For years the Chinese Dragon viciously guarded its economic turf and never allowed foreign players to enter and grow within it. Not only China sealed all economic opportunities for itself in the age of globalisation, but also nurtured key players like Bytedance Ltd, Tencent Holdings, etc, to grow in an ecosystem where online giants like Facebook, Google or Microsoft had no say. But with the Indian government banning 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, UC Browser and WeChat, following the violent face-off between the Chinese and Indian troops at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh on 15-16 June, in which 20 Indian bravehearts died, tech watchers say China has made a big mistake and the Xi Jinping government should brace for a big digital downfall.
The importance of these digital companies could be gauged from the fact that despite Covid-19 pandemic which crippled the economy worldwide, ByteDance Ltd’s (TikTok’s parent company) valuation crossed more than $100 billion. Similarly, Tencent holdings (one of the most valuable companies in the world), which develops apps like WeChat, QQ Messenger, League of Legends, etc, earned a revenue of over $500 billion this year. Sources say the ban is likely to make a major impact on three fronts — data security, economic blockade of China and opportunities to Indian companies.
With this ban, Bytedance Ltd likely to suffer the most. TikTok h a s b e e n removed from world’s third-largest digital market with 611 million downloads (30% of TikTok’s total users). It is estimated that this will make the Chinese giant lose revenue of half a million per day. This ban has also given the US an edge over the Dragon in global tech market. With this, American companies like Facebook, Google, etc, are expected to see a boost. The sting will definitely hurt the Chinese for long as they are expected to lose around $110 billion.
Meanwhile, the government has also tightened its grip around Chinese companies like Huawei and sources say these companies might lose India’s 5G bid as well. The government is also thinking about a possible ban on Chinese companies, especially telecom operators and mobile companies soon. Apart from this, rules are also being formulated to reduce import of Chinese products.
India is the 3rd largest digital economy, and without access to this market, Chinese companies’ valuation will go down significantly. Even if they come back in the future, their customer acquisition cost (CAC) is going to skyrocket, many will simply surrender and fold back to China. Ankit Prasad, CEO and founder, Bobble AI, said, “This ban can have a domino effect as well, encouraging other democratic markets to make similar bans. Though the impact is going to be both ways. The pro-active investments from China that have been happening over the last couple of years are going to reduce drastically. Indian startups would be left with fewer choices and sometimes onerous terms to raise funds from, and many ideas might not see the light of the day.”
Sources also say that the ban will also give opportunities to Indian players to build a network of home-grown world-class mobile apps for 1.3 billion Indians. Boxengage. com, which was launched as a Indian alternative to Tiktok during the lockdown, saw a massive 10X surge in activeuser mark within 24 hours. Short video content app Woovly too gained 2,000 followers within a short span. Similarly, VideoMeet app for video conferencing too picked up and is now seen as a possible alternative to video conferencing apps.
Industry watchers believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for desi companies to cement their place at a time when nearly 300 million Indians are on Facebook, another 400 million on WhatsApp, and over 120 million on Chinese app TikTok — not to forget the millions who are hooked to Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Ironically, despite such a big market, there has not been a single Indian social media platform with a global standing.
Amid all this, the regional language social media platform ShareChat is showing the way. ShareChat has a user base of over 60 million monthly active users spread across the country and available in 15 languages including Hindi, Tamil and Bengali. The Bengaluru-based regional language social platform has become so popular that even Twitter came onboard when the four-year-old company raised $100 million in its Series D round of funding last year.
Public is a video-only social platform and has already registered 50 million users, with more than one million videos being created every month. “It is now on our entrepreneur on how well we can utilise this as an opportunity and build solid businesses. It may not fly that well if we don’t get the right and timely support system for scale, most important would be capital. Indian companies with less capital access also may sustain and flourish now and provide better opportunities to create great products not just the copycats of those Chinese app substitutes,” said Sumeet Verma, CEO & co-founder, KopyKitab.
