Interactive plans 35 Kidzcare centres
Kolkata: Zee Interactive Learning Systems (ZILS)
has crystallised plans to set up a 35 Kidzcare centres
across the country, all in the current fiscal.
the education arm of the Essel Group of Companies, already
has seven such centres in New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad
and Kolkata. The company is looking at setting up childcare
centres via the franchisee route.
higher number of nuclear families with both parents
working has lead to an increasing dependence on childcare
centres. Kidzcare has been designed to provide quality
pre-school childcare in urban markets.
centres aim to provide a secure, safe and caring environment,
with age-appropriate and learner-centric activities
for the all around development of children. ZILS expects
earnings from the Kidscare initiative to be in the range
of Rs3-5 crore in the current fiscal.
Replacement demand propels sales
The replacement of old personal computers in big corporations
was the primary sales propeller for hardware manufacturers
in 2006-07. Computer sales to the "home" segment
saw sales skewed towards notebooks.
small and medium enterprises (SME), expected to exponentially
increase technology spend, generated only 31 per cent
of sales as per the Manufacturers Association of Information
Technology (MAIT). A focus on e-governance initiatives
and demand from the banking, education, BPO and IT-enabled
services sector also spurred sales.
business segment accounts for about 74 per cent of PC
sales, with household consumption of desktops accounting
a smaller 26 per cent. The home PC market is yet to
pick up on account of price sensitivity, with people
looking to maximise value for money.
on India pays off for Vodafone
New Delhi: The domestic market appears to be
amongst the best performing ones in UK-based Vodafone''s
second-largest mobile subscriber base for the company
is in India, with a user base of 30.75 million as of
June 30, 2007. Vodafone''s German operations have the
highest subscriber numbers at 31.6 million.
its other significant markets, the UK has 17.6 million,
Italy has 21.7 million, Turkey has 14.9 million, Spain
has 15.1 million, Greece has 5.2 million, The Netherlands
has 3.8 million, Portugal has 4.7 million, Romania has
8.2 million, Egypt has 10.9 million, South Africa 16.2
has million and Australia has 3.3 million.
also talk the most, scoring the highest in terms of
total voice minutes. Total calls (incoming, outgoing
and visitor) during the quarter ended June 30 in the
Vodafone Essar network were for 26,713 million minutes,
compared to Germany''s 9,897 million, Italy''s 8,932 million
and UK''s 8,963 million.
subscriber base was at 232 million as of June 30, with
the mobile subscriber addition in Vodafone''s networks
around the world was 9.1 million, of which about 3 million
came from India. In the same quarter last year, Vodafone
had added just 4.8 million mobile subscribers. Vodafone
acquired a controlling stake in India''s Hutch Essar
earlier this year.
Group''s Depot banks on price and quality as its mantra
Mumbai: The Future Group''s year and half old
Depot is all toddle into the retailing of books, music,
toys, gifts and stationery, and currently has eight
standalone stores along with 55 shop-in-shops with Pantaloons
and Big Bazaar.
end 2007, it plans to increase the number to 100, with
15 standalones and another 85 points-of-sale.
seem to be a clear revenue-earner for Depot, contributing
35 per cent of total revenues. Another 25 per cent come
from music, and the balance from toys, gifts and stationery.
The size of the book market in India is estimated to
be around Rs3,000-4,000 crore.
a regional fare, the company is looking to provide a
range of books for adults, for which it has commissioned
authors like Nita Mehta, Sanjeev Kapoor, etc, and plans
to publish titles on Gujarati and Marathi literature.
Depot''s mantra for success is a price range between
Rs49 and Rs109, coupled with quality products.
explored the Indian market for over a year, Depot is
also keen on international tie-ups. A visit to the Frankfurt
Book Fair, which is a platform for publishers to acquire
rights, Depot has partnered a company called ''Small
World'' that specialises in books for kids'' up to the
age of seven.
ideation for this co-publishing deal is done in the
UK, and the production and printing is done in China.
