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India suffers biggest medical data heist
Also in today’s edition: Apple’s Act II; Up for grabs: 20 acres of Mumbai land; Canada goes vocal for local; Europe proposes, Russia disposes
Good morning! A Mumbai-based sneakerhead was once able to buy a KIA Carens (starting price ₹10 lakh) after reselling just one pair of shoes, reports Moneycontrol. Reselling sneakers is a lucrative business. Sneakerheads, not unlike gadget heads, line up for days to pick up limited-edition kicks, and then resell them for a minimum profit of 50%. Who would have thought footwear retail would have a $6 billion global subculture that’s expected to be worth $30 billion by 2030! Filipino politician Imelda Marcos, infamous for owning 3,000 pairs of shoes, was perhaps on to something.
🎧 Sneakers are the new investment opportunity, thanks to a booming resale market in India. The advertising slump is coming for streaming businesses next. The Signal Daily is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
The Market Signal*
Stocks: The Dow Jones Industrial Average is the only one among the three major US benchmarks that’s not in a bear market. That is, it has not fallen 20% or more from its recent high, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Nasdaq, as well as the broader S&P 500, have been weighed down by value erosion in tech stocks such as Apple, Amazon and Alphabet.
Closer home, investors have marvelled at the stupendous rise in the value of stocks with the Adani badge. The Indian Express dug into exchange filings to find that one entity, the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), has been a steady buyer for the past two years. Its holdings now account for 3.91% of the Adani Group’s market cap and 7.8% of the insurer’s assets under management, the newspaper reports.
Foreign investors are now making dedicated allocations to India in their investment portfolio, sold on the country’s growth potential. So far, India was part of an investment basket with other emerging economies.
Early Asia: The SGX Nifty climbed 0.21% higher at 7.30 am India time. The Hang Seng Index (+2.91%) and Nikkei 225 (+0.18%) also made gains.
Cyber Attack Takes A Toll On AIIMS
Twelve days after India’s leading public medical institute was hit by an alleged cyber attack, it continues to be chaos central. The servers still remain down. AIIMS authorities were able to restore e-hospital data last week, but internet services are still blocked on the recommendation of investigative agencies.
Aftermath: The cyber attack affected online appointment services, which led to serpentine queues and delays in handling emergency cases. Billing systems and prescriptions had to be filled out by hand. The data breach includes the medical history and sensitive data of at least 30 million-40 million patients, including civil servants and politicians.
Another one: Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital revealed it faced a cyberattack in November, but the damage wasn't as bad as AIIMS since a majority of its services aren’t digitised.
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Landlord Wadia Selling Mumbai Tract
A charitable trust controlled by industrialist Nusli Wadia has put up 20 acres of land in Mumbai for sale. The billionaire businessman is the administrator of the FE Dinshaw Charities and FE Dinshaw Trust, which own 683 acres in the teeming metropolis.
Mumbai, which was rated the 16th most expensive residential property market in the world in 2019, has 34,000 acres of habitable land. However, nine private trusts hold 20% of that land, and slums cover a large chunk of it.
The Maharashtra government has been trying to free up land in the cramped city, which once nursed ambitions of becoming an international finance hub. In 2015, the state government had threatened Mumbai's five biggest landowners that it would acquire their encroached land if they did not redevelop it under its slum rehabilitation scheme. The city’s biggest landlord is the Godrej Group, which owns 3,401 acres.
Big Tech May Soon Have A Canada Problem
Large American tech companies may be wishing for a Mothers Against Canada right now. The US’ northern neighbour wants social media and streaming companies (read: YouTube and Netflix) to tweak their algorithms to showcase more local content. The move, according to a Wall Street Journal report, has Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s blessings.
Pay up: Canada wants the companies to pay its “artistic community” an amount pegged at C$1 billion ($750 million) annually. To this effect, it passed a bill in the lower house. In April 2022, it also introduced separate legislation to make companies such as Meta and Alphabet pay news publishers for access to their content.
Not happy: Unsurprisingly, the companies aren’t pleased and are pushing back, including in meetings with Trudeau. The Biden administration, according to the Journal, sees the legislation as “discrimination against US businesses”.
