India beats China in growth sweepstakes

The Financial Express

It’s official! India’s growth in 2010 was a notch higher than that of China. According to data from the IMF, India’s GDP grew 10.4% in 2010 versus China’s 10.3%. And if projections by official agencies are anything to go by, China is looking at a 7% growth in the Twelfth Plan period (2011-15) compared with India’s 9%. This is the first time that India’s growth has overtaken that of China, since the latter initiated reforms in the 1980s, a decade ahead of India.

Economy

Rural India hooked to Web
Business Standard

The penetration of the internet in rural areas will see an all time high this year. In a survey conducted by IMRB for the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the total number of active internet users in rural area will rise by 98 per cent to touch 24 million by the end of this year from 12.1 million in December 2010.

The survey said that the claimed internet user category is also set to grow by 96 per cent to reach 29.9 million by December 2011 from 15.2 million in December 2010.

Panasonic eyes 65% revenue jump from India in FY12
Business Standard

Japanese consumer durables major Panasonic is targeting a nearly 65% jump in revenue from its India operations in FY12 to Rs 9,000 crore, a top company executive said today.

“We are aiming to achieve 200-billion yen (Rs 9,000 crore) in sales in India by FY12. Going forward, we will certainly continue to make our best efforts in India,” Panasonic President Fumio Ohtsubo told reporters here.

The company’s head of marketing in India, Manish Sharma, said they will be focusing on product differentiation from competitors, developing India-specific products which cater to domestic needs and communicating in the right way to achieve the targeted Rs 9,000-crore revenues.

Real Estate Sector

What it takes to become a full-fledged Gurgaonite
Times of India

Every city and town has a unique culture and ethos. Mumbaikars rush about in public transport and swear by their vada paavs, Kolkatans never rush about and swear by their maccher jhol, Delhities just rush about and swear.

So what about Gurgaon? Is it just a dimple on the fair cheek of Delhi or a pimple on the hairy chin of Haryana? Every day, hundreds of people tumble into the Millenium City trying to figure out how they can quickly assimilate into the Gurgaon culture. The good news for wannabe Gurgaonites is that you dont have to be born in Gurgaon or grow up in Gurgaon to become its citizen. In fact, no one over ten years (apart from a few buffaloes) was born here. Being a Gurgaonite is really about adopting the Gurgaon way of life, a unique lifestyle that is different from life in any other part of the country.

Retail realty to witness rapid growth: CB Richard Ellis
Kailash Babar, Mumbai
The Economic Times

Demand for residential development will continue to remain unabated, but the requirement of real estate by retail industry over the next five years and even thereafter will provide a major thrust to the property market in India, said CB Richard Ellis’ global president Robert E Sulentic.

“There is going to be a fairly rapid evolution of retail real estate. Organised retail is going to become more and more prominent here. There is clearly going to be a huge amount of residential development too. You will see a lot of rapidly-changing trends in the retail real estate,” Sulentic said.

According to him, the worst in the global property market is over and growth will resume now as most of the indicators, such gross domestic product growth and employment rates across countries are moving up. However, he also accepts that growth and peaks witnessed in 2007 may not be repeated very often. In the backdrop of this expected growth in the Indian realty market, the consultancy firm is now looking at expanding its operations and increasing its employee strength by at least 50 percent in the next three years.

Retail rentals soar in Bangalore as space shrinks
Swetha Kannan & Anjana Chandramouly, Bangalore
The Hindu Business Line

When a Bangalore-based apparel retailer was looking out for space in a newly opened mall, he realised he was up against an international brand which had raised the stakes with its ability to pay a higher rent. Finally, he settled for a high-street location in Indiranagar, an emerging retail destination in the city. But not before shelling out a premium.

With the retail sector seeing aggressive expansion after the slowdown, retail rentals are on the upswing again. While retailers do not fear an artificial peak — like the one during the pre-downturn days — they believe rentals are not likely to soften any time soon. For instance, in 2008 the high-street rental values in Bangalore were Rs 250-350 a sq. ft. The slowdown saw a 15-20 per cent dip in rentals; but now the rates have picked up by 10-15 per cent across the top 10 cities. In certain areas such as Brigade Road and Commercial Road in Bangalore, the rentals have even breached the 2007-08 figures. Rentals in malls are also seeing a 12-15 per cent increase.

Kaustuv Roy, Executive Director – India, Cushman & Wakefield, says: “The rental values have mainly appreciated on account of persistent demand for space for locations with relatively lesser options. Meagre addition to mall space has also led to the spiralling of the rental values. As developers deferred delivery of their projects, the main streets witnessed substantial pressures in the wake of the revived demand and expansion plans of most retailers.” The demand is also driven by the entry of hyper-markets and supermarkets, according to Naresh Dandapat, Regional Director-South, Knight Frank, a real-estate services firm.

Hospitality Sector

US chain Starwood to open 7 hotels in India
Divya Trivedi, New Delhi
The Hindu Business Line

India, along with China, is an important growth destination for US-based upscale hotel chain Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. It is the fourth largest market for the group at present.

Millennium City now a hub of hospitality
Sanjeev K Ahuja, Gurgaon
Hindustan Times (Delhi edition)

The Millennium City is not only responsible for the growth in IT and infrastructure sectors, but also for the hospitality industry. It seems National Highway 8 (also called Jaipur Highway) has a penchant for attracting luxury hotels, with at least 20 such hotels set to come up on this already `luxury’ stretch. Industry experts say customers will benefit because the cutthroat competition among hotels will push prices down.

Oberoi group to open 5 new luxury hotels
Priyanka Dasgupta Brahma, New Delhi
Financial Chronicle | The Economic Times | Business Standard

The Rs 4,700 crore East India Hotels (EIH), which has brands like Oberoi and Trident, is planning to open five new hotels as a part of its expansion plan. The company is not looking at diversifying into other segment as its continues to focus on luxury and premium hotel categories. “We are in the process of opening five new properties, which will be primarily management contracts along with some equity. Going ahead, the growth would come from primarily management contracts and that model would be the priority for the group” said Arjun Oberoi, chief planning officer and joint managing director, Oberoi Group.

Lemon Tree Hotels plans IPO, to add 6 more hotels
Trushna Udgirkar, Hyderabad
Financial Chronicle

Economy hotel chain Lemon Tree Hotels, in which global private equity firm Warburg Pincus holds 25 percent, is looking at tapping the capital market through an IPO in early 2013-14, said CMD Patu Keswani. The company expects to achieve a turnover of Rs 600 crore by then, up from the existing Rs 300 crore, he said. The company also plans to add another six hotels comprising 1,500 rooms to its chain, taking it to 20 hotels with 2800 rooms in a couple years.

Indians 6th biggest spenders in the world on overseas hotels
Economic Times

NEW DELHI: Indian travellers have emerged as the sixth biggest spenders on hotels globally while travelling overseas in 2010 with an average spend of Rs 6,722 per night despite remaining value conscious during domestic outings, according to a latest survey.

Indians have surpassed travellers from the UK, France, Germany and Singapore in terms of hotel spends, Hotel Price Index by Hotels.com said.

However, when it comes to domestic travel, Indians are ranked 12th with an average traveller spending Rs 4,136 within the country in 2010.

Infrastructure

Airport’s new terminal building operational from tomorrow
Anil Jerath, Chandigarh
The Tribune

The Chandigarh airport’s new terminal building will be operational from Thursday. Not only this, the new integrated terminal building’s curved structure has already made the airport the first in the country.

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