News Article | April 22, 2016
The parent to the world’s oldest bourse – the London Stock Exchange – recently announced that it became member of the Climate Bonds Initiative. The London Stock Exchange Group finally joined hands with the Climate Bonds Initiative to push ahead with the promotion of green bonds. The first green bond to be listed at LSE was issued by World Bank in 2009; since then, the exchange has attracted some of the leading banks and institutions from the global green bonds market. In 2014, the LSE Group joined the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) listed its first Renminbi-denominated green bond, raising RMB 500 million in the same year. In 2015, the LSE launched a comprehensive range of dedicated green bond segments attracting even more first-time issuers. In August 2015, the IFC listed the first offshore Indian Rupee denominated green bond, raising INR 3.15 billion. In October, the Agricultural Bank of China listed a $1 billion triple tranche, dual currency green bond, the largest green issue on London Stock Exchange’s markets. In total, the London Stock Exchange has attracted 24 ‘self-labelled’ green bonds, raising over $4 billion. Some of the well-known banks, institutions, and companies to have listed green bonds at LSE bourses include International Finance Corporation, Agricultural Bank of China, Transport for London, Unilever PLC, Nordic Investment Bank, Development Bank of Japan, and European Bank of Reconstruction & Development. Drive an electric car? Complete one of our short surveys for our next electric car report. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | January 4, 2016
Netflix may announce the launch of its services in India at the CES which will be held on Jan. 6 to Jan. 9, 2016 in Las Vegas. Netflix, an on-demand Internet media streaming service, is very popular in the United States and it is also available in more than 50 countries across the globe, including Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany and more. In October 2015, the company also expanded its services to Japan, Spain, Portugal and Italy as part of its global expansion strategy. The media streaming service is expecting to offer its services in about 200 countries in the next two years. India may be the next big market that Netflix is targeting in the near term. "It's similar to Starbucks entering India. Everybody knew about it but cafe brands were late to react and Starbucks came and stole the show. We don't want to be caught on the wrong foot," a spokesperson from Tata Sky (a direct broadcast satellite television provider in India), told the Times of India. Netflix has not yet confirmed its plans to launch its services in India. However, The Hindu Business Line cites unnamed industry sources who suggest that the American Internet media service will announce the launch of its services in India during the 2016 CES. "Netflix could enter India through a partnership with a local telecom firm to take advantage of the 4G networks that make watching high quality video streaming possible on a mobile anywhere," reports The Hindu Business Line. Internet media streaming is gaining popularity in India and it may be a good time for Netflix to enter the Indian market and grab a major chunk of the market share. According to The Hindu Business Line, in 2014, online video traffic in India was 46 percent of all the consumer Internet traffic in the country, an increase from 38 percent in 2013. Internet video traffic is also expected to increase to 74 percent by 2019. If launched, Netflix will not be the sole Internet media streaming provider in India. Similar services from Google Play, Reliance Communications and more are also available in India. Hooq, a Singapore-based on-demand video provider, launched its services in India in July 2015. The service is available in India for INR 199, or about $2.99, and allows users to download and stream TV shows and movies via the Internet. In the United States, Netflix charges $8.99, or about INR 600, per month. The service allows subscribers to watch HD-quality TV shows and movies on two devices at once. However, the monthly subscription plans for the Indian market is expected to be cheaper than that in the United States. Netflix is also borrowing about $1 billion as part of its expansion to Asian countries such as Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. Netflix is estimating to start the services in these countries sometime in 2016. Netflix has a vast library of content and in some regions the services are fully localized. Netflix also offers dubbing and subtitles to viewers in many regions. Indian customers will have to wait until Netflix officially confirms its plan to enter the Indian market in 2016.
