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Month: June 2017

Photos: iPhones, Assembled-in-India, are Here

2017 06 26iphonetweet

I tweeted this on Friday and wanted to share it here as well: as we reported last month, the first-ever assembled-in-India iPhones are a reality.

Here’s a closer look at a couple of images of SE models I snapped at two shops recently here in New Delhi.

2017 06 26iphone

2017 06 26iphone2

For more on the wider context, see our story Thursday on Apple’s push in India. The headline: “Apple Scraps Like an Underdog in Second Biggest Mobile Market.”

Newley’s Notes 97: Apple’s India Bet; Uber Post-Kalanick; Free, Beautiful Ebooks

2017 06 26 sandstone

Edition 97 of my email newsletter, Newley’s Notes, went out on Friday.

To subscribe, simply enter your email address at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.

Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest issue of Newley’s Notes, a newsletter in which I share my Wall Street Journal stories and other writings, along with links about technology, business and life.

It’s been a busy week. But before we get going, a heads up that my colleague Eric Bellman and I will be doing a Facebook Live at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time Monday, which is 8 a.m. Tuesday India time. Join us! Details are here. We’ll be discussing…

📝 What I Wrote in The WSJ

…This story: Apple Scraps Like an Underdog in Second Biggest Mobile Market. Here in India, where Apple has just a tiny market share, it’s trying to build brand awareness using some interesting tactics, my colleagues and I report. (Related Tweet I posted today: Photographic confirmation of our scoop last month that the first-ever assembled-in-India iPhones are a reality.)

CEO’s Resignation Is the Least of Uber’s Problems in Asia. Following Travis Kalanick’s departure, my colleagues and I examined how the world’s most valuable startup is doing in Asia. The upshot: a potentially distracted Uber could lose ground to the likes of Ola in India and Grab and Go-Jek in Southeast Asia.

India’s Hike Brings Mobile Payments to Its Messaging App. WhatsApp’s rival here is looking to tap into the fast growth of mobile wallet usage following last year’s cash crunch.

💬 What I Wrote at

Weekend Sketching: Pen and Ink is Therapeutic. Just a few pics of some scribbling during my downtime.

📲 5 Must-Reads in Tech

1. Why Uber’s Kalanick quit. My colleague Greg Bensinger has details on how and why it all went down. Meanwhile Axios’s Dan Primack reports that more than 1,000 Uber staff want him to return.

2. Samsung: doubling down on South Carolina? My colleague Tim Martin reports that the South Korean titan is in talks to plow $300 million into a factory in Newberry, S.C.

3. Facebook has a new mission, according to founder Mark Zuckerberg. It’s no longer to “connect the world.” Rather, he wants to give “people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” That means more focus on Facebook groups.

4. Tesla: creating its own streaming music service? Would that even be a good idea? Recode has more.

5. Sweden has a museum of technological flops, celebrating everything from Crystal Pepsi to disposable DVDs. As Liz Lemon would say, I want to go to there.

💫 1 Fun Thing

1. Beautiful, free, public domain ebooks. A new project called Standard Ebooks is a boon for digital book lovers.

What’d I miss? Just hit reply to send me links, rants, raves, juicy news scoops and anything else.

Thanks for reading.


India’s WhatsApp Rival Launches Mobile Payments

That’s what I wrote about in this story today, which begins:

India’s biggest local messaging app, Hike Ltd., has beaten Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp into the country’s booming mobile-payments business.

Hike on Tuesday launched free bank-to-bank and mobile-wallet payments for its roughly 100 million users, meaning people can quickly send money to one another via the company’s smartphone app.

“We are the first to bring payments to a messaging app in India,” Hike’s founder and chief executive, Kavin Bharti Mittal, said at an event in New Delhi.

For more on Hike, see my story from last year, when they raised $175 milion from China’s Tencent and others.

Weekend Sketching: Pen and Ink is Therapeutic 

After sketching in pencil the other weekend — and toiling forever to get the angles right — I decided to ditch the graphite this time and go straight to pen and ink. 

It felt liberating. 

With ink, provided you don’t put down any pencil lines first, you have to just commit and draw. There’s much less belaboring of every little detail. 

There’s probably a metaphor for life in there somewhere. Stop tweaking and trying to be perfect and just get it done already. 

