Amazon Is Now Getting Into Sportswear

Amazon.com Inc. is tapping some of the biggest athletic-apparel suppliers to make a foray into private-label sportswear, according to people familiar with the matter, setting the stage for further upheaval in an already-tumultuous industry. Makalot Industrial Co., a Taiwanese vendor that produces clothing for Gap Inc., Uniqlo and Kohl’s Corp., is making apparel for the Amazon line, a person with knowledge of the arrangement said. Eclat Textile Co., another Taiwanese supplier, is contributing to the effort as well — a relationship first noted by SinoPac Securities Corp. analyst Silvia Chiu.

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The project is new and long-term contracts haven’t been signed yet, according to people involved. The manufacturers are producing small amounts of products for Amazon as part of a trial, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the effort isn’t being promoted yet. Amazon has previously ventured into private-label fashion, offering office clothing, jackets and dresses under names like Goodthreads and Paris Sunday. But pushing into activewear would bring fresh competition to some of the world’s biggest athletic brands. Eclat’s involvement is especially noteworthy because it makes clothing for Nike Inc., Lululemon Athletica Inc. and Under Armour Inc. and has key expertise in making high-performance sportswear. Amazon, based in Seattle, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The move comes as unwelcome news for activewear companies already struggling to stand out in a sea of competition and discounts. Last month, Nike said it expects sales to decline again this quarter in North America. Under Armour, meanwhile, cut its annual sales forecast in August. Lululemon has fared better this year, but it too is facing steeper competition in the market for yoga pants and other sporty apparel. That cutthroat environment in North America has pushed it to look overseas for growth. Amazon also has been hiring staff with know-how in private-label athletic apparel. In January, Kirsten K. Harris joined the company as a senior brand manager for Amazon active apparel, according to her LinkedIn profile.

She previously headed up product development at Nordstrom Inc.’s activewear brand for women, Zella. Before that, she held leadership roles in product development for Eddie Bauer and Nike. Harris didn’t respond to a request for comment through LinkedIn. Amazon has developed its own brands in part because they fill gaps in its inventory. If customers are searching for a certain type of shoe or skirt, and don’t see much of a selection from established brands, Amazon wants to be able to offer its own options. Oftentimes, shoppers may not realize that the names — such as Scout + Ro and North Eleven — are owned by Amazon. This also sends a message to brands reluctant to sell their full inventory on Amazon. If shoppers can’t find your products on the site, Amazon will make its own substitutes and become your competitor. For suppliers like Eclat, forging alliances with e-commerce companies reflects shifting demand from consumers, Chiu said in a note.

“Online apparel sales accounted for 19 percent of all apparel sales in 2016, up from 11 percent in 2011,” Chiu said. “Online sales are primed for strong growth.” Eclat expects new clients to contribute as much as 12 percent of 2018 sales, she said. The shipments to Amazon began in August, according to Chiu. “The contribution this year will be small, but the potential is high,” she said.

– Bloomberg

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Ralph Lauren Won’t Let Go of His Shrinking Polo Empire

The first time fashion designer Ralph Lauren tried sharing control of his retail empire ended badly. The new CEO left after only 18 months. Creative clashes, they both acknowledged. Now the 77-year-old Lauren is making another bet on an outsider to help revitalize the company he founded a half-century ago. Patrice Louvet, a former Procter & Gamble Co. veteran, started as CEO in July amid promises of an amicable working arrangement. But Lauren, who often refers to the company as “my baby,’’ isn’t going anywhere. He remains heavily involved running the business, working at the Manhattan headquarters about four days a week, people familiar with the matter said. And he’s made sure that he retains control over the creative side of the business. Louvet’s contract contains a provision, largely unnoticed, that ties his hands. Lauren, who remains chief creative director, retains a final say in brand and creative decisions, as well as in hiring and firing senior executives in design and marketing areas, the contract states. The previous CEO, Stefan Larsson, 43, who left in May, had no such restraint.

