IPOs, raising $5.2 billion in all in Jan-Mar, 2017.


>2.5 million

What is it? The number of point-of-sale (PoS) machines at merchant establishments/shops.

Why is it important? PoS machine availability in India trails that of BRIC nations such as Brazil and China where per capita PoS availability for swiping plastic money is higher. Demonetisation had brought the scarcity into focus as people had to do less cash transactions. The numbers inched from 1.5 million swipe machines in October, 2016, to 1.7 million in December, 2.2 million in February, 2017, to over 2.5 million now. SBI has led with installation of 124,000 machines.

Tell me more: The count, shared by a National Payments Corporation of India official, is a little less than Niti Aayog’s estimate of 2.8 million PoS machines in February.


17 days

What is it? The time the UK-to-China freight train would take to reach its destination in Zhejiang, travelling along the ancient ‘Silk Road’ route.

Why is it important? The time taken by the train between the two countries, spanning a route along seven other countries, is still half the duration at sea. It is also cheaper than sending goods by air. While the train had brought household items, clothes, and consumer fashion goods from China, it is transporting soft drinks, baby products and pharmaceuticals on the maiden return journey.

Tell me more: Chinese premier, Xi Jinping’s 2013 “One Belt, One Road” policy to revive land-routes for trading with the West, has made London the 15th European city with a direct rail connection.


$50.9 billion

What is it? Tesla’s market cap at the end of trading on Monday

Why is it important? It is now the most valued car company in the US, beating General Motors, the 108 year old giant, by 64 million dollars. Tesla’s position is seen more as a reflection of investors’ faith in Elon Musk’s vision for the future of electric cars, than the present financials of the companies. GM earned $9 billion in 2016, and Teslalost $674 million. GM sold nearly 10 million vehicles, and Tesla sold 80,000 globally.

Tell me more: Toyota, with its  $172 billion market cap, is the biggest carmaker by market value at present. Volkswagen, with a sale of 10.31 million vehicles in 2016, is the largest carmaker by sales volume, closely followed by Toyota.

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Europe: Politics takes a right turn

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com


Norbert Hofer, a key figure in Austria’s anti-immigration, far right Freedom Party, narrowly missed becoming the president of the country earlier this month. It’s a ceremonial position, yet, that he came so close to the presidency is seen as an indicator of how parties similar to Hofer’s are gaining popularity across Europe.

has Alternative for Germany; France has its National Front; Netherlands, Party for Freedom; Greece, Golden Dawn; Hungary, Jobbik; and Sweden, Sweden Democrats.

The trend has been picking up for some years now, and in 2016 the noise—and the confidence—levels have gone up. The anti-immigrant sentiment came on the back of a large number of refugees landing in Europe from Muslim-majority countries in West Asia and Africa. The inflow dropped in 2016 (see chart 1) compared with 2015, but tension over their settlement and assimilation is simmering. On top of this, there is disillusionment about the European Union. Unemployment rates in two countries, Greece and Spain, are about 20%. In France and Italy, they are above 10% (see chart 2).

Economic growth has been sluggish. The mood worsened after the UK voted to leave the bloc in a June referendum (see chart 3)—in part because the results seemed to reflect the growing trend across Europe. The elections this year in at least three countries saw the right and far right parties gaining vote share (see chart 4). Unlike the sudden rise of Donald Trump in the US, the popularity of right/far right parties has been building up over years. 2017 is unlikely to be any different.






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How did Volkswagen fare a month after the emissions cheating scandal?

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com


Despite confessing to cheating on emissions, German auto maker Volkswagen AG was not totally deserted by buyers in October, the first full month after the scandal erupted, although it missed out on the brisk growth its rivals registered. A look at the numbers.

Cars sold

Volkswagen saw an annual drop of 5.3% in global car sales in October. But it has seen worse in the middle of this year.




Cars sold by region

South America is the only region where Volkswagen is facing serious growth issues. To be sure, that was the case even before the emissions scam, and it derives only 8.3% of its sales from there. In its two main markets of Europe and Asia Pacific, October has not been a washout.



Cars sold in US

Sales in the US, the epicentre of the emissions scandal, weren’t too bad either. Volkswagen handed out $1,000 gift cards and vouchers to buyers of diesel cars. That said, its flat growth in October needs to be seen in context of the US market, where rivals General Motors and Toyota registered brisk expansion.



Cars sold in US by models

In the US, 80% of Volkswagen’s sales are accounted by the Jetta, the Passat and the Polo. The Jetta saw a sharp fall in October, while the Passat and the Golf registered growth. But the Golf’s growth in October, while in double digits, was the lowest in 2015.



Cars sold in India

In India, Volkswagen has been trying hard to break in. It now faces challenges as it revealed that 314,000 cars sold in the country had engines that are at the heart of the emissions scandal. It took another hit in September when it stopped the sale of and recalled its Polo cars for a faulty handbrake. In a season of growth for car makers, Volkswagen went into negative territory in October.



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