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Friday, December 13, 2019
'Lenovo Could Make India a Mobile Manufacturing Hub'

Lenovo, the world’s largest personal computer maker, said India could become one of its global manufacturing hubs at a time when it is in the cross fire of tariff increases, direct fallout of the US-China trade fight.

Last month, US President Donald Trump announced a plan to impose a 10% import tariff on Chinese goods while new duty on certain consumer items from China, such as cell phones and laptops, will be decided by December.

“For the time being, the picture is so unstable to decide what to do. But mobile (in India) is one possibility,” said Gianfranco Lanci, chief operating officer at Lenovo.

“We are considering India as a big hub to make mobiles that will serve other countries or nearby markets right from Middle East, Africa and parts of Europe.”

The company that makes one in every four PCs sold world over has about 37 manufacturing centres globally, including Mexico and India. However, it said higher import duty and lack of vendors and supporting infrastructure in India is still a big challenge to scale up PC manufacturing for its global requirement.

Despite being a price sensitive market, the company said it has seen an increasing consumer shift towards premium products such as ultrathin laptops and gaming PCs in India. At a time when the country is seeing people cutting down on discretionary spends especially on large ticket items, Lenovo still expects better growth due to upgrades to business computers and Reliance’s JioFiber launch, which offers low-priced and faster internet service.

“If you bring internet at affordable cost, it will change the dynamics of the number of devices you can sell and the entire industry will benefit. Our industry will become a little bit more competitive but it will also enlarge the market,” said Lanci, adding that India is already among the top ten markets in terms of priority and investment.

In India, Lenovo controls nearly a third of personal computer market while it remains a fringe player in mobile phones segment dominated by Xiaomi and Samsung. Research firm IDC said Lenovo’s share rose to 46% compared to HP’s 22% in April-June quarter, largely due to a large order by the Tamil Nadu government for its plan to distribute 1.5 million laptops to students. (Source: Economic Times)


Apple may Unveil New Phones and Other Devices on Sept 10

The most-anticipated event in the world of technology is right around the corner and Apple fans worldwide on Tuesday would witness the next generation of iPhones, top-of-the line Watch models and ramped up services like Apple TV+.

Set for its unveiling at the Steve Jobs Theater at the company's headquaters in Cupertino, California, on September 10, iPhone 11 or XI is likely to be opened for pre-order on September 13 and be available in-store on September 20 globally. Apple traditionally launches the new iPhones on Tuesday, starts preorders on Friday and begins delivering the devices a week later. — IANS (Source: Economic Times)

Kaspersky to set up data centre, transparency facility in India next year

To conform to the provisions of likely cyber security policy. Moscow-headquartered cyber security solutions company Kaspersky will set up a data centre and a Transparency Centre in India to conform to the likely cyber security policy that will mandate firms to store and process data locally.

“We will study the policy and will plan the data centre accordingly. The proposed centre will be on the lines of the one it set up in Zurich (Switzerland),” Stephan Neumeier, Managing Director of Kaspersky (Asia Pacific), has said.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference focussed on the security for the healthcare sector here, Stephan said India, actually, was considered as a top-2 prospective location for APAC’s first Transparency Centre. “We recently set it up in Kaula Lumpur (Malayasia). But the new upcoming Indian policy on cyber security would require us to invest on a facility to store and process the data that we generate locally,” he said.

The APAC centre is the third for Kaspersky after Zurich and Madrid. The proposed centre will help Kaspersky’s clients to see the source code and have a look at its products, software updates and threat detection rules. It will also throws light on its data processing practices.

Enterprise market
The firm, which is a top-2 cyber security provider in the consumer market in India, has increased its focus on the enterprise segment. “We are among the top-4 players in the business-to-business segment. In the small and medium sector space, we are number 3,” he said.

“The share of consumer business, which used to be about 70 per cent three years ago, is about 50 per cent now in South Asia after our focus on enterprise increased. In India, we have emerged as a strong alternative to the Western players in the space,” he said.