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All this raises questions for a company that is struggling to reverse a three-year slump in same-store sales in a tumultuous retail environment. Retail experts say Ralph Lauren could use fresh thinking as it tries to revitalize a brand that has lost cachet. Even signature Polo Ralph Lauren polo shirts aren’t selling like they used to, losing business to hipper brands such as Vineyard Vines. While the company relies on an aspirational image of beaches and yachts, other retailers are turning to celebrities like singer Selena Gomez and model Gigi Hadid as their brand ambassadors. “He’s obviously someone with an iconic view and what he’s achieved is incredible,” said Simeon Siegel, an analyst at Instinet LLC. “That said, retail has evolved and the company has not responded to that as fast as its peers. That’s the issue.’’

This year, Ralph Lauren dropped off a ranking of the 100 best global brands for the first time since 2011, according to consultant Interbrand, which looks at things like financial return and customer loyalty. The company has been closing retail locations, including the flagship Polo store on Fifth Avenue, and its stock has dropped by more than half from its peak in 2013. The shares, which declined 16 percent in the past year, fell as much as 2.3 percent on Thursday. “The combination of Ralph and Patrice’s experience lends itself to a powerful partnership,” the company said in a statement. “Together with the company’s leadership team, they are already evolving how our iconic brand is experienced and expressed, and we are encouraged by the early progress.” The 53-year-old Louvet said during an analysts’ call in August that Lauren was in charge of the creative side of the business and he would lead the company’s strategy, execution and business results.

Lauren’s longevity in retail fashion is unusual. He was 23 when he had his first big success. He convinced Bloomingdale’s to buy his wide ties when narrow neckwear was in vogue. His old-money styles have been followed and copied worldwide, and today he’s worth almost $6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He controls the majority of the company’s voting shares with his family. But the company, like other retailers, has been hit hard by the shift to online shopping from brick-and-mortar locations, forcing department stores to discount products. Ralph Lauren relies on retailers such as T.J. Maxx and Macy’s Inc. for more than 40 percent of its sales. Meanwhile, its product styling and marketing remain largely stuck in the past, retail analysts say. Ralph Lauren, which has historically succeeded on the back of its founder’s vision, continues to use him as a primary face of his company. Top pages of Polo Ralph Lauren’s Instagram account show old pictures of the founder and his family.

The troubles show up in sales of its polo shirt, which remains one of Ralph Lauren’s biggest revenue sources. The three best-selling full-priced polo shirts in the last six months are from Antigua, Nike and Moncler. Polo Ralph Lauren ranks 21st, according to fashion analytics company Edited. Analysts thought they saw signs of change in 2015 when Lauren, for the first time, stepped down as CEO and hired Larsson, a former H&M and Old Navy executive. He slashed more than 1,000 jobs and reduced the time it took to bring new fashion to the market. But Larsson and Lauren clashed over the CEO’s efforts to reinvent products, focus on core brands and bring in fresh design talent, according to people who declined to be named because the information is private. Larsson also faced resistance from employees close to the fashion idol. And there was a division between the creative and business operations. Lauren’s design team often pushed back suggestions from the wholesale group to align its products with what’s selling, the people said.

Larsson’s departure followed disagreement over his authority to overhaul the business, they said. He declined to comment, according to his representative. Louvet hasn’t yet detailed his strategy but told analysts he wants to improve the brand image, beef up the company’s online strategy and enhance the customer shopping experience. During 25 years at P&G, Louvet’s experience included running the global beauty business and fashion brands such as Gucci and Hugo Boss. There are signs that Ralph Lauren is trying to win back customers and create hype by bringing back its vintage pieces, for example. Its latest quarterly results showed it was making headway in getting customers to pay full price, even as same-store sales continued to fall. It will report its second-quarter results on Nov. 2. But Lauren and Louvet face more crucial decisions. Analysts have urged the company to reduce its roughly dozen brands to avoid consumer confusion, but that would mean sacrificing sales. And it needs to enhance its premium image and reduce its exposure in the mass market.

“A lot of his reputation is at stake on this,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said of Lauren. “If this goes wrong again, it will tie back to him and investors will start to question whether he’s actually more of a liability or an asset.”