📨 Newley’s Notes 96: Amazon Buys Whole Foods (!), Tech News from HK, Rise of Cold Brew Coffee

2017 06 18wood

Edition 96 of my email newsletter, Newley’s Notes, went out on Saturday.

To subscribe, simply enter your email address at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.

Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest issue of Newley’s Notes, a newsletter in which I share my Wall Street Journal stories and other writings, along with links about technology, business and life.

Apologies for not sending NN last week. I was in Hong Kong covering our WSJ D.Live Asia 2017 conference, a gathering of tech luminaries (and humble reporters) from across Asia. More on that below.

Meanwhile, the weather here in Delhi – normally sweltering this time of year – has taken an unexpectedly pleasant turn, with temps dropping and air pollution clearing up. Fingers crossed it lasts. It’s a nice break.

📝 What I Wrote in The WSJ

Use of H1B Visas Fell Before Donald Trump’s Critiques of Program – a story with my colleague Laura Meckler.

Samsung Plans Fresh India Investment as It Looks to Upset Apple’s Cart – a story with my colleague Tim Martin on how the world’s biggest smartphone maker is shelling out $760 million to double its production capacity here, where it’s battling Apple.

– From D.Live Asia, I wrote about how Indonesian motorbike hailing startup Go-Jek claims it’s beating its rivals there, and how Singapore-based startup Grab is fighting for riders across Southeast Asia. Here are more of our stories from the conference.

📲 5 Must-Reads in Tech

1. Amazon is buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. The blockbuster deal, as my WSJ colleagues wrote yesterday, transforms Amazon into “a major player in the bricks-and-mortar retail sector it has spent years upending.” They write (all emphasis mine):

The acquisition, Amazon’s largest by far, gives it a network of more than 460 stores that could serve as beachheads for in-store pickup and its distribution network. It would make Amazon an overnight heavyweight in the all-important grocery business, a major spending segment in which it has struggled to gain a foothold because consumers still largely prefer to shop for food in stores.

For more, here’s Brad Stone, author of the excellent book “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon”:

In a sense, the surprising deal is preordained by his mission to construct the everything store: A company that delivers everything to everyone, at the best possible price and within the shortest amount of time.


Grocery is an $800 billion market in the U.S., still largely untouched by the internet and resistant to change. Whole Foods itself has a well-established brand and high-income demographic that maps well to Amazon’s own customer base, and in particular its Amazon Prime subscription service, with an estimated 80 million members.

2. Walmart’s acquiring Bonobos for $310 million. The purchase of the menswear site shows how the retailer’s pushing into fashion.

3. A woman who was raped by an Uber driver here in India sued the company’s top execs in the U.S. She says they violated her privacy by disclosing her medical records, as a WSJ colleague reported. And if you missed it earlier: Founder Travis Kalanick is taking a leave of absence after a string of scandals.

4. The iPhone’s origin story. Ten years after the device was unveiled, Motherboard’s Brian Merchant has a new book out called “The One Device.” Here’s an excerpt.

5. Why cold-brew coffee is taking over the world. Okay, not exactly a high tech story, but one about tech(nique), coffee brewing, and business.

💫 1 Fun Thing

1. Wondering what that cool song was on that TV show or movie you just saw? This site provides the answer.

What’d I miss? Just hit reply to send me links, rants, raves, juicy news scoops and anything else.
Thanks for reading.



New Story: Mobile Wallet Paytm Hits Pay Dirt Amid India’s Cash Crackdown

A new story out Wed., which I wrote with my colleague Corinne Abrams, begins:

MUMBAI—India’s second-most-valuable startup, the mobile-payments app Paytm, has a new target after proving itself more popular than credit cards.

“We’re competing with cash,” said Madhur Deora, Paytm’s chief financial officer. “In India, we’re not competing with cards.”

The company’s boast isn’t a stretch, given India’s crackdown on cash over the past six months has left citizens and merchants searching for cashless payment alternatives. Paytm has seized the opportunity and become the market leader through timely partnerships, simplifying the app’s process and dispatching an army of up to 10,000 trainers to reach out to the tiny shops that dominate the Indian economy.

The results have been impressive. Five million merchants in India accept payments using Paytm, five times the number that accept credit cards, Mr. Deora said. In addition, Paytm has 225 million mobile wallet customers, more than Snapchat’s 166 million daily active users world-wide and four times as many as rival mobile-payment competitors MobiKwik and FreeCharge, which each have 55 million users.

Click though to to read the rest.

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