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Huawei to invest $150 million in Bangalore R and D centre.

Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei will invest $150 million in its research and development (R and D) centre coming up in Bangalore.

The centre, being built over one million sq feet can seat about 4,000 people, according to the company whose revenues were at $32 billion in 2011.

Huawei officials did not give out specific hiring plans, but said that they would pick up telecom engineers and networking specialists whenever there was a need.

The development centre will cater to Huawei's enterprise, telecom operators and cellphone business segments. Scott Sykes, Vice- President, Corporate Media Affairs, and Huawei Technologies, said: "We see demand coming from 4G rollout in India, and the centre will work on our NextGen smartphone handsets." Last year, Huawei started making smartphones and, according to company officials, has sold 60 million smartphones till date.

The India centre will work on technologies that can increase battery life in smartphones. This is because the battery life of most handsets in the market last not more than a day.

"We already have smartphones that come with two days of battery life and are looking to further reduce the form factor in a smartphone and provide better quality battery life and run on the latest networks."

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, Huawei launched its slimmest smartphone at 6.68mm weighing about 110 gm.

Indian healthcare major Piramal, which had taken over Bayer HealthCare's molecular-imaging pipeline, has been investing in German molecular imaging technology.

With the Indian major of the belief that the future of medicine is set to be personalised medicine, the global deal inked in April this year is set to help in the early detection of Alzheimers.

Piramal Enterprises sees revenue potential of $1.5 billion from its florbetaben molecule. Piramal had taken over the pipeline from the German company and has since then been continuing research and development work on the acquired PET (Positron Emission Tomography) which is a nuclear medicine imaging technique at its labs in Berlin.

At a press briefing, Ajay Piramal, Chairman of the Piramal Group commented on the strategy, "Molecular imaging is one of the key technologies paving the way for individualised medicine. Our acquisition of a powerful pipeline in this field is an important milestone on the road to an innovative pharmaceutical portfolio."

Florbetaben, Piramal's most advanced PET tracer, enables the detection of beta-amyloid deposits in the brain.

"A phase III study to test the reliability of florbetaben in the histopathological detection of beta-amyloid has been successfully completed. Submission of the dossier for drug approval by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency is expected later in 2012.

"In addition, Piramal Imaging is working on other PET tracers for various medical indications," said Swati Piramal, Vice-Chairperson of Piramal Enterprises.

Christoph von Knobelsdorff, Permanent Secretary at the Berlin Senate's Department of Economics, Technology and Research, said Piramal Imaging's decision to come to Berlin was a real gain for the city.

Despite a palpable slowdown in the eating out industry across the globe, India has emerged as the fastest growing market for Domino's, outpacing US, which is the largest market for the pizza chain major across 73 countries where it has presence. India recorded an annual growth rate of nearly 50% for Domino's for the fifth consecutive year.

"India has been performing fabulously for us. We are seeing some pressure in Western Europe especially, where it has been a very tough economic year for us," Domino's executive vice president (international) Richard E Allison Jr said. India, which accounts for 5% of Domino's' global sales, is among the top five markets for the US-based company. In terms of store counts too, India has registered the highest growth among all other markets.

The brand added 75 stores in India in calendar year 2011 taking the total number to 500. It is planning to increase the number by 100 in the current financial year.

The company, which currently competes with other food chains such as Pizza Hut and Papa John's, commands around 55% share of the Rs 1,800 crore pizza industries in the country.

With only 10-15% of the industry organized, Allison is optimistic on increasing its market share by increased accessibility to consumers. The company will invest over Rs 150 crore in India this financial year, up from the Rs 111 crore it had invested last year.

Like most other companies in the quick service restaurant space, Domino's too reported a decline in the same store sales growth in the April to June quarter to 22.3% from 36.7% in the corresponding period last year.

With consumer spending getting more discretionary, the brand has pushed price hikes, which normally happen in the first quarter, to the second quarter of the current fiscal year.

The company is also focusing on value offerings in a bid to widen its consumer base in the country. "We have to think about the product pricing always. The game is all about value pricing. We are only focusing on increasing our market share in India."

S. Africa seeks investments in agro-processing

South Africa has sought Indian investment for its flourishing food processing sector.

Speaking at a conference on "Challenges and Opportunities in agro sector in South Africa", Deputy Minister of Department of Trade and Industry Elizabeth Thabethe said that the agro-processing sector offers opportunity for investment with the backing of the South African government through policy and various incentives. Undoubtedly, agro-food processing in South Africa is a sector that is not only open for new investments and the region, but one that is in fact viable, she said.