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Late-life exercise shows rejuvenating effects on cellular level: Study
The pandemic has made the role of exercise in people’s lives even more poignant than before. Amidst this, a new study has suggested that exercise, even if not adopted until later in life, can slow the effects of ageing.
The study, published in ‘Aging Cell’, named, “Late-life exercise mitigates skeletal muscle epigenetic ageing,” suggested this could be the case. The paper was written by a team of seven researchers across three institutions, including Kevin Murach, an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation at the U of A. Murach’s grant from the National Institute of Health funded the study, and he was one of three co-first authors.
While the paper is dense with data, reflecting the use of several analytic tools, the experiment that generated the data was relatively straightforward. Lab mice nearing the end of their natural lifespan, at 22 months, were allowed access to a weighted exercise wheel. Generally, mice required no coercion to run and would do so voluntarily.
Older mice would run anywhere from six to eight kilometres a day, mostly in spurts, while younger mice might run up to 10-12 kilometres. The weighted wheel ensured they built muscle. While there was not a direct analogue to most human exercise routines, Murach likened it to “a soldier carrying a heavy backpack many miles.”
When the mice were studied after two months of progressive weighted wheel running, it was determined that they were the epigenetic age of mice eight weeks younger than sedentary mice of the same age 24 months. Murach noted that while the specific strain of mice and their housing conditions could impact lifespans, “historically, they start dropping off after 24 months at a significant rate.” Needless to say when one’s lifespan is measured in months, an extra eight weeks roughly 10 per cent of that lifespan is a noteworthy gain.
The science behind this, while complicated, hinged largely on a biological process known as DNA methylation. A recent New York Times article discussing Murach’s work on muscle memory described methylation “as a process in which clusters of atoms, called methyl groups, attach themselves to the outside of genes like minuscule barnacles, making the genes more or less likely to turn on and produce particular proteins.”
As the body starts ageing, there tends to be increased DNA methylation, or even hypermethylation, at promoter sites on genes in muscle. “DNA methylation changes in a lifespan tend to happen in a somewhat systematic fashion,” Murach explained, “to the point you can look at someone’s DNA from a given tissue sample and with a fair degree of accuracy predict their chronological age.” Due to this, researchers could use one of a number of “methylation clocks” to determine the age of a DNA sample.
While the paper strengthened the case for exercise, there was still much that needed to be learned. Though the connection between methylation and ageing was clear, the connection between methylation and muscle function was less clear. Murach was not yet prepared to say that the reversal of methylation with exercise was causative for improved muscle health. “That’s not what the study was set up to do,” he explained. However, he intended to pursue future studies to determine if “changes in methylation result in altered muscle function.”
“If so, what are the consequences of this?” he continued. “Do changes on these very specific methylation sites have an actual phenotype that emerges from that? Is it what is causing ageing or is it just associated with it? Is it just something that happens in concert with a variety of other things that are happening during the ageing process? So that’s what we don’t know.”
GOA SHOWCASES INVESTMENT-FRIENDLY POLICIES TO GLOBAL INVESTORS AT EXPO-2020 DUBAI
The Goa Week at India Pavilion, EXPO2020 Dubai concluded on January 20, 2022. J Ashok Kumar, Secretary to Chief Minister, Sports & Youth Affairs, Tourism, Industries Trade & Commerce, Handicrafts Textile & Coir, Government of Goa and Dr Aman Puri, Consul General of India in Dubai and Deputy Commissioner General of India at EXPO2020 inaugurated the state’s floor on January 14 2022.
The state has successfully highlighted its business potential across sectors such as Tourism & Hospitality, Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology, Agro-based and Food Processing Industries. Dr Puri also presided over other key events of the state.
The delegation, led by J Ashok Kumar held various business meetings with global investors showcasing the investment-friendly policies and the availability of skilled labour in the state.
Talking about Goa’s participation at EXPO2020 Dubai, J Ashok Kumar, said, “The state’s participation at the EXPO2020 was a great success. The Goa delegation had the opportunity to visit several other country pavilions as well as meet with key investors of the region. We look forward to building upon the relationships that we were able to establish in this brief time and host interested investors in Goa soon. My special congratulations to team India for their hard work.”