– Bloomberg

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Indian Cities to See Fastest Growth in Asia Over Five Years

Delhi will have the fastest growth of any city in Asia, with the economy to be almost 50 percent larger in 2021 than it was at the end of last year. Indian cities are set to expand the most across the region, with growth speeding up from the past 5 years, according to a new study from Oxford Economics, which ranked Asia’s 30 largest cities. With financial and business services projected to be the fastest growing sector in India, Delhi’s dominance in this industry will lead to higher growth and higher incomes. “Limits on foreign ownership of Indian companies are gradually being reduced or eliminated,” wrote Mark Britton, lead economist on the report. “In the short term this is conducive to strong growth in Delhi’s professional services sector, as overseas investors seek advice on possible deals, while long term it should mean steady income streams for such businesses.”

indian_citiesConsumer companies such as Japan’s Muji are also betting on that change. Parent company Ryohin Keikaku Co. sees India becoming its second largest international market, after China. And Amazon.com Inc.’s Indian unit is seeking approval to invest in a food supply chain and take advantage of government moves to ease rules on foreign retailers. China’s expansion will slow, although the largest five cities will still be recording growth rates of 6 percent or more. There will be a slight slowdown across the region amid moderating import demand from China, with growth expected to average 4.2 percent per year over the five years to 2021, down from 4.5 percent in 2012-2016. Even so, that’s still much faster than the developed economies and cities in the region – and that’s a big opportunity for companies. Starbucks Corp. plans to almost double the number of stores it has in mainland China by 2021, and McDonald’s Corp. plans to add 2,000 new restaurants over the same period. Both companies recently announced they were buying out their partners in Mainland China and taking control of operations.

However, there are significant differences across the region. Japanese cities are likely to remain at the bottom amid a challenging demographic outlook, with Osaka last in the rankings as its working-age population falls by approximately 1 percent per year, the report said. Tianjin is forecast to clock the fastest growth in China, given that it has a large manufacturing base and one of the nation’s busiest ports. However, as the services sector expands, the manufacturing and shipping industries may prove to be less supportive in future. Ho Chi Minh was the only non-Indian city in the top five, reflecting the city’s success in establishing itself as a manufacturing center, as well as its strong services sector.

  • Bloomberg

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ThaiBev To Buy KFC Restaurants in Thailand

Thai Beverage, the spirits giant that makes Chang beer and SangSom rum, is expanding into the fast-food business to take advantage of the rising appetite for fried chicken in Asia. ThaiBev agreed to purchase more than 240 existing KFC restaurants in Thailand for about 11.3 billion Thai baht ($340 million). A deal is also in place for the company to take over stores that are being developed, with the cost of those locations to be determined when the transaction closes, according to a filing. KFC is operated by Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum! Brands Inc., which also runs the Taco Bell and Pizza Hut chains. Billionaire Chairman Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who founded the company, has been seeking to diversify ThaiBev’s operations for years, with a goal of generating more revenue from nonalcoholic beverages by 2020. The fast-food push comes as Western restaurant companies increasingly target Asia as a key market for growth. For Thai Beverage, the KFC deal is a bid to seize on the popularity of chicken in Asia, according to Nirgunan Tiruchelvam, a director at Religare Capital Markets in Singapore.

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“The KFC acquisition is a very good way of exposing oneself to the rise of quick-service restaurants in Asia, especially the rise of chicken consumption,” he said. Emerging-market demand for KFC is strong, and the concept has a local focus in each market. The brand is centered around a protein with few belief-based dietary restrictions, giving it a broad base of potential customers. Yum, which spun off its China division last year, is seeking to accelerate development of its Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell brands, particularly in overseas markets. At the same time, Yum aims to become 98% franchised by the end of fiscal 2018. Thailand accounted for 2 percent of KFC’s sales in emerging markets last quarter. It was the only region in that division that saw sales drop year-over-year, posting a 2 percent decline.  Charoen previously expanded his property business amid government measures to curb alcohol consumption in Buddhist Thailand. He was ultimately forced to list the company unit in Singapore in 2006 after activists and monks held protests to block a local share sale by the company.

The company’s long-term strategy involves generating 50 percent of its revenue from countries outside Thailand and nonalcoholic beverage by 2020. That’s expected to drive more deals in the region. Sales outside that country amounted to less than 4 percent in the last fiscal year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “Thai Beverage is a company that is looking to expand in the food and beverage space in Southeast Asia,” Tiruchelvam said. “It has very strong core cash flow from its spirits business, and it’s expanding into other areas.”

