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Sunday,19-September-2021

Business

RIL to now focus on monetization with ‘commerce layer’

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In the next four years, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)’s focus would be to add a third “layer of commerce” and monetize the existing investments across different formats.

According to a research report by BofA Securities, in the last 4 years, with Jio, RIL has been able to build a “digital layer” on top of the existing “physical layer” of retail shops across electronics, grocery and apparels.

“We believe the next four years, RIL’s focus would be to add a third ‘layer of commerce’ and monetize the existing investments across different formats,” the report said.

The company continues to invest in technology and is partnering with world’s best (Google, Facebook, Microsoft) as well as India’s best (invested in 20 plus startups). “We believe RIL is uniquely positioned with a sustainable competitive advantage to monetize this,” it added.

“In our view, the biggest takeaway from Jio’s last 4 year journey was that – ‘India is a supply-constrained market and not a demand-constrained market’,” the report noted.

So, as long as any company could efficiently provide goods and services at affordable prices, this market would consume.

“Jio proved the hypothesis and with potentially tariffs moving up in the future, we could see profitability also improving in cellular space,” the report said.

“Over the next 3-4 years we believe RIL will offer ‘value for money’ proposition across fiber broadband, SME & enterprise market, offline/online retail market and areas like Education, Healthcare, Agriculture and media/Gaming markets,” the report added.

The company may be successful in a few domains and potentially look to acquire start-ups in spaces where it is struggling. Indeed, it has acquired 20 plus start-ups already, in process looking to improve its value proposition to consumers.

One of the reasons why companies like Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent etc. have been able to create “shareholder value” is because they owned their customers. Due to their value proposition customers come back again and again to them.

“We believe RIL also has potential to do this. Infact RIL’s approach appears to owning the ‘pipe’ as well as the ‘services’ offered on the pipe,” it said.

“Over the next 3-5 years, we expect RIL to have 500 million mobile users, offer broadband services to 20-25 million households & cater to 12-15 million SMEs. The connectivity part of the Jio business focuses on offering these consumers the connections. The services part would focus on monetizing these,” it added.

For instance, entertainment offerings would help RIL improve stickiness. Jio may not fully monetize this but would keep users captive to cross-sell other offerings. RIL is also focusing on leveraging tech to offer Ed-tech, Health-tech, Agri-tech services.

“We also believe gaming will pick-up in India as the country has young population mix with world’s largest Gen Z workforce,” the report said.

An omni channel approach on commerce would help RIL sell its grocery, apparel and electronics items to a wider audience base. By working with the Kiranas, RIL would likely increase its B2B sales as well.

The catalyst could be a potential stake sale at retail business. As per reports, Reliance Retail may follow the Jio Platforms model, onboarding multiple investors by selling stakes in the firm. RIL has offered all 13 investors of Jio Platforms (including Facebook, Google etc.) the option to invest in its Retail unit.

Business

Cryptocurrency Hyper Fund under govt scanner

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The government is keeping a close eye on cryptocurrency floating in the market based out of the country folowing alert that agencies responsible to check financial fraud are watching a company called Hyper Fund.

Sources said Hyper Fund, a DEFI by Hyper Tech Group has come under the radar recently. The Group claims to have launched the Hyper Fund to provide a decentralized financial infrastructure. Hyper Fund was announced in mid-2020.

As per the company website it is led by Ryan Xu, however, with the Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) model Hyper Fund has been luring investors with higher returns and such offerings, a common practice under Ponzi Schemes, that got the authorities alerted in the first place.

According to sources, complaints against such Funds have started pouring in several states. In India, the RBI, Union Finance Ministry and SEBI had warned people against cryptocurrency trading. The RBI is planning to launch India’s official digital currency- E Rupee soon.

The Finance Ministry has clarified that Virtual currencies are also not legal tender. Hence, VCs are not currencies. The RBI has also clarified that it has not given any licence/ authorization to any entity/ company to operate or deal with Bitcoin or any virtual currency.

In June 2018, Amit Bhardwaj was arrested at the Delhi Airport by Pune police along with his brother Vivek Bhardwaj in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme. Bhardwaj, started his own bitcoin mining operations and allegedly cheated more than 8,000 people to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore from across the country.

He has lodged a complaint with the Delhi Police special cell, alleging that he received an extortion call and was asked to pay protection money on September 6, 2021. He had setup multi-level marketing (MLM) scam by luring investors to give him Bitcoins in return for promised higher returns, police had alleged.

