India's Q3 GDP growth forecasts show signs of recovery. Amazon set to enter food delivery segment in India. Apple's first Indian store to open 2021. Freshworks acquires ML AI tool provider AnsweriQ.
Table of Contents
A poll of 42 economists by Bloomberg suggests that the GDP growth in Q3 (to be released on Friday) may rise for the first time in six quarters. The median estimate of GDP growth is pegged at 4.7% for Q3 vs 4.5% in Q2.
As per the poll, the Indian economy may have shown a modest pick-up in growth in the October-December quarter, helped by steady agriculture output, restocking and some support from Government spending. [Bloomberg Quint]
Trust No One
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has warned state-owned banks against “blindly” trusting the credit scores of loan seekers, and has urged them to focus on improving branch-level ties with customers.
The suggestion came as the Finance Minister launched the next phase of reforms for state-owned banks - EASE 3.0, which aimed to incorporate technological aids for ensuring better banking experience, wider financial inclusion and easier credit distribution. [BS]
We'll Do it All...Everything
Ecommerce giant Amazon is now eyeing the food delivery segment in India, as early as next month.
The service is likely to be offered as part of either Amazon’s Prime Now or Amazon Fresh platform.
To this end, Amazon has been testing its food delivery service with select restaurant partners in Bangalore.
The news comes shortly after Uber exited India's food delivery market, post the sale of its food delivery arm in India to rival Zomato in return for a 10% stake.
“The intent is to capture all large categories where high-value consumers spend and make repeat purchases convenient, affordable and seamless, especially in the top cities," noted a top Amazon official. [TechCrunch]
Moving to India
Apple CEO Tim Cook at the company's annual shareholders' meeting announced that the company would open its first physical store in India in 2021 and an online outlet later this year.
Apple had to seek special approval from the Indian Government to open a store without a local partner, after the Government in 2018 changed the laws, preventing foreign brands from opening single-brand stores in the country. [BBC News]
Last week, Apple said its prior financial forecast, provided during its January earnings cycle, is no longer valid. The company cited impacts from the coronavirus outbreak in China, which has shut down large swathes of the country and reverberated throughout the global economy.
Now, Microsoft has also said that it no longer expects the revenue guidance it issued last month to be met.
The tech giant had announced third quarter revenue estimates of $10.75bn to $11.15bn on January 29th. Those numbers are no longer accurate because Windows and Surface laptops are "more negatively impacted than previously anticipated," the company said.
While demand for Windows has been strong, supply chains have been disrupted since Chinese manufacturers closed their factories for longer than expected following the Lunar New Year holiday as the country fights to stem the outbreak. While some factories have reopened, it will take some time for normalcy to resume. [CNN Business]
Freedom to Censor
A US court has ruled that private internet platforms are free to censor content they don’t like.
The case involved a conservative YouTube channel that sued Alphabet after YouTube flagged dozens of its videos as “inappropriate”. The channel opposed this classification and argued that YouTube had essentially turned itself into a public square and should be bound by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech.
However, the Ninth Circuit Court’s verdict was widely expected – judicial interpretation of the First Amendment has seen it as a constraint on the government and not the private sector.
“Despite YouTube’s ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment,” the Circuit Judge wrote, rejecting the argument that YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other giant tech platforms are bound by the First Amendment. [WSJ]
Marking its Presence
Chennai-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) unicorn Freshworks has acquired Seattle-based artificial intelligence (AI) tool provider AnsweriQ for an undisclosed amount.
This integration will help the companies’ clients leverage their data in order to automate and deescalate queries from their customers. It will also help Freshworks build its brand awareness in the US as it looks to list itself on NASDAQ by 2021. [Inc42]
A Helping Hand
American seed accelerator Y Combinator is publishing a 70-page Series A guide based on its work with 190 YC companies over the last couple of years to fix a problem faced by every startup raising an A - VCs understand how Series A’s work and founders do not. TechCrunch catches up with YC partner Aaron Harris, who is leading the program to get a sneak peak into the guide. Read excerpts from the chat here.
The Gilded Age
The Hurun Global List is out and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has topped the list once again - for the third year in a row.
French billionaire and business magnate Bernard Arnault ranked second, with an estimated worth of $107bn, up $ 21bn from last year.
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani was the only Indian to make it to the top 10 rankings this year with a net worth of $67bn.
As per the report, the world added 480 billionaires in 2019, more than one a day, while China added more than three a week and India added more than three billionaires a month. [Business Today]
The Good Insurance
Insurance regulator IRDAI is considering allowing life insurance companies to offer indemnity-based health insurance plans and has towards this effect set up a committee to study the feasibility of such an offering.
At present, life insurance companies are allowed to sell health insurance plans which are only benefit-based.
Hand-curated Business News from Top Publishers & Platforms, Richly Crafted to Fit into One Wholesome Email. Subscribe Now to receive a nuanced 360 Degree account of key events from the World of Business and Finance every day.