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Tuesday, January 30, 2007 — No Region Specified

Source: The Hindu Business Line

How about a PC for Rs 5,000? It may sound startling, but that is what Nova netPC from Chennai-based Novatium is all about. The company is doing a pilot of its netPC that adopts the cable television model. The netPC is a simple computer that works in a network and does not have local hard disks. All the software and applications are set up in a remote central server located at the premises of the operator (cable operator or telecom company). A c...
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Monday, January 29, 2007 — No Region Specified

Source: New York Times

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 28 ? Here in the Swiss mountains at the World Economic Forum, the annual conclave of world leaders, concerns over a growing digital divide this year have taken a back seat to the challenge of climate change. Being out of the limelight, however, has not dimmed passions over what the best way is to deploy computers in the developing world. The controversy boiled over on Saturday at a breakfast meeting here where Craig R. Barrett, the chairman of Intel, squar...
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Friday, January 26, 2007 — No Region Specified

Source: Financial Times

Sir, John Gapper's column Anyone can become the CEO of You Inc (January 22) relating to the Shifting Power Equation under discussion at Davos focuses on the newly distributed power to achieve celebrity. Potentially more interesting is the newly distributed power to create change. Along these lines, the event of the week may have been the 2007 Schwab Social Entrepreneurs Summit that just concluded in Zurich. What is a social entrepreneur? Anyone who takes...
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Friday, January 26, 2007 — No Region Specified

Source: Financial Times

India's great leap forward in telecommunications is heralded as one of the country's success stories. But big initiatives in rural expansion and evolution of government policy must gain momentum for rapid growth to continue. Getting to the very bottom of the pyramid has to be through transformative change, says Kunal Bajaj, director of BDA India, a telecoms consultancy in New Delhi. India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has a target of 50...
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Tuesday, January 23, 2007 — No Region Specified

A Light Bulb Goes on, and China Starts Thinking ?Alternative Energy?

Source: New York Times

Mr. Li said that within six months, he expected to have a database of some 300 Chinese start-ups seeking investment partners. One of them will be a company called Ruikang, based in Jiangsu Province, near Shanghai, that handles organic tea, honey and Chinese traditional medicines. Another start-up that he said was seeking investors is Shenwu, based in Beijing, which makes equipment to capture heat from a heating unit and redirect it for other uses. Mr. Li said the big challenge facing Ame...
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Tuesday, January 23, 2007 — No Region Specified

It's super-phone!

Source: Financial Times

For instance, it can help you transfer money, withdraw it, keep a ready balance on tap (ie go shopping), and so on. In other words, it can be like a credit/debit card, or a bank. It is easy to use because all that is required is to swipe it close to another attachment. It is cheap because the cost of a transaction is the price of a short message on the mobile network. It is presumably safe because of the encryption technologies that are used. And it can be near universal in its reach because, ve...
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Monday, January 22, 2007 — No Region Specified

One of Four Handsets Shipped in 2011 Will Cost Less Than $20

Source: ABI Research

The global market for sub-$20 ultra low cost handsets (UCLH) will be over 330 million units in 2011. A new study from ABI Research finds that over 50% of these handsets will be shipped in the emerging markets of Asia Pacific and the remainder in markets of Africa, Middle East, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. According to research analyst Shailendra Pandey, ?The growing demand for ultra low cost handsets has provided mobile operators and handset vendors with a quick route to a great...
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Monday, January 22, 2007 — No Region Specified

Source: Financial Times

Remittances from workers overseas amounted to $21bn this fiscal year. Overall foreign institutional investment is growing and funds from overseas Indians are likely to make up a significant portion, JPMorgan says in a report on the Indian diaspora. Real estate is seeing significant overseas Indian investment, both via commercial purchases through funds as well as the buying of second homes. He was born in Thailand, lives in South Africa and carries a UK passport. But Jag Jo...
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Monday, January 22, 2007 — No Region Specified

Get to the 'bottom of the pyramid'

Source: The Economic Times of India

C K Prahalad can take credit for seminal ideas in business and management including core competence which he elucidated in a Harvard Business School article in 1990. His 1994 book Competing for the Future (with Gary Hamel) is also regarded as path-breaking. His latest breakthrough idea is on what he calls the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. Innovation, along with equitable distribution of wealth, was what you stressed on in your address (at the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 200...
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Friday, January 19, 2007 — No Region Specified

Beyond The Green Corporation

Source: BusinessWeek

Under conventional notions of how to run a conglomerate like Unilever, CEO Patrick Cescau should wake up each morning with a laserlike focus: how to sell more soap and shampoo than Procter & Gamble Co. (PG ) But ask Cescau about the $52 billion Dutch-British giant's biggest strategic challenges for the 21st century, and the conversation roams from water-deprived villages in Africa to the planet's warming climate. The world is Unilever's laboratory. In Brazil, the compa...
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Friday, January 19, 2007 — Asia Pacific

