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MARCH 25, 2007
 Cover Story
 BT Special
 Back of the Book

Mobile Security
Today, it is all about information and how the right information is sent to the right people at the right time and right place. Uncertainty about how to secure mobile phones in the face of increasing threats is slowing individual adoption of mobile applications. There are many facets of mobile security, including network intrusion, mobile viruses, spam and mobile phishing. Analysts expect big telecom companies to develop security solutions on various security platforms.

Rough Ride
These are competitive times for the Indian aviation industry. As salaries zoom, players are scrambling to find profits. Even the state-owned Indian is now seeking young airhostesses to take on the competition. It is planning to introduce a voluntary retirement scheme for airhostesses above 40 years. On an average, they draw a salary of Rs 5 lakh a year. The salaries of pilots, too, are soaring. According to industry estimates, the country needs over 3,000 pilots over the next five years.
More Net Specials

Business Today,  March 11, 2007

Namaste Tokyo!
Striding higher: Indian code-jocks are gaining acceptance in Japan as well
The world, it appears, is finally becoming the oyster for Indian techies! Fresh from their conquest of Silicon Valley (the original one), this breed is now looking east-at the Land of the Rising Sun. At last count, there were about 8,000 Indian geeks living and working in Japan. Of course, it does help that Japan is facing a crunch of nearly 300,000 it engineers. "Some Japanese companies outsource a lot of their work to India, so it helps if they have Indian tech staff on their rolls who can communicate the company's requirements to their suppliers and vendors here," says Kazuhiko Sujimora, Chief Representative, India, KDDI Corporation, a Japanese telecom company. The preferred employers: Mitsubishi, Sony and Yokogawa Electrics among others.

Call of the Sea
"India is a Big Growth Opportunity"
Tendering On The Net

Adding ballast to this trend is the fact that over the last few years, Japan's insular corporate culture has become more globally inclusive. "Since 2005, Japan has realised that the global political situation has changed and that its next destination should be India. While Japan's strength is in hardware, we are strong in software. This can make for a very strong marriage between the two," says Tokyo-based Harsh Obrai, Senior Consultant, Itochu Techno-Solutions Corporation.

Most of the Indian it professionals in Japan are in their 20s and 30s, and a majority of them live in Tokyo. In fact, locals call Edogawa, the city's eastern suburb, Little India. The last couple of years has seen a mushrooming of Indian shops and restaurants in the area; there is now even a school for Indian children.

The visa application figures also tell a story; of the 10,000 visas granted annually by the Japanese Embassy and its consulates in India, 3,000 are for it professionals. So, if you don't mind mixing your sushi with suji, join in the queue.


This year, the doors of Perception's conference on "Food and Juice" in New Delhi talked about food as a design issue. The conference dwelt upon issues like urban agriculture, greywater (non-industrial wastewater generated from domestic processes such as washing dishes, laundry and bathing) management, food distribution and re-appropriation of resources. "Global food systems are an example of wasteful economic activities that are offshoots of globalisation. Processed food consume 10-times more energy than what enters our bodies due to increasing food miles (distance from farm to food distance) and CO2 emissions attributable to the transport, processing, packaging and distribution of food," says John Thackara, Director, Doors of Perception.

Participants from 25 countries talked about their own contribution and design solutions, which have worked even in a small way to address the growing crisis over food and energy.

The conference which was "all about action, not talk" required participants to go on water mapping excursions and on street food tours to study urban agriculture, langar and wastewater management and even visit local farms.

Call of the Sea

It's not only the Vijay Mallyas and the Gautam Singhanias of this world who own yachts and luxury boats. Dozens of lawyers, investment bankers, doctors and young CEOs are joining the club. "A new generation of wealthy Indians is turning its attention from top-end cars to private yachts," says Malav Shroff, Director of the recently concluded Mumbai International Boat Show, adding: "A yacht provides the ultimate luxury environment for work and play. And the vast Indian coastline, with its sea forts and virgin beaches, offers some great cruising options."

The demand for leisure boats is huge. "From just four to five yachts in 1994, there are today close to 130 of these boats, a majority of them owned by individuals," says Aashim Mongia, Founder, West Coast Marine, a company that sells and maintains yachts. Experts say the boating industry in India will, potentially, be worth $1.5 billion (Rs 6,600 crore) in the next 10 years. Already, world leaders in the industry-like Ferretti of Italy, Bayliner of the US, Princess of the UK and Gulf Craft of UAE-have established beachheads in the country. Speaking to BT from Dubai, Erwin Bamps, Executive Director, Gulf Craft, says: "We sell one yacht every three weeks (in India)."

