News in Numbers, Mar 03, 2017: Alibaba’s e-commerce move 💻💰📦

$200 million

What is it? Amount of investment from two investors – Alibaba Group Holding and SAIF Partners – in Paytm’s E-commerce venture.

Why is it important? This signals serious interest in the Indian market by China’s largest E-commerce firm, Alibaba, which has picked up 36% stake in Paytm’s E-Commerce venture.  SAIF Partners will hold 4.66% stake.

Tell me more: Indian E-Commerce market slowed down significantly in calendar 2016, after posting three-digit growth in previous years. It grew by 12% to $14.5 billion in 2016.



What is it? The growth in wealth of the top 100 richest Chinese parliamentarians and members of a top advisory body, after Chinese premier Xi Jinping took power four years back.

Why is it important? This is in sharp contrast to the Chinese premier Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption and plan to remove poverty after coming to power in 2013. Instead, the wealth of those in the political upper echelons who are already dollar-billionaires, have grown from 1.84 trillion yuan in 2013.

Tell me more: Beyond the richest 100, the combined wealth of all the delegates (209), half of whom are dollar-billionaires, is around 3.5 trillion yuan ($507 billion), according to the Hurun report.



What is it? The closing value of the stock of Snap Inc., owner of Snapchat, a popular photo-messaging app, on its debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

Why is it important? The stock closed 44% up from its initial public offering price of $17 a share despite steep competition from other listed players such as Facebook (with its acquired instant messaging app, Whatsapp), huge losses in 2016 and slowing user additions.  This points to investor-demand for technology stocks, this being one of the most anticipated in three years since Twitter’s debut.

Tell me more: Snap Inc. now has a valuation of $28.3 billion, and the $3.4 billion it raised in the IPO was more than the 2013-Facebook offer of $ 3 billion.



What is it? Amount of freight discount offered by Indian Railways to bulk customers, who will guarantee minimum amount of traffic.

Why is it important? Goods traffic brings in maximum revenue and cross-subsidizes losses from running passenger trains for Indian Railways, and freight revenue declined by 8% in current financial year. This move is aimed to stem the loss and bring back traffic to Railways.

Tell me more: The discount is available to bulk customers, except for coal transport, and is valid for five years.


99 million

What is it? Number of TV-owning households in rural India, as compared to 84 million in urban areas, as per Broadcast India survey.

Why is it important? This could impact how Rs 181.3 billion worth of TV advertisement money will be spent. The increase in rural viewership could also make program producers to cater to this audience.

Tell me more: The survey covered 3 lakh homes in 590 districts between November 2015 and February 2016.

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News in Numbers, Feb 21, 2017: TN Liquor shops 🔒🔒🔒


What is it? Number of state-run liquor (Indian-made foreign liquor) shops to be shut in Tamil Nadu, as announced by Edappadi K. Palaniswami.

Why is it important? This is the new chief minister’s first major announcement and one of the first five orders he signed.  It is being seen as taking forward the late party-supremo, J Jayalalithaa’s aim to levy prohibition in a phased manner. There are five states/union territories which already have partially or fully banned alcohol sale and consumption.

Tell me more: It follows its neighbouring state, Kerala, in its partial ban on state-run liquor outlets..


Rs 14.5 crore

What is it? The money Rising Pune Supergiants will be paying English cricketing all-rounder Ben Stokes.

Why is it important? This is the highest bid ($2.17 million) for a player in this year’s Indian Premier League auctions. The relatively new team beat a host of other teams in a bidding frenzy to net the player. This makes Stokes the most expensive overseas player in all of IPL’s editions, notching up a fee seven times his base (Rs 2 crore).

Tell me more: The scramble to land Stokes was despite the all-rounder’s limited availability owing to England hosting South Africa during the later part of this year’s tournament.


Rs 16,000 crore

What is it? The total value of shares Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest IT services company, will be buying back after receiving approval from its board on Monday.

Why is it important? The value would be 2.85% of TCS’s paid-up equity capital and take out 56.1 million shares from the market. Despite sitting on cash reserves, the Indian software services leaders such as TCS, Infosys, Cognizant have had low return on equity for shareholders, drawing flak. While Cognizant has already decided to increase shareholders’ payouts, Infosys might also buy back some of its shares.


Tell me more: With less number of shares in the market, this could also give a boost to TCS’ earnings per share as seen with Accenture earlier.



What is it? The price of a Spectacle a video-recording sunglass from Snap that runs social messaging app Snapchat

Why is it important? It has just started selling the sunglasses online in the US, ahead of its IPO (initial public offering) valued between $19.5 billion to $22 billion. The camera embedded sunglasses connect to smartphones over bluetooth or wifi. If they sell well, Snap could convince investors that the company could well succeed as a social network plus hardware firm.

