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The New Lifestyle Economy

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If you have been following the India story closely, India’s new developments are focussed on Infrastructure and Retail along with giant leaps in the Entertainment business. You can look closely at the India stories at to get a flavor of what’s happening.

ADA Reliance (BIG entertainment) has today announced details of its venture with Dreamworks (Steven Spielberg) planning a 40% stake in the final entity capitalised at approx $830 million ($1b at USD rate of Rs. 40) with Disney holding another 15%. The Company holds a target of producing 5-6 films a year. BIG already has agreements with Nicholas Cage’s Saturn, Jim Carrey’s JC23, George Clooney’s Smokehouse, Chris Columbus’s 1492 Pictures, Tom Hank’s Playtone and Brad Pitt’s Plan B among others

On the other hand Retail Lifestyle businesses are increasingly attracting investors with Rabobank’s India Agribusiness Fund picking up a 25% stake in Kishore Biyani’s Aadhaar Retail. Modern retailing businesses in India are predominantly located in cities with FDI restrictions except for Cash & Carry Businesses (100%) and Single Brand retail (51%) Rural Markets may grow at a faster pace at least on the Drawing board. One such project which extends Bangalore’s urban footprint to Bidadi is the Innovative Film City which also showcases the marriage of the rural and the urban as Bangalore expands to the West and the East and remains the fastest growing City in India. The problems on the ground remain. While the new real estate projects are trying to make a strong statement, the depression blues have not gone anywhere. In the showcased retail fund in ET today, for example, apart from Rabo Bank, the other investors are the usual suspects, IFC Washington a couple of /developed/semi developed state development bank(s) and institutions and select private investors. Where is Investor access? Why is it still on the government to make it happen? The FDI limits and the others are fairly rational policies..but where are the investors? Why are global investors so selective about projects? What does it take for them to find out ground realities and put it in the appropriate framework? At the end of the day India’s share in the Emerging Markets Indices is just 5% and emerging Markets worldwide probably get less than 20% of the global capital flows. One Federal Stimulus by Obama will be enough to keep US bankrupt for the next decade. I am not sure we are doing this right.

Nanos will roll into homes by July end and IPL teams are already applying for trademarks as it looks set to become the greatest sporting extravaganza in the world, already ranked at #2 behind the NFL season in the USA. The 3G challenge will tear at Telecom companies’ profits in the coming years ( MTNL has managed 1000 subscribers in its sneak rollout) while public divestment targets were also subdued in the budget but are firming up. The Global ID cards will be implemented pretty slowly, starting off as a Central database, depending of departmental initiative to share information from tax to passport and BPL ration cards, credit card data and other biometric features to enable security and duplicate allocations etc.

Health and Education have just recently been provided a long lost policy focus. But these investments will also yield success only when the fully integrate into India’s new Lifestyle Economy. Today the same investments are required in the US and the developing world. We need roads, we need power supply, we need an educated performing population and we need affordable healthcare.

There are other things to be done. To quote the Policy pages of The Economic Times ( pg. 11, Arvind Mayaram) – While investments in roads, ports, airports and urban amenities have a cascading effect on the virtuous cycle of stimulating demand..the impact is the quickest and most spread out through investment in tourism infrastructure. India received just 5.37 million foreign tourists as compared to 57.6 million in Spain. Tourism arrivals grew during the recession worldwide as well.

Global collaboration and Private enterprise cannot function without the appropriate investment infrastructure either. Investment flows are still uneven and the tenets of this new dream unpostulated. The new web has however found an entry point in global business with increasing discussions on structuring the global memes that bring in change. The question is, as they say in Hindi – Kaise hoga? How will we make it happen!

India’s ICICI Bank is redesigning itself, taking more control of Investment Banking and Venture Capital business while private sector banking players are watching from the sidelines with Kotak Bank and Yes Bank not having the underwriting power or the global reach to finance and provide institutional support to those like the Innovative Film City in Bangalore or even others in and around New Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore and the growing cities of the country making this new boom more a story on paper yet than on the ground. It will be private enterprise that will win in the end with divestments from the government netting probably Rs 50,000 crores to the government to provide the support ( current target is firming up at Rs 15000 Crores or $ 3.15 billion)

This is our story and we have to make it happen. When it does happen it will be a sterling surprise for India’s citizens. One budget cannot make it happen. But all of us can. And we have already decided to make it happen. Onward we move after Outsourcing, to new avenues for progress and growth. Will the Banking sector step up to the requirement? Will new social media bring in more than awareness and readership? How will we move forward? This is not about enabling policy. This is about hard investments. Anyone who can make a successful investment in India’s Lifestyle story will be able to create a successful brand and a successful business empire. Anyone who supports Private Consumption will have the right project skills to win for Team India.

One comment on “The New Lifestyle Economy

  1. freetoot
    December 24, 2009

    I love your site and will keep on coming


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