Outlays for any such deal span $2,000-3,000 paid in
advance, with supplemental revenue sharing depending
Baer forays into the Eastern domestic market
Moser Baer, manufacturers of removable data storage
media, is to commence sales of DVDs and CDs in Kolkata.
company has launched about 7,500 film titles in all
major Indian languages, and is trying to include some
more. About 75 Bengali titles have been launched by
the company, which sells DVDs at a market price of Rs34
and CDs at Rs28.
company ventured into the home entertainment market
in January 2007, with an initial investment of Rs500
crore. The company plans to launch 50 titles every month,
with its core area being content development, marketing
has over 30 million DVDs and VCDs users whom are growing
at the rate of 25 per cent every year. Presently, Moser
Baer is the first public limited company with a share
of 40 per cent, with future plans to secure the lead
by producing movies in Hindi with Saurya being the first
movie to be released by the company this year. The movie
stars top Bollywood actors Rahul Bose and Esha Deol.
Hutch soon to be consigned to the history books
Sure to be rememberd as a short-lived super brand with
Cheeka, the Hutch pug, inheriting a new master, the
brand Hutch will soon find its place in history books.
pink tri-stars on the Hutch logo are soon to be replaced
by the conspicuous red logo of Vodafone, sounding a
retreat for the epic brand.
a few stalwarts at Hutch and O&M (Hutch''s ad agency)
are trying their best to retain the essence of Hutch
and keep it alive. Two popular tales doing the rounds
are that for sometime there will be dual-branding to
help transition some of the loyalty to the new Vodafone
brand, and the other is that the pug ''Cheeka'' and the
little boy may don some new advertising for the red
the years, Hutch has been successful in keeping consumer
loyalty intact. Be it touting ''Mobile Manners'', promoting
the ''Chota Recharge'', or the more recent ''Ranga Shankara
Theatre Festival'' - the Hutch campaigns focused on simplicity
yet were startling in nature. Estimates say over the
past five years Hutch has spent between Rs800 and Rs1,000
crore for its advertising duties.
combine launches classmate PCs
The world''s largest chipmaker Intel and leading computer
manufacturer HCL Infosystems have announced the launch
of Classmate PCs. The mobile PC is priced in the sub
Rs18,000 range, and will be available in the market
Classmate PC is essentially an educational tool developed
by Intel to aid students in classroom learning. It is
powered by Intel Processor 900 Mhz and comes with WiFi
and Ethernet connectivity, with a 7-inch LCD screen,
215 MB and 512 MB RAM with one GB and two GB flash memory.
18k price range also includes cost of installing supporting
connectivity infrastructure, teachers'' training and
customised integrated learning solutions via our tie-ups
with content developers and education service providers.
This cost is slated to reduce even further.
PCs will be retailed through schools and HCL Infosystems
expects to deploy 3,000-5,000 such PCs over the next
three to four quarters.
in only 1.4 kg, the PC is durable and rugged, with a
personal learning assistant that resembles a textbook.
It provides for three to four hours of usage time.
to go with the PCs include note takers and digital pens.
Intel OEM partners Wipro and Zenith will also offer
the PC shortly.
to avoid price war on the US circuit, looks to differentiate
Private Indian airline Jet Airways, which commences
US operations next month, has ruled out a price war,
and expects to attract passengers by showcasing top-class
an interview posted on the website of Forbes magazine,
chairman Naresh Goyal stated "We are not here to
get into fare wars. We are here to give you the best
product, which hopefully no other airline gives you".
to Goyal, American passenger-airlines "dump people"
from one point to another. With Jet, passengers get
a hot three-course meal in every section of the airplane
irrespective of the class they travel.
makes its maiden US flight to Newark airport from Mumbai
next month. This will be followed by Toronto in September,
as part of efforts to tap the 800,000 Indians
living in Canada. Subsequently, services will cover
JFK, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A. (Los Angeles) over
the next year.
baits corporate houses with fixed-mobile convergence
Kolkata: Unlimited free phone calls between fixed
and mobile networks, together with internet access at
a fixed competitive rental is in the offing for corporate
new corporate scheme is slated to be absolutely free
from any charge other than rental for calls. There will
be no roaming charge, according to Calcutta Telephones
chief general manager S K Chakravarty.
corporate user can now make unlimited free calls between
fixed and mobile phones besides internet usage. This
will be possible even on the move, within an own nationwide
user group or virtual private network (VPN), and is
designed to give BSNL an edge over private telecom operators.
BSNL used separate VPNs for fixed and mobile (CellOne),
which have now been integrated, including the data gateway
for high speed data service.
monthly rental for the corporate scheme was likely to
be in the range of Rs500 per user. All corporate members
would also get free access to Wi-Fi at hot spots like
the NSC Bose International Airport.