Tell me more: Since its launch last year, Snap has been selling spectacles in surprise locations through vending machines and through a pop-up store in New York. The scarcity upped its demand, and on ebay, the video-recording sunglasses were being priced at $5000 a piece.



What is it? The number of banks deploying BharatQR code at present. More banks are expected to join.

Why is it important? Unlike other QR code based systems which are closed, BharatQR code will work across banks, and could change the retail digital payments across the country. QR code system (which masks the details under a machine readable optical label) is comparatively more secure for customers, and cheaper for merchants because they need not invest in point of sale terminals and pay the relatively higher merchant discount rates for such devices.


Tell me more: BharatQR was jointly developed by four major card payment companies—National Payments Corp. of India, MasterCard, Visa and American Express. Interestingly, Paytm said it would invest

Rs 600 crore in its own QR based payments solution.

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News in Numbers, Feb 17, 2017: TN gets a new CM, 🇪🇰🇵


What is it? The number of legislators claimed to be backing Edappadi K Palanisamy, the newly sworn in chief minister of Tamil Nadu

Why is it important? Palanisamy is expected to seek vote of confidence in the assembly on Saturday. Palanisamy’s elevation as chief minister comes after the Supreme Court upheld VK Sasikala’s conviction, which will keep her behind the bars for more than three and a half years and prevent her from contesting elections for another six. Palanisamy has mostly kept the ministerial positions unchanged.

Tell me more: Palanisamy, 63, is the 13th chief minister of the state, and the third in the last six months. He has been representing Salem district’s Edapadi constituency and was the  minister for highways & minor ports under J Jayalalithaa and O Panneerselvam.


What is it? The number of seats on Saras, the indigenous aircraft made by National Aerospace Laboratories.

Why is it important? This would be India’s first indigenous passenger aircraft. The twin-turboprop plane, 30 years in the making, could ease efforts to activate remote air-routes in the country. However, India’s home-made aircrafts have not gotten off to a flying start. The combat aircraft, Tejas, produced by Hindustan Aeronautics, proved too heavy for the Navy’s requirements, though the Indian Air Force (IAF) has adopted it. Saras would have to overcome its own grim past that includes the crash of the second prototype’s test flight in 2009, killing all three on-board. It is currently being tested.

Tell me more: The IAF has committed to buying Saras as well, and will have to test it before sale to commercial airlines.


What is it? The new entrants in the oil and gas sector that won bids in the government auction after the last one in 2010.

Why is it important? The small debutants won around 16 contract areas, or 52% of total number of blocks (31) that were awarded. Their entry will boost local oil and gas production as these blocks were lying untapped earlier. Larger players, some of whom stayed away from the auctions, concentrated elsewhere from these blocks for reasons such as these being isolated, small in size, having high development costs etc. But their development is needed if Narendra Modi’s plan to reduce oil imports by 10% by 2022 is to be realised, as these blocks would increase oil output by 15,000 barrels a day and gas production by 2 million standard cubic metre a day. A total reserve of 62 million tonne of oil and oil equivalent gas is expected to be monetised from the auctioned areas.

Tell me more: The gross revenue is estimated at Rs 46,400 crore including Rs 5,000 crore in royalty and Rs 9,300 crore in central government revenue.

$19.5-22.3 billion

What is it? Snap Inc., owner of photo-messaging app, Snapchat’s reported valuation.

Why is it important? The parent of one of the fastest-growing and widely-popular mobile applications was expected to value its IPO (initial public offering) at $20-25 billion. But it is being said the unprofitable company revised it downwards on initial investor feedback as its daily average user (DAU) growth slowed to 46% in Q4, 2016. The world of listed social media companies is already seeing two outcomes playing out: Facebook which has managed to make profits on its social media platform and Twitter which is still trying to. With Snapchat’s growth in new users, mainly comprising short-on-attention millennials, slowing, its business model could be under a cloud.

Tell me more: By valuing its shares at $14-16, Snap Inc. wants to ensure enough demand for its stock to trade up on its debut. Snapchat has a learning curve which could deter new users and keep non-users from turning to it.


What is it? The ceiling on merchant discount rate (MDR) for small merchants using a physical point of sale terminal for card transactions, as proposed by Reserve Bank of India. MDR is the rate charged to a merchant by a bank for card / digital transactions. For digital transactions the proposed ceiling is 0.3%.

Why is it important? MDR has been a point of contention in India ever since the government announced demonetisation and sought to push digital transactions by cutting MDR to zero for transactions up to Rs 2000 till 31 March 2017.  MDR’s slabs are usually based on ticket size. RBI has proposed to the banks to consider the turnover of merchants too, and charge the small merchants (with turnover of less than Rs 20 lakh, for example) lower rate.

Tell me more: Reserve Bank has also proposed that banks charge lower rate for transactions that don’t involve physical point of sale terminals that are usually supplied by the banks.

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