Rudeness as a marketing strategy

$50 million – $90 million

What is it? The amount Paytm might pay to acquire rival Freecharge from Snapdeal, according to reports.

Why is it important? E-commerce firm Snapdeal had acquired Freecharge for $400 million in 2015. Freecharge is e-wallets business, widely considered to be vulnerable to other payment options such as UPI, where it faces intense competition from rivals. Besides, even at the time of acquisition, there were concerns that Snapdeal might have overvalued Freecharge.

Tell me more: Paytm is in talks with Softbank to raise $1.9 billion at a valuation of $8 billion to $9 billion. Softbank owns 33% in Snapdeal. In its latest earnings report, Softbank said it has written down the value of its investments in Snapdeal and Ola by $1.4 billion.

 

1500

What is it? The number of employees Tech Mahindra, the country’s fifth largest IT company, might fire.

Why is it important? Three of its four bigger rivals are already said to cut headcount, suggesting that this could be a season of layoffs in the sector. News about layoffs at Cognizant, Infosys and Wipro have hit the headlines in the last few days. TCS, India’s largest IT firm, is in the process of conducting performance appraisals – and hasn’t given any indication that it would follow suit.

Tell me more: As the news of layoffs spread, it’s gaining a political colour as an industry body sought government intervention in Tamil Nadu, one of the key hubs of IT majors. Telangana labour department is to meet Cognizant officials today over layoffs.

 

500 million

What is it? The number of machines that are running Windows 10 operating system.

Why is it important?  While the number is impressive, it’s lower than what Microsoft expected to achieve. The behemoth which controls about 85% of market share in desktop operating system was aiming to reach 1 billion active installations by 2018. Even by last year, it was clear it would fall short.

Tell me more:  According to one estimate, Windows, across various versions, has 84.14% market share followed by Mac OX (11.6%) and Linux (1.53%)

 

7.6%

What is it? The percentage growth in the number of passengers United Airlines flew in April 2017 compared to April last year.

Why is it important? A widely reported PR disaster – which followed after a passenger was violently deplaned – seems to have had no impact on its business. Its share price which took a beating in the following days is higher than what it was the day before the incident.

Tell me more: Meanwhile, there is a constant flow of reports on complaints by United passengers on various issues.

 

Rs 451.75 crore

What is it? The amount central government owes to Air India, the state owned carrier, as on March 31, 2017.

Why is it important? The amount mostly relates to use of its chartered planes by the prime minister, president and vice president for their official visits. The biggest chunk of unpaid dues is Rs 206.19 crore towards 22 visits made by vice president in the years 2008 to 2017.

Tell me more: Recently, Air India came under fire after Comptroller and Auditor General revealed that the carrier understated its operating losses by nearly $1 billion over financial years 2012-13 to 2014-15.

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News in Numbers, May 25, 2016: Non-functional ATMs, world’s first 3D printed office…

3

What is it? The number of companies that have withdrawn from launching payments banks.

Why is it important? That is three out of 11 payment banks which got the RBI’s approval, and the withdrawal highlights some of its limitations: payments banks cannot lend, there are restrictions on deposit deployment, and, more importantly, might not find a strategic fit with a group’s other businesses. The companies which have said no to payment banks are: Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Co., Sun Pharma promoter Dilip Shanghvi and his partners (IDFC Bank and Telenor Financial Services) and Tech Mahindra.

Tell me more: Reliance Industries, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Vodafone and Airtel are among 11 companies that received in-principle approval from the central bank to set up payment banks last August.

 

10.7%

What is it? The pass percentage of Indian students with foreign medical degrees in the screening test that allows them to practice in India in 2015.

Why is it important? Indicates the urgent need to increase number of seats for medical courses in India and the lack of awareness among students about low standards of medical education in some colleges abroad. The pass percentage was 50.12% in 2005, which fell to an all-time low of 4.93% in 2014. With just 52,000 seats for MBBS courses and 25,577 post-graduate medical seats in India, students look to other countries such as China, Ukraine and Russia where medical courses are said to be cheaper.

Tell me more: The screening test called the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination is conducted by the Medical Council of India through the National Board of Examinations, where one needs at least 50% to pass.

 

33%

What is it? The percentage of automated teller machines (ATMs) that were found to be non-functional, of the 4,000 surveyed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently.

Why is it important? If this is a representative sample, then a whopping 65,000 ATMs (as per February data) in India are out of order. Highlights the high cost of maintaining ATMs where footfalls are low – a likely reason why the banks have failed to keep them in order.

Tell me more: RBI’s deputy governor SS Mundra has warned the banks of penal action for non-compliance of RBI rules with respect to ATMs.

 

6

What is it? The number of months by which e-commerce firm Flipkart has deferred the joining date of six Indian Institute of Management (IIM) graduates.

