New Delhi :Sundar Pichai-led Google is seriously evaluating getting into e-commerce and India could be the first stop, it is learnt. The launch could coincide with Diwali later this year, a source said. The search giant, which was in talks to invest in Flipkart after Walmart’s $16-billion deal to buy 77 per cent in the Bengaluru firm, is now trying to enter the Indian e-commerce space on its own.
With such a move, Google could take on both Amazon and Flipkart in a sector pegged at around $38.5 billion and projected to grow to as much as $100 billion by 2020 in the country. While the American major was getting ready to invest at least $2 billion in Flipkart post the Walmart deal, it may have subsequently decided to opt for the route that Amazon had taken five years ago to launch solo in India, another source said.
‘’Google started having second thoughts as it felt that the valuation that SoftBank Group, Tiger Global (investors in Flipkart) quoted was inflated,’’ a Flipkart executive who didn’t want to be named said. After its deal with Flipkart, Walmart announced that it was hoping some other global investors would now buy stake in the firm. The impression it gave out was Google would invest at a later stage. However, Google is learnt to have backed out after witnessing how Walmart’s shareholders were getting apprehensive about the $16-billion Flipkart deal.
Google did not reply to Business Standard queries on the company’s e-commerce plan. An executive called it ‘’speculation’’.
Google plans global e-commerce debut from India market In an indication of Google’s growing interest in ecommerce, earlier this week, the California-based firm announced an investment of $550 million in JD.com, a leading Chinese e-commerce company. The two companies said in a statement that it was part of a strategic partnership to jointly develop markets. Walmart and JD.com had also entered a strategic partnership earlier.
According to people in the know, Google’s India e-commerce plans have been in the works for close to one year, but “rather secretively’’. The initiative, being spearheaded by Caesar Sengupta, who leads product management at the global headquarters, is likely to test the e-commerce launch in India before going to other emerging markets, sources pointed out.
In the run up to the likely launch of ecommerce, Google has taken steps to understand the universe it wants to get into. For instance, it has been associated with some 2,000 workshops helping the company to identify sellers on its e-commerce platform. It has also partnered with business chambers for digital programmes. Many pilots are being scaled up to meet the ecommerce target, a source pointed out. Also, more than 15,000 sellers have been identified for the Google e-commerce platform. In fact, Tez, a payment app under the Google umbrella, was launched with the idea of populating the seller database, a source said.
Leaving nothing to chance, Google has sketched out its rural plan as well. Mainly through its ‘Saathi’ initiative. Through 48,000 saathis across rural India, Google wants to offer assisted shopping till the masses are comfortable with the process.
In preparation, the tech giant has been refining Google Shopping, its paid advertisement listing service. The company plans to make it more of an omni-channel experience to encourage brick and mortar retailers to list with Google. The company has launched this service in the US where it allows offline retailers to see what is in their stores for free as well as mark on Google maps. The company plans to launch this feature along with several others to increase the number of sellers on its platform.
The estimated 18-million subscriber base of gmail will help Google’s e-commerce, an analyst said. Also, the vernacular features are likely to give the company insight into millions of shoppers, he added.
Explaining why the company waited this long, a source quoted above said Google wanted to understand the India market better. ‘’It believes that it is better to have a budgeted spend than unbudgeted and unlimited discounts that the other cash cow businesses have to fund in perpetuity,’’ he said.
WPI inflation at 8-month low of 3.80 pc in Dec on softening fuel, food prices
New Delhi: Inflation based on wholesale prices fell to a 8-month low of 3.80 per cent in December, 2018, on softening prices of fuel and some food items.
The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation stood at 4.64 per cent in November, 2018, and 3.58 per cent in December 2017. According to the government data released on Monday, deflation in food articles stood at 0.07 per cent in December, against 3.31 per cent in November.
Vegetables, too, saw deflation at 17.55 per cent in December, compared to 26.98 per cent in the previous month. Inflation in the ‘fuel and power’ basket in December slumped to 8.38 per cent, nearly half of 16.28 per cent in November.
