Nov 27, 2007
Nov 25, 2007
Why is this happening.
1. December through February is a marriage season in India.
2. Hotels have been offering "pamper yourself" weekends. Here your whole family can check-in, enjoy the pool, the gym, breakfast, and the beach. Increasing household income and stressful work weeks means these packages are convenient and attractive to more and more local households.
3. Increased business travel.
So, all luxury chains have increased the tariff by 25-40%. Forget the deals. The next step for this would be a squeeze on rental spaces. Homeowners would be able to make a lot more money by letting the tourists rent their homes for short stays instead of getting into a longer arrangements with the renters.
Nov 24, 2007
Distance between Borivli and Nariman Point 55 km
For the hovercraft service to be really attractive, a Ro-Ro (roll on and roll off with vehicles) option would be the best. It will also cut down the congestion on the roadways. This is not being considered currently.
The past has not been so rosy for this service. Vashi to Gateway of India service was started in 1994, but was suspended due to lack of jetties, support from the government. What is required is permanent set of jetties along with a terminal.
All of this would cost around Rs 600 Cr. This would be well worth it. Nearly 550 new cars are being added to the Mumbai roads each day. This viable alternative will cut down congestion and pollution at the same time.
The current plan is to start off with 12 hovercrafts seating 120 passengers and ramp up to 45 hovercrafts.
The service will be suspended during the monsoon season.
Nov 23, 2007
The following two pictures capture Mumbai's future by staying true to her spirit. It is true the more things change the more they remain the same. With the stock market, real estate, incomes booming, Mumbai is getting much needed attention to its infrastructure. New trains, metros, sea link is right around the corner. However, it is quite likely that the following two images would hold true.
Nov 22, 2007
This is what it means to individual sectors of this industry.
Film industry will be worth $4.4 - 5.1 billions
TV. There are 200 million households. TV has penetrated 60% of those homes. There are more than 350 channels.
Animation industry is nascent at $285 millions.
Gaming is $50 millions right now and will grow to $300 millions by 2009.
Print media accounts for 29% of the industry with more than 60,000 newspapers. However, the newspapers reach only to the 30% of the literate population.
Music and Radio is the only sector which shrank from $250 millions in 2000 to $155 millions in 2004. more than 70% of the content in this sector comes from the movies.
If everything goes according to plan, athletes at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi will be travelling from the games venue to the games village and back on pollution-free hydrogen buses. Work on the country’s first such green initiative by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and Tata Motors has already started and the prototype is expected to be ready by December 2008.
The bus will not run on an engine but on electric power produced from a mix of hydrogen and oxygen. It will use hydrogen fuel cell technology as against combustion technology which burns gasoline. The bus will emit nothing but a cloud of water vapour. Tatas were enamoured by French inventor Guy Negre’s air-powered technology for car engines and were keen on bringing it to India.
CLEAN & GREEN
The vehicles will be introduced at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi The buses will emit water vapour and not noxious gases Hydrogen will eliminate use of carbon-based fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions; Will be alternative to petroleum.
Hydro-bus will cost Rs 80 lakh
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and Tata Motors are planning to roll out India’s first truly eco-friendly vehicle, fuelled by hydrogen and leaving behind only a stream of water vapour, by December 2008.
Tata Motors will get the frame and chassis ready while Isro will provide the fuel technology. The first bus will be a 60-seater proto-model. Based on its performance, modified versions will be built later on, Isro chairman G Madhavan Nair told reporters on the sidelines of the 14th session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum that opened on Thursday at the ISRO headquarters here.
The bus will cost about Rs 80 lakh with the hydrogen gas that will run it costing about Rs 120 per kg or more. A 40 kg cylinder will allow the bus to run 560 km—the equivalent of an entire day’s running for a typical metro bus. “In the short run it may be costly, but in the long run when we are on the verge of hydrocarbon extinction, people will be willing to pay anything. We are working on a bus now because that will be more economical than a car as it will hold 60 people.
“In Phase II, we will come out with a car with a lower cost of hydrogen gas. The technological challenge of conversion of gas to electricity is immediate for Isro now,’’ architect of the bus V Vnanagandhi, programme director, SAC, Isro, Ahmedabad.
Nair said hydrogen fuel cell technology was the future for automobiles. “How much ever we try with conventional engines, we are unable to control pollution, but this technology will help do that.’’
Officials close to the developments said that over 200 meetings were held between the representatives of foreign real estate firms and Indian companies and over a dozen JVs are in the final stages. DAMC Holding (a Dubai-based leading real estate firm ) chairman and founder Hussain Sajwani said they have firmed up plans to invest around $3-5 billion in the Indian market. “We are in negotiations with various Indian developers for a possible joint venture, and hope to enter the market in the next 12 months,” he said.
