Business in bitesizes
More Reality For The Indian Internet Dream

E-commerce players are suddenly not as cool as they used to be. It has been a tough week for some leading lights. Softbank’s Nikesh Arora faced tough questions from investors on his decision to invest in two leading Indian e-commerce players, Snapdeal and Housing. Then, desi Internet shopping giant Flipkart was skewered by Founding Fuel’s Haresh Chawla, who said it was in danger of losing the race to Amazon. No wonder, you now see entrepreneurs shaking their heads disapprovingly while talking about the indiscipline—money spent on discounts, TV commercials etc—that came with the exuberance a year ago. The premium is apparently now on being level-headed.

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Healthcare Consultant Dilemma

The Modi government’s decision to purge the healthcare sector of foreign-funded consultants has been in the works for a while. Many are drawing parallels with this government’s earlier clampdown on NGOs. But government sources insist the latest salvo from the very top is driven by a conscious decision to control the cartel of policy-wonks and MNC pharmaceutical players. Speaking anonymously, a top healthcare consultant pooh-poohed this “conspiracy theory”, but agreed that the tribe tends to dictate terms and influence policies. Of course, this will lead to its own set of challenges, given the demand for specialists.

Dabur’s Food For Thought

Dabur scion Amit Burman, India’s biggest restaurateur with 60-plus fast-food and casual dining outlets, is in expansion mode. End-May, he will be at New York's Grand Central Station for the launch of the  Great Northern Food Hall to showcase culinary concepts from Nordic countries. He is a partner in the new venture, conceived by Claus Meyer, one of the two co-founders of the original Noma in Copenhagen, which redefined Nordic cuisine. Last year, Bur­man’s company, Lite Bite Foods, par­­tnered with Neeraj Kanwar of Apollo Tyres to acquire London-based Italian fine dining restaurant Scalini in tony Chelsea.

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iPhone 6s and onions!

In a week Apple reported its first drop in sales since 2003, its latest ad spot aims to show that shooting a 4K video on the iPhone 6s makes anything look beautiful—even someone just chopping an onion.

Contributed by Ajay Sukumaran, Arushi Bedi, Sunit Arora And Dilip Bobb

The piece has been edited to incorporate some changes.

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Three facts: Jack Ma

Alibaba chairman and Asia’s richest man

  • First-ever search word typed: beer
  • Got teacher’s job after 30 rejections
  • Credits women hires for Alibaba’s success

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This week we Learnt About Dieselgate

Yet another auto icon has fallen from grace. Japanese giant Mitsubishi has admitted that it cheated on emissions standards tests for 25 years. Known for global bellwethers like Pajero, Lancer and Magna, the firm says this affects 6,00,000 cars, adding—in a somewhat incredulous statement—that the faulty cars were only sold to the Japanese people. In a statement, the firm admits it had misrepresented fuel consumption rates on four car models—two Mitsubishi-branded, and two of those built for Nissan. Meanwhile, tainted auto giant Volkswagen has wrested the No. 1 global position from shutdown hit Toyota. Ah, the irony.



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