News Article | January 26, 2016
Lenovo is without a doubt on a roll. Following the unveiling of its Vibe K4 Note a couple of weeks ago, the company has now taken the wraps off its K5 Note which packs in a Helio P10 SoC, all-metal body, 13-megapixel camera and more. This Lenovo smartphone rocks a 5.5-inch Full HD LTPS screen. It is fitted with 2 GB of RAM plus 16 GB expandable internal memory. When it comes to its snapper, this handset sports a 13-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing shooter for selfies and video chat. The thing that makes the device great is its 3,500 mAh battery, which has support for fast charging. The Android 5.1 Lollipop-based phone runs Lenovo's proprietary Vibe user interface on top. To sweeten the pot, the K5 Note is offering support for dual-SIM, VoLTE and 4G LTE. Its fingerprint sensor at the rear, designed to capture images and make payments, is yet another highlight of the handset. Alongside the MediaTek Helio P10 SoC, the handset carries a Mali-T860 GPU and a 64-bit octa-core processor. Additionally, the K5 Note contains a 1.5W speaker at the back which comes with Dolby Atmos surround sound effect. Customers have two color options to pick from, including silver and gold. But that's not all the K5 Note is putting to the table, as it also incorporates an accelerometer, digital compass, proximity and ambient light. When it comes to its price, it has a price tag of CNY 1,099, or about $167. Before anyone gets their hopes up, the K5 Note initially goes up for sale in China. Similar to the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note, this phone is likewise sold through a flash sale model in the company's homeland. At the moment, Lenovo has not yet made an official statement as to when the phone will be rolled out outside the country. In the meantime, the K4 Note (more popularly known as the Vibe K4 Note in the Indian market) consists of an NFC chip plus a fingerprint sensor. Under its hood, this 5.5-inch screen is loaded with a MediaTek Helio X10 processor and a 4 GB of RAM. This midrange smartphone carries a price tag of INR 12,999 ($190).
News Article | March 25, 2016
Apple may have messed up its iPhone SE launch in India already, before the device actually becomes available in the country. The new iPhone SE made its debut early this week at Apple's March 21 event, arriving as a nifty little handset with a 4-inch display and powerful specs. The hype surrounding its release quickly turned into frustration in India, however, as the iPhone SE launch scheme in the country leaves much to be desired. First off, the iPhone SE was expected to be Apple's cheapest smartphone ever, which got Indian fans understandably excited. The bad news is that while the iPhone SE has a $399 starting price in the U.S., it will start at a hefty INR 39,000 in India ($586) for the 16 GB version. That price enters the premium segment in India, so the iPhone SE is actually not that affordable at all. Other markets are in the same situation, as the iPhone SE costs more after hefty premiums globally. Aside from the higher price tag in India, the delay is another cause for frustration. Although Apple touted India as an emerging market for its "cheapest" iPhone SE, interested customers won't get it just yet. The iPhone SE starts shipping on March 31 in the U.S., but customers in India won't get it until April 8. Simply put, the smartphone allegedly designed for emerging markets will in fact skip emerging markets in its first round of availability. Instead of being among the first in line, India seems more like an afterthought. "By making it available in the first round itself in the country, Apple could have indicated that the Indian market is high on its priority list," notes Faisal Kawoosa, lead analyst at market research firm CyberMedia Research (CMR). "Though the company had mentioned about the significance of the India market for it, not including it in the list of the countries where iPhone SE would be made available first is definitely a big turn off." In this context, it will be interesting to see if the iPhone SE will prove successful in India, where handsets above INR 30,000 account for just slightly over three percent of the market. Beetel Teletech Limited will start taking preorders for the iPhone SE on March 29, ahead of the handset's retail release on April 8.