Stating that the new corporate scheme would lead to
increase in BSNL fixed and CellOne mobile usage, Chakravarty
said there was no major investment in introducing unified
VPN solution as there was a separate Intelligent Network
for fixed and mobile services.
Under the corporate scheme, BSNL would also offer international
calls which would be cheaper by almost 30 per cent,
and will introduce an international calling card under
the brand `CallNow''.
cheapest car could be pricier than envisaged
High input costs and production delays could force Tata
Motors to raise the price of the world''s cheapest car,
as suppliers resist pressure to lower prices any further.
Motors is turning negotiating with parts makers as it
pushes to launch the car next spring or summer, despite
delays in construction of the plant in the state of
West Bengal land acquisition problems.
Motors is India''s third-biggest carmaker, and had earlier
announced the launch for early 2008. Suppliers, already
grappling with fluctuating raw material costs, are finding
Tata''s price and delivery targets almost impossible.
Some have reportedly turned down orders from Tata Motors,
while others are now seeking guarantees on volumes and
Motors has promised a price tag of Rs100,000 ($2,500).
Sceptics say it will now have to price it 25 per cent
higher if it wants to maintain a profit margin of 8
sticker price of Rs125, 000 would put the vehicle in
line with other low-cost cars being envisaged by competitors
Renault and Nissan.
Ratan Tata said at a recent shareholders meeting that
the firm was committed to launching the ''Rs one-lakh
car'' in the first half of the fiscal year ending March
2009. A car priced at a lakh, in a country where small
cars make up two-thirds of sales, could have a potential
market of one million units. Suppliers say they have
been told to gear up for an initial run of 250,000-300,000
Motors has reportedly been encouraging suppliers to
set up factories near the new plant to reduce transport
and packaging costs, which account for up to 8-10 per
cent of total manufacturing costs. It is also enabling
just-in-time which will reduce inventory costs.
its suppliers are fellow Tata Group companies, including
Tata Bearings, Tata Toyo Radiator, Tata Johnson Controls,
Tata Yazaki and Tata Ryerson, which should help ensure
better cost control and timeliness.
Money seeks Indian private label opportunities to expand
New Delhi: As it looks to expand its growth horizon,
GE Money India has said that it is talking to big retailers
including Bharti-Wal-Mart and Reliance, for offering
credit programmes similar to the private label credit
card it has provided to Tata Group.
GE Money India has offered a Visa credit card to customers
of various Tata-run businesses, such as Taj Hotels,
Tata Motors, Westside and Tanishq. The use of the card
allows customers to earn reward points redeemable instantly
at other outlets of the group.
are talking to a number of retailers... looking for
tie-ups with Bharti-Wal-Mart, Reliance Retail, Trinethra,
Subhiksha, Spencer''s and the Future Group," GE
Money (India region) president and CEO Vishal Pandit
said. He was optimistic about the tie-up with Bharti-Wal-Mart
because of GE Money''s global relationship with US retailer
1998, GE Capital tied up with State Bank of India to
market, issue and service payment of cards under the
brand, SBI Card. While the joint venture with SBI continues,
GE Money is looking to broaden its reach in the cards
business via big retail chains. This is one of the new
strategies the company is following since it decided
to exit consumer durables finance through mom and pop
Lite drops plans to fly to Malaysia post merger
Kuala Lumpur: India''s Jet Lite, the erstwhile
Air Sahara, suspended plans to fly to Malaysia following
its merger with Jet Airways, according to an announcement
Jet Lite, the former Air Sahara is undergoing a restructuring
to become a low-cost carrier with a focus on the domestic
segment, said Kevin Marthinus, country manager for Jet
Airways in Malaysia.
merger announced in April 2007, is expected to create
an airline controlling almost 50 per cent of India''s
domestic aviation market, spanning a fleet of 89 jets.
According to the announcement, Air Sahara''s previous
plans to fly to Malaysia and other international destinations
have been shelved until it completes its revamp. The
New Delhi-Singapore flight -- the airline''s only international
route -- was terminated earlier this month as part of
Sahara first received landing rights in Malaysia in
2005. The approval lapsed as Air Sahara failed to start
flights due to operational difficulties. It once again
was cleared to land at Malaysia, in May 2007, with approval
to fly from New Delhi to Kuala Lumpur, by which time
the carrier was already in the process of being taken
over by Jet Airways.
unveils a plug-in hybrid, to conduct road trials
Tokyo: Toyota Motor Corp. has unveiled a plug-in
hybrid car based on its popular Prius model. The company
is to now test the vehicle on public roads, which would
be an industry-first in the automobile business.
