Apple says happy Diwali with 1st India online store on Sep 23

Agencies
September 18, 2020

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New Delhi, Sept 18: Ending months of speculation, Apple is launching its first exclusive branded online store in India on September 23 just ahead of the festive season, offering a full range of products, support and premium experience to consumers and the large aspirational fan base across the country.

For logistics support, Apple has partnered with Blue Dart to be its on-ground fulfillment partner. Given the current pandemic situation, customers can expect safe, contactless deliveries in 24-72 hours from the date of purchase of all premium and new products, including the ones (Apple Watch Series 6 and new iPad Air) launched earlier this week.

"We are super excited to bring Apple Store Online to India. We love the passion Indians have for our products and supporting them has been our passion too. The Online Store will ensure seamless, safe and contactless delivery of our products in these Covid times as safety of staff and customers is our topmost priority." Deirdre O'Brien, Apple's Senior Vice President of Retail + People, told IANS.

The Apple India store, the 38th online store worldwide, would have specialists to lend expert advice and support to the Indian customers.

From learning more about product features to setting up new devices, customers can receive guidance directly from Apple, including online support in English and phone support in Hindi and English.

Those who buy Apple products will be eligible for a 30-minute, one-on-one online session with a trained executive to explore more about the device, set it up and or solve any other query.

The online store also provides the ability to custom-configure any Mac with just a few clicks.

With financing options and available trade-in programme, the Apple Store Online offers a range of affordability options.

Students can shop for a Mac or iPad with special pricing, and receive discounts on accessories and Apple Care+ that extends warranty with up to two years of technical support and accidental damage cover.

Apple currently has third-party reseller outlets and online channels to sell its devices in the country and its own branded online store will certainly help the company in giving a controlled experience of its devices and services.

Welcoming the Narendra Modi cabinet's decision to ease the 30 per cent local sourcing norm in single-brand retail (SBRT) in August last year, Apple said it looks forward to welcoming customers at its first retail store in India soon.

"We love our customers in India and we're eager to serve them online and in-store with the same experience and care that Apple customers around the world enjoy," Apple said.

Apple, which has already started manufacturing certain iPhone models in India, has reportedly selected locations for its exclusive retail stores in the country as well.

Apple currently has over 500 physical retail stores worldwide, with the world's first floating retail store at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

On its online India store, customers can expect free online 'Today at Apple' sessions led by local creative professionals, focused on photography and music in October.

Just in time for the festive season, signature gift wrap and personalised engraving will be available for select products.

Engraving of emojis or text in English, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu will be available for AirPods, and English engraving will be available for iPad and Apple Pencil.

For the health and well-being of Apple's teams, customers, and communities, all orders from the Apple Store Online will ship with contactless delivery.

Orders that do not require a signature will be left at the customer's door, and those that do will need only a verbal confirmation from a safe distance instead of a written signature.

Apple has been operating in India for more than 20 years, and the company's ongoing investment and innovation support almost 900,000 jobs across the country.

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News Network
October 26,2020

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India has been ranked 131st on Ookla's Speedtest Global Index for mobile Internet speeds and placed 70th on the index for fixed broadband speeds in the month of September. In the mobile Internet speed department, the country has slipped two positions when compared to the previous month, with an average download speed of 12.07Mbps. On the fixed broadband speed front, India gained two spots with average download speeds of 46.47Mbps and has been ranked 70th. In both these cases, India's numbers are well below the global average Internet speeds, with neighbouring countries such as Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, ranking higher in the mobile department.

Mobile Internet speed

According to Ookla Speedtest Global Index for September 2020, India's average mobile download speed is 12.07Mbps – significantly lower than the global average of 35.26Mbps. India has witnessed a drop of two points when compared to August's figures and is now placed at the 131st spot out of the total 138 countries. The country's average mobile upload speed is at 4.31Mbps and latency is 52ms. The global average of mobile upload speed is 11.22Mbps and average latency is 42ms.

India's neighbouring countries are placed above it on the list. China is on the second spot with average mobile download speed of 113.35Mbps, Sri Lanka is ranked 102nd with 19.95Mbps, Pakistan occupies the 116th rank with 17.13Mbps, and Nepal holds the 117th position with 17.12Mbps. Bangladesh fared badly, however, and is ranked at 133 with 10.76Mbps average mobile download speed.

Fixed broadband internet speed

When it comes to fixed line broadband Internet speeds, India is placed 70th out of 175 nations – well above most of its neighbouring countries – with an average download speed of 46.47Mbps. China takes up the 20th spot with 138.66Mbps, Sri Lanka is ranked 94th with 31.42Mbps, Bangladesh holds the 98th position with 29.85Mbps, Nepal ranks 113th with 22.36Mbps, and Pakistan is at 159th position with 10.10Mbps. The global average download speed is 85.73Mbps, upload speed is 45.74Mbps with latency of 21ms.

