Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man, has unveiled plans to create a digital e-commerce platform in India in a bid to counter Amazon’s dominion in the Indian e-commerce ecosystem. The JioMart platform will be open to registered customers and will offer more than 50,000 grocery products, free delivery and a no-questions-asked return policy. The company will kick-start operations in Mumbai, Ambani’s home city. Currently, the e-commerce market in India is dominated by Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart.
Ambani has a knack of scaling up services quickly, as evident from earlier venture Jio, an Indian telecommunications company that since its advent has steamrolled rival telecom companies and gained over 360 million subscribers in less than four years, making it the fourth-largest mobile network operator in the world.
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UPS expects to ship 1.9 million gifts and other items back to U.S. retailers Jan. 2 as e-commerce fuels an anticipated 26% year-over-year volume surge on “National Returns Day.”
“Subdued business confidence was a major factor behind the economic slowdown this year. As the phase one trade deal between China and the U.S. has sent out positive signals, there is room for a recovery in business confidence, which should be able to help stabilize the economy.”
— Zhong Zhengsheng, director of macroeconomic analysis and financial research firm CEBM Group, while commenting on China’s economic slowdown in 2019.
In other news
Shipping fuel regulation to cut sulfur levels go into force
New rules introduced by the International Maritime Organization are expected to reduce certain forms of air pollution. (The Guardian)
Automakers face tough new standards in EU
The long-awaited vehicle emission rules hit light-duty vehicle makers working in EU member countries on Jan. 1. (Oilprice)
Oil starts 2020 higher on trade optimism, Mideast tensions
Oil prices rose to begin the new year buoyed by signs of improving trade relations between the United States and China that eased demand concerns and rising tensions in the Middle East. (CNBC)
South Korean exports top forecasts as China demand, chip prices recover
South Korean exports fell in December year-on-year, but the drop was less than what was expected. (Reuters)
Jumia, DHL and Alibaba will face off in African e-commerce 2.0
Africa’s e-commerce consumer spending is expected to top $2 billion by 2025. (TechCrunch)
Bosch has developed a commercially viable LiDAR sensor for vehicles, with the company stating that its unit price will be brought down when produced at scale. LiDAR is a key component for the development of a self-driving vehicle, with nearly all major companies in the autonomous vehicle race opting for LiDAR, except Tesla, which bets on camera vision technology.
The laser-based LiDAR will put together a high-resolution, real-time 3D map of the driving environment, which will be used by the vehicle to identify its surroundings and react accordingly. The LiDAR is expected to work in tandem with radar and cameras that will help the vehicle navigate through every possible driving condition.
Hammer down, everyone!