The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

INDIA'S NO TO APPLE'S REFURBISHED PLANS

Apple has received a big jolt to its efforts to capture a dignified share in the Indian smartphone market.

As reported, the Indian government has rejected Apple's plans to sell refurbished iPhones in India.

Now, selling old iPhone - Apple may see that as a viable strategy, and the company sells refurbished iPhones in some markets including the US

But it was never a good idea to try it in India.

Especially after the fact that Apple has goofed up badly on its India strategy.

And the most direct way to say it is - Apple has not treated India as a dignified market so far.

India, the third largest smartphone market, that would overtake next year Apple's home market in US, that is now almost saturated, is a priority market for everyone - not just in the telecom segment.

The market with over 1000 million mobile connections but with just 225 million smartphone users is a market with an enormous potential to tap. And it has not happened in a day.

What India is today for telecom players (including cellphone manufactures), China was five years ago. And companies with a major presence in India saw that and have invested significantly here, creating their base.

None of them have undermined India - unlike Apple.

And now Apple is paying the price. Or to say, it is the beginning of the bad phase for the largest corporation of the world.

The US has no growth prospects for iPhone as it has already an absolute domination there. We will see an increasingly hostile China as Chinese companies go global with their smartphone ambitions. In fact, as per the latest data on global shipment of smartphones, three companies out of top five are Chinese - Huawei, Oppo and Vivo - at 3,4, and 5.  

That growing realization has forced Apple to now look for a wider presence in India.

But the million dollar question is - can Apple raise its share to a dignified level, from the current 2% - in a market that it thought was not smart enough to appreciate its globe-trotting iPhone?

Apart from a few, majority of the consumers don't view iPhone positively. For them, buying an iPhone has never been a value proposition, especially when Indian customers see that Apple launches iPhone in India in the last tranche of its shipments, after catering to every other market; especially when they see the same iPhone has been priced much higher in India; and especially when they see other elite smartphones priced much lower and launched at the same time in India as the other markets.

In fact, many who can afford iPhone don't go for it because its bloated price from them is a sheer waste of money.

Apple intended to establish iPhone as the most premium smartphone brand in India and deliberately kept it out of reach of majority by maintaining price barriers. That sent a message that Apple was never in sync with Indian sensitivities and overlooked the Indian customer.

And Apple cannot replenish its fortunes by sustaining with that strategy.

 ©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

CAN THESE TEMPORARY MEASURES HELP DELHI? (II)

The first requirement to decongest Delhi is to draw a roadmap on how to decelerate Delhi's population growth.

And it cannot be something like what China did while restructuring and developing Shanghai and Beijing, forcefully evicting people out of city precincts.

Delhi is magnate for people from across India because it gives best hopes to people to earn their livelihood when we compare the employment generation capacity of all the metros in India.

And that has been the major reason behind Delhi's rapid population growth. In fact, if we see the population growth in Delhi without the migrants inflow, it comes out to be lower than the national average.  

And they are most welcome. It is their Constitutional birthright to settle anywhere in India that supports their life.

So, what are the options that Delhi can adopt to decelerate population growth here.

The answer, though innovative in the Indian context, is nothing extraordinary. What policymakers need here is the vision to follow the roadmaps being followed with persistence (and patience).

Jing-Jin-Ji or Putrajaya are what India needs to look up to - in terms of what China is doing to decongest Beijing or Malaysia to Kuala Lumpur.

Jingjinji or Jing-Jin-Ji is a planned vision of China where it intends to establish a Megalopolis. China is working to develop Jing-Jin-Ji as an urban complex of superb economic growth.

But the underlying reason behind it is decongesting Beijing.

Jing-Jin-Ji, China's National Capital Region, is going to be the answer of China's Beijing woes - an environment nightmare. Beijing, like Delhi, is one of the most polluted cities. In fact, its notoriety precedes Delhi. Emergency alerts on extreme pollution levels have been a common feature of the city.