Elsewhere: New Zealand is taking cues from its trans-Tasman neighbour Australia, planning a law requiring Meta and Google to pay for news.
Canada’s unique approach to Big Tech regulation markedly differs from the tried-and-tested route of stiff legislation, tough regulation, or antitrust action. To quote from the bill, “If they (platforms) make money from broadcasting professional content—such as a hit song or major sporting event—they could be required to pay a share of their revenue back into the system.” This, it hopes, will help fund its “sagging” media industries.
Other countries will have their eyes peeled on what comes next. That might, however, take some time, as the legislation needs to be approved by the Senate and receive a royal assent.
Another Confrontation Bubbling Up
Russia has rejected Europe’s decision to not pay more than $60 a barrel for its oil. The Kremlin is said to be preparing a ban on any company or trader that abides by the price cap.
Two camps: European negotiators arrived at the price cap after weeks of wrangling between those who wanted a low price to deny revenue to Russia and those who wanted the price to be high enough to keep oil from the Urals flowing.
Inflation risk: The Opec+ alliance on Sunday decided to continue production unchanged. Many had feared the cartel would cut production, which would have pushed up prices and, consequently, inflation. With winter setting in, a rise in prices of food and fuel would be devastating for western consumers. Central banks will also be compelled to hike interest rates, dampening business sentiment that had just begun to look up.
China’s Loss Could Be India’s Gain
Even as diplomat Tim Cook deftly steers geopolitical challenges, Apple is speeding up plans to move some production outside China. It’s aiming to eventually ship 40%-45% of iPhones from India, according to one analyst.
Disadvantage China: Violence at the Zhengzhou plant (more commonly known as the iPhone City), labour shortages due to low wages, and Chinese citizens raging against harsh Covid-19 lockdowns in multiple cities are leading Apple to pull some eggs out of the China basket.
Advantage India: The company is asking suppliers to plan assemblies elsewhere in Asia, particularly Vietnam and India. But for this to become possible, India needs consistent regulation and centre-state coordination. Vietnam will be the hub for AirPods, smartwatches, and Macs.
Green shoots: Iran has suspended its morality police, infamous for arresting women who flouted the Islamic Republic’s strict religious dress codes.
Covid consequence: Millions of children worldwide are at risk of contracting diseases like measles, polio, and diphtheria after missing their regular vaccine doses during the pandemic.
Pink slips: Bengaluru-headquartered health-tech startup HealthifyMe has reportedly laid off 150 employees or 15%-20% of its workforce.
Make in India: The government is planning to extend production-linked incentive benefits worth ₹3,500 crore ($430 million) to toys that are compliant with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) norms.
Press stop: Google has terminated thousands of YouTube channels in China, Russia, and Brazil while investigating coordinated influence operations.
Manufacturing issues: Pharma majors Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Sun Pharma are recalling various products in the US.
No gaming it: The Indian government’s planned regulation of online real-money games will reportedly apply to both games of skills and games of chance.
THE DAILY DIGIT
The number of years since the first text message was sent in 1992. In case you’re wondering, it was: “Merry Christmas”. (BBC News)
Message received: Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose is done with his 30-year tradition of throwing microphones into the crowd. This, after a woman was hurt at a concert in Australia because of his antics. Rose’s fans are disappointed, though, calling it "the end of an era" (lol). But really, at what cost?
Turn off the heat: Qatar knows its searing heat can be punishing for non-locals. So, it devised a novel plan to deal with it: fully air-conditioned stadiums. But, but, but, the dramatic change in temperatures made players sick. Sniffles and sore throats are common. So far, Spain forward Alvaro Morata, defender Dani Carvajal, and Brazil forward Antony have complained of sickness because of stadium air conditioning. To counter this, organisers decided to turn off the thermostat an hour before the England vs USA match. Players then complained of humidity. There’s no winning…
Fast food fashion: After selling Happy Meals to adults and collaborating with a streetwear brand, McDonald's now wants to peddle...high fashion. The fast-food giant has tied up with VAIN, a Finnish fashion label, to reimagine the uniforms of its employees. The shirts and pants have given way to dresses, hoodies, and mini skirts. Of course, the iconic golden arches and red and yellow colours are proudly slashed across the outfits. Just one question: why tho?
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