By Elton Gomes
Flipkart’s investor, SoftBank, is still undecided about its stake in the Indian e-commerce company following the takeover by Walmart. As artificial intelligence might take over our lives someday, the technology has received a significant boost by the Indian government. American company Apple might receive a significant boost if it commences manufacturing in India. Negotiations between China and America is on the cards, as Chinese firm ZTE faces uncertainty after the US ban.
Apple might soon manufacture in India
Sources from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) have said that US tech giant Apple Inc. will sooner or later have to set up a manufacturing plant in India. Keeping in mind Samsung’s and Xiaomi’s upbeat performance in the Indian market, Apple would not like to miss out on its share of profits in India.
Earlier, in November 2017, the Indian government asked Apple to return with a new approach to its manufacturing demands in India. However, the company has not responded yet. For setting up a manufacturing unit in India, Apple had sought concessions, such as duty exemption on manufacturing and repair units, components, and capital equipment, among other demands. But, the government did not agree to these demands. A MeitY official expressed confidence that the new manufacturing policies will make it worthwhile for new players to manufacture products in India.
NITI Aayog and Google to develop AI ecosystem in India
The Indian government’s think tank, NITI Aayog, will partner with Google to give a head-start to India’s artificial intelligence (AI) programmes. Under the joint initiative, Google aims to train and incubate Indian AI startups in an accelerator programme. Google and its affiliates will mentor these startups, and help them leverage AI in their business models. Furthermore, Google and NITI Aayog will conduct training programmes, aiming to sensitise policymakers and technical government experts about relevant AI tools, and how governance can be streamlined through the use of such tools.
To bolster research in AI, one of the initiatives include funding Indian researchers, scholars, and university faculty, to help them conduct AI-based studies, Business Line reported.
ZTE halts main operations after US ban
Chinese telecom company ZTE might just be the first victim of the ongoing trade war between China and America. The Chinese firm halted its main operations after a ban by the US cut off its access to American suppliers. A person privy to the matter said that the company’s divisions—network gear, devices, and enterprise solutions—had halted sales, Bloomberg reported.
American firms were blocked from selling parts or providing services to ZTE until 2025, as per the US Commerce Department’s order released in April. ZTE was also accused of violating American sanctions on North Korea and Iran, and then lying to American officials concerning the punishment meted out to the accused employees. The Chinese firm claimed that its business has been “severely impacted” by the ban, and the company halted trading of its stocks at the Hong Kong exchange. ZTE’s uncertain future has put the spotlight on Beijing and Washington’s trade war, where negotiations stand at a critical stage.
SoftBank still undecided on Flipkart stake
After Walmart’s $16 billion deal with Flipkart, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son is still undecided about selling the company’s 21% stake in Flipkart. According to the Economic Times, “SoftBank is still figuring out the tax liability that would arise if it sold its shares less than a year after investing in Flipkart.”
Additionally, the Japanese multinational firm believes that Flipkart has considerable potential, after it was valued at about $22 billion in the Walmart acquisition. Sources close to the matter have reportedly said that Son will take a call in the next seven to 10 days. SoftBank has invested $2.5 billion in Flipkart, and could be looking at profits of up to $4.5 billion if it decides to leave Flipkart. However, the Japanese firm will be taxed heavily for the $2 billion profit.
Employees in start-ups can gain access to shares from Day 1
The Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) announced that start-ups, and other unlisted companies can issue sweat equity shares to employees on their joining date. An employee’s non-financial investment, that contributes to the development of a start-up business, can be described as sweat equity.
The new order is deemed as a welcome move, when compared with the earlier restriction. Earlier, unlisted entities could issue sweat equity shares only to permanent employees working “for at least one year.” The new move is expected to help retain talent, as the companies now no longer have to wait for a year to issue sweat equity shares.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.
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