Source: Xinhua

Now that China eased market entry policies for banking institutions in rural China last month, seven commercial banks have applied to set up a subsidiary in rural areas. On Dec. 22, 2006, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) published proposals to give financial institutions more market access in rural areas. The move was aimed to promote rural development. The CBRC has received applications from Minsheng Bank, Beijing Rural Commercial Bank, Tianjin Rural Cooperat...
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Friday, January 19, 2007 — No Region Specified

Source: China Daily

Despite several high profile emerging-market exits by Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Ahold NV, and Carrefour, retailers will continue moving into developing nations such as India and China, a market research firm predicted on Monday. I think there are several compelling reasons why retailers need to continue internationalizing their businesses, said Matthew Stych, Euromonitor International's global director for retailing research. Economic growth is more rapid i...
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Friday, January 19, 2007 — No Region Specified

Source: Reuters

Texas Instruments predicts sales at its cell phone chip unit will grow, mostly of cheap phones. TAIPEI (Reuters) - Global sales of mobile phones are expected to grow to between 1.1 billion and 1.2 billion units in 2007, up as much as 20 percent from about 1 billion units sold last year, a Texas Instruments official said on Friday. ?We are optimistic on the growth momentum of low-price mobile phones,? Terry Cheng, the president of Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) Asia, to...
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Friday, January 19, 2007 — No Region Specified

Source: Financial Times

A new bout of sell-offs in emerging markets is likely ?at some point?, the Institute for International Finance warned on Thursday, as it unveiled forecasts for a slight easing in private ?capital flows to emerging markets this year. Charles Dallara, managing director of the IIF, which represents most of the world?s leading banks, was troubled by the market?s apparent disregard for the risks facing emerging ?market assets. ?We think there is a good bit of uncertainty out the...
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Friday, January 19, 2007 — No Region Specified

Source: The Monitor (Kampala)

First we had Fairtrade coffee, claiming to help farmers in poor countries. Then came Penguin Approved products, carbon neutral to prevent climate change. This week, scientists at Imperial College, London, gave us ethical pharmaceuticals, claiming they will slash drug prices and save poor countries from disease. Unfortunately, like most ethical products, this is more about salving Western consciences than actually helping the poor. The pr...
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Friday, January 19, 2007 — No Region Specified

Source: BBC

South American trading bloc Mercosur needs to do more to address social concerns, regional leaders have said. At a summit in Brazil, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said national interests had to be put aside to tackle inequalities between Mercosur states. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez went further and said the bloc needed to be de-contaminated of neo-liberalism. The bloc - which also includes Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay - is discussing Bolivia&...
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Friday, January 19, 2007 — No Region Specified

Source: BBC

US bank Citigroup has teamed up with private equity group CDC to invest at least $200m (?102m) in Africa. Citigroup will invest $100m in its first African private equity fund. The UK government-owned CDC group, formally called the Commonwealth Development Corporation, will match this amount. The fund will provide opportunities for Africa's infrastructure, telecoms, manufacturing and energy industries, the CDC said. We believe that profitable ...
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Wednesday, January 17, 2007 — No Region Specified

Rockefeller Revolutionary

Source: The Economist

?I AM not a ?steady as it goes? sort of person,? says Judith Rodin, with admirable self-awareness. In the 21 months since she became president of the Rockefeller Foundation, Ms Rodin has shaken to its core the charitable foundation established by John D. Rockefeller, an oil tycoon, in 1913. The 58 people who have left the staff, about one-third of those she inherited, are but the most visible evidence of the thorough change in culture over which she is presiding?or, rather, the most audible evid...
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Wednesday, January 17, 2007 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Source: BBC

How big a change have cellphones made to Africa? I shout the question at Isis Nyong'o, over the throbbing bassline of a Kenyan ragga track. She tells me calmly: It's had about the same effect as a democratic change of leadership. I'd expected hype from a Kenyan-American executive at MTV Networks Africa but by now I believed the hype myself. It was not the bling, the fashion models with candy-floss hair - it was the Nairobi teenagers mobbing the entr...
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 — Europe & Eurasia

Source: BBC

Migrant workers sending money home has become the biggest source of foreign income in some poor European countries, the World Bank has said. In a report on European and Central Asian (ECA) nations, the bank said that remittances sometimes beat foreign investment aid and exports in size. Officially recorded payments in the region - which includes former Soviet states - were over $19bn (?9.67bn). The largest amount of remittances, as a share of GDP, were sent to...
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Thursday, January 11, 2007 — South Asia

Pyramid power

Source: Economist

Will seamstresses in Guatemala or poor farmers in India pay $3 for a pair of reading glasses? It seems unlikely. Such people are among the three billion or so who earn only a dollar or two a day. And yet Scojo Vision, an American optical firm, is betting that they will pay that princely sum for its spectacles. The notion that only subsidies or handouts can provide the world's poorest with essential services such as health care is wrong, says Jordan Kassalow, Scojo's co-founder a...
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007 — No Region Specified

$100 laptop could sell to public

Source: BBC

The backers of the One Laptop Per Child project are looking at the possibility of selling the machine to the public. One idea would be for customers to have to buy two laptops at once - with the second going to the developing world. Five million of the laptops will be delivered to developing nations this summer, in one of the most ambitious educational exercises ever undertaken. Michalis Bletsas, chief connectivity officer for the project, said eBay could be a pa...
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Monday, January 08, 2007 — No Region Specified

