China’s manufacturing index slipped in November reflecting the growing weakness in the world’s second largest economy.Two separate surveys published on Monday triggered a new set of concerns from experts who think the People’s Bank of China should introduce more regulations to steer away from a hard market crash.The SlideChina’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 50.3, an eight-month low and was 0.05 points down from October’s 50.8 reading.The final HSBC/Markit China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was unchanged at the six-month low of 50.0 but the figure is estimated to be the breakeven point – which separates expansion and contraction – for China’s economy.While the official survey focuses on the performance of large, government-owned factories, the HSBC survey analyzes growth among the smaller and private manufacturers. Both surveys showed a slide.Weak demand from overseas clients has put a damper on the manufacturing industry. Domestic demand exceeded foreign demand and new export orders also decreased.”The PMI data suggests that fundamentals are still very weak. Investment in property and manufacturing remains weak, so the government is the only one spending. And when government spending wanes in the winter months, the economy falls off,” Larry Hu, an economist at Macquarie Group told MarketWatch, referring to the fact that construction projects usually take a hit during the winters.Failed Attempt?The People’s Bank of China recently lowered its lending rate by 40 base points. The cut came as a surprise to many because the government was reluctant to admit that the economy was shrinking. But that didn’t seem to work for the country.”The PBOC’s rate cut appears to have failed to improve sentiment, and we see little improvement in activity indicators in November,” ANZ wrote in a research note, according to Reuters.What to ExpectGoing forward, experts believe that the Chinese government will introduce more stimuli to help revive the economy.”In order to maintain growth for the whole year at around 7.5 percent (the official target), we believe that Chinese authorities will intensify easing efforts in December to accelerate growth momentum,” ANZ’s research note read.Barclays predicts two more benchmark cuts in interest rates in the first half of 2015 and three cuts in the reserve ratio deposits, the first one of which is expected this month.”Given China’s structural challenges, we continue to believe more rate cuts are necessary. We believe that lowering rates will mainly help to reduce the debt burden, lower financial risks, support business sentiment, and sustain private demand,” Jian Chang of Barclays wrote in a note to CNBC.Some experts suggest the government must cut taxes to boost the economy.
The likely collapse of SunEdison Inc’s solar project in India, the first of 32 planned “ultra mega” complexes, could delay Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal to increase renewable energy fivefold by several years and probably cost consumers more.As the U.S. solar giant fights to stave off bankruptcy, the 500 megawatt project in Andhra Pradesh state it won last November lies idle with ground yet to be broken. The other projects are still to be bid on.It’s doubtful any rival will pick up the project at the aggressive power pricing promised by SunEdison, which beat out 29 other bidders with a record-low tariff of 4.63 rupees (7 U.S. cents) per kilowatt-hour.That will force Indian officials to tighten auction rules to ensure that only serious, bankable bidders show up, industry sources said. India plans to auction more of the “ultra mega” projects — those which generate at least 500 MW– in the current fiscal year through to March 2017.”There is always a trade off,” Upendra Tripathy, secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, told Reuters of the renewable energy auctions.”There can be a relaxed condition so that more people can participate and there is another where you can make sure fly-by-night operators can’t come in. It’s an ongoing process and we are open to suggestions.”Tightening auction rules could slow the pace at which projects are awarded and built, pushing back Modi’s goal of expanding solar capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2020 to the middle of the decade, say officials and industry players.Tripathy, however, said India will for now stick to its goal, set by Modi soon after taking office in 2014, and that it has planned for SunEdison-like bumps in the road with a strong project pipeline.Modi is banking on India’s 300 days a year of sunshine to help fight climate change rather than committing to emission cuts like China. But he has also pushed firms to provide cheap power, which risks leaving too little profit on the table.Heavily indebted SunEdison, which according to one of its publicly listed units could soon file for bankruptcy protection, drew criticism from analysts for its low winning bid for the Andhra project.The company is now exploring a sale of its Indian assets of around 1 GW or seeking partners for them, sources said, and has drawn preliminary interest from billionaire Gautam Adani’s fast-expanding Adani Group. Apart from the Andhra project, SunEdison has several other small plants under construction across India.POSSIBLE RE-BIDA person close to Adani said the low tariff agreed for the Andhra plant will make any deal with SunEdison difficult for Indian firms, which have a relatively high cost of capital. If no buyer is found, the project could be re-bid, the industry sources said.SunEdison did not respond to multiple requests for comment.”The tariffs are a tad aggressive and that may not be healthy for developers themselves and also for others in the ecosystem