Business News 


‘Sunil Mittal Asia’s Businessman of Year’
Sunil Mittal has been adjudged Asia’s Businessman of the Year by Fortune magazine. In a lead article in its latest issue, Fortune said after establishing Bharti Airtel as India’s number one mobile service provider, Mittal is now forging his “most audacious” foreign partnership yet. 

“In November, he announced that Bharti will team with Wal-Mart to transform India’s under-developed retail market,” the report said. The magazine said it was an easy choice to declare Mittal as Asia’s top leader for his business acumen and some crucial agreements he signed in recently. Fortune said on his new foray in retail, Mittal would open hundreds of stores over the next five years in various formats and predicted an investment of more than $1 billion. Bharti and Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, will form a JV to take on back-end activities in which overseas investments is permitted, including wholesale, logistics, supply chain management and distribution. 

The telecom venture is expected to announce a revenue of $4 billion by the end of this financial year, up from $509 million in 2003, it said, adding, Bharti Airtel has emerged as India’s fourth most-valuable firm and Mittal one of India ‘s richest men.
Aishwarya Rai among WEF’s Global Young Leaders
Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai and MPs Omar Abdullah, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Naveen Jindal are among 25 Indians who figure in this year’s list of 250 Global Young Leaders by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum. Those chosen for the honour also include director Karan Johar, Managing Editor of NDTV Vikram Chandra, Chief Managing Editor of HT Media Raju Narisetti and Prince Shivraj Singh of Jodhpur. 

The Forum selects young leaders from various fields every year based on their professional accomplishments, their commitment to society and their potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. The selection committee is chaired by Queen Raina of Jordan. Also on the list are MP B.G. Pundlikrao, Chief Financial Officer of ICICI Bank Vishka Mulye, Vice-President of Tata Sons Mukand Govind Rajan, Managing Director of Dr. Reddy’s Labs Satish Reddy, Vice President Infosys Technologies Subhash Dhar and President of the Parks Hotels India Priya Paul. The Young Global Leaders 2007 include 125 business leaders, as well as leaders from governments, academia, media and society at large from nearly 70 countries.

Online travel booking all set to go places
Online travel bookings are set to boom with the industry doubling its revenues in less than 12 months. Industry sources say that the $460 million Indian online-travel industry is slated to become an $1 billion industry by the end of this year and $2 billion by end of 2008. On one hand, global players like Washington-based Expedia and Texas-based travel portal Travelocity are entering the Indian market, on the other hand, Indian players are looking at tie-ups. For instance, travel will soon enter into a revenue-sharing arrangement with a global player to increase its inventory of holiday packages and hotels. To spice up the scene, Tripmela, which publishes top 10 deals available across Indian travel portals every week, is also active in the area. It is in talks with various Indian travel portals for an investment of around $1 million. 

To capture the growing potential of online travel market, Travelocity will start its India-focussed website in February. Tripmela, US-based website, targeting Indian market, is also eyeing Indian travel. “Indian online travel market has great potential which we want to capture,” says Jared Blank, CEO,

The online travel market is at present dominated by players such as, , and

Advertising grows at a 10-year high of 23 per cent
After five years of lacklustre performance, the advertising industry in India has posted growth of 23.4% in 2006, according to data released by advertising and media monitoring agency TAM Media Research. This is the best the industry has seen in the last 10 years. The industry closed the year with Rs 16,300 crore in revenue against Rs 13,200 in 2005 (the figure stood at Rs 11,800 crore in 2004). 

In 2005, the growth rate stood at 14%, while in 2004, it was close to 13.7%. Radio, Internet and press have posted the fastest growth in ad revenue across media in 2006 with 58%, 52% and 24%, respectively. 

“This is basically a reflection of the fantastic phenomenon called sentiment,” says Anand Halve, co-founder, chlorophyll brand and communications consultancy. “Sentiment drives consumers and consumers drive the market. Consumer sentiment last year was at an all-time high as reflected by the surge in the stock market.” 

Several categories contributed to growth by loosening their purse strings quite early on. While sector-wise figures were not available, analysts say real estate, financial products and luxury items have contributed largely to this momentum. “The annual issue of Elle magazine had 700 pages, of which 300 were devoted to jewellery ads,” points out a marketing head with a Delhi-based media company. “One indication of the immense potential of the luxury segment,” he adds.

According to the sales head of a durables company based in Mumbai, just between Diwali and Christmas, consumer durables companies collectively spend Rs 400 crore on advertising.


February 2007

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