The Goa delegation also met with Indian Business & Professional Council (IBPC) that resulted in a potential for investment collaboration with the state. The meeting was attended by J Ashok Kumar, Secretary to Chief Minister, Sports & Youth Affairs, Tourism, Industries Trade & Commerce, Handicrafts Textile & Coir, Sanjay Kumar, Secretary – Revenue, Information Technology, Labour & Employment and Swetika Sachan, Director, Directorate of Industries, Government of Goa, at the India Pavilion Dubai EXPO2020, Dilip Sinha, Secretary-General, IBPC along with other distinguished members of IBPC.
Sanjay Kumar, Secretary – Revenue, Information Technology, Labour & Employment said, “The Expo is a marvellous exhibition of the technologies of not only today but also the future. Through our interactions with other delegates, investors, and innovators, we see the endless opportunities and will strive to implement their suggestions back home in the short term, while planning for the long term.”
Swetika Sachan, CEO, Goa Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board said, “The Dubai EXPO2020 has become a great place for countries to come together and pave the way for innovation and advancement. The state of Goa participated to showcase its business potential in the fields of Tourism, Financial Service, Pharmaceuticals, and Biotechnology to global investors. We actively engaged with the business community of Dubai to strengthen our ties and reassured them of our commitment towards ease of doing business. Personally, I am excited about the investment opportunities that will make a difference in the lives of the people of Goa.”
Besides the focus sectors, the state of Goa also showcased its prowess in the start-up segment. Goa is the first state in India to have two consecutive start-up policies with a supportive ecosystem. It is also one of the most preferred destinations for start-ups across industries. The IT Policy 2017 and Start-up Policy 2021 offer attractive incentive packages to the budding start-ups in the state.
Goa is the smallest state in the country with a rich heritage, serene atmosphere and well-developed infrastructure. Goa’s economic growth is driven by the strong performance of its industrial sectors such as tourism, fishing, agriculture and pharmaceuticals.
Tourism is the backbone of the state’s economy, with 40 per cent of the population directly or indirectly dependent on it. The state has recently framed a new tourism policy to offer a uniquely Goan experience to visitors by presenting a versatile concoction of historic, natural, ethnic, cultural locations and attractions. Besides Tourism, the state is also expanding its presence in sectors such as Light Engineering and R&D, Aviation and Technology.
SIMPLIFICATION IS THE STATE OF UNDERSTANDING: MANISH SHARMA
In this exclusive conversation, he spoke to us about his work life experiences, his company Saarathi and much more.
Manish Sharma, CBO, Saarathi, recently joined NewsX for an enriching chat as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, he spoke to us about his work-life experiences, his company Saarathi and much more. Read excerpts:
Talking about his educational background, Manish said, “Little over two decades I started from BITS Pilani and started my career with Honda in Delhi. Then I started working for this large biotech company Genentech, the number 1 company in the Fortune hundred best companies to work for at that time. After that, I had the pleasure of working for Apple right before the iPhone was launched. But I always wanted to come back to India, do something meaningful here. Therefore, I came back to head operations for Blackberry, move back to Apple and be in the team that built the very first iPhone. Then it was Microsoft, very humble under the leadership of Satya Nadella and so much to learn from them.”
“I then decided to do something big in India. Right now we are working on a platform that is a digital lending marketplace. I feel like it is going to make a big difference to how India lending is and I am super excited”, he added.
Sharing his experience with working with such prominent organizations, Manish revealed, “I think my experience with Honda was all about quality and that quality comes first. With Genentech, I learned that if you put the customer in the centre, every business strategy is around it. To me, the two things that are always taken to heart are, first one from Apple was simplify. Simplification is the state of understanding. Then with Microsoft, I learned that you can’t win it all alone and having a partnership DNA is what would actually make you succeed in this world.”