manufacturers and financiers,” said Santosh Kamath, head of renewables at consultancy KPMG India. “That might be a warning signal for the industry.”SunEdison’s troubles notwithstanding, India has attracted deep-pocketed investors to its $100 billion solar energy program – the biggest in the world.Japan’s Softbank Corp, Taiwan’s Foxconn and India’s Bharti Enterprises have separately pledged to invest a total of about $20 billion in India’s renewable sector. Global solar giants like First Solar Inc, Trina Solar Ltd and Finland’s state-controlled utility Fortum Oyj are also expanding their presence.India wants the share of non-fossil fuel in total installed power capacity to jump to 40 percent by 2030 from 30 percent currently.Challenges include the weak finances of state distribution companies forced to sell subsidised power, difficulties hooking up solar projects to grids, and access to affordable capital. Land acquisition is also an issue that Modi’s government has been unable to fix – a 500 MW solar project needs on average 2,000 acres (800 hectares).”Given the energy deficit, need for energy security and sustained economic growth, the potential clearly exists for 100 GW of solar (energy) in India,” said Sujoy Ghosh, country head of First Solar. “The question would be on the time lines in which the goal is achieved.”The Indian government is trying to persuade state banks to extend loans to solar projects, but most lenders are saddled with bad loans and unlikely to risk getting exposed to renewable projects with low rates of return.To avoid projects getting stuck for a lack of backing, India should make it mandatory for solar bidders to get funding assurances from banks at the beginning of an auction to ensure only serious players take part, analysts said. Tripathy, the government secretary, said he could consider the suggestion.”We’ll have to take care that projects don’t become unviable,” KPMG’s Kamath said. “If some projects become unviable then banks will stop lending to new projects and then they get stranded, like we have seen in the power and road sectors in the past.”($1 = 66.4938 Indian rupees)
REUTERS/Shailesh AndradeThe Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and its exchanges have given their conditional approval to the merger between Kumar Mangalam Birla-owned Idea Cellular and Vodafone India. It will be subject to the regulator’s ongoing probe and approvals from public shareholders and the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), a PTI report said on Tuesday.Vodafone India and Idea Cellular had announced the merger of their operations in March this year to create the country’s largest mobile phone operator worth more than $23 billion with a 35 per cent market share.The $23-billion merger deal would be subject to the outcome of an ongoing probe by the regulator and approvals from public shareholders and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLT). The multi-layered deal was announced in March and recently got clearance from the fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI).In their no-objection letters on “draft composite scheme of amalgamation and arrangement among Vodafone Mobile Services, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular and their respective shareholders and creditors”, BSE and NSE said that all the conditions put forth by the regulator need to be placed before NCLT while seeking its approval.The regulator said Idea has given a voluntary undertaking to Sebi that it will not dispose of shares that were purchased by one of its promoters before the merger announcement, till further directions from Sebi.In its detailed comments on the draft scheme, Sebi said it had received a complaint alleging that one of the promoters of Idea Cellular had purchased 0.23 per cent shares of the company before the announcement of the draft scheme of amalgamation and these transactions by the purchasers were in violation of securities laws, PTI reported on Tuesday.Sebi has also received complaints about alleged violation of takeover norms as the shareholding of Idea would increase from about 21 per cent to about 26 per cent pursuant to the scheme.”The said allegations are being examined by Sebi,” the report said, quoting the regulator.Idea has also submitted a voluntary undertaking stating that it will comply with the directions of Sebi in respect of the ongoing examination. It has also undertaken that any liability eventually held to be valid against it shall be borne by Idea, PTI said in its report.”The acquisition pursuant to draft scheme of arrangement is exempt from the obligation to make an open offer…if the acquisition is pursuant to a scheme of arrangement, inter- alia, including amalgamation, merger or demerger, pursuant to an order of a court or a competent authority under any law or regulation, Indian or foreign. Thus, the said exemption is applicable only if NCLT approves the draft scheme,” Sebi said.The regulator further said an ‘abridged prospectus’ about the deal will need to contain a risk factor (at number 1) detailing the risks associated with the outcome of the examination by Sebi of the allegations in the complaint. The company will need to ensure that the scheme clearly provides for voting by public shareholders and that the scheme of arrangement is acted upon only if the votes cast by the public shareholders in favour of the proposal are more than the number of votes cast against it.The explanatory statement to the notice to shareholders need to disclose prominently that Sebi is examining the allegations with regard to transactions done by the purchasers in the shares of Idea before the announcement of the scheme.”All the above facts shall be brought to the notice of NCLT,” Sebi said.
