Jai Ho India!
As urban consumers, neck-deep in debt and over-their-ears in mortgage, are forced to embrace frugality, marketers and companies are gravitating to the rural consumers (BT cover, April 5) . That looks like a good bet considering how, thanks to TV and telephony, it has now become much easier to access the rural market. It makes good business sense to move to greener rural pastures for garnering greater market share and winning new customers.
— J.S. BROCA, through e-mail
Rural on the Rise
Your report is spot on in pointing that companies are eagerly beefing up their rural consumer insights research as urban consumers pull their purse strings ever tighter (BT cover, April 5) . In contrast, rural consumers, unaffected by the generalised fears of economic turmoil roiling the lives of their urban counterparts are fervently embracing the culture of consumption. As your report says, companies are rushing to open their outlets in the rural market because that is where the dosh is.
— V.K. Nair, through e-mail
Staving off the Downturn
With the economic fog growing thicker by the day, companies are finding it increasingly difficult to remain on their feet. Winners in the Downturn (BT, March 22) offered a much-needed shot of optimism in times of recessionary blues. For companies racked by the economic downturn, the lesson is to innovate and tailor one’s business response to the crisis even if that means taking a more sober view of profits.
— A. Jacob Sahayam, through e-mail
IT Cos Need to Turn a New Page
Even during the flush times, Indian IT companies could not match the prodigious profits of their foreign peers (Stealing the Thunder, BT, April 5) . Instead of climbing up the value chain, Indian IT companies have, over the years, thrived on a business model built upon lowbilling rates to win clients. As a result, their “revenue-to-employee strength” ratio has remained abysmally low. Naturally, in today’s prevailing climate of economic duress, many Indian IT companies are finding themselves in deep trouble. Their old mantra of undercutting prices and forcing employees to work off the clock (10-hour shifts are OK in this industry) are no longer proving good enough. It’s, therefore, not unusual to see many affected IT companies wielding the machete by laying off employees and resorting to salary cuts. But what IT companies in India really need to do is rejig their business in favour of a more profitable and sustainable revenue model.
— Arjun Siva, through e-mail
This is in reference to your article Counterfeit Wars (BT, March 8) . You mention in the story that $100 is the highest value of the US currency. I wonder how this could be true when I have copies of $10,000 and $100,000 bills. I bring this to your notice because many readers like myself keep a record of such information for reference.
— N.K. Mani, through e-mail
Our reporter clarifies: The highestvalue bill in the US is $100. The US Treasury has long stopped producing or distributing currency in denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000. The largest denomination of currency ever printed was the $100,000 Series 1934 Gold Certificate. These notes were used only for transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and were not circulated among the public.
Creating Wealth from Waste
As a teacher of business strategy in a B-school, I found ITC’s environmental initiative highlighted in Trash to Cash (BT, April 5) very interesting to read. By lending an entrepreneurial touch to an environmental issue, ITC is showing how companies can do a bang-up job of environmental projects. Their unique initiative should provide a cue for others in the corporate world to move beyond mere declarations of environmental piety.
— Rajneesh Mehra, through e-mail
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