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E-commerce Rises From The Ashes

This isn't quite the second coming of e-commerce. It may actually be the first

By Indrajit Gupta
Published: Jul 15, 2011

I still recall how I felt like a fish out of water in 1999, in the midst of the raging dotcom revolution in India. I had just changed jobs, joined a new magazine and found myself woefully out of sync with the prevailing newsroom culture. Everyone around me was so swept up by the dotcom revolution that the things that mattered in the real world — cash flows, brand equity and a sustainable business model — had suddenly begun to count for very little. It was one crazy party — and it wasn’t surprising that it didn’t last for very long!

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In the last six months, e-commerce has risen from the dead. The moneymen are back — and entrepreneurs are thinking big once more. So what’s changed? There are some fundamental reasons why e-commerce is set to take off in India. And while you’ve got to read Rohin Dharmakumar’s story for the answers, I’d say this: This isn’t quite the second coming. It may actually be the first. Rohin graduated from IIM-C the year after the dotcom bubble had petered out. In chronicling the rise of e-com, he had plenty of support from my colleague and Deputy Editor Shishir Prasad. Shishir was among the several people who had been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug during that dotcom boom — and spent more than a year creating an e-zine dedicated to capturing that period of entrepreneurial renaissance. Even today, he remains committed to that larger purpose.

There’s plenty more on offer in this edition. I’d urge you to read Abhishek Raghunath’s insightful and somewhat frightening story on the doping scandal in Indian athletics. Seema Singh’s story on Tata Chemicals’ green makeover is also a must read. We also invited one of the foremost Chinese scholars Yasheng Huang to decipher China’s macro-economic troubles for us. His column explains exactly why China’s blinding run may be reaching a key turning point.

(This story appears in the 29 July, 2011 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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