Chandrayaan 2 mission control loses contact with the lander 13 minutes into descent. This is a setback – India’s space programme will continue to reach for the stars. Will respond to challenges faced by all sectors, FM says. Auto slowdown threatens to enter used car market. India’s tourism sector shines bright in a gloomy economic landscape. Alibaba announces entry into Indian ecommerce market through its UCWeb browser app. Amazon plans to compete with Zomato and Swiggy by offering restaurants low commission rates. Thousands of photos collected Madurai police via facial recognition app leaked. US states announce new antitrust investigations against big tech firms. China cuts reserve ratio to lowest level since 2007. Need G7-styled group with India, Putin says. China’s growing demand for bottled water stirs backlash overseas.
Moving on to the top Business news of the day:
Table of Contents
Setback, But We'll Be Back: 13 minutes after the Vikram lander began its descent onto lunar surface, the Chandrayaan 2 mission control lost contact with the probe. Unable to bring its speed down to the required level, Vikram failed to make a soft-landing on the Moon. Now, the lander and rover are most likely lost.
A sombre ISRO said it would analyse the data and that though contact with the lander had been lost, the orbiter was still up and running. "Only 5% of the mission has been lost - Vikram the lander and Pragyan the rover - while the remaining 95% - that is the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter - is orbiting the moon successfully," an ISRO official told IANS.
ISRO, Take A Bow: Condolences and messages of support flowed in from across the country from people from all walks of life. The Prime Minister said, “When ISRO has its encyclopedia of success, some hurdles cannot put its flight out of trajectory. Learnings from today will make us stronger and better; there will be a new dawn.”
Reforms Incoming?: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said ailing sectors would be provided “every possible help” and challenges would be responded to. She said the Centre is "continuously engaging with the sectors facing challenges and interacting with them".
We’re All In This Together: Auto manufacturers have been reeling under the effects of the most adverse slowdown to strike the sector in decades but sellers of pre-owned cars have been spared till now. Offline and online sellers of used cars have continued seeing growth in demand, but the growth may be losing steam and may be under threat as the effects of the auto slowdown could spillover to the used car market in the coming months.
Wanderlust Wonders: Meanwhile, while most sectors of the economy confront a slowdown and unemployment is at a historic high, one sector shines bright. India’s tourism sector is doing better than before, climbing six slots in the WEF’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index to be ranked 34, the greatest improvement since 2017.
Shopping With Alibaba: Alibaba Group is set to enter the Indian e-commerce market through the UCWeb browser app. While details haven’t been revealed yet, the e-commerce business venture could include movie ticket bookings – this would indicate competition with BookMyShow and Paytm, the latter of which is partly owned by Alibaba. But the Chinese firm believes its entry into the Indian market won’t have an adverse effect on Paytm, saying it seeks partnerships and not competition.
Cutthroat Competition: Amazon is preparing to enter India’s food delivery market and to compete with the likes of Zomato and Swiggy, it is looking to attract restaurants with commission rates below 10%. Amazon’s potential competitors’ rates range between 18%-24% while Amazon could offer rates as low as 5%-6%.
Also on the table is a possible acquisition of Foodpanda from Ola, although this is yet to be confirmed.
Extra: Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma recently said the digital payments giant will start preparations for an IPO in the next 22-24 months, calling a public listing “inevitable”.
It’s A Breach: Copseye, a facial recognition app, allowed the Madurai police to take photos of people suspected to be involved in criminal activity and automatically send them to the police’s centralised database to scan for matches. This data was reportedly left unsecured and thereafter the names and photographs of thousands of “suspected criminals” leaked over the internet in a privacy breach detected by cybersecurity researchers. More details here.
The Battle Against Big Tech Escalates: Big tech continues to be in the line of fire from US politicians. Two separate antitrust probes have been launched. The first is led by New York and seven other states and focuses on Facebook. The second was announced by Texas and likely includes 40 other states and is expected to target Google. The federal government is already probing big tech firms, including Amazon, for exploiting their market positions. These companies are also facing investigations across the Atlantic where the EU has already levied hefty fines on some of them and is launching new inquiries into their practices.
Release the Reserves: As China reels under domestic slowdown and trade war duress, the country’s Central Bank said it will cut the amount of cash banks much hold as reserves to its lowest level since 2007 hoping to inject liquidity into the economy. The cut in reserve ratio will be by 0.5pp and will release $126bn of liquidity. It will go into effect on September 16.
More the Merrier: On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready to host the G7/G8 (Russia was expelled from the G8 after its annexation of Crimea). He also called for a wider purview of the international body, including countries like India and China.
Water Wars: China's thirst for bottled drinking water is skyrocketing – bottled-water imports have tripled since 2013. And this is stirring resentment and backlash abroad, where fears are on the rise that companies will extract too much water to export to China thereby depriving local communities and farms of a valuable resource.
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