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Paytm Said to Raise IPO Size to Rs. 18,300 Crore Ahead of India’s Largest Stock Market Listing

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By Reuters | Updated: 28 October 2021

Indian digital payments leader Paytm has boosted the size of its initial public offering to Rs. 18,300 crore from Rs. 16,600 crore, as existing shareholders look to sell more stake ahead of the country’s largest stock market listing.

Paytm was likely to target a price band of Rs. 2,080 – Rs. 2,150 per share for the IPO for a likely valuation of around $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,49,710 crore), a source directly aware of the matter told Reuters.

The company increased the size of its IPO as it received increased investor demand, said the source, who did not wanted to be named as the information was not public.

Paytm did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Several companies including Paytm have jumped into India’s capital markets as investors ride a wave of liquidity that has taken domestic markets to record highs. Food delivery firm Zomato, which also counts China’s Ant Group as a shareholder, is up 77 percent since its listing in July.

Paytm’s offering will open on November 8 and will see top investor Ant Financial sell shares worth Rs. 47,040 crore, or nearly half the offer for sale component. Ant currently holds 183.3 million shares, or a 27.9 percent stake, in Paytm.

While Paytm did not increase the size of its fresh issue component, which still stands at Rs. 8,300 crore, it expanded the offer for sale part to Rs. 10,000 crore from Rs. 8,300 crore earlier.

The IPO is likely to be the biggest in India’s corporate history, breaking a record held by Coal India, which raised Rs.15,000 crore more than a decade ago.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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WhatsApp Pushes Privacy Update to Comply With Irish Ruling, Will Show Details on Its Data Collection Process

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By Associated Press | Updated: 22 November 2021

WhatsApp is adding more details to its privacy policy and flagging that information for European users, after Irish regulators slapped the chat service with a record fine for breaching strict EU data privacy rules.

Starting Monday, WhatsApp’s privacy policy will be reorganised to provide more information on the data it collects and how it’s used. The company said it’s also explaining in more detail how it protects data shared across borders for its global service and the legal foundations for processing the data.

WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, now renamed Meta Platforms. With the update, users in Europe will see a banner notification at the top of their chat list that will take them to the new information.

WhatsApp is taking the action after getting hit with a record EUR 225 million (roughly Rs. 1,890 crore) fine in September from Ireland’s data privacy watchdog for violating stringent European Union data protection rules on transparency about sharing people’s data with other Facebook companies.

The chat service said it disagreed with the decision, but it has to comply by updating its policy while it appeals. The update doesn’t affect how data is handled, and users won’t have to agree to anything new or take any other action.

Ireland’s Data Privacy Commission is the lead privacy regulator for WhatsApp under European Union rules because its regional headquarters is in Dublin.

WhatsApp was embroiled in a separate privacy controversy earlier this year when it botched a different update to its privacy policy that raised concerns users were being forced to agree to share more of their data with Facebook. That update sparked a backlash from users who switched to rival services like Telegram and Signal, an investigation by Turkey’s competition watchdog, a temporary German ban on gathering data, and a complaint by EU consumer groups.

A six-hour outage of Facebook services last month highlighted how vital WhatsApp has become for its more than 2 billion users worldwide.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi Urges Countries to Cooperate to Make Cryptocurrencies Safe

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By Reuters | Updated: 18 November 2021

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged cooperation between the world’s democracies to ensure cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin do not “end up in the wrong hands”, delivering the comments while his government drew up new rules for digital currencies.

PM Modi did not elaborate on those fears in his speech delivered virtually to the Sydney Dialogue, a forum focused on emerging, critical, and cyber technologies.

But authorities in India and elsewhere have flagged the dangers of cryptocurrencies being used by terrorist groups and organised crime, and the destabilising risk they posed to national economies.

After extolling the opportunities presented by cyber age technology, PM Modi sound a note of caution regarding digital currencies.

“Take cryptocurrency or Bitcoin, for example. It is important that all democratic nations work together on this and ensure it does not end up in the wrong hands, which can spoil our youth,” PM Modi said. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 48.8 lakh as of 11:30am IST on November 18.

Indian officials currently drafting regulations are likely to propose a ban on all transactions and payments in cryptocurrencies, while letting investors hold them as assets like gold, bonds, and stocks, the Economic Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.

PM Modi chaired a meeting to discuss India’s approach to cryptocurrencies on Saturday, and the Economic Times said his cabinet could receive the draft regulations for review within two to three weeks.

In September, regulators in China banned all cryptocurrency transactions and mining of cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, is hovering around the $60,000 (roughly Rs. 44.5 lakh) -level, having more than doubled its value since the start of this year.

India’s digital currency market was worth $6.6 billion (roughly Rs. 48,920 crore) in May 2021, compared with $923 million (roughly Rs. 6,840 crore) in April 2020, according to blockchain data platform Chainalysis.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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SMIC Says Vice-Chairman Chiang Shang-Yi Has Resigned Months After Chairman’s Exit

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By Reuters | Updated: 12 November 2021

China’s largest chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, said its vice-chairman has resigned in a leadership reshuffle less than a year after he took the role.

Chiang, a former research director at Taiwan’s TSMC, joined SMIC in late December. The company said he had resigned from his vice-chairman position as well as from the board with effect from Thursday in order to spend more time with his family.

His departure comes just two months after SMIC’s chairman, Zhou Zixue, also resigned citing health reasons.

China’s largest chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, said its vice-chairman has resigned in a leadership reshuffle less than a year after he took the role.