  • Bloomberg

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Reliance Industries Plans Refinancing of Its $12 Billion Debt

Reliance Industries Ltd. plans to refinance a significant portion of about $12 billion of borrowings that mature over the next three years and may sell bonds to repay the debt, according to company executives with knowledge of the matter. India’s largest company by market value will repay some of the debt coming due, mostly bonds and interest, the officials said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential matters. Reliance’s repayments from 2018 through 2020 will be its biggest for any previous three-year period and include about $8.14 billion of term loans, $3.52 billion of bonds and a $300 million revolver loan, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It also has about $1.65 billion of interest payments, the data show.

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Reliance’s borrowings have ballooned over the past five years as the group invested in building its telecom business, a pet coke gasification unit and in expanding petrochemicals capacities. The plan to tap the bond market is part of a larger trend that’s seen Indian corporates choosing bonds over loans for the first time in at least a decade. One of the fastest economic growth rates in the world and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reforms have attracted global funds to India, reducing costs for issuers. “There is a lot of appetite among investors for Indian issuers,” said Raj Kothari, head of trading at Jay Capital Ltd. in London. “Reliance being the biggest company from India with solid finances, there would be no challenges for the company in refinancing its debt.”

Controlled by second-richest Asian Mukesh Ambani, Reliance has sufficient cash though it won’t use it to repay maturing debt as the company’s credit ratings and strong finances enable it to raise funds at competitive rates, the people said. A Reliance spokesman did not respond to an email seeking comment. S&P Global Ratings has a BBB+ score on Reliance’s long-term debt, two levels above the sovereign; while Moody’s has the company at Baa2, a notch above the Indian government. Reliance’s $1 billion 4.125 percent 2025 notes was quoted at 139 basis points over U.S. treasuries, the tightest spread since issuance, and lower than the average of 185 basis points on an index of Indian investment-grade debt compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The company earned about 94 billion rupees, or about a quarter of the company’s profit before tax, in the year ended March by investing its surplus cash in interest bank deposits, debt securities and other instruments, according to its annual report.

Reliance has yet to decide whether to raise the funds for refinancing through local- or foreign-currency bonds, according to the people. The company hasn’t decided on the timing of any new issuance or on the amount it plans to raise, though it will probably use several tranches as debt matures, they said. India’s second-largest oil refiner had outstanding debt of more than $31 billion as on June 30 and cash of about $11 billion. Reliance generated an operating profit of about 147 billion rupees ($2.3 billion) in the quarter ended June, which suggests that the figure could be around 588 billion rupees for this financial year. Reliance’s reported debt numbers may actually increase over the next two to three years due to planned investments of about 550 billion rupees in the current fiscal and a “significant payment” due for capital spending and deferred liabilities, Kotak Securities had said in a report last month.

  • Bloomberg

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Dominos Gets Leaner As It Serves Fatter Pizzas

Domino’s Pizza will offer more cheese and toppings and a softer crust at no added costs. It’s partly due to a lower Goods and Services Tax, Pratik Pota, chief executive officer at Jubilant Foodworks Ltd., the owner of the pizza chain’s franchise in India, told BloombergQuint in an interview. Total levies on quick service restaurants like Domino’s have come down to 18 percent from over 20 percent earlier. There’s more to it. Pota is focussing on the performance of each store, has scaled down expansion and cut discounts to boost profits at India’s largest pizza chain. He’s also shutting down non-performing stores and reducing headcount. The effort is to improve quality and profits, said Aditya Joshi, research analyst at Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Broking. The new CEO replaced the buy-one-get-one free offer with everyday value to focus on profitability and a shorter break-even period, he said.

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Jubilant Foodworks opened 13 new Domino’s outlets and one Dunkin’ Donuts store in the three months ended June. It closed five pizza and nine Dunkin’ Donuts outlets during the quarter. The company will add 40-50 new stores in the ongoing financial year, less than half of what it opened in the previous year. Jubilant Foodworks had 1,125 pizza stores across 264 cities and 55 Dunkin’ Donuts outlets in 15 cities as of June 30, according to its filing to exchanges. “Pota is expected to drive higher SSG (same-store-sales growth) through value offering strategy and closure of non-profitable stores,” brokerage Edelweiss Securities Ltd. said in a report after the company announced its April-June results. The number of employees per store too has come down. A Domino’s outlet had 21 staffers in the quarter ended June, down from 22 in the previous three months and 23 in the year-ago period, the company said in a conference call with analysts.