News Article | November 11, 2015
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is no longer a choice for Indian companies of a certain size: It’s a legal requirement. In April 2014, the hotly debated Companies Act forced approximately 3,000 organizations to form a CSR committee, and spend 2% of their average net profits over the past three years on social development and environmental projects. The initiative only affects Indian companies with a market cap over 5 billion INR (about $77 million USD), turnover above 10 billion INR (about $155 million USD), or annual profits greater than 50 million INR (about $770,000 USD). It’s comforting to think that "too big to fail" is, at least in one country, also associated with "big enough to do their part." In theory, the mandate has its appeal; it’s comforting to think that "too big to fail" is, at least in one country, also associated with "big enough to do their part." In the highly competitive North American talent market, however, companies that champion social initiatives also improve their employer brand, and ultimately their ability to recruit employees. According to a 2014 survey by Nielsen, 67% of respondents prefer to work for a socially responsible company, and, according to a recent survey by Deloitte, 50% of millennials want to work for a company with ethical practices. A competitive talent market has proven to be a strong motivating factor behind CSR programs in North America, but measuring their social impact is difficult. While you can quantify financial contributions, you can’t measure the impact those contributions have, or compare one company’s authentic commitment to social change against another’s. In the United States, where CSR is voluntary, determining a company’s true level of commitment remains a challenge for job seekers. That was the consensus among a group of human resources and corporate social responsibility experts who gathered in New York City in late October as part of a speaker series hosted by the Bigwin Group, a Toronto-based global executive search and talent strategy firm. "Right now, there's no mandated reporting around corporate responsibility, and there's different global entities that have tried to create standards about what CSR could look like," said Tara Cardone, the head of employee engagement and volunteerism at JPMorgan Chase, during the event at Soho House New York. "I think transparency is a good thing in the extent that there’s mandated transparency around CSR metrics, but what are the right metrics to measure?" While there is no universal measurement tool for social impact, pressure from job seekers has forced organizations to recognize the impact they have on the world, which may ultimately prove more effective than any government legislation. "Everyone has a different definition, and its called different things at different companies, but it's about more than philanthropy; it’s about how you operate as a corporate citizen," said Karyn Margolis, the director of CSR and sustainability at Avon Products Inc. "It goes back to authenticity; it has to be about how the company operates, and philanthropy and social programs are an extension of that, but it's much broader than giving away money." While governments in North America often play a role in tackling social issues, mandatory CSR has never been on the radar, and perhaps for good reason. "The positive of the India example is a broader awareness that there's challenges here we have to solve; I think that's a silver lining to what I think is a negative in terms of legislating anything," said Mike Dallas, senior vice president of human resources and global operations for Hewlett-Packard. "When things get legislated and mandated, you spend a lot of time on accounting and talking a good game, versus letting things happen organically, and we've had a much better experience when things are organic." Other panelists echoed Dallas’s sentiment, believing that mandatory CSR undermines the objective of socially responsible initiatives. "It's an opportunity for rash decisions, which concerns me," said Margolis. "As an idealist, I think, ‘This is great, force these companies to give back,’ but practically I just wonder if this will end up being one of those check-the-box things, where at the end of the year if they realize they haven't donated, maybe they don't properly vet the charity, maybe it's not a cause that's even aligned with their business objectives." Instead, Margolis believes that the best way to encourage companies to engage in socially conscious business practices is to mandate transparency. Social responsibility, she believes, will follow. "For example, the conflict minerals legislation here in the U.S. requires companies to report conflict minerals in their supply chain, which is a huge headache for companies, because it’s very difficult if there's no chain of custody, but it's mandated, so the companies are focusing on it," she said. "When that happens, it forces your suppliers to think about it, which forces their suppliers to think about it, so in those situations, government intervention, especially around transparency and reporting, is very beneficial for making change happen." While the government has a role to play in getting large organizations to do their part, panelists agreed that there were better approaches than mandating financial contributions. "I would take the John F. Kennedy, 'We want to put a man on the moon in 10 years,' approach," said Dallas. "If it's a greenhouse gas emission reduction, if it’s a number of people who have literacy, if it’s an amount of clean water, whatever it is, if the government took on an objective, and everyone partnered to accomplish that, however much you want to commit to it, there could be some universal benefit."