Chiang, a former research director at Taiwan’s TSMC, joined SMIC in late December. The company said he had resigned from his vice-chairman position as well as from the board with effect from Thursday in order to spend more time with his family.

His departure comes just two months after SMIC’s chairman, Zhou Zixue, also resigned citing health reasons.

The company is on a US blacklist that denies it advanced manufacturing equipment from US suppliers due to its alleged ties to China’s military, claims SMIC rejects.

The measures disrupted the company’s plans to move into high-end chip making, but its financial performance has been strong as a global chip shortage has boosted demand.

Its third-quarter profit rose 22.6 percent.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Apple Business Essentials Service Launched to Help Small Businesses Manage Employee Devices

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By Reuters | Updated: 11 November 2021

Apple on Wednesday launched a new subscription service aimed at helping small-business owners manage the Apple devices used by their employees.

Business Essentials, as Apple is calling the service, is similar to management software that companies such as Microsoft or VMware sell to large business for setting up and keeping secure their fleets of phones, laptops, and tablets. But Apple’s version is simplified for businesses with between 50 and 500 employees that have either a small IT department or none at all.

The service will cost between $2.99 (roughly Rs. 222) and $12.99 (roughly Rs. 966) per month per user depending on how many devices a business wants to manage for each employee and how much cloud storage the business wants.

For an additional monthly cost, Apple will also offer a service to repair or replace broken hardware at a business within four hours, though the company said it has not yet determined pricing for that service.

“Time is of the essence – for small businesses, it’s one of their most valuable resources,” Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of enterprise and education marketing, told Reuters in an interview. “As they start to grow, there are more demands on their time. And that can be in lieu of running the business doing the things they need to do.”

Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research, said the pairing of management software with a repair service subscription is unique in the industry.

For an additional monthly cost, Apple will also offer a service to repair or replace broken hardware at a business within four hours, though the company said it has not yet determined pricing for that service.

“Time is of the essence – for small businesses, it’s one of their most valuable resources,” Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of enterprise and education marketing, told Reuters in an interview. “As they start to grow, there are more demands on their time. And that can be in lieu of running the business doing the things they need to do.”

Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research, said the pairing of management software with a repair service subscription is unique in the industry.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite Internet Registers India Unit, Targets Rural Districts

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By Reuters | Updated: 3 November 2021

Starlink, the satellite Internet division of billionaire Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX, registered its business in India on Monday, company documents filed with the government showed, as it gears up to launch Internet services in the country.

Having a local unit, Starlink Satellite Communications Private Limited, will allow the company to apply for licenses which it needs from the government before it can provide broadband and other satellite-based communication services.

“Pleased to share that SpaceX now has a 100 percent owned subsidiary in India,” country director for Starlink in India, Sanjay Bhargava, said in a LinkedIn post.

“We can now start applying for licenses, open bank accounts, etc,” said Bhargava, who according to his LinkedIn profile joined the company only in October.
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Starlink is one of a growing number of companies launching small satellites as part of a low-Earth orbiting network to provide low-latency broadband Internet services around the world, with a particular focus on remote areas that terrestrial Internet infrastructure struggles to reach.

Its competitors include Amazon’s Kuiper and OneWeb which is co-owned by the British government and India’s Bharti Enterprises.

In India, Starlink plans to “carry on the business of telecommunication services” including satellite broadband Internet services, content storage and streaming, multi-media communication, among others, according to the company filing.

It will also deal in devices such as satellite phones, network equipment, wired and wireless communication devices, as well as data transmission and reception equipment, it said.

Starlink separately said it will focus on “catalysing rural development” in India through its broadband services, according to a company presentation shared by Bhargava on LinkedIn over the weekend.

Once it is allowed to provide services, Starlink will, in the first phase, give 100 devices for free to schools in Delhi and nearby rural districts. It will then target 12 rural districts across India.

The company aims to have 200,000 Starlink devices in India by December 2022, 80 percent of which will be in rural districts, it said in the presentation. Starlink has already received over 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Sony Says Strong Electronics Sales Offset Fall in Gaming Profit in Q2, Claims 13.4 Million PS5 Units Sold

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By Reuters | Updated: 28 October 2021

Sony on Thursday reported a 1 percent rise in operating profit for its second quarter, beating estimates, as a stronger performance in its electronics business offset a fall in gaming profit. The Japanese tech giant says that it has sold over 13 million units of PlayStation 5.

Sony reported profit of JPY 318.5 billion (roughly Rs. 20,970 crore) for July-September. That compared with the JPY 222 billion (roughly Rs. 14,620 crore) average of six analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

Sony, a conglomerate spanning entertainment, sensors, and financial services, switched to IFRS accounting standards from US GAAP in the current financial year.

Sony aims to sell 14.8 million of its PlayStation 5 gaming console this financial year — a target that takes into account the global semiconductor shortage.

The company said in its latest earnings release that 3.3 million units of PS5 in fiscal Q2, notably higher than the 2.2 million units sold last quarter. Total sales of PS5 now stands at 13.4 million units.

To meet long-term demand, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co plans to build a chip plant in Japan. Sony is considering being a partner in the factory, Nikkei reported earlier this month.

Across its business, Sony is enmeshed in a global battle for consumer attention as entertainment giants look beyond the United States for growth and mine non-English-language creators for content.

In a blow to Sony’s pop culture credentials, South Korea’s top cultural export, boy band BTS, said last week it has dropped its Columbia Records label for a deal with Universal Music Group NV.

Other challenges include an investor attempt to oust the management of India’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises, casting a shadow over merger talks with Sony’s local unit.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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