There is a possibility that the number will go down further and the company is exploring ways to use technology extensively, said Pota, who took over in April. He has worked at India’s largest consumer goods maker Hindustan Unilever Ltd. and beverage giant PepsiCo. We remain open to ways which will help drive efficiencies, improve productivity and towards that, we use technology extensively in our stores and techniques like six sigma to improve and reduce the headcount. Pratik Pota, Chief Executive Officer, Jubilant Foodworks

The chain commands 72 percent share in the organised pizza market, Edelweiss said in its report quoting Euromonitor International.  Jubilant Foodworks told analysts it targets to cut the losses at its Dunkin’ Donuts franchise by half in the ongoing financial year and turn them profitable over the next two years. “As of now, we are not contemplating to close the brand,” Hari Bhartia, co-chairman and director at Jubilant Foodworks, said in the conference call. “We are hopeful with all the good initiatives that have been done. We are starting to see very good results.”

  • Bloomberg

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Tata Sons Hiring Bankers to Help Sell or Merge Dozens of Units

Nearly six months after his turbulent elevation to run India’s biggest conglomerate, Natarajan Chandrasekaran is assembling a team of dealmakers to refocus some of the group’s biggest businesses, expand its financial services and consumer businesses and sell or merge dozens of smaller units, according to interviews with senior executives. As many as one-third of the group’s 100-plus units could go as Chandrasekaran and his team try to balance the need to prune unprofitable businesses at the 149-year-old group with the Tata family legacy of social responsibility, according to officials who asked not to be named because the negotiations are private. Chandra, as the 54-year-old chairman is called by his colleagues, has set his primary task to bring more focus to a conglomerate that assembles buses in Africa, serves kebabs at London’s ritzy Bombay Brasserie and sells cheap bags of salt in Indian supermarkets among much else. There are plans to merge consumer and retail businesses, bring infrastructure firms under one umbrella, club defense units together and combine technology firms, according to the people.

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“Chandrasekaran is hoping to increase the efficiency of the conglomerate and exit from businesses which don’t fit the group’s priorities or don’t have the ability to scale,” said Harish H. V., partner at consultancy firm Grant Thornton India LLP. “He is trying to simplify the complex conglomerate business structures, many of which were created in another era due to licensing and other regulatory reasons or the need to form joint ventures.” A Tata Group spokesman said the company does not comment on such matters.

The six largest listed Tata companies account for about 90 percent of the group’s market capitalization and total revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. To help broker the reorganization, Tata Sons Ltd. in May hired former investment banker Saurabh Agrawal as chief financial officer, filling a role that had been vacant for five years. Agrawal was a key lieutenant of Kumar Mangalam Birla and helped the billionaire merge Grasim Industries Ltd. with Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd. into a $9 billion industrial group, and Idea Cellular Ltd. with Vodafone Group’s local unit to create India’s largest wireless carrier. Shuva Mandal was picked to be the group’s legal counsel the same month, taking over from old Tata hand Bharat Vasani.

Chandra also hired Ankur Verma, who was Bank of America Corp.’s head of India for deals in technology, media, telecommunications, oil and gas, and Nipun Aggarwal who specializes in metals and mining deals. More hirings from banks are expected, the executives said. Chandra’s priority of restructuring Tata “is evident from the fact that the first set of core team members have come from investment banking and legal background,” Harish said. The marathon-running chairman’s focus is on repairing the group’s balance sheet, in line with his fitness-before-performance mantra. He has asked top executives across companies to focus on profit and cash reserves, not EBITDA, a measure that doesn’t include interest payments on loans and other costs, one of the people said. Total debt for 25 of Tata’s listed companies had swelled to 2.42 trillion rupees ($38 billion) as of March 2017, compared to 1.75 trillion rupees when Cyrus Mistry took over as chairman from Ratan Tata in December 2012. That doesn’t include about 350 billion rupees of debt at unlisted and unprofitable Tata Teleservices Ltd., which is high on Chandra’s list of urgent fixes.

