One thing today in tech — British PM Rishi Sunak and Infosys in focus ahead of G20 meet

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Notes:

 

Zepto, a super quick grocery delivery startup, has raised $200 million in a new funding round at a valuation of $1.4 billion, becoming the first Indian startup unicorn of 2023, TechCrunch reports.

 

Apple will be making fewer iPhone 15 smartphones at launch, next month, due to some supply chain issues, 9to5Mac reports, citing an industry analyst.

 

Separately, Bloomberg’s Apple watcher Mark Gurman writes in his newsletter that next year, Apple will launch a new souped-up version of the iPad Pro.

 

One thing today

 

Britian’s first lady Akshata Murty’s ownership of Infosys is in focus again, ahead of a free trade agreement that her husband, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, is negotiating with India.

 

Sunak is expected in New Delhi in two weeks, to participate in the G20 Summit, on Sep. 9. Meanwhile, news reports in the UK have once again raised Akshata Murty’s shareholding in Infosys, the Mumbai and New York listed Indian IT services giant, as a conflict of interest. They contend that Infosys, which sees the UK as one of its biggest markets, with customers including the British government, stands to benefit from the trade agreement, which in turn benefits Murty’s family.

 

Akshata’s father NR Narayana Murthy founded Infosys in 1981 with six other co-founders. Her current minority shareholding in Infosys, a tad under 1 percent, is valued at about half a billion dollars.

 

Newspapers in the UK such as The Guardian and Observer reported over the weekend that some members of the British parliament have called for Sunak to be more transparent about his wife’s financial holdings. At least one “expert” has even called for Sunak to recuse himself from leading the UK’s talks with India to finalise a free trade deal, according to The Guardian.

 

Sunak was recently censured by a UK parliament’s standards watchdog for “inadvertently” failing to properly declare his wife’s separate shareholding in a childcare company that stood to benefit from new government policy, according to The Guardian.

 

During his visit to attend the G20 Summit, the British PM is expected to discuss the India-UK free trade agreement in a separate bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 

One last point. The UK-India FTA negotiations have been going on for 19 months and they are in their final stages, Business Standard reported last week, citing Britain’s minister of state for trade and business, Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch. She was in India attending the G20 trade and investment ministerial in Jaipur last week.

 

While the British newspapers have cited experts to say that India will be pushing for a more liberalized visa and immigration regime in the UK to help its IT sector, Badenoch has clarified that visa and visa liberalisation were not part of the FTA discussions, which are focused on business mobility.