South Africa climatic condition is conducive for growing diversity of crops, livestock and fish. There were other sub sectors with investment potential too.

The establishment of preferential trade agreements such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act for the US market and a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union, confer generous benefits for potential investors.

Bilateral Trade

Bilateral trade between India and South Africa has increased from $45 million in 1993 to $7 billion last year. Further, India ranks among the top 10 investing countries in South Africa, with investments estimated at over $6 billion to date. The challenge now lies in increasing the pace of growth and consolidating the gains being made, she said.

In a bid to strengthen the trade ties between India and South Africa various agreements including the General Trade Agreement, Cooperation on defense issues, SME development and Capacity building through the India Technical Cooperation Program.

NSTPL launches country's first DTN cable service

Noida Software Technology Park Limited (NSTPL), along with Motorola, Intelsat and KIT digital, today announced the launch of India's First Direct To Network (DTN) cable service - JAINHITS.

JAINHITS will mobilise the investment of over Rs 1500 crore over the period of five years in the Headend In The Sky (HITS) platform, with strategic support from its partners to deliver affordable digital service to existing cable operators and MSOs and help them meet the Government's National Digitization Mandate.

Motorola is the end to end technology partner, KIT digital is the solution architect and managed services partner, and Intelsat is the satellite provider for the JAINHITS service.

JAINHITS service will be available pan India to cable operators and MSOs by November 2012. HITS is a satellite-based platform for distribution of digital TV signals to cable operators.

In the first phase, JAINHITS will offer 200 standard definition and high definition service; HBB TV (Interactive TV) and broadband. In the second phase, it will be scaled to offer 500 channels including 30 HD channels and value added services for e-commerce, education, healthcare, financial services, gaming, and on- demand content etc.

Within one year of launch, the platform will evolve into a multi- screen service.

Dr JK Jain, Chairman, Jain TV Group said, '---instead of investing our energies and money in building multiple digital headends, Cable Operators should join hands towards creating the HITS partnership into a Federation of Cable Operators that will jointly create India's unique new generation network to carry entertainment, education and information across the length and breadth of India"" .

Commenting on the launch, Ankur Jain, Managing Director, JAINHITS, said, "Today, there are about 7 DTH operators, 60,000 Cable Operators and about 6000 Headend operators who connect over 120 million TV Homes. JAINHITS will be the only national cable platform that can help achieve digitization within stipulated deadline.

With JAINHITS the national digitization infrastructure expenditure on network can reduce from Rs 30,000 crore to 1,500 crore. We will be operating the latest technology in DVB S2 MPEG 4 quality over satellite followed by DVBC transmission for cable.

These technologies are more suited for broadcast than IPTV and DTH as they are weather proof, capacity efficient and can run 1000 channels unlike DTH and IPTV."

Kevin Keefe, VP and GM-Sales, Asia Pacific - Motorola Mobility said, "It is an interesting time in India as the country gears up to have digital cable revolution. As the global leader, we are excited to be part of this revolution and bring in all our experience in making sure the Indian consumers get the best TV viewing experience there is anywhere in the world."

NSTPL has signed a multi-year, multi-transponder agreement for C-band capacity on Intelsat 902 at 62 degree East. The company plans to use the capacity to create a white label, turnkey channel package (JAINHITS) that can be received and distributed by multiple system and local cable operators throughout the country. Stephane Thibault, Managing Sales Director, Media Services, Asia - Intelsat, said, "India has a flourishing cable distribution market and millions of people in India watch TV via cable.

With cable going digital soon in the country it makes sense to implement HITS technology. Intelsat's satellites and video services enable new and innovative platforms that can efficiently reach consumers in regions of the world such as India."

NSTPL is a Satellite Communication Operator. NSTPL is a B2B video and data service operator.

Its services portfolio includes TV Uplink, Down linking of International Channels, Video and Data engineering services, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and Broadband services. The company is an existing profit making closely held company.

India is world leader in concentrated solar heating, says Ministry

With some 80 different applications of concentrated solar heating in practice in the country, India is the world leader in CSH, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has said.

When you speak of solar energy, you think mainly of solar panels and electricity flowing from them. Then you would think of appliances such as solar water heaters and solar lamps.

But the big use of solar energy lies in directly using the sun's heat for use in industry. Lots of manufacturing units require just low-to-medium temperature heat, up to 250 degrees Celsius, mostly for drying stuff. Today, this heating is done by burning fuel oil, coal or biomass.