Motorola's gloomy outlook casts shadow on mobile phone market

Source: The Guardian

As rapid industrialisation has boosted disposable incomes and phone networks in emerging markets such as India and China, handset makers have tapped into growing demand. Over the past two years, China has enjoyed growth of 5 million users a month, while Indian monthly growth now averages 6 million. The need for lower-cost models for large parts of these markets, along with intensifying competition between manufacturers, has eaten away at margins. Motorola has rattled the mobile phon...
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Monday, January 08, 2007 — No Region Specified

India's vast market lures telecom giants

Source: International Herald Tribune

Companies like General Motors, Unilever and Coca-Cola are pinning their future growth plans on Asia, where tens of millions of consumers are stepping over the threshold from poverty to the middle class. But to appeal to these low-income, highly price- conscious customers, many businesses are finding that they must learn to make money on drastically less expensive offerings. And as they reinvent themselves to suit the frugal shoppers of Asia, some wonder whether the strategies of Western corporat...
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Thursday, January 04, 2007 — South Asia

India poised for pharmaceutical boom

Source: Christian Science Monitor

As the cost of healthcare rises worldwide, Indian pharmaceuticals have positioned themselves to take advantage. For instance, Indian drugmakers now have 75 plants approved to make drugs for the American market - the most of any nation except the United States itself. Also, like Indian IT a decade ago, pharmaceuticals are on the cusp of an outsourcing trend that could become a $3-billion-a-year industry by 2010. During a lifetime spent treating AIDS patients from Asia to the deepest reaches of Af...
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Thursday, January 04, 2007 — No Region Specified

Hospital Caters to China's Wealthy and Poor

Source: Wall Street Journal

At the TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital just outside Beijing, patients can choose from six levels of service. At the lowest end, for about $6.70 a night, patients must share a small room with others. The biggest suite at the hospital, on the other hand, costs about $3,200 a night and occupies half the floor of a building. It offers satellite television, an indoor garden, a conference room, two bedrooms, a massage chair and a private gym. It's just like a...
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Wednesday, January 03, 2007 — No Region Specified

Tata, Fiat may join hands for Rs 1-lakh car

Source: The Times of India

Italian carmaker Fiat may join hands with Tata Motors to roll out Ratan Tata?s Rs 1 lakh dream car. The car, whose design is completed in Tata Motors' Pune centre, is expected to hit Indian roads by mid-2008. Alfredo Altavilla, Fiat's senior vice-president for business development said, Fiat has a strong presence in the small car segment and we are open to any kind of co-operation with the Tata group. On Thursday, Tata Motors and the Italian carmaker ...
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Wednesday, January 03, 2007 — No Region Specified

Yale makes big changes to MBA program

Source: Associated Press

Yale this year became the first major university to require its MBA students to study abroad. The Ivy League school also replaced finance and marketing courses that have been the mainstay of business education for 50 years with courses structured to mimic the way business managers operate. For one group of graduate business students at Yale, next month's lessons will take place on pineapple, banana and coffee plantations in Costa Rica. Other Master of Business Administration stude...
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Wednesday, January 03, 2007 — No Region Specified

Stanchart Bank Unveils New Product

Source: New Vision

STANDARD Chartered Bank has launched import and export financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The product has an international trade account and the SME express trade product, Herman Kasekende, the SME Banking general manager, said last week. He explained that the product was designed to make international trade cheaper, faster and convenient. Sh1m will be required to open this type of account. Kasekende added that the operators of the international a...
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Wednesday, January 03, 2007 — No Region Specified

Mexican insurers go for 'microinsurance'

Source: BusinessWeek

Just as Mexico's microfinance lenders have carved out a lucrative niche making tiny loans to some of the country's smallest entrepreneurs, a handful of insurers are proving that it can be profitable to sell life insurance to the country's working poor and lower-middle class. The issue isn't that the population doesn't have the economic capacity, disposable income, or an insurance culture, rather we as insurance companies need to adapt to their means, sa...
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Wednesday, January 03, 2007 — No Region Specified

Program to Improve Access to Financial Services for Pakistan's Poor

Source: Asian Development Bank

An ADB loan package totaling US$320 million will improve access of Pakistan's poor to wider financial services. Pakistan has achieved growth rates averaging over 7.5% for the past three years, and reforms have led to a better and more predictable environment for public and private investment and thus to job creation and higher incomes. This growth has cut poverty and increased prosperity. However, 24% of the population still lives below the poverty line. ?To ...
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Tuesday, January 02, 2007 — No Region Specified

An Organic Recipe for Development

Source: WBCSD News

Organic agriculture is a potent tool to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, but also to alleviate poverty and improve food security in developing countries, many experts now believe. Organic agriculture's use of compost and crop diversity means it will also be able to better withstand the higher temperatures and more variable rainfall expected with global warming. Organic agriculture is about optimising yields under all conditions, says Louise Luttikholt, ...
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