Chandra may have to tread carefully in the way he reorganizes the group to avoid the fate of his predecessor. The board of Tata Sons ended Mistry’s four-year tenure and appointed Ratan Tata as interim chairman in October, citing a “trust deficit” and “repeated departures” from the group’s culture and ethos. Mistry, in turn, had accused Tata Sons and its largest shareholder Tata Trusts, of “oppressing” the interests of investors and had said Ratan Tata, through his chairmanship of Tata Trusts, had sought to control business decisions. Chandra, speaking to Tata Steel Ltd. shareholders on Aug. 8, said there have been challenges “owing to leadership change” at Tata Sons. The input from Ratan Tata and other owners in managing the company had been “value enhancing,” he said. Ratan Tata’s intervention to settle an acrimonious $1.2 billion lawsuit with NTT Docomo Inc. has paved the way for Chandra to sell or merge the troubled telecom unit. Tata Teleservices Ltd. has been battered by a tariff war unleashed by the entry of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.

All consumer-facing and retail businesses could be brought under one umbrella, according to the executives Bloomberg News spoke to. Under consumer products and retailing, Tata Group sells products ranging from bottled water to jewelry and footwear through a bevy of companies such as Tata Global Beverages Ltd., Tata Coffee Ltd., Titan Company Ltd., Trent Ltd. and Tata Unistore Ltd. Similar plans are being worked out for the defense units, the people said. Tata Advanced Systems Ltd., Tata Advanced Materials Ltd. and some of Tata Power Company Ltd. and Tata Motors Ltd. are part of group’s defense portfolio. Infrastructure firms may also be clubbed together while technology arms may be folded into Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., the company that Chandra helmed for more than seven years, making it Asia’s largest software services provider and Tata’s cash cow. Financial Services, currently a smaller piece in the group and mostly under closely held Tata Capital Ltd., is set to get more attention under the new chairman. “The management bandwidth, the financial resources, everything which is finite can be channeled in a proper way,” said Vishal Kulkarni, a Singapore-based analyst at S&P Global Ratings. “Rather than putting up resources in businesses that are not growing or not returning sufficient returns, it maybe better to pool it in companies which are the long-term focus.”

  • Bloomberg

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All You Need to Know About Bitcoin

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin‘s inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, described Bitcoin as “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” in the original 2009 Bitcoin whitepaper – the document which created the roadmap for Bitcoin. To date, this is still the most simple and accurate description. Bitcoin is a consensus network that enables a new payment system and a completely digital money. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen. From a user perspective, Bitcoin is perhaps best described as ‘cash for the Internet’, but Bitcoin can also be seen as the most prominent triple entry bookkeeping system in existence. It is also known as digital cash, cryptocurrency, an international payment network, the internet of money – but whatever you call it, Bitcoin is a revolution that is changing the way everyone sees and uses money.

The beauty of Bitcoin is that it requires no central servers or third-party clearing houses to settle transactions – all payments are peer-to-peer (P2P) and are settled in about 10 minutes – unlike credit card payments, which can take weeks or months before they’re finally settled. All Bitcoin transactions are recorded permanently on a distributed ledger called the “blockchain” – this ledger is shared between all full Bitcoin “miners” and “nodes” around the world, and is publicly-viewable. These miners and nodes verify transactions and keep the network secure. For the electricity they use to do this, miners are rewarded with new bitcoins with each 10-minute block (the reward is currently 12.5 BTC per block).

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The Bitcoin protocol is also hard-limited to 21 million bitcoins, meaning that no more than that can ever be created. This means that no central bank, individual or government can come along and simply ‘print’ more bitcoins when it suits them. In this sense Bitcoin is a deflationary currency, and as such is likely to grow in value based on this property alone. Bitcoin is still a cutting-edge experiment in technology and economics, and like the worldwide web in 1995, its myriad potential, purposes and applications are yet to be decided. Is it just electronic money? A foundation for smart contracts and electronic shares? Is it underground and subversive, challenging the power of governments, or will it integrate into mainstream finance and go unnoticed? If you know the answers to any of these questions, or if you can figure out how to capitalize on them there may be many lucrative opportunities for you in the Bitcoin space.