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Agencies
October 22,2020

Mahindra.jpg

Mumbai, Oct 22: The world's largest tractor manufacturer by volumes foresees a sustained growth in tractor off-take on the back of festive season along with recently introduced farm bill.

Accordingly, auto major M&M's Farm Equipment Sector President Hemant Sikka predicts the farm bill to usher in higher income for farmers, thereby, allowing greater farm mechanisation levels.

"These reforms are positive, and we await on-ground execution of various elements of this bill to better realise its effectiveness," he told IANS.

"Higher productivity and better farm incomes being a paramount objective of this bill will improve the farmers ability to purchase a better class of equipment, ensuring optimal utilisation of resources, along with better management of crop lands," said Sikka.

According to Sikka, farm mechanisation has seen a secular growth this year. "In certain states, where there was a huge dependence on migrant labourers, the Covid-related exodus resulted in acute spike in mechanisation," he said.

"In other states, where the dependence on migrant labourers were not as much, the demand for farm machinery was still there but not as acute."

For instance, some state governments are incentivising farmers to go in for greater farm mechanisation, so as to maintain the agriculture sector's growth rate during the Covid era.

Besides, Sikka noted that demand for higher HP tractors continues to grow.

"The overall industry has grown by around 12% in H1 FY21, whereas the over 40HP segment industry has witnessed much higher growth at 27.4%," explained Sikka.

"The contribution of over 40 HP segment in the industry has increased from 54.2% to 61.7%."

Furthermore, he expects rural sentiments to remain positive and translate into robust demand for tractors as "we move into the festive period".

"Concurrence of Kharif harvesting season and auspicious days of Navratri, Dussehra, Dhanteras and Diwali in October and November will support the demand trend."

He pointed out that the MSP measure, bountiful monsoon along with healthy water reservoirs' levels has led to an accelerated pick-up in tractor sales, so much so, that the company is barely managing to meet the demand.

"Starting with single-digit growth in May followed by double-digit growth in all subsequent months, we witnessed healthy demand during the Kharif harvesting season," he said adding: "We are operating at the lowest inventory levels ever."

Consequently, the demand supply mismatch has led to lower than usual inventory levels at the dealerships.

"We are trying to restore dealer inventory so that our channel partners are well equipped to cater to the festive demand," he said.

"Our factories continue to operate at peak or near peak capacity."

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News Network
October 25,2020

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Lee Kun-hee, who transformed Samsung Electronics Co. from a copycat South Korean appliance maker into the world’s biggest producer of smartphones, televisions and memory chips, has died. He was 78.

Lee passed away on Sunday with his family by his side, the company said in a statement, without mentioning the cause of death. His family will hold a private funeral. He had surgery in 2014 after a heart attack and was treated for lung cancer in the late 1990s.

Lee, who told employees to “change everything except your wife and children” during his drive to foster innovation and challenge rivals such as Sony Corp., was South Korea’s richest person. He had an estimated net worth of $20.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Samsung, the biggest of South Korea’s family-run industrial groups, known as chaebol, has been led by his only son since the heart attack.

“Chairman Lee was a true visionary who transformed Samsung into the world-leading innovator and industrial powerhouse from a local business,” the company said. “His legacy will be everlasting.”

The reins are now set to pass to his only son Jay Y. Lee, who’s been the conglomerate’s de facto leader since his father’s hospitalization in 2014. Lee is expected to eventually inherit a $300 billion company that’s riding a Covid-era boom in online activity. Samsung, the maker of the Galaxy line of smartphones, also supplies semiconductors for Google’s data centers and Apple Inc.’s iPhone. It’s the world’s most advanced maker of displays for TVs, computers and mobile devices.

The younger Lee is currently grappling with two simultaneous legal disputes with South Korean prosecutors over allegations of bribery and corruption, which he’s repeatedly denied.

Lee Kun-hee’s heirs now face an estate tax of roughly $10 billion, and paying it may complicate the family’s control of the Samsung conglomerate -- his beneficiaries would likely have to sell some assets to cover the tax — diluting their stake in Samsung. South Korea’s levy of 50% on estates of more than 3 billion won ($2.6 million) is the second-highest among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, after Japan.

The Samsung empire includes 62 companies. Although the late Lee owned large chunks of some of the businesses — including 4.2% of Samsung Electronics — they’re not big enough to afford control of the conglomerate. The family depends on informal ties to executives who run related companies, and a lot of that soft power may dissipate with Lee’s death.

Global Powerhouse

It was Lee Kun-Hee who built the company into the electronics powerhouse of today, becoming synonymous with the rise of South Korea on a global economic stage.

