Why should a company that controls over 60 per cent of the market for a product look to diversify from that product? That, too, when the sales have been growing at an average of 25 per cent in the last four years? This is what makes Nokia's attempts to look at businesses beyond mobile handsets both interesting and insightful. Globally (barring the US), as well as in India, Nokia is the king of the handset market.
Yet, for the past couple of years, the company has been spending significant amounts of money, effort and management time to not just develop new handsets, but also scout for new business opportunities in what is called mobile services and solutions. Though the move is global, it seems more pronounced in India. Nokia is India's largest MNC by a huge margin.
Usually, such a move is either driven by fear or foresight-or both. Fear could be of a saturating (though large) market or of the competition getting hotter than ever. Foresight could be of huge opportunities (e.g. mobile money, music, video). That Nokia is on the right journey is not in doubt. What's to be seen is whether and how soon it will reach the right destination. Our cover story provides a fascinating account of Nokia India's momentous journey.
While Nokia is betting on telecom connectivity, there is another more basic kind of connectivity which the country has been struggling to improve for several decades-roads. Despite the big bang programme launched by the NDA government in 2000, the pace of highways development has been very slow in India. The current Road Transport and Highways Minister, Kamal Nath, has sworn to turn a new leaf by building 7,000 km of highways every year, starting June 1. We caught up with the minister and talked to the experts and investors to assess how much we can believe the minister.
Poor connectivity hasn't prevented the makers of luxury goods from reaching out to India's burgeoning small-town millionaires, though. You will be surprised to find on page 110 how luxury labels are finding and servicing their customers in some of the remotest locations. Since 2002, Business Today has been running an annual listing of India's hottest young (less than 40 years) executives.
The purpose is to not only spot the brightest of talent in India Inc., but also see how the hopes, aspirations and achievements of this critical layer of management are changing. This year, in addition to profiling the hottest executives, we revisited a pick of executives from our past lists to check what it has taken for them to take that final leap in the corporate hierarchy-from a hot executive to the top executive. Find all this and more.