Regulators in UK have issued warning against such fund and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have warnings issued for both Hyper Fund and Fund Advisor.

On its website, which was first published on in March 23 ,2021 and later updated on August 31, the FCA said, “We believe this firm may be providing financial services or products in the UK without our authorisation. Almost all firms and individuals offering, promoting or selling financial services or products in the UK have to be authorised or registered by us. This firm is not authorised by us and is targeting people in the UK.”

Warning investors about such fund, it further said: “You will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so you are unlikely to get your money back if things go wrong.”

The Website used by these companies as per FCA ar http://thehyperfund.online, https://thehyperfund.com/

Decentralised Finance (DEFI) offering through blockchain technology by HyperTech Group, which is said to be based out from Hong Kong, as sources said Indian Regulators and Authorities have started monitoring the situation.

Following the measures taken by financial regulators such as the US Security and Exchange Commission and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, Indian regulators and enforcement authorities have started monitoring investment in Hyper Fund — a Decentralised Finance offering through blockchain technology by HyperTech Group.

Globally, Financial regulators acknowledge the fact that Ponzi scheme organizers often use the latest innovation, technology, product or growth industry to entice investors and give their scheme the promise of high returns. Potential investors are often less skeptical of an investment opportunity when assessing something novel, new or “cutting-edge.” On its website, Hyper Fund claims to be �The Strongest Rocket in Blockchain Finance’

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Business

Greed & Fear: Profit booking, global volatility to impact stock moves

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Sky-high valuations along with global tapering fears will impact stock market movements during the upcoming week.

Accordingly, market observers, pointed out high possibility of profit booking led slide on the back premium valuations and likely absence of positive domestic triggers.

Nonetheless, key indices — S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 — are expected to reach new intra-day record highs of 60,000 points and 18,000-mark, respectively.

Last Friday, the Sensex closed at 59,015.89 points after making an intra-day record high of 59,700, while Nifty ended the day’s trade at 17,585.15 points.

It had breached the 17,790 level intra-day on last Friday.

“Broad market correction amidst high volumes gives the first hint of distribution,” said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.

“An adverse US Fed meet outcome next week could accelerate the correction that is typical in September, especially in the US markets.”

According to Motilal Oswal Financial Services’ Retail Research Head Siddhartha Khemka: “Valuations are not comfortable and hence could lead to bouts of profit booking. The weak global cues on account of worry over slower economic growth and rising Delta variant cases globally would keep market oscillating between greed and fear.”

“Nervousness would be seen in the market next week ahead of Federal Reserve and ECB meeting, which could provide some indications on when the central banks will start withdrawing their monetary stimulus and start raising interest rates eventually.”

Any timelines for tapering measures in the US can potentially drive FPIs (Foreign Portfolio Investors) away from emerging markets such as India.

Significantly, the recent sizeable inflow of FPI funds has been credited to have lifted the domestic markets to record high levels.

In addition, Geojit Financial Services’ Research Head Vinod Nair said: “In the coming week, the global focus will be on the policy meetings of a few central banks including the Fed.”

“With weak US job data and inflation increasing at a slower pace, Fed is not expected to hint on taper plans in the upcoming meeting.”

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Business

Covid might shift India’s growth model

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 The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India’s growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led.

In its Ecoscope report, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said: “With Covid-19 hurting India’s ‘Household’ (HH) and ‘Government’ sectors adversely, the continuity of strong consumption growth is in question.”

“On the contrary, with listed companies’ financial positions improving and an uptick in household investments in the Real Estate sector (called physical savings), the narrative of investment-led recovery is gaining momentum.”

The report prescribed that various economic participants – households, governments, listed companies, and unlisted corporates — to increase their fixed asset investments in the immediate future based on their financial position.

At present, the listed and unlisted corporate sector accounts for only about half of total investments in India.

The ‘HH’ sector including unincorporated enterprises accounts for 35-40 per cent in India’s investments, while the remaining 12-13 per cent is contributed by centre and states governments.

Besides, the report cited that demand environment is expected to remain subdued due to weak financial position of ‘HH’ and government sector.

“Despite household investments picking up strongly in 2HFY21, given that Indian households bore the maximum brunt of Covid-led losses in CY20 (and CY21), we believe household spending would remain subdued over the next few years.”

It further pointed out that unless ‘HH’, ‘Unlisted Corporate’, and government sectors can improve their financial positions — leading to a demand uptick — a strong revival in investments seems challenging.

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