Trump Organisation executive vice president (development and acquisition) Donald Trump Jr is euphoric about India. “Now is the time to come to India. We hope to strike the deal in the next 12-18 months, though we will be eager to do it much before,” he said. He, however, declined to divulge the amount of investment. Industry officials said a global real estate exhibition organised by Cityscape, currently going on in Mumbai, provided a platform for their discussions.
The Indian real estate industry is estimated to grow by 33% to $50 billion by 2010 and India is looking to remain an appealing investment option for both domestic and foreign investors. Gulf Finance House (GFH) has decided to invest over $2 billion in a greenfield site close to Navi Mumbai, near to the commercial capital’s airport. GFH has already raised $630 million towards the initial development and infrastructure requirements of the project. GFH has signed a wide ranging MoU with the government of Maharashtra towards the development of Energy City India, and the project details are now at an advanced stage.
Similarly, the Dubai Internet City has picked up Kochi to set up a Smart City project, and IT and media hub. The initial investment for the Smart City, being executed by the DIC management will be over $400 million. The Smart City would come up in a vast, 1,000 acres of land on the outskirts of Kochi. Plus Properties CEO Georges Chehwane said currently India offers huge business opportunities and the firm will be entering India in a year’s time.
According to the Asian Development Bank, some 10 million housing units alone will be required by 2030 and with current central bank restrictions on domestic real estate lending, inward flows of overseas capital will be essential to fill the financing void. It is estimated that an additional 16.8 million people annually adding to the surging demand for infrastructure, housing, schools, hospitals, retail as well as hospitality and commercial property. According to property consultants, with many property markets around the world already on the cusp of recession, India offers ideal investment opportunities.
Nov 21, 2007
It is estimated that more than Rs 200 to Rs 300 cr has been put up only on Sachin getting out in the 90s. According to sources, betting on Sachin not reaching the 100 figures has been high in this Pakistan series, especially from the Mohali ODI where he got out at 99 and India lost that match.
“Betting on India or Pakistan has been there since the beginning of the series. But this is a new thing. Now many people are betting on whether Sachin will be able to score a century. Interestingly, for the first time, people have put so much stake on an single batsmen scoring 100 runs,” said a punter.
The rates at the Mohali match on Sachin for not scoring 100 was 1:1.40. So if you bet Rs 100 on him, you would typically get back Rs 140. The punters open these rates once Tendulkar crosses the 90-run mark. The stakes in the Gwalior match was little lower at 1:1.25 — meaning that if you bet Rs 100 on his not scoring 100 runs, you will be richer by Rs 125.
Sachin has been out in the 90s six times this year — twice versus South Africa at Belfast in June at 99 runs in the first ODI, which India lost, and the second ODI which India won. In fact, twice he was out against England in the August-September series in both the matches India won.
Interestingly, with much of the interest already over ever since India won the ODI series against Pakistan, people are now betting on who will win the toss. Among individual players from India, Yuvraj Singh, M S Doni, R P Singh and Robin Uttapha are the clear favourites of the bookies. There is lot of betting on how much Yuvraj will score and even how many sixes he will hit.
Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi and Salman Butt, followed by Younis Khan and Imran Nazir, are also in currency.
Considering the diversity in terms of taste and preferences existing in India, the retailers are going for experimentation to identify the winning format suited to different geographies and segments. For example, the taste in the west is different from that in the north or south and this brings challenges to the retailers. Therefore, many retailers are region-centric at this point in time. The Landmark group, which has its dominance in the western region, operates multiple formats such as hypermarket (Max), departmental store (Lifestyle), Shoemart and Funcity12, etc.
Nov 17, 2007
Western Railway added 87,000 new passengers to its daily schedule according to the latest statistics. BEST bus routes are losing to the local trains since the roads are terrible and new apartments are being built close to the train stations. This growth is not sustainable. The new projects with metro, monorail will hopefully reduce the load. But till then the daily commute will continue to take a lot of Mumbai's working class.
“India has a rich and a prolific film history and we at Sony Pictures recognise the potential and importance of the Indian market. Tying up with an Indian company (as Sony has done with Eros for six co-productions) gives us the opportunity to team up with not only a leading production and distribution house but also gives us the opportunity to work with the talent in India and interact with the enormous creativity that the Indian film industry has to offer,” says Vikramjit Roy, head (publicity) for Sony Pictures Releasing India.
While Sony produced Saawariya for the worldwide market, other Hollywood studios are getting into co-production with Indian studios. In 2006, UTV announced a slate of co-productions with leading Hollywood studios, with a total value across projects of $37 million.
UTV and Fox Searchlight announced a co-production deal on the film I Think I Love My Wife , starring Chris Rock. The $14 million production is UTV’s second venture with Fox after The Namesake. The studio has also announced a $30 million co-production agreement with actor-producer Will Smith and his production company Overbrook Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment, for films to be created and distributed worldwide. “India is one of the most remarkable places on earth and its motion picture industry has always fascinated me,” said Will Smith.
