In this week's wrapup, we talk about food security, Amazon, Chinese-origin companies, Apple’s privacy update, and lastly retirement planning.
But if you want to check out the Markets edition this week before you go about reading the wrapup, don't forget to click the link here. It's about PNB Housing Finance.
Will cutting fossil fuels hurt India’s food security?
Here’s a fact, India imports vast amounts of crude oil and we pay a fortune for it. And for the longest time, the Indian government has been trying its best to somehow reduce the oil import bill. One ingenious solution it has deployed to save costs is to blend petrol with some ethanol. Some estimates say the government could save $4 billion annually if it manages to increase the use of domestically produced ethanol.
But there are some unintended consequences of going all out on ethanol blending. Particularly with respect to India’s food security. We explain this in more detail in the Monday Newsletter, so be sure to check it out.
Amazon and the Copycat playbook
Last week, Reuters reported that Amazon India copied products from sellers on its platform and then rigged search results to promote Amazon’s in-house brands. Aping everyday products and creating a private label isn’t exactly illegal and nor is it a new thing, big retailers like Target and Walmart have been doing it for years. However, the scale at which Amazon has done it has astonished many. The story by Reuters caused quite a stir in India. With many trader bodies calling for Amazon’s boycott, and even asking the government to take some stern action.
So we decided to dive into this story and see the infamous Copycat playbook for ourselves. And here’s what we discovered.
How to annoy the Chinese government?
As per a recent Economic Times article, the Indian government was reportedly mulling a regulation that will allow for in-depth testing of Chinese made handsets, mainly to screen these devices for apps and programs that can snoop on us. The context - well, countries are wary and suspicious of the Chinese government and the influence they wield on private Chinese companies like Xiaomi and Huawei. So this Wednesday we took a comprehensive look at how some countries are taking measures to keep the Chinese companies at an arm’s length and how India also seems to be upping the ante in this regard. Check out the full story.
How Apple made privacy profitable?
Internet companies rely on their apps and websites to gather data and other valuable information of their users. They know when you buy ice cream, which flavour is your favourite, or if you need any new sneakers. This information is then used to sell targeted ads and ads make them money. And this sneaky collection of data goes on and on, 24x7. Now we are at a point where there are enough people who are getting uncomfortable, who value their privacy. Apple for its part has decided to offer these people an added layer of privacy with its new software update. This however has made life difficult for the likes of Facebook.
Why?? What is in this update? and What does Apple get out of stifling personalised ads of other companies? Find out in the Thursday Newsletter.
India’s retirement planning needs a boost
India is a pretty young country now. Our median age is 28.4 years. But by 2050, it’s expected to be 38.1 years. With these trends, it won’t be long before we have a large ageing population. And it seems like not many people have made concrete financial plans for their retirement days. As per one survey, 89% of the Indian respondents believed they were not prepared for retirement. And 48% said they didn’t know what kind of money they would need. It is high time we started preparing our ageing populations for retirement. So in Friday’s Finshots, we decided to examine the need for a strong post-retirement social security system. Check out the full story.