The Bitcoin universe is changing fast and often – to stay ahead of the game it’s necessary to follow the news almost-hourly and discuss the latest events with other members of the community. Bitcoin.com exists to be a reliable information hub for beginners and industry insiders alike. That being said, ‘staying ahead of the game’ is not a necessity if you simply wish to use Bitcoin as a currency to purchase goods and services, or wish to accept Bitcoin for transactions – something thousands of people around the world do every single day.

No Central Command

Bitcoin isn’t owned by anyone. Think of it like email. Anyone can use it, but there isn’t a single company that is in charge of it. Bitcoin transactions are irreversible. This means that no one, including banks, or governments can block you from sending or receiving bitcoins with anyone else, anywhere in the world. With this freedom comes the great responsibility of not having any central authority to complain to if something goes wrong. Just like physical cash, don’t let strangers hold your bitcoins for you, and don’t send them to untrustworthy people on the internet.

Secure Your Wallet

There are several different types of Bitcoin wallets, but the most important distinction is in relation to who is in control of the private keys required to spend the bitcoins. Some Bitcoin “wallets” actually act more like banks because they are holding the user’s private keys on behalf. If you choose to use one of these services, be aware that you are completely at their mercy regarding the security of your bitcoins. Most wallets, however, allow the user to be in charge of their own private keys. This means that no one in the entire world can access your account without your permission. It also means that no one can help you if you forget your password or otherwise lose access to your private keys. If you decide you want to own a lot of Bitcoin it would be a good idea to divide them among several different wallets. As they saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Bitcoin Price

Like everything, Bitcoin’s price is determined by the laws of supply and demand. Because the supply is limited to 21 million bitcoins, as more people use Bitcoin the increased demand, combined with the fixed supply, will force the price to go up. Because the number of people using Bitcoin in the world is still relatively small, the price of Bitcoin in terms of traditional currency can fluctuate significantly on a daily basis, but will continue to increase as more people start to use it. For example, in early 2011 one Bitcoin was worth less than one USD, but in 2015 one Bitcoin is worth hundreds of USD. In the future, if Bitcoin becomes truly popular, each single Bitcoin will have to be worth at least hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to accommodate this additional demand.

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Bitcoin Exchanges

There are several ways to buy Bitcoin, but trusted exchanges are a great way to acquire Bitcoin. Because there are inefficiencies in the traditional banking system, exchanges will sometimes have slightly different prices. If the difference is too great, traders will buy low on one an exchange and sell high on another and close the gap. If an exchange constantly has substantially different prices than others, it is a sign of trouble and that exchange should be avoided. As with everything else, do your research and find an exchange you can trust. It’s also a good idea not to use an exchange as a wallet. Move your Bitcoin to your personal wallet so that you have control over your funds at all times. You can view a list of Bitcoin exchanges here.

Bitcoin Isn’t Completely Anonymous

Because all Bitcoin transactions are stored on a public ledger known as the blockchain, people might be able to link your identity to a transaction over time. Some companies offer various tools such as Bitcoin mixers to help achieve greater privacy, but it takes a huge amount of effort to use Bitcoin anonymously. You may want to follow your country’s tax regulations regarding Bitcoin in order to avoid trouble with the law, but you have the power not to should you choose to take that risk. To improve privacy, most newer Bitcoin wallets will use a new Bitcoin address each time someone sends bitcoins to you.

Unconfirmed Transactions

Bitcoin transactions are seen by the entire network within a few seconds and are usually recorded into Bitcoin’s world wide ledger called the blockchain, in the next block. While it’s possible that a transaction won’t be confirmed in the next block, in the vast majority of circumstances it is fine to accept a transaction as soon as it has been seen by the network. Unlike traditional payment systems, Bitcoin transactions are lightning fast and can be sent globally. Bitcoin is still relatively new, but with each passing day the technology becomes more reliable. It is more and more unlikely that a major bug will emerge in the system as time goes by, and people can trust the technology more with the passing of time. Each month people transact hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin.

