Also in this letter:
■ New Year’s Eve orders up 30-35% at cloud kitchens, restaurants
■ India’s full-time gamers bemoan lack of formal training
■ Large firms encourage employees to buy EVs with new policies
India’s TikTok ban set important precedent: FCC commissioner Brendan Carr
India has set an “incredibly important precedent” by banning TikTok and is a ‘guide star’ for other countries, a top US official told ET.
In view of the concerns over the Chinese short video app being a threat to “national security,” nothing short of a “blanket ban” — as imposed by India — will work, according to Brendan Carr, Commissioner of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
‘Nightmare’ scenario: In an exclusive interview with ET, Carr said “banning TikTok is a natural next step in our efforts to secure communication networks… It (TikTok) operates as a sophisticated surveillance tool and that presents a serious national security threat. All of the sensitive and non-public data is going to Beijing and could be used for blackmail, espionage, foreign influence campaigns and surveillance.”
“That’s a nightmare scenario,” he added.
US crackdown: Carr’s comments come amid an increasing crackdown on TikTok by the US government. In December, a bipartisan bill seeking an outright ban on the short video app was introduced in both houses of Congress by Senator Marco Rubio.
Carr said that at least 20 of the 50 American states have banned TikTok on state government devices with the number due to increase in 2023. Nebraska was the first state to issue a ban in 2020. Several predominantly Republican-led states – including Texas, South Dakota and Virginia – have also banned the use of the Chinese app.
India ban: India banned TikTok and nearly 300 other Chinese apps in phases starting June 2020 over national security concerns. TikTok had more than 200 million users in India at the time and considered India as its biggest overseas market.
New Year’s Eve orders up 30-35% at cloud kitchens, restaurants
Restaurants and cloud kitchens saw a 30-35% increase in order volumes on Saturday — as people celebrated New Year’s Eve — compared with December 31, 2021, several people told us.
This is in addition to a massive surge in orders recorded by food delivery platforms Zomato and Swiggy. A year earlier, these platforms had recorded all-time-high sales volumes as people had stayed indoors owing to the Covid-19 spread.
By the numbers: On Saturday evening, Zomato chief executive Deepinder Goyal had urged customers to order in early to avoid the year-end rush and cautioned against a potential crash in its servers. Goyal pointed out that overall order volume was 45% higher than the previous New Year’s Eve. On December 31, 2021, Zomato had delivered over two million orders.
At 6.40pm, Goyal tweeted: “We have touched last year’s OPM (orders per minute) already!”
Swiggy’s founder and CEO Sriharsha Majety said the company had delivered more than 1.3 million orders as of 6.33pm on Saturday. As per the company, there was a 46% jump in traffic from tier-2 and -3 cities compared with regular days. As a result, these cities saw an increase of 49% in orders compared to 2021.
As the evening progressed, Swiggy saw a 126% jump in the number of active users on the platform, with the highest number of orders coming in from Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.
Grocery, too: Albinder Dhindsa, the CEO of Zomato-owned quick commerce platform Blinkit, said as of 9.27pm, the platform had delivered more than three times the orders serviced on December 31, 2021.
India’s full-time gamers bemoan lack of formal training
Over the past few years, gaming has emerged as a full-time career option for a large number of online players in India.
Yes, but: Gamers say that very few have received any form of training and that they could do better if there were formal training options.
By the numbers: According to the HP India Gaming Landscape Study 2022, 33% of those included in the survey said they would consider gaming as a full-time career, while an equal number said they could pursue it part-time.
The main factors being good earnings prospects, being able to turn a hobby into a career, and flexibility. However, only 2% of the people surveyed said they had received some form of training in gaming.
In most cases, gamers tend to follow those adept in a specific game to enhance their skills. As per the HP study, 32% gamers honed their skills by following a gaming star.
Large firms encourage employees to buy EVs with new policies
Vedanta and Tata Steel are among companies rolling out electric vehicle (EV) policies to encourage employees to buy them in a year that’s already expected to see record adoption of battery-powered automobiles.
Tech companies and banks are also doing their bit.
Driving the news: Capgemini, Cognizant, Barclays, Bank of New York Mellon and Allianz Technology are mandating that a certain proportion of vendors’ fleets for employee transportation should be electric.
Hotel chains such as Marriott and Novotel are stipulating a similar rule. MNCs are conducting pilots of electric vehicle models to check on their operational viability, which will lead to higher EV adoption, experts said.
EV boom: It’s estimated that EV retail sales will double to 2.2 million units in 2023, after having crossed a million units in 2022, according to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV).
Three-month delay likely for Oyo IPO as Sebi seeks updated filing
Hospitality chain Oyo’s initial public offering (IPO) is likely to be delayed by three months as India’s capital markets regulator has asked the Ritesh Agarwal-promoted startup to update its draft IPO papers, people familiar with the matter told ET.
The IPO was expected to be launched in the first half of 2023.
Driving the news: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has asked Oravel Stays (Oyo) to update risk factors, its key performance indicators (KPIs), outstanding litigations and the basis for valuation in the company’s draft red herring prospectus (DRHP), the people said.
This could delay the proposed IPO by a quarter, as updating the DRHP will take more time, sources said.
The opportunity to update all material information is, however, a ‘welcome’ step, a source with knowledge of the company’s plans said.
Other Top Stories By Our Reporters
Toyota Kirloskar flags potential data breach: Toyota Kirloskar Motor said on Sunday that some personal information of its customers may have been exposed online, adding that the extent of the intrusion is being confirmed. In a statement, the company said, “Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) has been notified by one of its service providers of an incident that might have exposed personal information of some of TKM’s customers on the internet. The extent of intrusion is being confirmed.”
What 2023 holds for the tech sector: Eleven years after it was first envisioned, India may get its own data protection Bill in 2023. The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, a draft of which is currently out for public consultation, is simpler than its previous iteration and may be tabled in Parliament in the monsoon session.
ETtech Opinion | India Stack: are we there yet? India has made significant progress in its digital transformation journey over the past decade, succeeding in a range of digital infrastructure initiatives. This shows how a well architected set of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) can truly lead to inclusive development.
ETtech Opinion | Byju Raveendran on hybrid learning: Be it in a classroom or boardroom, I have always believed that debate and discourse are key to generating the best ideas. This year, I had the opportunity to be part of stimulating conversations in rooms brimming with great questions, ideas and, above all, inspiring people from across the country.
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