After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.
Sam Altman, chief executive officer of OpenAI
Photo credits: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Regulate less to allow AI to flourish
In a conversation with the Economic Times, Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, has called for smaller companies to be regulated less in order for AI to flourish. At the same time, he is cognisant of the dangers of the technology and said that large companies could be regulated. India has truly embraced ChatGPT and he said that on account of any new technology, it is inevitable that job changes take place. He refused to speculate on when GPT 5 could be launched and sees cheap energy as important to improving the quality of life worldwide. (Economic Times)
FMCG brands use AI to spot consumer trends
From launching onion-based hair oil to a Korean-flavoured mealpot, consumer companies are increasingly using AI to pick up on customer preferences. This is done through mining search terms as well as picking up on unstructured data like social media chatter. Once picked up, companies work on prototypes through 3D printing and eventually launch the products in small batches. Scale-up is based on customer acceptance. (Hindu Business Line)
India is where China was some years back: Nykaa Beauty CEO
Aspirational growth and consumption trends in India are where China was some years back, according to Anchit Nayar, CEO, Nykaa Beauty. He pointed out to the multi-decadal growth story looking promising with competitors like Reliance Retail-backed Tira and Tata Cliq Palette entering the fray. Nykaa has several direct-to-consumer brands that push entry-level packs as well as tie-ups with brands like Estee Lauder. The size of India’s beauty and personal care market is expected to reach Rs2.2 lakh crore by 2025.
Maximum air fares fall after government intervention
Maximum air fares have fallen by 14 to 61 percent after the government advised airlines to keep them in check. The aviation ministry, while maintaining that pricing is market-determined, has asked airlines to “self-monitor”. The increase in air fares was most in sectors where GoFirst was the only operator or had a significant presence. Some routes affected are Delhi-Leh, Delhi-Srinagar and Delhi-Pune.
(Indian Express, Business Standard)
PFRDA looks to roll out assured returns plan
The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is looking at plans that provide a minimum assured return, according to its chairman Deepak Mohanty. The plans would come with a higher premium on account of the higher risk for the provider as well as higher capital requirements. He refused to speculate on the timeline for launch as well as declined to comment on the committee constituted to look into the demand for the restoration of the old pension scheme for government employees. (Times of India, Economic Times, Indian Express)
Back-to-office mandate takes a toll on women employees at TCS
India’s largest software services company TCS has seen more attrition by female employees in the year ended March 2023 as they struggled with work-from-office mandates. The company’s chief human resources officer noted this in the annual report and termed it “unusual”. Women comprised 38.1 percent of the hiring in FY23 and make up 35.7 percent of TCS’s workforce. The company insists that employees will need to get back to office as the pandemic has abated.