Newley's Notes

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: India’s Hike; Alibaba’s Expansion; Ugly McMansions, Gorgeous Goats

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Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter in which I share my WSJ stories, posts from my blog, and various interesting links.

Anasuya and I are continuing to settle in nicely here in New Delhi. Between new jobs and seeing friends and family and getting the house set up, it’s been a whirlwind.

Not lost amid all of that, though, is this milestone: Seven years ago this week we adopted Ashley, our beloved Bangkok street dog.

(Ashley, by the way, is also loving India, especially our small yard, where she enjoys sunning herself and watching the birds and squirrels in the trees above.)

Here’s a blog post I wrote on the fifth anniversary of our adopting her.

What I wrote in The WSJ

India’s WhatsApp Rival Hike Valued at $1.4 Billion

The story begins:

Indian messaging app Hike Ltd. has raised $175 million in a fundraising round led by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Taiwanese electronics assembler Foxconn Technology Group.

The new investment values the homegrown app, a rival to Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp, at about $1.4 billion, Kavin Bharti Mittal, Hike’s founder and chief executive, said on Tuesday.

Alibaba Thinks Outside the China Box

Click through for a video. You may recognize the narrator’s voice.

The story begins:

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., its business maturing at home in China, is seeking out growth in India and Southeast Asia.

In India, the internet company in recent months has snapped up executives with experience in the country’s fast-growing, highly competitive e-commerce sector, a sign it could be planning an online-shopping push there. In Southeast Asia, Alibaba paid $1 billion in April for a controlling stake in Singapore-based e-commerce startup Lazada Group, its biggest overseas acquisition to date.

Apple Is Still Mulling Over Its Plans for India Stores, Government Says

The story begins:

India may have paved the way for Apple Inc. to open stores in the country, but a senior government official says the company hasn’t submitted any detailed plans yet — likely because of local-sourcing rules.

India’s government in June loosened foreign-direct investment restrictions in several sectors.

The government said foreign-owned single-brand retailers like Apple, which is keen to tap potential growth in the huge market, would have a three-year grace period from local-sourcing requirements. Such rules require firms buy at least 30% of their manufacturing materials from Indian vendors.

But since June, “we haven’t heard” anything about Apple’s plans, said a senior government official, declining to be identified.

Facebook Makes New Wi-Fi Push into India After Free Basics

The story begins:

Facebook Inc.’s controversial plan to get Indians online may have failed earlier this year, but the company says it is making a new push to expand internet access in the country, a key market for future user growth.

In the new effort, which Facebook is calling Express Wifi, the Menlo Park, Calif. company is working with internet service providers, or ISPs, and carriers to provide wireless hot spots in rural parts of the country, such as mom-and-pop shops, where users can get cheap access to the internet.

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) “Superblocks: how Barcelona is taking city streets back from cars”

Interesting story in Vox, with images, illustrating how planners have used “superblocks” (or superilles) to make the city more pedestrian friendly.

2) “This Basically Anonymous Fund Manager Oversees $800 Billion”

Bloomberg profiles Gerry O’Reilly, who’s in charge of the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund.

“Index funds are often called ‘passive investments,’” Ben Steverman writes, “yet there’s nothing particularly passive about what O’Reilly and his Vanguard colleagues do all day.”

3) “McMansions 101: What Makes a McMansion Bad Architecture?”

An explanation, in architectural terms, of why McMansions are ugly.

4) “Baton Rouge 2016 Flood: Man saves woman and dog from sinking car.”

Remarkable video. But pretty heavy. Do you need a chaser? Here you go…

5) “These may be the most magnificent portraits of goats and sheep you’ll ever see”


Have a great week, and let me know what’s new in your world.


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