What do tie-ups such as these mean for Indian players? Explains Siddharth Roy Kapur, executive vice-president (marketing, distribution & syndication) UTV, “Co-productions such as ours are a creative and commercial opportunity to play on a global stage. We are being able to mine new revenues across the world. Also, we now have the reach to take our movies to a non-diaspora audience.” The studio recently announced a tie-up with Fox for M Night Shyamalan’s next film The Happening. The movie has a budget of $57 million.
Can the co-production model really work in India? Or will it lead to ‘creative differences’ between directors and the studios? While Sony Pictures “fully supported the creative vision of Sanjay Leela Bhansali”, Shyamalan claims, “I won’t go ahead if the studio does not like even single page in the script. I won’t make a movie if the studio is not convinced about my rationale. My experience with studios across has been ideal and they have always let me have my will in making the movie.”
Come January 2008 and an Indian film will be shot on location in China for the first time ever. Starring Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone, Made In China is being co-produced by Warner Bros Pictures and veteran director Ramesh Sippy. “At the turn of the century there was a lot of promise in the air about globalisation in Indian cinema. With this venture, we are bringing that dream closer to reality. Both Hollywood and the Indian film industry stand to gain a lot from each other,” says Sippy.
Finally, it’s about the money. With Hollywood studios willing to put in big bucks, fees of desi directors and actors are skyrocketing. “The crore is the new lakh and nobody’s complaining,” says an insider.
Nov 11, 2007
The upgrade is a part of Mumbai Urban Transport Infrastructure Project. The new train will help the Western Railways add 21 new services on the Dadar-Virar section. The trains are Siemens designed and built in Chennai.
The train ride will be silent and jerk free. The controls will be computer controlled instead of mechanical. Giant fans will provide a forced air ventilation system. These trains will run quieter as well. 66 dB instead of current 90 dB. It will save 30% more electricity since the train will use the braking action to generate stored power. They will run faster as well 100 km/hr instead of current 80 km/hr.
Nov 9, 2007
The caves are known as "Buddhist." The highest cave is situated at a height of 1500 ft above sea level. The location of the caves is 45 km from main Mumbai city and 10 km from Borivali railway station. The way to the caves leads through the most beautiful and best natural surroundings of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The zigzag concrete road is fascinating and one enjoys walking the road with natural surroundings (7 km from the Park's entrance. The atmosphere and the scenic beauty is simply enchanting and one is tempted to be in a close vicinity of this place forgetting all the hubs of the Mumbai city.
The word Kanheri originates from the Sanskrit word Krishnagiri. Krishna generally stands for black color. The other name in vogue was "Khaneri" which means black mountain. The following three inscriptions in the caves mention "Krishna-saila", "Kanha Shele", & "Krishnagiri" in cave nos. - C. No. 21, 98, & 101 respectively.
These caves are dated from 1st Century B.C. to 9th Century A.D. Most of them are the Buddhist Viharas which was meant for their residence, study, and meditation. A few Chaityas are seen containing rock-cut stupas meant for congregational worship. The large number of Viharas obviously prove a well-organized existence of Buddhist monks' establishment, which was also connected with many trade centers such as the ports of Sopara, Kalyan, Nasik, Paithan and Ujjain. Kanheri was a well-flourished University center at that time.
Nov 4, 2007
Mr. Mallya, 51, built one of India’s largest domestic airlines with aggressive marketing, pocketfuls of cash and a big deal. Now, he is taking his fleet overseas. He plans to bring Kingfisher Airlines, known in India for its saucy flight attendants, top-notch service and the slogan Fly the Good Times, to the United States and Europe as soon as next year.
Back in June, 2007, Mallya added fuel to his overseas plans with a $7 billion order for 50 Airbus planes at the Paris air show. “Our strategy at Kingfisher is to open new long-haul routes and expand existing ones,” he said.
The deal includes five Airbus A340s, which are economical to fly only on long-haul trips. Before Wednesday, Mr. Mallya had five Airbus superjumbo A380s on order, which he plans to fly nonstop to the East Coast of the United States, and five A340s intended for nonstop flights to West Coast cities.
His successes in other businesses are legendary in India, but the foray into international air travel comes at a time when airlines with even deeper pockets, from places including Dubai and Singapore, are attracted by India’s growing numbers of passengers.
And India’s young aviation industry has so far been all boom and no bust, meaning that new carriers like Kingfisher have no experience handling an economic downturn.
Mr. Mallya took over a sprawling family-owned group when he was 27 and turned the businesses into one of India’s most respected, best-known conglomerates, the UB Group, increasing revenue more than tenfold along the way. Taking Kingfisher Airlines international is the next logical step, he said.
