Head of high-level committee on 5G opposes allowing Chinese companies to participate in 5G trials. Samsung offers to help India in 5G rollout. Ola Electric raises $250mn in Series B round from Softbank, enters unicorn club. Crypto exchanges in India bet on global markets to evade regulatory clampdown. Shein shuts operations partially in India. Paytm confirms that it will not charge customers for payments made through its platform. Walmart plans to expand services of PhonePe abroad. Gold prices suffer biggest one-day fall in a year. Oil prices slip despite OPEC supply cuts. Taiwan’s ambassador says the trade war is making his country’s businesses move from China to India. EU and Vietnam sign landmark free trade deal.
Head of high-level committee on 5G opposes allowing Chinese companies to participate in 5G trials. Samsung offers to help India in 5G rollout.
Trials On Trial: Principal Scientific Adviser K Vijay Raghavan, who heads a committee on 5G, said India should “go for (5G) trials immediately with all, except for Chinese vendors”.
Raghavan said that India should reconsider the “pros and cons” of dealing with China’s 5G vendors – specifically, Huawei and ZTE.
The committee also comprises representatives from the Intelligence Bureau and Ministries of Home, Telecom, IT and External Affairs, and the Department of Science and Technology.
While there was disagreement over allowing Huawei to participate in the trials, there was consensus about the need to deal with security fears over the telecom company’s closeness to the Communist Party of China.
Eager To Help: With India preparing to roll out 5G, South Korean tech giant Samsung has expressed its desire to work with Indian telecom operators in launching the fifth-generation cellular technology.
Samsung previously helped with 5G rollout in South Korea and the US and in April had launched the world’s first 5G smartphone.
India with its massive consumer base and growing internet penetration is a star market for 5G and will soon conduct trials and allocations of the spectrum.
Ola Electric raises $250mn in Series B round from Softbank, enters unicorn club. Crypto exchanges in India bet on global markets to evade regulatory clampdown. Shein shuts operations partially in India.
The What: Ola Electric Mobility has raised $250m in its Series D funding round from SoftBank valuing the company at $1 bn. Through the injection, SoftBank has acquired 25% stake in Ola Electric Mobility.
Previously, the company has raised $56mn from investors such as Ratan Tata, Tiger Global, and Matrix Partners.
Entry by Invitation Only: The funding round would make Ola Electric Mobility the 30th Indian startup to enter the unicorn club.
Home Away From Home: Crypto exchanges in India are now betting on global markets amidst severe regulatory clampdown from the Indian government.
Mumbai-based WazirX, which launched its global operations around four months back, has reported that its P2P and crypto-to-crypto transactions have been growing at more than 20% monthly.
Multiple others, including CoinDCX are exploring other options, including crypto-to-crypto-transactions, peer-to-peer transactions, and entry into foreign markets to survive the uncertainty. More on this here.
Sorry, We’re Closed: Chinese e-tailer Shein has shut operations partially in India following scrutiny by the custom’s department.
The e-tailer has begun refunding money to customers with pending orders.
Previously: Earlier this month, Mumbai Customs reportedly seized around 500 parcels of Shein and Club Factory for allegedly paying much lower customs duties.
What You Need to Know: Many Chinese e-commerce platforms like Shein, Club Factory and AliExpress were shipping goods ordered by Indians to various cities claiming these were “gifts”. As per the domestic laws, any gifts received by Indians up to INR5,000 don’t attract any taxes. The companies had declared that their packaging was for B2B usage while they are actually conducting B2C business with the items.
Paytm confirms that it will not charge customers for payments made through its platform. Walmart plans to expand services of PhonePe abroad.
All For Free: Payments platform Paytm has confirmed that it will not levy transaction or convenience fee on any payments or services.
The clarification comes following a ET report which said that the digital payments company would charge 1% on credit card payments, 0.9% on debit card payments and INR12-15 for transactions via UPI or net banking.
The Dark Horse: Flipkart’s payments arm PhonePe may prove to be the dark horse for Walmart which bought a majority stake in the online retailer for $16bn last year.
Walmart’s stake in PhonePe is expected to be worth more than $14bn in the medium term - a sharp rise from PhonePe’s $1.5bn valuation at the time when Walmart bought a controlling stake in Flipkart at a total valuation of around $21bn.
Perhaps realising its potential, Walmart is in plans to expand PhonePe’s services outside India. PhonePe also aims to expand its footprint to 300 cities by the end of 2019 vs the 100 presently.
Gold prices suffer biggest one-day fall in a year. Oil prices slip despite OPEC supply cuts.
Up & Down: Barely a week after gold prices climbed to a six-year high they suffered the worst intra-day fall in a year, dipping 1.8% to reach below the demarcation line of $1,400 an ounce. Mirroring global trends, gold prices fell in India too.
This development is probably because of recent positive developments, like the temporary truce and reopening of talks between the US and China and the US Federal Reserve hinting at a rate cut in the future. These events reduced gold’s appeal as a safe-haven investment.
Well, Oil Be Damned: OPEC must be frustrated – it had cut supply recently hoping to drive up prices. But oil prices continued to slip as concerns that the global economy might be slowing outweighed OPEC’s cuts.
The oil cartel had agreed on Monday to extend already-existing supply cuts till March 2020 to prop up the price of crude. But today, Brent and US crude futures were both down 0.28% and 0.34% a barrel respectively.
Taiwan’s ambassador says the trade war is making his country’s businesses move from China to India. EU and Vietnam sign landmark free trade deal.
China to Chandni Chowk: Tien Chung-Kwang, Taiwan’s Ambassador to India, says that the US-China trade war is making Taiwanese businesses rethinkChina as a base and are increasingly moving to India due to its “less political interference” and relatively cheap land and labour. He added that this trend will “only grow” with time.
The Ambassador also pitched for a free trade agreement between the two countries, saying talks on the deal should be reopened. The feasibility study on a deal had already been completed in 2013 but talks have stalled since then.
Can’t Wait To Trade With EU: The European Union and Vietnam have signed a historic free trade agreement which will see tariffs slashed on 99% of all goods.
While the EU has described the deal as “the most ambitious free trade deal ever signed with a developing country”, the deal still requires the approval of the European Parliament.
The Bigger Picture: Vietnam is already a part of about a dozen free trade pacts while the EU has trade agreements with three Asian countries – South Korea, Japan and Singapore.
When viewed geopolitically, it can be noticed that the EU has been on a trade deal-making spree of late, perturbed by increasing protectionism around the world. And even as the US-China trade war has forced companies to look beyond Beijing as a manufacturing hub, Hanoi has benefited extensively from this trend, attracting more investment and establishing itself as an alternative to China as a manufacturing hub.