Giving us an insight about his company Saarathi, the CBO said, “At Saarathi our vision is to bridge the credit gap in India. We want to focus on the offline channel and transform it digitally. For all lending products, people need assistance or expertise before choosing one. Moreover, typically a direct sales agent makes that decision for you. Now, if that agent is not digitally sound, then they are not going to be able to do it effectively and for many people. What we do is, we pull that intelligence that lies with the bank back into the channel so that the channel is intelligent and can reach out to people. And that is how we will bring credit access to a much higher level than now.”
Talking about how he builds trust among people when his business involves credit, Manish exclaimed, “To me insights and bringing actual data closer to the person instead of verbal advice makes the trust much higher. What we are enabling through digital means is that we provide complete transparency of information. And when that happens, the trust automatically comes in.”
Sharing his mantra for a better future, Manish said, “Everything revolves around creating a great team. Respecting talent and loving people is also important here.”
HOW POWDER BASED CLEANSERS AND PRODUCTS ARE MAKING THEIR WAY UP
Powder cleanser gives a better, deeper cleanse and light exfoliation to gently resurface the skin. It also has nourishing and healing properties.
A time-tested skincare product that everyone recently is swearing by is POWDER CLEANSERS. These granular concoctions originally became popular amongst new-age users and they’re beauty game-changers. Cleansing powders are concentrated versions of liquid cleansers that form a paste or foam when activated with water. Most Indian facial cleansers contain naturally derived ingredients like gram flour, turmeric, or clay but in the west too people have started using matcha powder or ground coffee to give the products gently, non-abrasive exfoliating properties, making this product perfect for those with sensitive skin.
DIY powder facial cleanser for all skin types.Herbal powdered face cleanser.
A powder cleanser will give a better, deeper cleanse and light exfoliation to gently resurface the skin every day. More potent than a liquid cleanser and without the need for harsh chemicals or preservatives, a powder cleanser is infinitely kinder to the skin than its foam and liquid counterparts. They are all gentle enough to use on any skin type, even easily irritated or acne-prone complexions. Powder cleansers minimize pores, moisturize skin, and clear the complexion of imperfections. There really isn’t much a powder cleanser won’t be able to fix and that to instantly.
No water in formulas also means smaller packaging made of significantly fewer materials,” Lighter, smaller packaging reduces shipping weight and space consequently reducing the overall carbon footprint, which makes it a sustainable eco-friendly choice. Moreover, because they are typically more concentrated and more potent, waterless cosmetic and skincare essentials also tend to last longer as you can get away with using less.
Cleansing powders don’t just remove grime, but also have nourishing and healing properties, depending on the ingredients used. Hence, experts suggest taking a close look at the ingredients. It’s very important to scan the ingredients of powder cleansers since they consist of fine particles that can clog and irritate the skin. Active molecules can help control acne, smooth wrinkles, rejuvenate, hydrate, protect and nourish your cells. Some great ingredients to look out for in cleansers are sandalwood, amala, neem, fruit powders, turmeric, coffee, and green tea.
Technically, Indians have been using powder cleansers, or what we call ubtan, for ages. What differentiates ubtan from commercial powder cleansers is the addition of surfactants, which makes the latter foam when in contact with water. If you are reluctant to add the extra element of exfoliating scrubs to your routine, powder cleansers could change your mind. They even allow you to decide the exfoliation level by using less or more water. Remember, though, that a bad product could be abrasive and leave scars.
How to Choose Ingredients for DIY Powder Cleanser?
1. The Base
The base ingredient for the cleanser should have cleansing properties. Shikakai for hair and turmeric for skin is the most popular ingredient used in almost all powder cleansers on the market.
It soothes the skin and has natural saponins that cleanse the skin without causing any dryness or irritation. Other options one can pair these for skin are gram flour, neem powder, or vetiver and for hair, you can also incorporate soapberries, amla, fenugreek, etc
2. A Mild Exfoliator
Products with organic sandalwood work amazingly well to scrub dead skin cells and make the skin brighter due to their cooling effect.
3. Herbal Powders
Keep in mind your skin type and any specific problems you want to target. Here are some suggestions for ingredients you can use based upon your skin type.