To further boost the growing demand, these companies are entering into tie-ups with banks to offer loans and are also exploring the possibility of promoting fractional ownership of yachts. Mongia's West Coast Marine has tied up with yes Bank to offer yacht financing. Mongia explains that the bank provides finance up to Rs 30 lakh for 3-5 years at 18 per cent per annum. At last count, the country had 83,000 millionaires. The economy is galloping along at over 8 per cent per annum; so it's a fair assumption that the number of millionaires is also growing at a fair clip. No wonder boat makers are so bullish about India.

"India is a Big Growth Opportunity"

Become an important player in
India over the next 10 years.
GE money, the retail financial services arm of General Electric, is present in 54 countries. It has a sizeable business in India too, but it is not a bank like it is in many countries. Last fortnight, its President and CEO, Dave R. Nissen, was in India. He spoke to BT's Shalini S. Dagar. Excerpts:

How important is India to GE Money?

We have identified India as an IB (imagination breakthrough), which is a term that focusses a spotlight on some of our biggest growth opportunities. These are reviewed on a regular basis by the Chairman of GE. We have worked hard on a programme we call Fast Forward which has identified 10 areas we believe are critical for GE Money to become an important player in India over the next 10 years.

Are current ownership and expansion regulations constraining your growth?

If there are changes in the banking ownership rules, then we will take a hard look at that.

What are your key concerns in the global retail financial services space?

We are quite concerned about the US mortgage market where there is a bubble in near prime and sub-prime markets. European economies are doing quite well. The biggest worry in Asia we have is about bubbles in credit cards. It happened in South Korea and Taiwan. Will it happen in China and in India? We don't think so, but there is high growth and intense competition in India.

How much of a threat is rising interest rates to consumer demand?

Higher interest rates are always a threat to consumer demand, but central banks have done a good job till now of increasing rates without killing gdp growth.

Biometric ATMs Make Their Mark

What are they? Biometric ATMs, that allow users to use physical attributes like a palm, finger or face recognition and voice recognition software to access a machine.

Who's offering them? Andhra Bank has announced plans of launching a network of 75-100 biometric ATMs across the country over the next 2 years. Incidentally, the Jalgaon People's Cooperative Bank was the first in the country to launch such cards three years ago. ICICI Bank and Citi also offer this service. All of them offer the fingerprint option for now.

Why are they useful? Well, for one, they're more secure; secondly, they're easier to use as one doesn't have to remember PIN and CVV numbers. Then, in a country like India, where illiteracy levels are high, ATMs that rely on fingerprints obviously make life easier for everyone concerned.

Going forward...: "We're in talks with over a dozen banks," says Abhay Khinvasara, CEO of Axis Software, which created the software for the ATMs. And several of them plan to launch such ATMs in urban areas.

Tendering On The Net

What is it? A web-based tendering platform with various applications built in that totally removes the necessity of manually handling tenders at any stage.

Who's using it? Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, Delhi Metro Rail and Pondicherry Public Works Department Corporation.

Why is it useful? It lowers the costs for both the party issuing the tender as well as that of the participant. It is also totally transparent and secure.

Who is offering it? There are several small players providing e-tendering solutions on an ad hoc basis, but Electronic Tender is the only company offering a comprehensive range of solutions and also offering the same on ASP (Application Service Provider) basis through its vendor Chennai Interactive Business Servces in India and YSER Inc. in the US.

What's the value of e-tendering in India? Above Rs 8,000 crore.



Status: $59.60 per barrel in Feb. '07.

Impact: Crude oil prices are up marginally over the last one month, but if one looks at the figures for the last six months, a declining trend becomes evident, which is a good news for Indian economy. This will not only ease the pressure on the country's foreign exchange reserves by way of a reduced oil import bill, but also help tame the inflationary pressure.


Status: 6.05 per cent for the week ended February 17, 2007.

Impact: Rising inflation has been the single biggest contributor to rising interest rates in the economy. If the inflation keeps growing at over the RBI-projected figure of 5-5.5 per cent, it can impact the country's growth story.
-Compiled by Anand Adhikari

A bird's eye view of what's hot and what's not on the government's policy radar.