“Any serious airline has to look at a worldwide network,” he said in a recent interview in Mumbai, formerly Bombay, as he smoked cigarillos and drank more than one large tumbler of Scotch over ice. “Today, there is serious international growth in and out of India,” he said. “It is an opportunity one should not miss.”
The number of domestic passengers in India increased nearly 40 percent over the last year. International passengers flying from Indian airports increased 25 percent. And only an estimated 3 percent of the nation’s billion people flew last year, so there is plenty of room for growth.
The latest order, and other outstanding orders, will bring Kingfisher Airlines’ overall fleet to 176 aircraft by 2018, from 30 now. Meanwhile, the airline, which started in 2005, has not yet made a profit. Mr. Mallya predicts that will come in the next fiscal year.
As a start-up, Mr. Mallya says, Kingfisher has some advantages that existing American and European carriers do not.
“These airlines grew so large and so unwieldy over the years that they are difficult to manage,” he said. “We have built Kingfisher brick by brick, making sure along the way that we don’t overstaff ourselves, that we use the right technology and that we plan everything to be neat and tight and efficient.”
While he characterizes his business plan that way, Mr. Mallya personally is the sort of unfettered corporate czar that many American boardrooms have not seen in at least half a century. He surrounds himself with a close group of longtime advisers, wears copious diamonds, holds business meetings at his house until 5 in the morning, winks at female journalists and flaunts the “good times” corporate motif in most aspects of his life.
At home, a Mercedes, a Ferrari and a Bentley are parked in his driveway. His ornate living room is filled with silver gilded furniture and art objects like a marble statue of a nymph-like woman, as well as a Picasso sketch. His CD collection includes dance, lounge and party music.
In an India where a growing middle class is rushing to embrace “Good Times,” Mr. Mallya’s image and lifestyle have become part and parcel of the company. The country’s young population “look on me as a kind of an icon,” he said, adding, “That works well for me, and it works well for the business too.”
One thing that Mr. Mallya’s carefully choreographed reputation may be hiding is that he cannot seem to stop working. “I’m not a T.G.I.F. guy,” he said. “I get off a plane at 2 o’clock in the morning and I’m looking for my secretary because I want to know what’s going on.”
“I work hard and I play hard, too,” he quickly added. “There is nothing wrong with that.”
The Antilia is being built for Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s largest private sector enterprise (with revenues exceeding $25 billion), and the Ambani family, who own the company. Reliance is a petrochemical corporation whose earnings come from exploring, producing, refining and marketing oil and gas. They are the world’s largest producer of polyester fiber, and a runner-up for several others.
The building will stand on Mumbai’s Altamount Road, where real estate costs as much as $1800/square foot. Although Mumbai is the densest city in the world, with almost 30,000 people per square kilometer, this 500+ foot tall building will only be 27 floors where normally a building of this height would be 60, so that each floor can have exceptionally high ceilings, and 35,000 square feet of the entire building area will be the residential quarters of the Ambani’s.
Nov 3, 2007
The customised monster-of-a-bird, that should have been delivered in April, rolled into Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport en route to Mumbai on Thursday morning. This was confirmed by Airbus sources who did not wish to be quoted. A Reliance spokesperson refused to comment.
The Reliance Industries chairman will finally have his office in the sky. After he bought the aircraft, Mukesh got it customised at the Associated Air Centre in Dallas, Texas. It has a state-of-the-art business office and cabin management system for games, music, satellite television and wireless communication. But more interestingly, it has a master bedroom, master lavatory with a range of showers, galleys and a sky bar in the forward lounge complete with mood lighting.
Sources tell us that Mukesh and Neeta celebrated her birthday a night in advance on Wednesday with a very small, very exclusive party at their Mumbai residence. The theme song for the evening was Mera pati Mera Parmeshwar Hai - reported to be one of Neeta’s favourites. And why not? After all the gift he gave her was something any woman would cherish. Using home video footage of Neeta and their children - right from the time the twins were born - he put together a small film that showcased her with the children.
He may have got the idea from Neeta’s gift to him on his 50th birthday earlier this year. Neeta had gifted him a special biopic directed by none other than Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, the director of Rang De Basanti.
The 40-minute film mapped Mukesh’s life after his father’s death and was shown at the special celebrations organised at Reliance’s Jamnagar factory with workers and special invitees in attendance.
For Neeta’s last birthday, Mukesh had thrown what is still remembered as the party of the year. While Britain’s Crown Prince Andrews was a special invitee, the show stealer was Shah Rukh Khan who had danced the night away.
Next year, Mukesh is probably hoping to give his wife a gift most women can only dream of - a 27-storey mansion. The house is currently under construction at Pedder Road and is expected to be ready by next year.