To tackle it, China is working on a multi-pronged strategy - developing areas in Beijing region to house industries and people - and shifting government offices out of Beijing. In fact, the municipal government of Beijing, that employs thousands of employees, is being shifted to a satellite town.

There will be infrastructure in place for industries and people to relocate, not far away from Beijing, developing the region as a whole. Once this starts happening, it will reduce population and thus the vehicular burden on Beijing.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

CAN THESE TEMPORARY MEASURES HELP DELHI? (I)

Like it is happening elsewhere, in hubs of intense economic, and thus social activities, around the world, should it not happen in India, in Delhi?

Experiments like odd-even scheme of traffic rotation or phasing out diesel taxis or putting on hold registration of diesel vehicles, are these really going to work for a city of 1.85 crore people (18.5 million) and some 9 million vehicles?

Can these short-term temporary measures work for a city that attracts some 1000 migrants daily to the city from different parts of India?

Delhi is in a mess. Years of unplanned growth has led to this - that the Indian national capital is now the most the polluted megacity on Earth.

Unplanned growth, because our policymakers never considered what should be the limit to the city's spread - in terms of its human habitations.

Now, even the geographical extremes of the city are real estate goldmine, with hungry prospectors looking to snatch that last piece of land he or she could have.

When, ideally, for a better quality of life, and for a world class city, our policymakers should have cared for its open spaces.

And a robust public transportation system was the first need.

Well, we all know how pathetic Delhi's public transportation is.

And its failure led to massive increase in number of private vehicles in Delhi - multiples times of any other city.

These vehicles are now a major contributor in choking Delhi's air - along with the other major culprit, the construction boom - that is again related to the mindless growth Delhi has seen.

Reducing number of vehicles on roads drastically, as the odd-even scheme intends to do or not allowing further real estate projects or banning diesel taxis or shutting thermal power plants are not going to help until our policymakers come with something practical, that is innovative as well - at least in the Indian context.

Delhi needs to think, talk and act sense on it.

And here Delhi means our policymakers.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/

Friday, 29 April 2016

INDIA’S HANDLING OF CHINESE DISSIDENTS’ VISA ISSUE: A BOTCHED-UP AFFAIR!

India has denied visa to three Chinese rights activists who were coming to India to participate in a conference that started yesterday in Dharamsala, the seat of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

The four-day conference, 'Strengthening Our Alliance to Advance the Peoples' Dream: Freedom, Justice, Equality and Peace', has been organized by a US based pro-democracy outfit, ‘Citizen Power for China’, led by exiled Chinese rights activist Yang Jianli, and is being attended by some 100 delegates from around the world.

After the row over the visa denial issue and its global media coverage and a widespread outrage, the organizers of the conference have decided to say no to any sort of media coverage. Media has not been allowed to the venue. Participants would not talk to media about the conference. And there would be no press releases.

So, in a way, nothing would come out.

And that is, again a bad publicity for India, after the visa U-turn issue.

Because, as reports say, the conference is being attended by many Chinese dissidents whom China would go to any extent to see behind bars or execute, i.e., Tibetans, Uighurs, Falun Gong members and Taiwanese. The same was confirmed by Dolkun Isa, a Germany based Uighur dissident from China, with whom this whole visa U-turn row began.

An open media interface of the conference could have told the world that India was indeed right when it decided to cancel visa of Dolkun Isa, Lu Jinghua and Ray Wong on technical grounds and it was not under the Chinese pressure, as the message has gone, in India, and globally. Democracy is long dead in China and human rights are as flimsy as Chinese leaders’ promises for political reforms. A discussion on it in Dharamsala and its open media coverage would have helped dispel the notions that India bowed under Chinese pressure and cancelled visas. After all, it is not that no Chinese dissident is participating in the Dharamsala conference.

The coverage in international media, first on India granting visa to Dolkun Isa, against whom aC China influenced Interpol Red Corner Notice is out, and then withdrawing it in the 11th hour, is a testimony to that.

