Breakingviews

Facebook India row shows limit of tech favouritism

February 11, 2016

Regulators blocked the social network’s plan to offer free limited internet to the poor. Ill-judged comments from Facebook director Marc Andreessen highlight the gulf between Silicon Valley and the wider world. Big tech groups can no longer expect a free pass for bold plans.

Dixon: How to rehabilitate capitalism

By Hugo Dixon
February 1, 2016

The classic leftist response to capitalism’s unfairness - tax and spend - has failed. A better bet is to fight unfairness caused by corruption, vested interests and tax cheating, while investing in education. India and Italy show some of the right ideas.

Sweeter Cairn bid is Vedanta’s least bad option

January 25, 2016

Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Resources is edging towards loan covenant limits. Bondholders are losing faith in the mining tycoon’s ability to tap buried cash and repay $8 bln of debt. The stress may force Agarwal to sweeten a deal to merge subsidiaries and simplify the group structure.

Facebook’s free internet faces big test in India

January 5, 2016

Mark Zuckerberg is fighting hard to save his plan to offer a free mobile web service to the country’s poor. If India shuts it down, other developing nations may follow. It’s another case where the social network founder’s apparently noble goals have sparked a furious backlash.

Cheap batteries will give utilities electric shock

December 28, 2015

Local power suppliers have long enjoyed a natural monopoly. But the arrival of low-cost home energy storage from the likes of Tesla makes consumers less dependent on electricity networks. Batteries may even let some developing countries skip the grid altogether.

Global economy depends on more than India in 2016

December 17, 2015

The subcontinent’s expanding GDP is one of next year’s few economic bright spots. But the sluggish United States and decelerating China will still account for nearly half of global growth. Any negative shocks from the two sputtering engines will reverberate widely.

U.S. visa pain would go beyond Indian IT giants

December 16, 2015

Fresh attempts to restrict U.S. visas for skilled foreigners are a worry for Indian outsourcers like Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys. The measures, if passed, would hurt a crucial Indian export and damage ties with a newly open India. Any reform would cost U.S. firms too.

Foreign insurers buy protection for Indian IPOs

December 10, 2015

New rules have allowed giants like AIA and Sun Life to lift ownership of their Indian ventures to 49 pct. With no clear path to control, that means tying up more capital in minority stakes. At least bigger shareholdings will help them retain influence if the ventures go public.

Ambani towers pact sets up Indian telco comeback

December 7, 2015

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications could halve its $6 bln net debt with the sale of its telecom towers. A string of recent deals - and closer ties with his richer older brother - mean the tycoon is almost ready to do battle in the next round of India’s costly mobile war.

Global taxi app alliance will test faith in Uber

December 4, 2015

Car-hailing firms in India, China, Southeast Asia and the United States will link their apps. It’s not clear how many people will use it or how revenue will be shared. The anti-Uber coalition’s main impact may be on the Silicon Valley darling’s ability to keep raising funds.