The summer’s in full swing and so is the mango season. And there’s one funny thing about India’s mango production. We are actually the biggest mango producer globally. You could say that nearly half of the world’s mangoes are produced in India. But less than 1% of them travel to international markets. Guess why?
Well, Indians love mangoes so much that they consume almost all the mangoes that the country produces. That’s nearly 11 million tonnes! This may not be so hard to believe as well, since India doesn’t just eat mango as a fruit, but also uses it in both ripe and raw forms to make aamras, chutneys, pickles and curries.
Besides, Zepto has proof of India’s mango mania. According to its latest data, the delivery app has sold mangoes worth a whopping ₹25 crores in April alone! That too in just about 10 cities that it operates in.
And unsurprisingly it was the famous Alphonso mangoes that wore the crown by making up nearly 30% of Zepto’s mango sales.
How many mangoes have you eaten this season? Or should we ask how many varieties, because keeping track of the number can be tedious no?
Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵
Saal by Ishpreet Singh
Thanks Abhinay Pansari for this soothing recommendation.
A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀
Can Shein make a successful comeback?
Shein needs no introduction. You probably know it as the Chinese fast fashion app that was banned by India in 2020 over cross-border security concerns. But even before the ban the controversial app made quite a name for itself.
Within just a year of its Indian launch in 2017 for instance, it had garnered over 5 million downloads, a million daily active users and 10,000 orders every day with an average order value ranging between ₹1,000 and ₹1,500.
And by the time the company planned to triple its business here, the government decided to give Shein the chop along with 58 other Chinese apps.
But now, the rumour is that Shein is all set for a resurrection in India. But wait….isn’t India still uncomfortable with the idea of Chinese apps?
Well, that’s a pretty valid question. But the Chinese app itself isn’t coming back. Shein, China will license its technology and trademarks to Reliance Retail Ventures Private Limited ― Reliance’s retail arm. And the operations will be completely run by the Indian company. Yup, Reliance.
So, can Shein be successful?
Well, between the time of Shein’s disappearance and FY22, there have been significant investments in startups and global companies that cater to Gen-z’s fashion needs. Everyone wants fashion and everyone wants it fast. So it isn’t surprising that venture capitalists struck 31 deals amounting to $212 million with fashion brands like Stumbl, Zouk and Virgio in FY22 alone.
Sure, the funding winter may have affected the number of deals in FY23. However, that doesn’t erase Gen-z’s hunger for frequent wardrobe makeovers.
But here’s the thing. These brands like Urbanic or BlissClub came in to fill the void Shein created when it left. So all of Shein’s customer base spread over these newly sprung companies in due course. This means that it could be hard to regain its past glory.
Then there are concerns about Shein’s plagiaristic practices and labour exploitation. It is no secret that the company has been a controversy magnet. In 2021, Levis filed a suit against it for stealing its jeans stitching patterns which the former had trademarked. That’s not all, brands like Mara Hoffman, Puma, Adidas, H&M and Ralph Lauren have also sued Shein for making confusingly similar apparel and competitive yet unfair pricing.
Besides, Shein has also been accused of exploiting Chinese labourers who are made to work even 75 hours a week so that the brand can produce cheap apparel. And lawmakers in the US are already prodding it to reveal its labour practices before it goes public in the US markets.
And if the audit unravels any nasty deets, then well, it may not be good news for Shein’s partnership with Reliance in India. What do you think?
The Bhils and their Baobabs
Trees can be worth a lot of money. They can be of medicinal value, their barks can make great spices and their trunks can go into making furniture. But imagine a tree worth ₹10 lakh.
We’re talking about the African Baobab that has spread its roots in India and is a prized possession to the Bhil tribes of Madhya Pradesh. And recently it’s been in the news for its ability to strike rivalry between the Bhils and Hyderabad’s rich businessmen.
You see, the Baobab doesn’t belong to India and it isn’t even clear how it landed here. But historical hearsay suggests that they may have been planted by African soldiers who worked for Islamic kings between the 10th and the 17th centuries. Today there are just about 1,000 of them spread across Mandu in Madhya Pradesh. You could find a few in Mumbai too. But they are being chopped down to make way for roads and buildings.
And the Baobab is considered the tree of life by the Bhils. It can survive for centuries together. It can store a lot of water in its hollow trunk which is a great relief for the tribes during the dry seasons. Its fruit brings food to their plates, the seeds go into making oils and literally every part of it has medicinal properties.
But now, wealthy businessmen want a share of this bounty and have been relocating them from Mandu to their warehouses so they can sell them off to clients at exorbitant prices. And apparently, the forest officials have permitted this activity. The Bhils though aren’t quite happy. They believe that if anyone wants to make a living out of these trees, then they must buy seeds from nurseries rather than uprooting them. The Baobab is actually an endangered species. So their argument makes sense. Besides, if all the trees are gone, then it’ll be hard for the Bhils to make ends meet no?
So, a couple of days ago, the Madhya Pradesh High Court seems to have heeded their unasked requests and stayed the felling and trading of Baobabs in a suo moto (action taken by a court without anyone filing a suit) hearing.
And we won’t know until July, what fate has in store for the Bhils and their Baobas. We surely hope that the court imparts justice. By the way, all this happened after Hindustan Times published a report on the matter. It’s incredible what good journalism can still do eh?
Money tips 💰
Switchboards and subscriptions
Our life now revolves around subscriptions. You have one for the gym, another for meal plans. Even for regularly stocked up grocery items. And we needn’t talk about our subscriptions to streaming platforms simply because our entertainment revolves around these apps now.
Oftentimes, when you have multiple subscriptions, there’s a chance that you aren’t using all of them. And if it’s an annual plan then you could just buy and forget.
Let’s imagine that you prefer watching shows on Netflix to those on Amazon Prime. And you might watch shows on the latter only for about a quarter of the year. Won’t it be wise to subscribe to the streaming service only during those months during which you use it?
Now, although an annual subscription may seem cheap, it may not actually be so if you don’t make full use of it. It’s like turning on all the switches on the switchboard and not running any of the devices plugged into it. You still have to pay the cost of standby power no? It’s an unnecessary expense really.
So, switching to monthly subscriptions and reviewing them regularly can be a great way to manage your expenses as you can simply pull the plug off your subscriptions during those months in which you feel you won’t be needing them.
Make sure to turn off the auto-renew facility though. Else, this advice may not be of any noble use.
Readers Recommend 🗒️
The Indian Dream | A podcast by Sahil and Siddharth
The Indian Dream tells the stories of risk-taking, value-generating business entrepreneurs who think long-term in the era of VC-funded hyper-growth engines.
A shout out to our reader Divya Mandaliya for sending in this amazing suggestion.
Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩
It’s time to announce the winner of our previous Weekly Quiz. And the winner is… 🥁
Afshan Khan! Congratulations. We’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch.
And for the rest of you, here’s your next chance to grab the winner’s crown. Click on this 👉🏽 link, answer all the questions correctly and tune in next week to check if you got lucky.
Until then, don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org).