Here is where India scores, both in terms of potential and also applications developed, says the Ministry.

"India is leading the world with around 80 CSH applications," it has said in a background note to UNDP- GEF sponsored project for nurturing CSH technologies in India.

Without going into details of the 80 applications, the Ministry has noted that the predominant use of concentrated solar heating is in "institutional cooking".

In India, the current CSH market is about 2,000-3,000 square metres a year (of the concentrated area), says MNRE. The Global Environment Fund project will complement MNRE's efforts of CSH technology, awareness, capacity, market and financial barriers and increase CSH sales to 15,000 square metres by 2016.

Direct emission reductions from the demonstration and replication projects during the 5-year project duration will be 39,200 tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent.

Over the economic lifetime of 20 years for the project supported CSH applications, cumulative direct emission reductions will be 315,000 tonnes of CO2, the Ministry says.

Govt to set up testing labs for IT products

The Government is planning 15 new laboratories for testing hardware and software products. The labs would be set up under public private partnership (PPP) model. The Government will identify the locations for them soon.

These labs will enable IT companies to register and test their products before selling it in the market.

There are already five such laboratories under Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) in Delhi, Noida, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai.

"This would be one of the components of the National Electronics Policy that will span and support innovative work here. Products will have to be registered first in these laboratories in compliance with the safety standards set by the Government," a top DeitY official said.

The proposals to set up these new labs have been sent to various Ministries for comments before seeking Cabinet's approval.

The proposed scheme would be similar to automobiles sector, wherein the Automotive Research Association of India, situated in Pune, provides certification to each vehicle before they hit the roads.

The DeitY official said the laboratories would be part of Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification. The services include testing, calibration, IT and e-Governance, training and certification to public and private organisations.

These laboratories have national and international accreditation and recognitions in the area of testing and calibration.

Smaller cities favoured for upcoming logistic hubs

An acre of land in Oragadam, near Chennai, today costs Rs 2.50 crore, while it used to be around Rs 80 lakh three years ago.

With the auto sector turning Oragadam into its hub, not only has the price of land gone up in and around the area, but it has also opened enormous business opportunities for logistics and warehousing operations.

Once the Goods and Service Tax (GST) is implemented there will be a great demand for logistic and warehouse operations, said V.N. Sridharan, Chief Executive Officer, Shri Kailash Logistics, which has a large logistics park in Oragadam. He said goods worth Rs 5,000 crore are manufactured in the zone every month.

The latest findings of C.B. Richard Ellis (CBRE), an international real estate consulting firm, validates Sridharan's views on the demand for logistics space not only in Oragadam but across the country.

The report India Logistics Market View says that India witnessed increased market activity in the first half of 2012.

Demand for logistic and warehousing spaces were not only limited to leading cities, such as Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore, but was spread across tier II cities.

E-tailers are investing heavily in strategically-located assets and are taking up quality warehousing space.

However, availability of large land parcels at low cost, connectivity to multiple markets across states and industrial clusters, has led to the emergence of some tier II and III cities as favoured destinations for the development of logistics parks and warehouses.

Anshuman Magazine, Chairman and Managing Director of CBRE South Asia Pvt Ltd, said, "The rising level of activity in logistics and warehousing space across metros as well as tier II cities is testimony to the growing confidence of domestic and international retailers in India.

Factors such as enhanced connectivity, various reforms and completion of major infrastructure projects are expected to further augment the logistics sector."

Expansion spree

FMCG majors, white goods and consumer electronics firms are on an expansion spree and are increasing their footprint in India.

Built-to-suit options have been the preferred mode of expansion for most occupiers, with large transactions of warehousing space of 10,000 -15,000 sq ft being reported in the first half of 2012, he said.

Tax reforms, such as the GST, will replace a host of indirect taxes, Central Excise, Service Tax, and various State-level duties with a single levy. This is expected to bring significant reorganization into the warehousing industry and network planning by organizations, says the report.

Over the last few months, growth in domestic consumption, coupled with better efficiency in containerized transportation, has led to an increase in demand for high-quality warehouses.

A popular trend across key micro markets has been consolidation of multiple facilities in the same region into a single warehouse. Rental values are expected to remain stable in the next two quarters across most micro-markets in the region, says the report. (www.ibef.org)
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Publication:Cambodian Business Review
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Date:Oct 31, 2012
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