The online retail space in India is at an inflexion point and poised for tremendous growth in the coming years. Indian firms are gearing up to make the most of the opportunity. But global players are waiting on the sidelines because of the Indian government's restrictions on foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail. Experts tell India Knowledge@Wharton that the industry is still young. If the global players come within the next 12 to 18 months, the field is wide open for any of them to ride this wave.
Published: September 18, 2012 Cheeseburger Pizzas, Designer French Fries and a Post-war Cinnabon: Fast Food's Booming Middle East Market
The Arab World's love for Western fast food is seemingly bottomless. In the region's wealthiest countries, high-end fast food restaurants offering $US40 meals cater to a willing clientele. Even post-civil war Libya welcomed its first Cinnabon in July, which also happened to be the first U.S. franchise of any kind to ever open in the country. Despite their relatively small populations, Gulf countries are fast food markets worth billions, and franchises have hastened their entry into the region, bringing along ambitious expansion plans. But doing business there requires localized partners and products, and maintaining a novelty factor to stand out in an increasingly crowded market.
Published: September 04, 2012 Haute Is Hot in the Middle East, Despite Eurozone Fears and Arab Unrest
The most exclusive and expensive fashion brands have found a robust market in the Middle East, and Dubai acts as a regional hub, offering a local market of wealthy Emiratis and expatriates and a regular churn of free-spending, deep-pocketed tourists. The Arab Spring had little impact on the Gulf, and Dubai is now second only to London as the most attractive city for international retailers. Luxury retail has been growing at a rate between 10% and 12% in the Middle East in recent years, according to analysts. And in the past year, the market has increasingly attracted a number of customers from Asia.
Published: June 26, 2012 Nasser D. Khalili: 'Contemporary Art Has Become Like Buying Shares'
Nasser D. Khalili has built a renowned art collection that has been exhibited around the world, including in London and New York. Khalili says he has maintained a passion to show his treasures -- not merely amass them -- because of the power art has to connect and educate people. In an interview with Arabic Knowledge@Wharton at the recent Festival of Thinkers conference in Abu Dhabi, Khalili shares his insight into art collecting and how the market has changed with an influx of money. He also discusses the development of arts and culture in the Middle East and North Africa.
Published: June 12, 2012 Arab Filmmakers See Opportunity as Revolutions Draw Interest to Middle East Cinema
A new direction for Middle Eastern cinema has evolved with the Arab Spring. The revolutions have provided filmmakers with fresh narratives and wider global interest in Arab film, which has dovetailed with an appetite in the Arab Gulf to invest in culture and become a new hub for the industry, one long dominated by Egypt. Interest in filmmaking in the Arab world is also driven by newfound economic potential, both in domestic production and financing international films. Hajer Ben Nasr, a Tunisian documentarian, speaks to Arabic Knowledge@Wharton about the opportunities and challenges for Arab filmmakers.
Published: March 05, 2012 Absolutely Scrumptious: The Scottish Sweet Factory Loved by the Middle East
The Tunnock's factory churns out thousands of old-fashioned sweets every day in a little Scottish village. From there, it's a brisk journey to the Middle East, as shipping containers filled with goodies are exported almost every other week to the region. Tunnock's success in the Arab world is partly due to nostalgia -- at one point, its chocolates were included in meals for all Saudi Arabian students. But the company also credits its long-standing policy of not fiddling with a good product, maintaining regional relationships, and respecting the Middle East's traditions and business practices.
Published: February 07, 2012 New Strategies for a Rapidly Changing Indian Economy
Inflation has become the biggest worry confronting India's government, its people and its corporate environment today. The government is rolling out measures -- essentially interest rate hikes -- albeit without much effect. People are tightening their belts and reworking household budgets. Companies are evolving innovative strategies and have met with some success. Inflation and its impact on consumer spending and corporate marketing was the subject of a Nielsen India conference titled, "Consumer 360 India," held in Delhi in November. While the gathering didn't -- and couldn't -- address the core problem of inflation, it did offer some solutions in terms of corporate strategy.
Published: December 20, 2011 A Cultural Renaissance Grows Among Arab Youth, Expressed Through Arts
At a time of political upheaval and social change, this generation of Arabs are turning to various modes of expression, conveying their realities, and in some cases, pushing the envelope with their subject matter. It comes when some Arab countries, particularly in the Gulf, are making massive investments into the arts and entertainment industry, while others are struggling to preserve arts of the past. Critics say more needs to be done to cultivate local talent and expertise, while young artists are being asked not to forsake their tradition and integrate what their heritage has to offer.
Published: December 06, 2011 LVMH's Tikka Singh: In the Luxury Market, the Middle Class Is the Game Changer
Tikka Shatrujit Singh, chief representative in Asia for French multinational LVMH (Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton) and advisor to the chairman of Louis Vuitton, has spearheaded the entry of the luxury brand in India. The high-end leather goods and fashion house currently has four stores in the country. In an interview with India Knowledge@Wharton, Singh notes that affluent customers in India are very similar to wealthy customers worldwide. The real game changer in the luxury market in India, he says, is the aspiring middle class.
Published: October 11, 2011 India's Luxury Market: Unlocking Consumers' Taste for the Finer Things
Five years ago, the press predicted that the Indian luxury market would be booming by now. But that potential has not yet been realized; India accounts for only 1% to 2% of the global luxury market. But analysts are still upbeat. They say that the Indian market for high-end goods will quadruple in the next five years. But what needs to be done to realize that potential? What has been holding India back? These questions were addressed at a panel on the Indian luxury consumer at the Wharton India Economic Forum.
Published: September 13, 2011