1. From The Economist on India's e-commerce marketplace,
In the next 15 years India will see more people come online than any other country. Last year e-commerce sales were about $16 billion; by 2020, according to Morgan Stanley, a bank, the online retail market could be more than seven times larger. Such sales are expected to grow faster in India than in any other market. This has attracted a flood of investment in e-commerce firms, the impact of which may go far beyond just displacing offline retail.
I am not sure of this simple linear extrapolation of the market size, prompted by China's 600% expansion in the 2010-14 period. The underlying assumptions about the size of the Indian middle class and the ability of squeezing large incremental value once customers are captured are largely questionable. And the price sensitive nature of the majority of customer base means that phasing out the discounts may lead to large attritions.
2. Fascinating long forms in FT on 'land grabs' across Ethiopia, Indonesia (where deforestation loses 100,000 soccer pitches of dense rainforest each year), and Myanmar. The Myanmar essay is about a 4000-acre special economic zone with 'deep sea port' facilities being built involving mainly Chinese firms at Kyaukphyu, which is being touted as a 'mini-Singapore', potentially providing a trade corridor between China, Africa, and the Middle East. Kyaukphyu is also the origin of a nearly 800 km twin gas and oil pipelines, each a meter wide, landing in China's Yunnan province and a gas terminal off its coast.
The gas pipeline project started operations in 2013 and oil pipeline in 2015. Its geo-strategic importance for China is immense,