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We see India as a great internet power in coming years: China’s Letv

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Beijing: Chinese internet and technology MNC Letv – which has just launched the world’s biggest 120″ tv – says it sees India as a “great internet power” in the coming years and that it would make its contribution to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ mission.

“We see India as a great internet power in the coming five to ten years. India has a great influence on the world. We can make our contribution to Prime Minister Modi’s Digital India mission through cloud computing platforms,” Tin Mok, Letv’s CEO for the Asia Pacific said in response to a question by a visiting IANS correspondent at a press conference at the company’s headquarters here.

Tin said India has an advantage over China in many ways as the average age of Indians by 2020 would be around 28 years, which is much younger than the average age of the Chinese.

The company, which aims to enter Indian market by early 2016, said it would get into partnerships with local content providers in India.

However, the company remained non-commital on questions relating to possible tie-ups, market strategy and its plans for India.

“The number of languages India has could be an obstacle for us to enter the market but we shall overcome the problem with localised content providers and subtitles and would perhaps buy content,” Tin added.

The company said sales could also be driven by ecommerce partners in India through ‘flash sales’, but did not reveal any details.

Letv, which works on integrating ecosystems like content, sports, tv, phone, cars, internet and finance, said its US based competitor Apple has a “very closed” ecosystem and “needs to disrupt itself in order to improve”.

The company asserted it was better compared to other brands, especially American technology flagship brand Apple in each of its product specifications.

This, to the extent that Tin was dressed the way a Mark Zuckerberg would do while launching his product – a casual t-shirt and a jeans. Could it be just coincidence?

Having also launched its gen-next Le 1S phone in China, the company said it was also looking at launching an electric car – also in India and overseas markets.

“We are likely to have a partner, who works on a traditional ways of manufacturing and would combine it with our ecosystem. But the car launch would be independent. We have started early stage negotiations with the Indian government and also an Indian brand,” the company said.

This car, could possibly be priced below $ 2,000 to match arguably the most affordable vehicle in the world, the Tata Nano.

(IANS)

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Digital India Faces Several Challenges Amidst Coronavirus Lockdown

The company also said it will give benefits on insurance for drivers and their spouses against loss of income due to contraction of COVID-19, as well as other medical support during this time will continue to be offered to all its driver-partners across the country

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Digital India
From Uber to Ola, Swiggy to Zomato and Bigbasket to Grofers -- and thousands of app-based services in between -- the digital dream has taken a 21-day long pause, and workers in the digital industry are in for job losses along with deep salary cuts. Pixabay

When Digital India took birth, little did we know that in an unprecedented situation like a total lockdown, the apps and services that helped us sail through the day with ease will immediately hang up on millions.

From Uber to Ola, Swiggy to Zomato and Bigbasket to Grofers — and thousands of app-based services in between — the digital dream has taken a 21-day long pause, and workers in the digital industry are in for job losses along with deep salary cuts.

Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal has announced that several employees have taken deep voluntary salary cuts as the business has been hit owing to the COVID-19 lockdown. Uber and Ola drivers are confined to their homes and delivery boys for food and online grocery delivery platforms are afraid to come out on roads owing to the fear or being beaten up.

Uber India has reportedly given no help to its driver partners as of now, other than telling its employees to do yoga at home. Ola has reportedly taken the next step, asking the government to waive the loans of its drivers and delay the tax payments for them so that they can survive the Novel Coronavirus onslaught. The company, however, refused to comment on the reports.

According to the ride-hailing company, it is providing certain insurance and medical benefits to its drivers as well as waiving rental charges. “We can confirm that we are fully waiving away lease rentals, akin to an EMI, for driver partners who operate vehicles owned by Ola’s subsidiary, Ola Fleet Technologies under its leasing programme,” Ola said in a statement.

The company also said it will give benefits on insurance for drivers and their spouses against loss of income due to contraction of COVID-19, as well as other medical support during this time will continue to be offered to all its driver-partners across the country.

Thousands of daily-wage workers, low-end hotel staff and delivery boys have left metros for their home towns — some even on bikes — as establishments locked themselves. Smartphone-based leading food delivery platforms Zomato and Swiggy are in almost in no man’s land — with thin presence amid huge manpower shortage.

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When Digital India took birth, little did we know that in an unprecedented situation like a total lockdown, the apps and services that helped us sail through the day with ease will immediately hang up on millions. Pixabay

Bigbasket and Grofers are unable to fulfil orders owing to huge supply-demand issue along with thin delivery staff to go out and deliver. All eyes are now on the government to bail the online service providers from this mess.

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday indicated that concerns of India Inc, small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) segments and other segments hit by the lockdown might be looked at and the government could announce a plan later.

“Our first priority is to provide food to the poor and money in their hands. We will think about other things later,” she said. (IANS)

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“Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Discussed on Data Sovereignty, Digital India”, Says Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

Data sovereignty and localisation have been a matter of concern and major technology companies which are mostly based out of India and store data outside the country

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Ravi Shankar prasad
"We talked on issue of data sovereignty which is a work in progress," Prasad said, adding that Digital India was also discussed among several issues in the IT segment. Wikimedia Commons

 Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Wednesday discussed on a range of issues including data sovereignty and Digital India with Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Speaking to reporters here after his meeting with Nadella, IT Minister Prasad said that it was a courtesy meeting which went “very good”.

“We talked on issue of data sovereignty which is a work in progress,” he said, adding that Digital India was also discussed among several issues in the IT segment.

Data sovereignty and data localisation have been major subjects of debate with the government having introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill in the Parliament last year.

Although the bill allows the transfer of personal data outside India, while transferring “sensitive” personal data outside the country a copy will have to be kept in the country. Data processing or collecting entities will, however, be barred from transferring “critical” personal data outside the country.

Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Wednesday discussed on a range of issues including data sovereignty and Digital India with Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Wikimedia Commons

Data sovereignty and localisation have been a matter of concern and major technology companies which are mostly based out of India and store data outside the country.

The minister also told the media that he has offered the Microsoft Corporation CEO to adopt few villages in the country and transform them into digital villages in line with the government’s target of establishing one lakh digital villages.

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“We discussed a whole range of issues on IT, particularly i have offered to him… We have to establish one lakh digital villages. He can consider adopting some of these digital villages and mentoring it to become a beacon for others to follow,” he said. (IANS)

 

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“Cash is The King in Digital India”, Says Paytm Founder

Paytm has a data bank of over 200 million saved cards and bank accounts, a feature which enables partner apps to shorten transaction times and propel faster conversions while using the all-in-one payment gateway

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Paytm
Paytm has 16 million strong merchant user base, which Sharma aims to raise to 26 million base in the next one year. Wikimedia Commons

Even more than three years after demonetisation and all-out efforts to make most transactions through electronic, cash is still king, as it thrives in a digital India, said fintech start-up Paytm founder Vijay Sekhar Sharma.

“While cashless economy is not possible in India, less cash economy will be in the future. Less cash is the only solution, not the elimination of cash,” Sharma told IANS in an interview after unveiling an all-in-one payment gateway on Tuesday.

Asserting that it would take 5-10 years for India to make the transition to digital payments from the traditional mode of cash, Sharma, 41, said the e-payment industry benefitted more from the November 8, 2016 note ban and withdrawal of old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denominations.

“I think it (demonetisation) helped the industry despite lack of specific help. But the world has changed since then. It is about the scale of distribution of merchants that is what is propelling digital payments,” said Sharma.

Most of the cash not only came back into circulation, but also remains as the mode of payment for the majority due to its convenience for the people used to such transactions.

Expounding Paytm’s zero service charge, Sharma said the strategy is sustainable as it leads to acquiring more customers and merchants, enabling newer business opportunities.

Paytm also does not levy a service charge to small merchants for its payments services, unlike organised players like Uber.

“Though there is a monetisation model, the merchants who are small shopkeepers, become our financial services customers as they open a bank account, which is profitable.”

Paytm secured a Payments Bank license from the Reserve Bank of India to offer a savings bank account, Rupay debit card and money transfer services.

“We are banking on payment services acquiring customers and merchants who avail banking, lending, insurance, wealth and software services like billing software and business ledger software services eventually,” Sharma noted.

The mobile first bank services include zero balance and zero digital transaction charge accounts.

“Basically, payments, cloud, commerce and financial services are a cohort we follow. So, payments is our customer as well as merchant acquisition. If it breaks even, we are happy because other line items make more money, he affirmed.

Noting that in a market like India, one cannot price services at a premium unlike in a developed country like the US, the billionaire businessman said a consumer in a developing country would not be able to afford such a hefty charge.

Forbes ranked Sharma as India’s youngest billionaire in 2017, with a net worth of $2.1 billion.

Paytm
Even more than three years after demonetisation and all-out efforts to make most transactions through electronic, cash is still king, as it thrives in a digital India, said fintech start-up Paytm founder Vijay Sekhar Sharma. Wikimedia Commons

While several countries operate on the model of higher service charges, Sharma said newer business models have to be discovered in India, as customer lifecycle value is accounted for more stages than in other nations.

Asked about an upscale retailer like Zara not giving a wallet payment option during its recent end of season sale in Bengaluru, Sharma said Paytm was addressing such hiccups with its all-in-one payment solutions.

“It’s an opportunity, because if the retailer has our all-in-one point of sale machine, where in they enter the amount, it shows both the Quick Response code (QR) and card payment options,” he observed.

Sharma compared older swiping payment machine to feature phones and modern ones to feature-rich smartphones.

“If you notice, they look like feature phones and the modern day card machine is more a smartphone like. You can add the smatphone components, which can add the features,” reiterated Sharma.

Though Paytm’s all-in-one QR point of sale machine integrates the billing system, its founder said it was not ideal to have an independent QR feature.

Paytm has 16 million strong merchant user base, which Sharma aims to raise to 26 million base in the next one year.

Sharma has launched in this tech city an all-in-one payment gateway and Paytm Business Payments solution, which enable digital payments through multiple methods for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and an Android point of sale machine.

With the new gateway solution, collecting digital payments through multiple methods can be achieved seamlessly while Paytm Business Payments solution enables automated vendor payments, including employee salaries and customer refunds among others.

The One97 Communications-owned Paytm aims to help SMEs streamline and digitise their business activities using its new solutions, which enhance the overall efficiency of both accepting and making payments.

Paytm has a data bank of over 200 million saved cards and bank accounts, a feature which enables partner apps to shorten transaction times and propel faster conversions while using the all-in-one payment gateway.

Complementing the two solutions, Sharma also launched an all-in-one Android point of sale machine, which can accept payments through all forms such as cards, wallets, UPI apps and even cash.

The device has a QR code that supports all contact and contactless payments, coming with integrated billing software customized solutions for different sectors such as catering, ticketing, parking and others.

Paytm
While cashless economy is not possible in India, less cash economy will be in the future. Less cash is the only solution, not the elimination of cash. Pixabay

The handheld Android device is equipped with an in-built printer, scanner and can also generate bills.

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Valued at $16 billion, Paytm is not alone in the fiercely competitive Indian fintech space where a dozen players like PhonePe, MobiKwik, Kotak 811 and deep pocketed international giants Google Pay and Amazon Pay are in the fray. (IANS)