Named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2005, Lee began overhauling Samsung Electronics after he saw the company’s products gathering dust in a Los Angeles electronics store, according to “The Lee Kun Hee Story,” a 2010 biography by Lee Kyung-sik. The Suwon, South Korea-based company had become known for cheap, low-quality electronics gear and was in the “second phase of cancer,” sending out 6,000 people to fix products made by 30,000 employees, Lee said in 1993, according to the biography.

Why Samsung’s Billionaire Scion Faces Two More Trials: QuickTake

The company’s makeover started in 1993 when Lee gathered top executives in Germany and laid out a plan, known as the Frankfurt Declaration, to transform Samsung from a second-tier television maker into an industry leader. The company’s new mission: create high-quality products, even if it meant lower sales.

Samsung Electronics became the world’s top maker of computer memory chips in 1992, the same year it became the first to develop 64-megabyte DRAM chips, according to the company.

Samsung’s Origins

Lee was born on Jan. 9, 1942, in Daegu about 240 kilometers (150 miles) south of Seoul, and was raised in the nearby rural district of Uiryeong, according to the company.

In 1938, his father Lee Byung-chull opened a four-story grocery store in Daegu that would later become Samsung Group.

As a teenager, Lee Kun-Hee liked movies and cars and kept to himself. He took up wrestling and played rugby in high school to fight loneliness. He graduated with a degree in economics from Waseda University in Tokyo and also studied business administration in the U.S. at George Washington University in Washington.

In 1971, Lee Byung-chull chose his youngest son to be his successor, and in 1974, the company moved into semiconductors when it acquired a 50% stake in unprofitable Hankook Semiconductor. The business turned profitable in 1988, helped by dynamic random-access memory chips it produced.

After the Frankfurt Declaration, Lee required employees to arrive at work at 7 a.m. instead of their usual 8:30 a.m. start, so they could “soak up reform in their slumber,” according to the biography.

In 1995, he assembled 2,000 workers to watch him make a bonfire out of 150,000 mobile phones, fax machines and other company products that didn’t meet his quality standards.

Lee’s cultural change eventually produced results. Samsung Electronics surpassed Tokyo-based Sony to become the top seller of flat-screen TVs in 2006, the same year its market value exceeded $100 billion.

In 2010, Samsung introduced the Galaxy-branded smartphone running Alphabet Inc.’s Android software, which helped it pass Apple as the world’s biggest smartphone maker in 2011 in terms of units sold. By introducing the Galaxy Note in 2011, Samsung created a new product niche known as the phablet, a smartphone-tablet hybrid.

Political Controversy

Samsung became the biggest seller of all mobile phones in 2012, unseating Nokia Oyj, which had been the industry leader for more than a decade. Its success in smartphones then boosted profits at its component businesses, including memory chips, display and processors.

Lee’s career was also notable for its setbacks and controversies. An expansion into the car business was unsuccessful. Samsung Motor Inc. rolled out its first automobiles in 1998 and failed to attract buyers. The unit was placed into receivership and Renault SA purchased a majority stake in 2000.

Lee was mired in political scandals in the late 1990s after being convicted of paying bribes to former president Roh Tae-woo in 1996. He was pardoned by President Kim Young-sam a year later.

In 2009, Lee was found guilty of tax evasion and breach of duty for causing losses at Samsung SDS Co., an information technology services provider, because he knew the company illegally sold bonds with warrants to his son at artificially low prices. He was fined 110 billion won and received a suspended three-year jail sentence.

Presidential Pardon

Four months after the 2009 ruling, South Korea’s then-President Lee Myung-bak pardoned Lee, a member of the International Olympic Committee, so he could help the country’s successful bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Lee, who resigned from the board of Samsung Electronics in 2008 amid the controversies, returned as chairman in March 2010, telling employees the business was “facing a real crisis.”

“In 10 years, the majority of products that represent Samsung may no longer exist,” he said in a statement announcing his return. “We must have a new start. There is no time to hesitate.”

Two months later, Samsung Group said it would invest 23 trillion won to expand in areas such as health care and solar batteries by 2020.

Lee’s son, Jay Y. Lee, became vice chairman of Samsung Electronics in December 2012 and his daughter, Lee Boo-jin, is president of Hotel Shilla Co., a Samsung affiliate, raising concerns that the founding family would maintain its grip on the conglomerate at the expense of minority shareholders. That issue lies at the heart of the two legal disputes the younger Lee is now embroiled in.

In August 2019, the Supreme Court ordered the retrial of Jay Y. Lee over bribery charges that voided an earlier decision to suspend Lee’s 2.5-year prison sentence. A special prosecutor had indicted the Samsung heir on charges of bribing a friend of former President Park Geun-hye in return for government backing for a merger that helped cement his control over Samsung while his father was hospitalized.

In 1967, Lee Kun-hee married Hong Ra-hee. In addition to children Jay Y. and Boo-jin, he had a daughter, Lee Seo-hyun. Another daughter, Lee Yoon-hyung, died in 2005 at age 26.

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