With regard to solutions to the healthcare industry, he said the firm is in talks with top hospitals in South India to provide cyber security protection. “We are working with vendors of Internet of Things players, mobile and router makers to embed its protection solutions,” he said. (Source: The HindubusinesLine)

LocalCircles Highlights Data Misuse Worries

Platform says govt can have right over data only in event of law and order situation, enforcement matter. LocalCircles, a community social media platform that claims to host over 30,000 startups and entrepreneurs, has written to the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) about some “confusion” over which ministry is working on the anonymised data policy.

It was earlier in correspondence with the commerce ministry regarding the data policy.

In a letter sent last week, LocalCircles said the government can have a right over the aggregate data of businesses only in the event of a law and order situation, an investigation or an enforcement matter. For routine matters, the government should not have access to either the aggregate data or the algorithms used by a business as “such an access can be easily misused or compromised,” it said in the letter, which ET has reviewed.

MeitY sought select stakeholder comments last month on the contours of a proposed policy governing public, community or anonymised data. “Businesses spend significant amounts of resources to collect data, build products and services and a market, and for many businesses aggregate data is the core of it and they must protect it to protect their value proposition and the business itself,” it said in the letter.

LocalCircles has conducted surveys on the issues in which 6,000 startups had participated and the contents of the letter reflect their majority opinion, its chief Sachin Taparia wrote.

In the latest request for feedback sent in August, MeitY had asked if there was a case to mandate free access to community, anonymised or ecommerce data, among others. It asked whether the Data Protection Authority should be the regulator in respect of all non-personal data. It also sought feedback on storing personal data in India and gave stakeholders a week to respond.

ET has learnt that some stakeholders have responded by asking the government not to club non-personal data with the personal data protection bill and to hold wide-scale public consultation before coming up with a policy on such a complicated subject. They have asked the government not to force businesses to share such data and instead create incentives for companies to share it voluntarily. “India’s business or anonymised data policy must be such that it enables Indian startups to benefit from aggregate data of government, communities and large corporations,” the letter by LocalCircles added. (Source: Economic Times)

Cognizant appeals against order upholding ₹2,806-cr I-T demand

The Madras High Court today allowed a writ appeal, in part, filed by Cognizant Technology Solutions against a Single Bench order in June, in a case involving a demand by the Income Tax department to the tune of ₹2,806 crore relating to buyback of shares from its shareholders.

Cognizant’s scheme of purchase was approved by the Madras High Court in April 2016. It bought back the shares and accordingly, it was treated as capital gains and a sum of ₹898.01 crore was withheld as TDS as per the return filed by it.

However, the Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Large Tax Payer Unit, issued an impugned order in March 2018 holding that the transactions made in pursuant of the buyback arrangement effected requires to be taxed on the premise that it would constitute dividend and not capital gain. As a consequence, Cognizant’s bank accounts were frozen.

Writ petition
Challenging the order, Cognizant filed a writ petition raising various grounds. In pursuant to the conditional interim order granted, the appellant paid a sum of ₹495 crore out of the payable demand of ₹2,806 crore. Thereafter, the writ petition was dismissed with liberty to the appellant to file an appeal.

Aggrieved over the same, the present writ appeal was filed by Cognizant before a Division bench consisting of Justices MM Sundresh and M Nirmal Kumar.

“As granted by the learned single Judge, we are inclined to grant a period of four weeks to file an appeal before the Appellate Authority. No costs. As and when such an appeal is filed, the same will have to be disposed of within a period of eight weeks thereafter.

Consequently, connected miscellaneous petition is closed. We did not find any error in the order of the single Judge with respect to the deposit made during the pendency of the interim order as erroneous.

It is only an interim arrangement directed to be made pending the appeal. In such a view of the matter, while upholding the direction of the learned single Judge with respect to the deposit and the liberty granted to file an appeal are accordingly upheld, the Bench said in its order. Cognizant’s spokesperson declined to comment saying, “We haven’t received a copy of the order yet.” (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

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