Tesla’s China Factory

5,00,000 units

What is it?Annual capacity of the car manufacturing factory that Tesla is reportedly planning to build in China.

Why is it important? This would be Tesla’s first major expansion beyond US, and comes at a time when US and China are fighting an escalating trade war; and when US president Donald Trump is openly antagonistic towards companies that are moving manufacturing outside US. He slammed Harley Davidson, America’s iconic motorcycle manufacturer for its offshoring plans. Meanwhile, China is opening up even further for FDI. It is expected to stop requiring foreign companies to have a local partner later this year, which would allow Tesla to own the factory 100%.

Tell me more: China is an important market for Tesla, accounting for 17% of its revenues in 2017. China is also fast emerging as a market for next generation of cars. Recently, it allowed Daimler to test its self driving cars in Beijing.



What is it?Operating margins of Tata Consulting Services in the first quarter of 2018-19

Why is it important? The margins are up by more than a percentage point and a half compared same period last year, but shrank by 40 basis points from the previous quarter. It performed better than expectations, thanks in part to a recovery in banking, financial services and retail vertical.  It posted a net profit of $1.07 billion in the quarter.

Tell me more: Revenues from India shrank by about 1%, while growth in North America grew at its fastest pace in over three years.



What is it?The rate at which India’s investment in clean energy went up in the first half of 2018 (to $7.4 billion), according to a report by Bloomberg NEF.

Why is it important? These investments will help the country move towards its goal of installing 175,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity by 2022. In 2017-18, the country generated one lakh gigawatt hours of renewable energy for the first time.

Tell me more: Bloomberg NEF report said that in the last few years, the balance has shifted from Europe as largest clean energy investing region to Asia. Asia’s clean energy investments is mostly driven by China, which invested 17.6 billion in wind, and $35.1 billion in solar in the first half.



What is it?Number of states that got over 95% score in the ease of doing business ranking released by the government

Why is it important? The list published by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion ranks the states and union territories based on 372 action points and feedback from businesses. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana topped the list, followed by Haryana, Jharkhand and Gujarat. Five states, Manipur, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Lakshwadeep and Megalaya scored less than 1%.

Tell me more:  This is the third edition of the list, and was published ahead of World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business, which ranks 190 countries. India was ranked 100 in 2017.


2,73,759 units

What is it?The number of passenger vehicles sold in June 2018 in India

Why it’s important? The sales are up 37.54% year on year, the fastest growth in nearly 9 years. This is thanks to a low base resulting from uncertainty over Goods and Services Tax last year and indicating that the growth rate is not sustainable. Three wheeler sales and two wheeler sales were up 55.89% and 22.28% year on year.

Tell me more:  The data, released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, showed Maruti Suzuki leading the pack. Passenger car sales were up 34.21% y-o-y to 1,83,885 units. Exports declined  7.37%.

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Space race: Musk, Mars and moon

This piece originally appeared on


If 2015 gave the world The Martian, a realistic movie about a man stranded on the red planet, 2016 saw Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, reveal his plans to take man to Mars. It involves giant rockets, carbon fibre fuel tanks and large spaceships that can ferry about 100 people from here to there. Putting boosters and tankers to use many times over (chart 1) can bring the cost down and make space travel affordable—about $200,000 per person. The idea is not merely to visit Mars, but to colonize it, and make humans multi-planetary species. However, safe travel to Mars has a long way to go. As if to underscore that point, a SpaceX rocket exploded on the launchpad in September during fuelling.

No such embarrassment for India. It made seven launches this year, all of which succeeded. But, it’s still a tier-II player, with the US, China and Russia launching about 20 each (chart 2). The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) signed a contract with an ambitious Indian start-up called Team Indus to carry its spacecraft to the moon on its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. Team Indus is the only team from India competing for the Google Lunar XPrize. To win the prize, it has to land a spacecraft on the moon’s surface, travel 500m and transmit high-definition video and images back to earth. The grand prize is $20 million, less than the mission cost. However, space exploration is expected to have a thriving market in the coming years (chart 3), and the start-up’s experience competing for the prize will give it an edge.





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News in numbers, Apr 18, 2016: States reducing rural spend, Tamil Nadu’s freebie culture…


What is it? The number of states that have reduced their rural spending in absolute terms in 2015-16 compared to the previous year.

Why is it important? The cutback in rural spending – for example, in agriculture, rural infrastructure and irrigation – comes during the second consecutive year of drought. One reason is the reduction in state revenues from their share in central taxes and grants in aid, which declined by 0.3% of GDP in 2015-16.

Tell me more: Of the 14 states that reduced rural spending, five cut down on their overall spending in 2015-16. This also raises the question if states have shifted their expenditure from rural spending by using the spending freedom got due to the implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations.

~Rs 15,000 crore

What is it? The value of freebies provided by the Tamil Nadu government between 2006 and 2016, first five under M Karunanidhi’s DMK and the next under J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK.

