NRI Worldwide > NRInvest
Tata brings Starbucks to India
Report dated 20/10/2012 @ 1:28 PM
Five years after it had planned to, Starbucks opened its first cafe in India, that is located in Mumbai and offers drinks made from Indian-grown and roasted coffee beans. The international coffee culture cafe will compete with Cafe Coffee Day a chain with over 1000 locations in India.
Chief Executive Howard Shultz speaking in Mumbai at the opening, said he isn't worried as the quality of the coffee, presentation and execution is far behind what Starbucks offers. He said Starbucks will become a leader in other ways too, such as elevating the physical presentation, design and quality of the experience and stunning environments.
Starbucks included the name of its Indian business partner on its store signs that read "Starbucks Coffee: A Tata Alliance.
The first store is located in the historic Elphinstone Building at Horniman Circle. Two other Mumbai stores are to open shortly at the Oberoi Mall and the Taj Mahal Palace Annex.
Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit steps down
Report dated 17/10/2012 @ 4:09 PM
Citigroup's India born CEO Vikarm Pandit has suddenly resigned after nearly a five-year tenure, just a day after the US banking giant reported an 88% drop in net profit for its third quarter. Pandit, 55, also resigned as a member of the Board, a shock decision, after steering the bank through the 2008 financial crisis and turbulent years that followed.
The Board of Directors has unanimously elected Michael Corbat as CEO and a director of the Board. The change is effective immediately. Pandit said now is the right time for someone else to take the helm at Citigroup.
Citigroup further announced the President and COO John Havens has also resigned, and offered no explanation for the sudden departure of its two top executives.
Pandit said Corbat is the right person to tackle the difficult challenges ahead, with his 29-year record of achievement and leadership at the Company.
India first to pledge funds for Global Biodiversity
Report dated 17/10/2012 @ 4:03 PM
Speaking at a UN conference in Hyderabad, PM Manmohan Singh confirmed India will be the first nation to contribute funds towards international targets aimed at protecting the world's biodiversity. The Indian government will contribute $50 million towards reaching the Aichi targets, that are 20 goals set in Nagoya Japan two years ago, to curb damage to the world's ecosystems and the extinction of its plants and animals.
Mr Singh said it has become more difficult to find common ground on environmental issues, which is unfortunate given that there is now a much higher global awareness of environmental risks and concerns.
India's contribution, though intended only as a start, is a small fraction of the $80 billion needed to halt the extinction of species and preserve natural sites, according to a study by BirdLife International. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Environment and Forests estimates that India spends some $2 billion a year on protecting the environment.
India is said to be one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries that is home to 45,000 types of plants and 90,000 types of animals according to the UN.
Government officials say they recognise how environmental damage from growth hurts human lives and are working to fix it as Bangalore for instance, that is spending some $30 million a year to revive its polluted lakes, many of which are too toxic to support aquatic life.
The rest of the conference that ends shortly, will focus on how many other countries agree to the Nagoya protocol and provide resources to meet the Aichi targets.
Indian film studios establish business in Los Angeles
Report dated 17/10/2012 @ 4:02 PM
Venkatesh Roddam, 48, a former chief executive of an Indian consulting company that provided offshore services to various industries, is now heading up Reliance MediaWorks' film and media services, and building up business in Los Angeles.
In recent years Reliance Group's MediaWorks has also acquired the Burbank digital film restoration company Lowry Digital, and launched a US regional theatre chain that screens Bollywood movies. The Group provided key financing for Steven Spielberg's Dream Works Studios.
Roddam says they truly believe that the core of the business is in California so they need to expand their presence there as this is not like the IT business, one has to be physically close to where the customers are. Hollywood studios have for years outsourced basic visual effects and animation work to India and other countries to use a pool of low-cost workers skilled in software engineering and computer graphics.
In effect MediaWorks is one of several Indian and Chinese companies that have established themselves in California. Reliance partnered with China's Galloping Horse recently to acquire Digital Domain, the high-profile visual effects company co-founded by James Cameron.
Reliance that operates India's largest cinema chain has facilities in India and Britain that provide a variety of post-production services. Rivals Rhythym & Hues Studios Inc and Technicolor also have facilities in India.
Roddam who was formerly a senior banking executive with Deutsche Bank wants to expand Reliance's Burbank office that employs some 75 people, and open a studio in New York.
Indian conglomerate Tata's Elxsi's Visual Computing Labs also opened an office in Santa Monica in 2009, citing its ability to achieve significant economies for its clients. Though Tata worked on some big projects, it has struggled to retain local talent as a result of clashes with management.
NRI businessman says Ghana ideal destination for IT companies
Report dated 14/10/2012 @ 3:28 PM
Amar Hari, CEO of IMPAC (Indian Intercom Programming and Manufacturing Company) says Ghana is the ideal investment destination for Indian IT companies as they could leverage on a $40 million World Bank grant for an e-governance project. India also has historic ties to Ghana from the days of first president Kwame Nkrumah, when Jawaharlal Nehru was India's first prime minister.
Ghana also has lower labour costs, the same time zone as Europe, cheaper bandwidth costs, lower taxation and other benefits. In the first two quarters of the current year alone, Indian investors have pumped in $10 million and rank third behind the British Virgin Islands and China. The country has a good telecommunication network and a vibrant banking industry as well as established ports.
Hari's IMPC is one of West Africa's largest IT companies with a 600-plus workforce, $50 million in turnover and is facilitating the growth of IT infrastructure for over 8000 businesses in the region, supported by over 50 suppliers globally.
Other prominent Indian companies that have a presence in Ghana include Airtel, NIIT, the Tata Group and the construction major Shapoorji Pallonji.