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  • Sacred Games and Netflix’s millionsHarveen Ahluwalia
    Sacred Games and Netflix’s millionsThe date is 24 July 2019. About 20 days before Netflix’s most popular Indian series, the crime thriller Sacred Games, returns with a second season. But the American video streaming company is busy making a different announcement. A first in its history. Netflix can’t stop stressing the fact that subscribers in India watch more content on their mobiles than subscribers anywhere else in the world—the primary reason that drove Netflix […]
  • India is missing the forest for the treesRoshni P. Nair
    India is missing the forest for the treesOn 30 December, Prakash Javadekar kickstarted a press conference with a two-volume, 604-page tome in his hands. It was the 2019 edition of the biennial India State of Forest Report, or ISFR, and it brought good tidings. 2019 had otherwise been a year of critical opprobrium for the newly inducted environment minister. He had promised to fast-track environmental clearances, backed the controversial felling of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony and […]
  • How the world’s biggest two-wheeler market collapsedAshish K. Mishra
    How the world’s biggest two-wheeler market collapsedThis is the first edition of Things Change, The Morning Context’s weekly newsletter. Things Change will land in your inbox every Thursday with sharp, original insight on subjects making the news, but which must be understood better. It will be written by the best writers and subject experts, both in-house and external. Let’s cut to the chase. Understanding the slowdown in the world’s largest two-wheeler market Sales of two-wheelers in […]
  • The end of the beginning for the gig economyIrshad Daftari
    The end of the beginning for the gig economyIn some senses, there’s a parallel endgame being played out in India compared with the US and North America where the gig economy is concerned. (And before you ask, no, neither scenario has been contemplated by Dr Strange.) As Pradip hinted at in his story on the mental and financial strain gig workers face, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the gig economy is the rather crumbly foundation on which billion-dollar […]
  • COVID-19: Medical devices need your attentionT Surendar
    COVID-19: Medical devices need your attention

    Standing on the porch of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai suburbs, Diwakar Vaish, co-founder of Noida-based AgVa Healthcare, was trying to catch the attention of software industry executives. This is at the annual conference hosted by IT trade body Nasscom. Vaish’s stall was a side-show for startups to exhibit digital technologies in the healthcare sector. 

    On a cool, breezy February day, the atmosphere was nothing as grim you would expect in a hospital emergency ward. Vaish's rig, comprising an iPad-like device on a short steel column mounted on wheels with dangling wires, was a cost-effective version of a ventilator used in critical care. There wasn’t much excitement about his solution, as few executives really understood the medical problem he aimed to solve.

    Today, a robotic engineer by training, Vaish is super busy. 

  • India’s savings crisisPradip K. Saha
    India’s savings crisisHousehold savings in India have been in a tailspin over the past five years, hitting a nearly two-decade low. The household savings rate stood at 17.2% of gross domestic product in 2017-18; that’s only marginally up from 17.1% in 2016-17, which was the lowest since 1996-97, and the savings rate has dropped in almost every year since 2011-12, when it was 23.6% of GDP. Why does this matter? The domestic […]
  • RBI is trying to change payments in India, againPranav S.
    RBI is trying to change payments in India, againThe past five years have seen dramatic shifts in the way money changes hands in India. Earlier this week, the Reserve Bank of India signalled that the end is far from near. On Monday, RBI set the digital payments world abuzz with the announcement of a “Draft Framework for authorisation of a pan-India New Umbrella Entity (NUE) for Retail Payment Systems”. That is a bit of a mouthful, but in […]
  • COVID-19: Bittersweet aid from Chinese in the USFrankie Huang
    COVID-19: Bittersweet aid from Chinese in the USWe don’t have a paywall for most of our stories on Coronavirus and its impact. Support us and subscribe here. For the past two months, Chinese organizations and individuals in the US have sent countless parcels of supplies over land and sea to the coronavirus outbreak epicentre in Wuhan, as well as to other provinces with smaller clusters. But as the situation in China began to stabilize, it became more apparent […]
  • Flipkart vs Amazon is a closer call than you thinkSaif Iqbal
    Flipkart vs Amazon is a closer call than you thinkLast week, I wrote about India’s online festive sales period, and broke down how the sales battle plays out and the current state of Indian e-commerce along five parameters. Today, now that both the first and second “waves” of the sales have run their course, and the third wave has started, we’re going to get into some specific numbers from this year’s sales, based on conversations with vendors and executives […]
  • The year gone by in five storiesThe Morning Context team
    The year gone by in five stories

    We close publishing for the year this week, and return in January. It’s been 13 weeks since we launched on 23 September, and we are truly grateful to all of you who have been here with us.

    These three months have been by turns exciting and humbling; we are proud of the journalism we have done, and at the same time have learned much. But we’re not here to plug our work today. Instead, we’re looking back at the year gone by through five long reads we have collated from across publications. These stories, we feel, represent some of the best journalism in India and elsewhere—and more importantly, together they give us excellent context to our three themes: Internet, Business and Chaos.

  • Less SoftBank, more venture buildersKabeer Chawla
    Less SoftBank, more venture builders In the last few months, enough words have been spent on SoftBank and the several ills of its kind. WeWork, Uber, Lyft, Peloton. It’s not a great time for venture capital. Investors around the world are (hopefully) rethinking how they value tech and what you would call tech-enabled startups. Venture capital models, especially late-stage VC, definitely need review, but today I’d like to talk about a different form of startup investing, one that doesn’t get as much screen time—venture builders. Almost an antithesis of the classic VC approach.
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