Why is it important? Raises questions about the economics of freebies, especially when the state’s revenue deficit (net amount received is lesser than projected net amount to be received) is estimated to nearly double to Rs 9,155 crore in 2016-17 from the previous year. The freebies offered by DMK and AIADMK included rice at single-digit prices per kg, fans, mixers, gold, laptops, bicycles and television sets.

Tell me more: In response to a 2013 Supreme Court order, the Election Commission updated its Model Code of Conduct rules and said parties should not make promises that impair the quality of the election process or exert undue influence on the voters. The rules also require the parties to explain the rationale behind the poll promises and broadly state the financial means by which they would implement them.

$38.06-$40.86 per barrel

What is it? The prices at which the global benchmarks of crude oil (US and Brent crude futures respectively) were trading at around 6 am (Indian Standard Time) today.

Why is it important? Crude oil prices were down by 5.7% and 5.2% respectively from their last closing. This was due to the failed attempt by major oil-producers to curb their output at January levels to arrest falling oil prices, at their Doha meet on Sunday. This gives rise to concerns about continued global oversupply of crude and low oil prices in the near future.

Tell me more: Barclays estimates Brent to average at around $36 a barrel in the second quarter of this year.

$37,584 (~ Rs 25 lakh)

What is it? The value of Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk’s total compensation in 2015.

Why is it important? Musk does not take salary from Tesla, and this amount is as per California’s minimum wage requirements. Musk has a 26.5% stake (as of December 31) in the company, worth around $9.47 billion. He received stock options worth $5.27 million in 2012 to compensate him for 10 years.

Tell me more: Other CEOs who got low compensation are Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who received $1 as salary in 2014 (along with additional compensation of $610,455) and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey whose compensation was valued at $68,506 last year.

$37 million

What is it? The amount Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer would receive if she leaves after Yahoo is sold off.

Why is it important? Telecom firm Verizon and Daily Mail General Trust (owner of MailOnline website) are expected to submit their bids to takeover Yahoo’s core business today.

Tell me more: Yahoo’s revenue has fallen by 8.5% since 2012 (Mayer was appointed CEO in July 2012) to $4.09 billion in 2015 while its adjusted profit has nearly halved to $0.95 billion during the same period. If Marissa Mayer is fired before the company is sold off, she would still receive $13 million, per reports.

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News in numbers, Apr 4, 2016: Amazon India’s authorised capital, spectrum usage charges…

> 500

What is it? The number of Indians who have allegedly set up offshore entities in tax havens such as British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Seychelles and Panama.

Why is it important? Indicates a means of tax avoidance and possibly, money laundering. According to the analysis, most of the offshore entities were set up before the rules allowed individuals to set up subsidiaries or invest in joint ventures abroad.

Tell me more: The list of Indians includes movie stars (Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), politicians (such as Anurag Kejriwal, the former chief of the Delhi unit of Loksatta Party) and businessmen (DLF owner KP Singh, elder brother of Gautam Adani, founder chairman of the Adani Group). This is according to an analysis of the 11 million leaked documents of a Panama law firm by the Indian Express.

Rs 16,000 crore

What is it? Amazon India’s authorised capital, the maximum capital a company can raise by selling its shares.

Why is it important? At double the earlier amount, it exceeds its $2 billion (over Rs 13,000 crore) commitment made by Jeff Bezos in 2014. This puts tremendous pressure on its rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal, which has to depend on VC funding to grow its business.

Tell me more: Amazon India’s market share in terms of gross merchandise value was 12% in 2015 while that of its rivals Snapdeal and Flipkart was 26% and 45% respectively, according to Morgan Stanley.


What is it? India’s expected combined fiscal deficit, i.e, excess of expenditure over receipts of the centre and states, as a percentage of GDP in 2016-17, according to HSBC.

Why is it important? The ratio is same as in 2015-16. Bringing down fiscal deficit is key to improving credit ratings and to bring down interest rates, which are essential to boost India’s tepid economic growth.

Tell me more: The aggregate fiscal deficit of 17 states is likely to be higher at 2.9% of GDP in 2016-17 compared with 2.7% in 2015-16 due to the twin components of Seventh Pay Commission payouts and their interest bills on UDAY (financial turnaround and revival of power distribution companies) bonds.


What is it? The number of orders Tesla Motors Inc has received for its new Model 3 electric sedan since March 31.

Why is it important? If all these orders were converted into actual purchases, Tesla would earn $10 billion in revenues, which is 2.5 times its revenues last year. But some analysts say the company may find it difficult to ramp up its production to match the orders for its first mass-market car, potentially delaying delivery to customers.

Tell me more: Tesla, which posted net loss of $889 million in 2015, expects to turn profitable by the end of 2016.


What is it? The spectrum usage charges of telecom companies as a percentage of adjusted gross revenues, down from 5% earlier.

Why is it important? This is likely to result in savings of Rs 3,200 crore for telecom companies, which are reeling under massive debts of Rs 3.5 lakh crore on revenues of around Rs 2.2 lakh crore. It remains to be seen if this cut brings down mobile and broadband charges.

Tell me more: The next spectrum auctions are scheduled for July when the government would sell over 2,000 MHz of spectrum across seven frequencies.

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