MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - For global technology giants looking for growth, India was supposed to be an easier hunting ground than China. But New Delhi’s plan to compel the likes of Facebook and Alphabet's Google to actively police user-generated content threatens free speech. Coming after edicts that limit foreign giants Amazon and Walmart in e-commerce, the rules suggest India may not be a much easier bet than the People's Republic.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - India’s anti-graft gains may fade with Narendra Modi. The prime minister has started to shift the consensus on corruption in his nearly five years in charge. Yet the leader once touted as certain to serve three terms faces a struggle to ensure his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party retains its grip in a general election due by May. If the strongman is weakened, bad habits could return.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Online shopping baskets in India are about to get lighter. Amazon and Walmart will be limited to operating a marketplace and prevented from acting as retailers under stricter rules which came into effect on Friday, resulting in products disappearing from the virtual shelves. Their miscalculation on the direction of policy could be costly.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Narendra Modi faces an airborne dilemma. To keep Jet Airways flying, the Indian prime minister may have to choose between relaxing foreign ownership rules for Abu Dhabi backer Etihad, and letting state lenders take a hit on a private carrier. Both options touch the country’s financial sore points – and represent a quandary for the ruling party ahead of an election due by May.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Farmers hold the key to Narendra Modi’s second term. To stand a chance of winning a general election to be held by May, India’s prime minister is under pressure to appease those left desperate by crashing crop prices. Two-thirds of the country’s 1.3 billion people live in the countryside, and almost half of the workforce depends on agriculture. Their anger is one reason the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was bruised in recent state polls. New Delhi may need to act fast.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Indian unicorns will feast on richer pastures in 2019. Restaurant search firm Zomato, ride-hailing firm Ola and hotel-rooms aggregator Oyo are leading the charge overseas by the country’s largest tech companies. A complex home market, a big diaspora and deep-pocketed backers will ensure success rarely achieved by Asian startups in far-flung lands.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Goldman Sachs may wind up paying twice for 1MDB. Abu Dhabi’s sovereign fund is suing the U.S. investment bank in New York for its role in the Malaysian fund scandal. The damages sought could exceed Goldman’s average annual net profit over three years of $5.4 billion. The longer the fight drags out, the worse the fallout looks.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Japan’s big banks may be hoping to benefit from the retreat of global rivals from Riyadh. The accusation that Saudi Arabia engaged in state-sponsored murder has led top U.S. and European bank bosses to pull out of attending next week’s Future Investment Initiative. For Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group, though, the fallout could present an opportunity to snag more of Saudi’s fee wallet.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - India has slammed the brakes on a liquidity crisis. New Delhi’s move on Monday to take charge of IL&FS brings short-term relief: the infrastructure lender had started to default on $13 billion of debt, causing panic. Yet rising interest rates will bring more pain, and the country’s shadow banks are still vulnerable.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Imran Khan’s economic vision for Pakistan is alluring. The party backed by the country’s former cricket hero and likely new prime minister won the most votes in Wednesday’s election. Khan wants to fight corruption, reform government spending and improve the lives of the poor. Given the demands that are likely to come with any bailout of the $300 billion economy, that’s fanciful.