Sunday December 15, 2019
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Modi to lay foundation stone for Abu Dhabi’s first Indian temple

The temple compound will include a visitors' centre, prayer halls, exhibition centre, learning areas, sports area for children and youths, thematic gardens, water features, a food court, books and gift shop and other facilities

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will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community. Wikimedia Commons
will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community. Wikimedia Commons
  • This is Modi’s second visit to the UAE after August 2015
  • Modi was scheduled to arrive here in the evening
  • The temple’s construction will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday laid the foundation stone for the first Hindu temple in the United Arab Emirates’ capital, which is home to a huge Indian diaspora.

This is Modi’s second visit to the UAE after August 2015. He was scheduled to arrive here in the evening.

“The first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi will come up on 55,000 square metres of land and the groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday will be a historic event,” said Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri.

The Indian leader will be laying the foundation stone for the temple from the Dubai Opera House via video conferencing. He will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community.

“The occasion is going to be historic… because it will also see the commencement of the first Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi. We are very pleased that we have received 55,000 square metres of land near Al Rahba off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Highway,” said Suri.

The temple’s construction will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds.

It will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East, said a spokesperson from the BAPS Swaminarayanan Sanstha that is entrusted with the design, construction and management of the temple.

Also Read: Kerala Tourism to organise promotion event in Abu Dhabi to attract cash-rich Arab travellers

The temple will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in the UAE, said the BAPS spokesperson.

The UAE has two Hindu temples which are located in Dubai. Devotees from Abu Dhabi and other emirates have to drive to Dubai for prayers and offerings.

The temple compound will include a visitors’ centre, prayer halls, exhibition centre, learning areas, sports area for children and youths, thematic gardens, water features, a food court, books and gift shop and other facilities.

Sadhu Brahmaviharidas, the chief spokesperson of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, said the generous gift of land for a Hindu temple by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, “was a strong and sound message to the world that cultural and spiritual inclusiveness is the way forward for global harmony”.

It will replicate the BAPS temple in New Delhi and the one under construction in New Jersey, a trust member told the Khaleej Times.

BAPS manages 1,200 temples in India, UK, the US, Australia, Canada and Africa.

Also Read: Abu Dhabi keeps the Smart City dream alive

Meanwhile, the UAE’s iconic buildings like the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Frame, Adnoc building and the Emirates Palace were lit up in colours of India’s flag ahead of Modi’s visit to the country.

Modi’s high-level engagements here include bilateral meetings with top UAE leaders and a keynote address at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday, in which India is the guest country.

Earlier in the day, Modi was in Ramallah where he received a rousing welcome on the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Palestine. (IANS)

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Xiaomi May Lose Top Spot in Indian Smartphone Market in 2020

According to IDC, India's smartphone market shipped a record 46.6 million units in the third quarter of 2019, registering 26.5 per cent quarter-over-quarter and 9.3 per cent year-over-year growth

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Xiaomi, mi, devices, phones, sale
The highest demand among people was for of smartphones, followed by Mi ecosystem devices, accessories and Mi TVs. Wikimedia Commons

BY GOKUL BHAGABATI

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is confident that it will be able to retain its No. 1 position in the Indian smartphone market next year too, but industry experts believe that the country may see a different winner in 2020.

At the end of the first quarter of 2019, Xiaomi had a market share of 30.6 per cent, far ahead of Samsung, which took the second spot with a share of 22.3 per cent, according to an International Data Corporation (IDC) report.

But by the third quarter of 2019, Xiaomi’s market share fell to 27.1 per cent. Samsung too experienced a decline as its share went down to 18.9 per cent, IDC data showed.

“Given the remarkable Q3 2019 strides made by the BBK (parent company of OPPO, Vivo, Realme and OnePlus) brands in India, Xiaomi would need to be wary of the rising competition and the decline in its market share. In the first three quarters of 2019, Xiaomi lost three per cent market share,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CyberMedia Research (CMR), told IANS.

Out of the BBK Group brands, Realme’s rise in the Indian smartphone market has been truly spectacular. From 6 per cent market share in Q1 of 2019, it grabbed 14.3 per cent market share at the end of Q3.

Vivo also witnessed its fair share of growth this year. Its share rose from 13 per cent in Q1 to 15.2 per cent in Q3. OPPO did even better than Vivo in terms of growth. OPPO’s share grew from 7.6 per cent in Q1 to 11.8 per cent in Q3, according to IDC.

“As per our estimates, 49 per cent of the sales of smartphones in 2020 will be in the basic segment (Rs 5,001 to Rs 10,000) where Xiaomi is still strong,” said Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst at market research firm techARC.

Xiaomi
Xiaomi is expected to release the foldable phone by the end of 2019. Wikimedia Commons

“The other major chunk is mid-segment (Rs 10,001 to Rs 25,000). Here we have increasingly good number of strong players emerging like Realme, OPPO and Vivo. This segment will sell 44 per cent of smartphones,” Kawoosa said.

Speaking of Xiaomi’s prospects of retaining the No.1 position next year, he said that “looking at the potential and how Xiaomi is positioned, it seems difficult for the brand to retain the honours.”

“It is now on a defensive mode,” he added.

“As Realme comes with new offerings in the mid-tier and premium segment, and OPPO and Vivo also unveil plans to go premium, Xiaomi faces an uphill battle,” Ram agreed.

To retain their numero uno position, Xiaomi would need to go beyond its existing brand imagery and also consolidate its offline play, Ram said.

“Xiaomi has been able to build on their offline play by building their own chain of Mi Stores, apart from their non-exclusive network of Mi Preferred Partners,” he added.

But if Xiaomi loses the top spot in the Indian smartphone market, which brand will replace it?

Xiaomi
Xiaomi also refreshes ‘Mi TV’ series in India. (Wikimedia Commons)

While CMR’s Ram thinks that the question is “wide open right now”, Kawoosa believes that Samsung could resurface as the leader.

“It will take other challenger brands time to cross the 20 per cent mark and eventually aspire to become No 1. In that case, Samsung could resurface as the leader while Xiaomi’s share is being eaten up by Realme and others,” he said.

Ram, however, warned that one cannot underestimate the potential of Realme.

Also Read: Facebook Commits $130 mn to Build Global Oversight Board for Ensuring Accountability

“Realme looks promising and with aggressive strategies, it is potentially well-placed to scale new heights, as long as it is able to avoid inventory glut,” Ram said.

According to IDC, India’s smartphone market shipped a record 46.6 million units in the third quarter of 2019, registering 26.5 per cent quarter-over-quarter and 9.3 per cent year-over-year growth. (IANS)