National and international media, which was praising India for issuing visa to Dolkun, drawing parallels with the Chinese veto in the United Nations on declaring Masood Azhar a terrorist, started mocking India when India cancelled Dolkun’s visa.

Though, on its part, India said it was on technical grounds, as Isa had applied for a tourist electronic visa whereas he was coming to attend a conference that requires additional clearance from the Home Ministry, and that India had taken this decision unilaterally and there was no Chinese hand in it, the same day, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that said China indeed had approached India with its reservations on visa to Dolkun Isa.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 28 April 2016

APPLE TO IGNORE INDIAN SMARTPHONE MARKET AT ITS OWN PERIL

Apple sales are down, for the first time in 13 years. iPhone shipments are down 16% to 51 million units in the last financial quarter. Sales are down 13% to $50.6 billion. Apple stock is down around 7% wiping out $40 billion in value in a single day when Apple announced its sales data.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, while presenting the figures, reiterated his concerns about saturation in the smartphone market.

And indeed it is happening. The latest report by the market research firm IDC, on April 27, a day after Apple came out with its earnings, shows that the global smartphone market remained almost flat with just 0.2% growth in shipments in the last quarter.

While it concerns every smartphone maker, it should be more worrying for Apple. 

Its main market, the US, is near saturation. It growth driver, the China region, saw a whopping 26% decline. And Apple is not even 2% of the market size in the world’s third largest smartphone market, India, despite being in the country for years. Apple has ignored India in a questionable pursuit to establish itself as a premium, upmarket brand, thus missing out on the opportunity to create a solid base in the country.

India is projected to overtake the US next year to become the second largest smartphone market as Morgan Stanley concludes. And the distinction the Indian market has now is while China’s economy is slowing down, India is now the world’s fastest growing market. 

Add to it the demographic dividend - according to the Morgan Stanley report, smartphone market in India is still just 18% of its population with 225 million subscribers.

So, there is a huge potential to tap – with the right kind of mix – like an ever increasing base of Middle Class, a fastest growing economy with over 80% tele-density and a young population base. India has already the world’s largest youth population of some 360 million people in 10-24 age-group and the country will be the youngest nation demographically by 2020.

So, all you have to do is to remain there, as a sincere, responsive brand when the growth takes off. And it is happening in the Indian smartphone market now.

Apple is now pushing for its presence in volume segments in India with the recent launch of iPhone SE but it is too little too late, and again, is coupled with a poor insight. In a price conscious market like India, that is projected to be the world’s largest middle class by 2030, no one would go for obsolete versions of iPhones or an exorbitantly priced substandard product, iPhone SE at over $500, when other vendors including Samsung and Chinese entrants are offering world class products at much cheaper price points.

Samsung is present with a flagship product in every pricing segment in the Indian smartphone market while the top-end models of Xiaomi, Gionee, Lenovo, Oppo, Vivo and Micromax, all are priced at around $400.

Apple needs to follow the basics of branding here. Apple needs to earn people’s respect in India. The astronomically priced iPhone is certainly not an exciting prospect for an Indian smartphone user, especially when those with access to the US and other markets can have the gadget for a much lower price.

Samsung, the South Korean behemoth, sits here at the top, with a comfortable margin from its nearest rival, a home grown Indian company, Micromax.

While Apple has failed with its strategy in the Indian market, Samsung has adeptly captured it.

And the fact that Samsung’s top-end smartphones are priced at around $800, near iPnone’s around $900-1000 tag, and that in spite of that they sell well, makes Apple’s marketing strategy in India even more a pathetic case study. Samsung has 24% market share in the smartphone segment in India while Apple is not even 2% and it tells a lot.

India is the market now the world is looking at, for smartphone, or for every other segment the market consumes. Analysts say the Indian smartphone market today is what China was five years ago – with immense potential of growth.

Apple seems to have missed this growth story. And its current marketing strategy in India says the company have learnt nothing from that.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/