To know more about Bitcoin, visit this link

  • www.bitcoin.com

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Uber India Business Witnessing Double Digit Growth

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Cab-hailing platform Uber Technologies, which is present in 29 cities across India, claims to have clocked double-digit growth in the country and almost 2.5x year-on-year growth as of June 2017. The company, which launched its services in India almost four years ago, also boasts of having completed 500 million rides thus far.

“This is a significant landmark for Uber in India,“ said Amit Jain, president, Uber India and South Asia. “Four years ago, India was the eighteen country in the world to experience the magic of `push a t a ride’, when we launched in button and get a ride’, when we launched in Bengaluru with just three employees. Today, we’re over a 1,000 member team who share the common vision of redefining the future of urban mobility .“

The company said that they have a robust pipeline of new products and features that will be rolled out during the second half of the year.

– ET

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50 Best Places To Work in India

Global management consulting and research firm Great Place to Work Institute and Mint identify the 50 best workplaces in India with employees numbering between 100 and 500. The study looks at workplaces from the employees’ perspective and assigns a two-third weightage to the voice of the employees. This is measured through anonymous surveys conducted across organisations. The remaining one-third weightage is assigned to the strength of people practices implemented across the organisations.

best places to work in india

1. Cactus Communications: Cactus is a leading global provider of scientific and medical communication services to researchers, authors, scholarly journals, publishers, academic societies and pharmaceutical and device companies.

2. Equitas Development Initiatives Trust: Equitas Development Initiatives Trust is a public charitable trust established to improve the quality of life of people from socially and economically backward families. It does this by providing high quality education at affordable fees to children through a chain of six matriculation schools, by imparting livelihood skills training to women to enhance their income-generating potential, by providing job placement services to the young and also by rehabilitating pavement dwellers.

3. United Colors Of Benetton India: Benetton Group is one of the best-known fashion companies in the world, present in 120 countries with a network of over 6,500 stores. Its focus areas outside of its business include improving the environment and enhancing human dignity. Its brands in India are United Colors of Benetton and Undercolors of Benetton.

4. Piramal Finance: Piramal Finance was one of the first institutions in India to enter the real estate fund management business. It is organized around an integrated approach to real estate funding. This approach enables the organization to provide financing solutions across the entire capital stack i.e. private equity, structured/mezzanine equity, structured debt, senior secured debt and even construction finance, plotted land funding, and slum and society redevelopment.

5. Sony Pictures Networks Distribution India: Sony Pictures Networks Distribution India Pvt. Ltd (SPND) was formed with the aim of catering to all TV distribution platforms and offering them the best of entertainment. The company distributes premium channels to over 90 million homes spread across 4,000 cities and towns in India, spanning all genres from general entertainment and movies, to news and sports, adventure and lifestyle.

6. SAS Research and Development: SAS R&D India (Pvt.) Ltd, through analytics, business intelligence and data management software and services, helps customers at more than 75,000 sites make better decisions faster. SAS R&D, a wholly owned subsidiary of US-based SAS Inc., is a key centre for research and development of products and solutions for its parent. Its Pune office, being the largest R&D centre outside the US, is focused on developing strategic products and solutions.

7. Gozoop Online: Gozoop is one of the fastest growing independent creative digital agencies in India with clients including Dell Inc., Asian Paints Ltd, Cipla Ltd, Kolkata Knight Riders, Pidilite Ltd, Pearson Global and Mashreq Bank, among others.

8. OSSCube Solutions: Software services firm OSSCube Solutions provides technology services to global enterprises in digital transformation, modernization and Internet of Things (IoT). The company, which started its India operations in 2006, was co-founded by Vineet Agrawal, Lavanya Rastogi and Sonali Minocha. It was acquired by information technology firm Happiest Minds Technologies in June 2017 for an undisclosed amount. Founded by former Mindtree Chairman Ashok Soota in 2011, Happiest Minds generates revenue in excess of $75 million.

9. Adani Enterprises – Mining: Adani’s mining business unit was established in 2007. It is one of the pioneers of a business model called MDO (mine developer and operator) and started its first project in 2009. It extracted about 8.27 million tonnes of coal in 2016-17, an eight-fold increase in the past four years, and takes pride on its low attrition rate.

10. Centum Learning: Centum Learning is a leading organization in the global skills development and landscape, focussing on corporate training, vocational education and skills training.

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