Kolkata: Criticising the move of Left Front calling a six-hour bandh on Friday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has once again attacked the party, saying that it has been sold to BJP.Banerjee took a dig at the Left, saying that from the next time they will call bandh at midnight and stated it to be “bandh freedom at midnight”.While leaving Nabanna on Thursday evening, the Chief Minister said: “Can there be any bandh from 6 am to 12 noon? Next they will give a call for a bandh from midnight to 4 am and it will be observed in sleep. This is their (CPI-M) future and they have no capability to work in the grassroot level. ‘Harmads’ of CPI-M have now become the ‘ostads’ of BJP. The party has been sold to BJP. So it is not right to expect anything from them.”She maintained: “Offices open at 10 am…they have called bandh at such a time that it is nothing but drama. Such drama will not be tolerated. They have caused enough damage to the state by giving call for bandhs.””The bandh will become 100 percent successful if they give a call for the same at midnight,” the Chief Minister said.
Editor’s Note: Entrepreneur’s “20 Questions” series features both established and up-and-coming entrepreneurs and asks them a number of questions about what makes them tick, their everyday success strategies and advice for aspiring founders.For many women, shopping for the right bra is something of an ordeal. You have to get measured by a total stranger, the bra may only last about a year and the offerings that are available can be pretty expensive, with an average garment retailing for about $100 or more.Fed up with an exhausting and inefficient process and certain that others felt the same, in 2013, Heidi Zak launched ThirdLove, a San Francisco-based lingerie company that aims to provide customers with bras that truly fit at an affordable price.Related: A Bra Company That Uses Smartphones to Find the Right Fit Just Raised $8 MillionZak, who worked as a senior marketing manager at Google before founding the company, differentiated ThirdLove from other lingerie startups by integrating technology and patenting an app to allow users to size themselves at home with just a few photos. Once a person is sized, they can shop for the bra they need. ThirdLove allows customers to try the garments before they purchase for 30 days. If it doesn’t fit, then they can send it back for $2.99. The company also provides a glossary of fit concerns on the site for reference and live chats with ThirdLove stylists.She also realized that standard sizes simply wouldn’t work for every customer, so with head designer Ra’el Cohen, the company designed bras in half sizes. With that custom fit in mind, ThirdLove also has a 30-day trial period before purchase.Since its launch over four years ago, the company has raised more than $13 million, expanded into underwear, as well as lounge and sleepwear and has more than 250,000 paying customers.We caught up with Zak for our 20 Questions series to find out what motivates her and makes her tick.1. How do you start your day?I wake up usually around 6:00 am and try to get a quick workout in. I have two little kids. Before my second baby, I would go to a bootcamp or a cycling class but now I just tend to do cycling using Zwift. It’s a cool new startup that allows you to use your own bike and work out with the TV. I also use Daily Burn, a platform for online fitness videos That way I can just work out from my basement. Working out is something that really energizes me and makes me feel much more focused and efficient. The days I don’t work out, I feel it.2. How do you end your day?By putting my kids to bed. I have a 3 year old and a 7 month old. I’m away from them during the day, so for me, it’s crucial to spend time with them.What I love about that is that when you’re with your kids you don’t have to think about anything else. As the founder a company your mind is always racing, but I don’t think about anything for a few hours while I spend time with them.Related: The Top 10 American Cities for Working Parents3. What’s a book that changed your mind and why?Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It’s all about how children relate to each other — but some of it also can be brought into any relationship, even those at work. The book talks about not needing to be fair, meaning, each child does not need to get the exact same thing.This lesson applies really well in the corporate environment, too. Every employee is unique and needs their own personal objectives and goals. If you’re having any interpersonal issues, getting to the root of the issue at hand is important, so is being able think about things from different [points of view].4.What’s a book you always recommend and why?One of the things that is super important in business is how to negotiate well. For me, it’s something that I’ve had to learn along the way. One of the books I read at MIT is Getting to Yes by Bruce Patton, Roger Fisher and William Ury. I recommend it to everyone at our company to read.Negotiating is a hard skill, but one that is necessary for almost every job function – and this book is a quick read about the basics. The key learning for me is that you must figure out what you can offer to the other side, and to do that, you must get to know them to understand their most important needs. It’s not just transactional, it’s personal.5. What’s a strategy to keep focused?I check email once an hour or less. If I check it more, I lose focus. So, I set aside five or 10 minutes to check email and then spend the rest of the time thinking about what I need to be doing.Related: 4 Great Non-Business Role Models for Entrepreneurs6. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?I wanted to be a broadcast journalist. I looked up to Katie Couric when she was at the Today Show. I think she was just really knowledgeable and came across as very friendly — something about her that was really real, and I think I liked that about her.7. What did you learn from the worst boss you ever had?I haven’t had a lot of really bad bosses. The one thing that I’ve noticed from having different types of bosses is that the best ones have a clearly articulated vision of what the team is working toward. You have to communicate it effectively and do it often. That’s what I try to do; you can’t say it too often.8. Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?I think my dad is my biggest influence. He grew up on a small farm outside of Pittsburgh. Through a lot of hard work and by focusing on education, he has been really successful in business. I think it’s true in life that when you work hard, things will work themselves out for you. That work ethic is also something that I look for when I’m hiring.Related: 7 Elements of a Strong Work Ethic9. What’s a trip that changed you?Five years ago, my husband and I climbed to Mt. Everest basecamp in Nepal. You get to 18,000 plus feet at base camp. It’s important in two ways: I like to challenge myself generally and that trip pushed me to my limits. I had a little altitude sickness, but I made it thanks to the support of my husband and the other couple we were with. That’s the other thing, surround yourself with people who are supportive that you trust.10. What inspires you?I think what inspires me the most are our customers. I specifically set aside time to read customer chats, reading the positive comments of course is awesome, but I also get a lot of value from the things that we can improve on. I read those conversations and get inspired to do things better, change things and develop products based on that feedback. That inspires me every day.11. What was your first business idea and what did you do with it?I had a more traditional career path before ThirdLove. But after moving out to Silicon Valley five years ago, I caught the entrepreneurial bug. I was impressed by the people I was meeting and ThirdLove was the first real business I started.Related: Starting A Business? You Need These 3 Basics.12. What was an early job that taught you something important or useful?My first job was when I was 14, I grew up in western New York, and I worked at a farm stand. There are two things that I still use today from the job. One is how to make things look really beautiful. It was very much learning how to merchandise — how do you make them look compelling for a customer that it going to walk in. The other thing was I learned how to think about the customer, what their needs were and how to sell to them effectively.13. What’s the best advice you ever took?Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. When you start your own company you have to get used to learning how to do things that you don’t know how to do. You also need to learn how to take risks and be okay with not knowing what the next stage is going to bring.14. What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?The worst advice that I’ve gotten is to not do something. There is never been a time that I have regretted going somewhere new. Most regrets come from not seizing an opportunity or not doing something. A lot more comes out of saying yes than saying no.Related: Richard Branson: How to Spot an Opportunity15. What’s a productivity tip you swear by?We use Hipchat at work. It’s a great way to collaborate across teams and share files instead of email.16. Is there an app or tool you use in to get things done or stay on track?I live and die by my Google Calendar. I would be nothing without it.17. What does work-life balance mean to you?I don’t think there is such a thing. Every day you choose something to prioritize, especially as a working mom. Sometimes I stay late to work or leave early to go to my daughter’s preschool. Every once in awhile I squeeze in something for myself. You’re always picking and choosing, and hopefully, it’s balancing out over the week or month.Related: In Defense of Work-Life Balance18. How do you prevent burnout?It goes back to exercise and being outdoors. In the winter that might be snowboarding or going on a trail run, or maybe surfing, being outside and getting away from technology. Those activities really energize me.19. When you’re faced with a creativity block, what’s your strategy to get innovating?Go outside. I think taking a walk and going out to look at some new scenery is the best way to reset.20. What are you learning now? Right now our business is growing very quickly, so I spend a good amount of time interviewing more senior people. The interview process is much longer for these hires, because it’s important to find the people with the right skill set, cultural fit and leadership skills. For me, it’s learning how to effectively handle those interviews. That’s something I’ve been focused on recently. January 6, 2017 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 10 min read Register Now »