For all skin types– liquorice root, vetiver, rose, turmeric,
For dry skin– hibiscus, rose, chirongi
For oily skin– tulsi, neem, clay, mint
For sensitive skin– cinnamon, mint, majishta
For detox– camphor, red sandalwood, and marigold
Brands whose core inspiration lies in using the ancient science of healing that is Ayurveda has an entire range of products is either in powder form that making it not only free of preservatives or harsh chemicals or in the form of cold-pressed oils which ensures chemical-free formulas that are potent and Nutrient dense.
The Author is Founder & CEO, The Tribe Concepts
UAE bans drones after attack by Houthi rebels
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), had banned the use of drones for a period of one month, days after Yemen based Houthi rebels launched a deadly drone and missile attack on its capital Abu Dhabi that resulted in the death of three civilians.
Local media reports quoted a Ministry of Interior press release which reads, “the Ministry of Interior is currently stopping all flying operations for owners, practitioners and enthusiasts of drones, including drones and light sports aircraft for a month.” The government also cautioned people that anyone flying it will be subject to legal liabilities. It adds, “anyone performing these activities during that period and disregarding guidelines will be subject to legal liabilities. Those who need to fly drones for work must ask the authorities for the necessary exceptions and permits.”
The Ministry of Interior affairs did not exclusively mention the recent deadly attack, but added that the decision has been made after “misuse spotted recently” where users were “trespassing into areas where these types of activities are prohibited.”
Last Monday, Houthi rebels did a drone and missile attack that hit the oil facilities and the airport in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, killing three people and injuring half a dozen.
The Houthi rebels have carried out repeated cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia, but 17 January was the first attack carried out and acknowledged by the UAE inside its borders and claimed by the Yemeni insurgents. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a part of a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition that supports Yemen’s government while the Houthis are supported by Iran.
After the attacks which exploded fuel tanks at the airport the Crude prices soared to seven-year highs as chances of escalation had increased with the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition promising to retaliate in a major way.
Haryana’s tableau to feature state’s sportspersons on Republic Day
On the eve of Republic Day this year, the tableau of the state of Haryana will be seen showcasing the pride of India in the field of sports. Prepared on the theme of ‘Haryana-Number One in Sports’, a host of international level sportspersons will be seen on the Haryana tableau. Before this, in the year 2017, the tableau of Haryana was exhibited on the theme of ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’.
It is a matter of great privilege and honour that sportspersons from Haryana, a state with only 1.3 percent geographical area and 2.09 percent population of the country, have participated in many national and international sports competitions, including the prestigious Olympic Games and brought laurels to the country. Out of a total of 07 medals won by India in Tokyo Olympics-2020, Haryana sportspersons won 04 medals, including the lone gold medal in the individual category. As a token of honour, the Haryana Government honoured the sportspersons of the state who participated in the Tokyo Olympics with a cash prize of Rs 25.40 crore. Similarly, the sportspersons of Haryana, who brought laurels to the country in Tokyo Paralympics 2020, were also honoured with cash prizes of Rs 28.15 crore.
Besides Tokyo Olympics and Tokyo Paralympics -2020, the sportspersons of Haryana won 04 medals out of a total of 06 medals won by India in Olympic- 2012 and one medal out of India’s two medals in Olympic- 2016. Likewise, in Asiad- 2018, Haryana sportspersons won 17 medals out of India’s total medal tally of 69 medals and won 21 medals out of a total of 57 medals won by India in Asiad- 2012. Not only this, the Haryana sportspersons performed extremely well and won 20 and 22 medals in CommonWealth Games of 2014 and 2018 respectively.
The Haryana Tableau is divided in two parts, the front part consists of horses and a conch. The horses pulling the chariot symbolize ‘Vijay Rath’ from the Mahabharata. The conch placed here is a symbol of Lord Krishna’s conch shell. The second part of the tableau is divided into four parts. In the first part, in the arena built on the lines of the Olympic games, two wrestlers are seen giving a demonstration of wrestling bout on the mat.
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