Why is it important? Flipkart has attributed this to corporate restructuring. It signals wider problems the company is facing. It is growing slower than expectations, in the wake of increased competition, especially from Amazon India. It has reportedly slashed its hiring and is cutting down on discounts and advertising.

Tell me more: Flipkart expanded its workforce at a rapid pace earlier: from 14,000 to 35,000 (at the end of December 2015) in 12-18 months.

 

17

What is it? The number of days it took to build a 3D-printed office in Dubai, in addition to two days to install it on site.

Why is it important? This is the world’s first functioning 3D-printed office, which cost about $140,000. The technique used to build this structure could cut down building time by 50-70% and labour costs by 50-80% and a quarter of the buildings in Dubai would be printed by 2030, according to a United Arab Emirates Minister. This could well signal the beginning of a revolutionary change the construction industry might undergo.

Tell me more: A 3D printer, which is 20-feet high, 120 feet long and 40-feet wide, was used to print the building with a floorspace of about 2,700 sq.ft. using a special mixture of cement and a set of building material (designed in the UAE and the US). It took 18 people to put up the structure – one to monitor the printer, seven to install the building components and 10 to handle the electrical and mechanical engineering aspects.

 

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News in numbers, Dec 15, 2015: November inflation numbers, iPhone sales estimates…

 

5.41%

 

What is it? Increase in consumer price index (or growth retail inflation) in November.

 

Why is it important? This is the highest in 14 months. The increase is mainly due rise in food prices, especially that of pulses, which rose 46.1% in November on a year-on-year basis. High inflation rates suggest the effects of deficient monsoon in two consecutive years have begun to show on the rural economy. This also shows the challenge the Reserve Bank of India in containing retail inflation under 6% in January 2016.

 

Tell me more: Overall wholesale prices fell by 1.99% in November, the 13th consecutive monthly fall and the highest since January. Wholesale food prices increased 5.20% in November compared to 2.44% rise in October.

 

130

 

What is it? India’s rank among 188 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2014 according to the Human Development Report 2015 released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The HDI looks at three factors – longevity, education and income.

 

Why is it important? It has shown a slight improvement from last year – up by one spot. India’s HDI has marginally gone up from 0.604 in 2013 to 0.609 in 2014. This puts India in the “medium human development” category where its HDI is lower than the average HDI of countries (0.630) in this section. India’s poor ranking in the human development index is mainly due to high inequality and low education levels. The index is widely followed, even it’s considered to be a “somewhat crude measure” of human development.

 

Tell me more: India ranks the lowest among BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Norway, Australia and Switzerland rank the top three in the HDI, falling under the “Very High Human Development” category along with 46 other countries.

 

6%

 

What is it? Estimated drop in iPhone unit sales in 2015-16, according to Morgan Stanley.

 

Why is it important? If the estimates turn out to be right, it could well be that the sales of the most successful tech product in the recent years has peaked. Apple earns most of its revenue from iPhones and in the three months ending September this year, iPhone sales accounted for nearly two-thirds of the company’s revenue.

 

Tell me more: Other analysts such as JP Morgan Chase & Co, Drexel Hamilton and Credit Suisse have similar predictions for Apple. For instance, JP Morgan Chase has lowered its Iphone sales’ prediction for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 – it says sales of iPhone units are likely to come down to 75-77 million, down from an earlier prediction of 75-80 million units.

 

€25.3 million (around Rs.186.7 crore)

 

What is it? The amount Mahindra and Mahindra and affiliate Tech Mahindra would pay to purchase 76.06% stake in Italian car designer Pininfarina SpA, through a special purpose vehicle (SPV).

 

Why is it important? Shows Indian companies’ drive to expand their design capabilities – and their global footprint. Pininfarina has designed cars for Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls-Royce and Cadillac. Mahindra group had acquired controlling stakes in South Korea-based Ssangyong in 2011 and PSA Peugeot Citroen’s motorcycle unit this year. As for Pininfarina, it has been unprofitable for the last decade and struggling with high debt levels.

 

Tell me more: The SPV would make an open offer to public shareholders of Pininfarina for the balance 23.94% stake. Mahindra and Tech Mahindra would fund the acquisition in the ratio of 40% and 60% respectively.

 

10%

What is it? The data point that Maggi noodles removed from its masala noodles package. Prior to the ban, the package cited this number as percentage of recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein that a 70g packet of Maggi noodles had.

Why is it important? Could be seen as an indicator that food regulators are getting increasingly strict about labelling. Or it could be just that Nestle India, which makes Maggi noodles, is trying to be more cautious after the ban. Maggi noodles was banned for a few weeks due to higher than permissible lead content. It’s woes are far from over as the Supreme Court recently issued a notice to the company after the food regulator appealed against the lifting of ban on Maggi Noodles.

Tell me more: The pack now also doesn’t have the following: “Maggi masala noodles is a source of protein and calcium: essential nutrients for you at all stages of life”. And, this has been replaced with “Consume along with fruit and milk”.

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