The car, named the Toyota Plug-in HV, is presently not
ready for commercialisation, as it uses low-energy nickel-metal
hydride batteries instead of the better charging lithium-ion
ones which are believed to be better for rechargeable
cars are designed for short trips, powered entirely
by an electric motor that uses a battery as its power
source. The chargeable battery be energised via an electric
socket at home, as easily as connecting any other appliance.
advocates see these cars as the best available technology
to reduce dependence on gasoline, and the resultant
global-warming greenhouse gas emissions. However, engineers
opine that battery technology is still too nascent to
store enough energy for long-distance travel. Commercialisation
of plug-in hybrids hinges largely on advances in battery
Toyota Plug-in HV, is due to be tested in the United
States and Europe as well. The car has a cruising range
of just 13 km (8 miles) on a single charge. Detroit''s
General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. are also working
on plug-in hybrids, partnering with battery makers such
as Germany''s Continental AG. GM in January 2007 showcased
a concept version of the plug-in Chevrolet Volt that
would be powered by a lithium-ion battery, and has set
2010 as a target for production.
this month, Ford partnered No. 2 US electric utility
Southern California Edison for real-world testing of
a fleet of up to 20 rechargeable vehicles, which would
be based on the Escape Hybrid SUV. Ford has said plug-ins
could retail at showrooms in 5 to 10 years.
launched the world''s first mass-volume gasoline-electric
hybrid car, the Prius, in 1997. The company plans to
test eight prototypes of the plug-in hybrid to gather
data on real-life driving conditions over a three years
span. Many Japanese automakers including Toyota, Nissan
Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. are working with
Japanese battery makers to develop next-generation lithium-ion
batteries that will have improved capacity to store
car maker Reva plans to ramp up operations
Bangalore: The home grown, Bangalore-based Reva
Electric Car Company (RECC) is ramping up its current
annual production capacity from 6,000 units to 30,000
units, estimating an oncoming surge in demand for its
new facility will spring up near its current plant in
Bommasandra, on the outskirts of Bangalore, and will
be operational by the mid - 2008.
company generated around Rs80 crore last December, and
is planning to accelerate its marketing and production
efforts to push up sales in various markets. It is already
doing some test marketing in about 13 countries, and
a number of Indian states.
is planning on an annual growth rate of around 400-500
per cent, according to RECC deputy chairman Chetan Maini,
who disclosed this at the launch of REVA''s advanced
version - REVAi.
oil prices are seen to be spurring strong growth in
electric vehicles by. Maini also expected REVA''s steep
price to come down with technology and volume changes.
company sold 600 REVAs last year, of which 70 per cent
were exported, and is planning sales of an enviable
3,000 cars this year. European markets like Cyprus,
Malta and Greece are prime target markets for the company,
where it is already selling the car, and has plans to
branch into Norway, Spain, Germany and Austria, which
have encouraging policy for Electric Vehicles. The company
is also looking to enter Japan, which offers around
Rs 1 lakh subsidy to buyers of electric vehicles.
India, only five states (Karnataka, West Bengal, Andhra
Pradesh, Pondicherry and Goa) provide road tax exemption
for electric cars. The high tax component of 30 per
cent in the REVA price makes it expensive, but the company
is confident of sales picking up as people experience
the convenience of owning an electric car.
Cinemas tie-up with Visa, offers 50 per cent discounts
New Delhi: Multiplex chain PVR Cinemas has partnered
Visa International for providing discounts on online
tickets purchases via Visa''s Platinum card.
a yearlong offer starting this week, customers can get
up to 50 per cent off on online ticket purchases.
the offer has been launched only on the Visa Platinum
card, it could later be broad-based onto other Visa
cards as well, depending on the kind of response, according
to Cine Media PVR chief executive officer Gautam Dutta.
Dutta said of the total transactions,
about 12-16 per cent are from online ticket sales, and
in the next one year the company is targeting two crore
customers, up from 1.4 crore in 2006-07.
the company expects around one lakh transactions via
Visa Platinum cards. Both companies are sharing the
cost of the programme. PVR plans to spend Rs1.5 crore
on the promoting the offer, across print, on ground
and radio advertising.
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