This was on account of lowering of prices of petrol and diesel through December. Individually, in petrol and diesel inflation was 1.57 per cent and 8.61 per cent, respectively, and for liquified petroleum gas (LPG) it was 6.87 per cent during December.
Among food articles, potato prices became cheaper substantially with inflation at 48.68 per cent in December, as against 86.45 per cent in November.
Inflation in pulses stood at 2.11 per cent, while in ‘egg, meat and fish’ it was 4.55 per cent. Onion witnessed deflation of 63.83 per cent in December, compared to 47.60 per cent in November.
The 3.80 per cent inflation is the lowest in 8 months, and a lower inflation than this was last seen in April at 3.62 per cent. Data for retail or consumer price index-based inflation would be released later in the day.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) mainly takes into account retail inflation data while formulating monetary policy. In its fifth monetary policy review for the fiscal, last month, the Reserve Bank kept interest rates unchanged, but held out a promise to cut them if the upside risks to inflation do not materialise.
The central bank lowered retail inflation projection to 2.7-3.2 per cent for the second half of the current fiscal, citing normal monsoon and moderate food prices.
Air tickets, identity cards to become redundant; flyers can use facial recognition to enter airport
New Delhi: The hassle to show air tickets and identity cards at Airport will be over as air travellers can soon enter airport with facial recognition biometric facility.
GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) that operates the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), has successfully conducted the trial of facial recognition technology. During the first phase of the trial, employees of GHIAL were included. The second phase of the trial is expected to be launched by the end of this month, in which GHIAL will include common air fliers. And if the second phase of the trial is successful, GHIAL will implement facial recognition technology in Hyderabad airport from March onwards.
Three phases of facial recognition technology
First phase: GHIAL has installed facial recognition cameras in the Hyderabad. In the first phase, the imaging of passengers will be done through these cameras which will recognise the faces of the flyers.
Second phase: There would be a centralised registration system for passengers. Each passenger’s face will be attached with his/her photo identity like passport, Aadhaar, voting id, driving licence etc. The details of passengers along with his facial mapping will be scanned and stored by GHIAL through the centralised registration system at the Airport.
Third phase: The ID proof of the passengers along with their facial mapping will be stored at the e-boarding gate of the Airport.The data centres at Airlines will also have similar information. Whenever such passengers book tickets, the data system will alert the Hyderabad Airport authorities.
The moment you book a flight ticket originating from Hyderabad airport, your details will be shared by the data centre and the information will be given to all the concerned authorities.
When you reach the Hyderabad terminal gate, face recognition technology will identify you and all your details will be shared on the screen. The security personnel at the gate will access all your information via the system.
Similarly, your details can be accessed by the security personnel at the check-in counter, security check-in. Once the formalities are done, passengers will get an online boarding pass on their mobile phone.
Maruti all-new WagonR 2019 available for booking at Rs 11,000
New Delhi: Country’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India on Monday said that its all-new WagonR is available for booking starting.
Customers can book the 3rd generation WagonR at authorized dealer network across the country by paying Rs 11,000. They can also book the car online.
The New WagonR is powered by the advanced K-series engine offering high fuel efficiency and an unmatched driving experience, Maruti said. The car now comes with a new 1.2 L engine option that delivers powerful and impressive performance coupled with great fuel economy. Customers will also have the choice of 1.0 L engine for the all-new WagonR.
Maruti Suzuki’s acclaimed two pedal technology will also be offered in the new WagonR. The Auto Gear Shift (AGS) offers. Maruti said that for the first it is going to offer the most innovative SmartPlay Studio infotainment experience in the Big New WagonR.
The car will be available in Pearl Poolside Blue, Pearl Nutmeg Brown, Magma Grey, Pearl Autumn Orange, Silky Silver and Superior White Range of variants. The Petrol: 1.0 L engine will be available in Lxi, Vxi / Vxi AGS variants while the Petrol: 1.2 L will be available in Vxi, Vxi AGS, Zxi / Zxi AGS variants.
“The new WagonR gets bigger with enhanced comfort. The car’s sturdy and masculine look with true tall boy design makes for a strong road presence. The Big New WagonR not only embodies strong looks but is also stronger inside out,” Maruti said in a release.