Thursday, May 21, 2015

'Big Cola' from Peru - Inspiration for Indian entrepreneurs

There is not a single recognizable Indian cola drink company left in the market after the sweeping entry of the big giants Coke and Pepsi.  While the Indian companies have surrendered or sold themselves off without a fight,  Aje, a cola company from Peru a far-off country from Latin America has had the audacity to bet on India. This small company with 'Big Cola' brand has succeeded in finding a niche market in India. 
Aje entered India in 2010 and has set up a bottling plant in Patalganga in Maharashtra. They produce 30 million litres and have a 8% share of the market in Maharashtra state. They plan to expand to the rest of India and set up 20 plants. They propose to add fruit juices, bottled water and energy drinks too later.The company employs four hundred Indians and five Peruvians.


Big Cola is about 20 % cheaper compared to Pepsi and Coke. Aje cuts the costs of production and distribution to the minimum. Aje is not in the multicrore game of cricket sponsorship. They run a modest marketing campaign with the slogan "Chhodo Purana, Badla he Zamana…!". 



Aje is targeting mainly the 'bottom of the pyramid' for whom Coke and Pepsi are expensive. They market themselves as a ' fair price' drink to low income consumers and talk about ' democratization of consumption'. With this strategy, they see a significant opportunity in the large and growing low income population segment of India. Aje has worked its way up and has put Big Cola in the shelves of Big Bazar, Reliance, D mart, Metro, Tesco and other chain stores. 
The credit for the success of Aje in India goes to Mr Clever Pantoja Cadillo, the head of the company in India since 2009. 

He came with some Asian experience after his stay in Thailand. But he found India to be very complicated and challenging. In the beginning, when he was searching for land for the plant, he was taken for a ride by the Indian real estate agents. Mr Pantoja, who lives in Navi Mumbai with his family, has now adapted well to Indian culture and has learnt how to do business in India. Although he knew that Gujarat offered more incentives and has lower taxes he chose Patalganga, between Mumbai and Pune which are huge high density population centers. 
Aje's origin is an interesting story. During the eighties, Peru became unsafe due to the terrorist war unleashed by the 'Shining Path' ( Sendero Luminoso) guerrillas. The trucks of Coke and Pepsi could not deliver to the interior areas controlled by the guerillas. The Ananos family saw a business opportunity  and started producing cola drinks in Ayacucho, a small town which was a major centre of guerrilla activities.  They founded Aje in 1988 and established their national presence in Peru by 1997.
Aje embarked on its international foray in the late nineties. It entered Venezuela in 1999, Ecuador in 2000, Mexico in 2002, Central America in 2004, Thailand in 2006, India, Vietnam and Indonesia in 2010 and Brazil in 2011. Aje's products are now sold directly or through agents in over 20 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Besides its flagship brand Big Cola, the company has also got branded products of fruit juice, instant tea, bottled water, energy and sports drinks as well as beer. The Ananos family owns 100% of the shares and control of the company.

Aje is the fourth largest producer of carbonated soft drinks and the tenth largest soft drink company (by sales) in the world. It has 30 plants around the world and is vertically integrated. Its annual sales are 3 billion litres and it has an ambitious goal to be among the top 20 multinational companies by 2020. 
Aje does not consider itself as a competitor to Pepsi and Coke. They are content to be categorized as a B brand. Their focus is only on the emerging markets where there is growing number of lower middle class.
Aje's global ambition has been boosted particularly by their success in Mexico, one of the top soft drinks markets in the world with a high per capita consumption of carbonated drinks. They fought their way through the intense warfare between Pepsi and Coke and managed to get a sizable share of the market. With this success, they have gone on to get a double digit percentage of the market of Indonesia too. After conquering these two large emerging markets, Aje is confident of its growth in India too. 
The success of Aje is a lesson to the Indian entrepreneurs who face challenges from multinationals. It is also an inspiration for those Indian companies who aspire to go global and find niche markets for their products.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

India's exports to Peru in 2014 reached 788 million dollars

India's exports in 2014 were 788 million dollars up by 16% from 679 m in 2013 and 465 m in 2010.

Peru has emerged as the fourth largest destination of India's exports after Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.

Vehicles were the leading export item followed by raw cotton, synthetic fibres, iron and steel, pharmaceuticals and plastic items.

India's imports from peru in 2014 were 321 million dollars down from 593 million in 2013. Gold and copper were the major import items.

Peru is expected to have the highest growth rate ( 4.6% ) in 2015 among the top seven Latin American trade partners of India.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

India's pharmaceutical exports to Latin America can reach 2 billion dollars by 2020

India exported around 900 million dollars of pharmaceuticals to Latin America in 2013-14 (april-march). This was 7% of the total exports of India to Latin America, whose share in India's global pharma export was also around 7%.
Brazil was the leading destination of India's exports with 297 million followed by Mexico with 119 million. Interestingly Venezuela was the third largest market with 84 million. Exports to Colombia were 76 million, Peru-44 million, Chile-44, Argentina-42, Dominican Republic –26, Guatemala-23 and Ecuador –17.
Of the total pharma exports to Latin America, formulations accounted for 540 million and bulk drugs  360 million dollars. The large markets of Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia account for most of the bulk drug exports.
Some Indian companies such as Reddy labs, Ranbaxy, Glenmark, Lupin, Torrent, Zydus Cadilla and Cellofarm have invested in manufacturing in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.
Argentina which did not allow Indian finished formulations under pressure from local industry lobby has removed the restriction in August 2014. After this, India had exported 15 million dollars of finished drugs. This should go up in the coming years.
Latin America's pharma market has been growing at an annual average of 7% reaching 80 billion dollars in 2014 and is expected to cross 100 billion in the next three years.  
India can target exports of 2 billion dollars in the next five years, given the following four favorable factors: 
-The governments of the region ( majority of them centre-left) are spending more on health care as part of their inclusive development agenda.
-Millions of people are coming out of poverty, thanks to the pro-poor policies of the governments and this new lower middle class can afford to buy medicines.
-The economies of the region have been growing, adding more consumers in the markets.
-The governments of the region are promoting generic medicines to cut the cost of health care for themselves as well as for the consumers. This has given a special and unmissable opportunity for the Indian pharma companies who have already established their reputation in Latin America and around the world. 

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Mexico's manufacturing boom


The 'Make In India' campaign could learn from the manufacturing success story of Mexico which has come to be called as a 'rising global star in manufacturing'  and 'the China of the Americas'.  Prime Minister Modi could also get inspiration from President Enrique Penha Nieto who has brought about a dozen major reforms by forging a historic consensus with the opposition parties through the 'Mexico Pact'.The Indian business should pay more attention to Mexico which is quietly building itself as an economic power with market access to forty four FTA partner countries

Mexico's manufacturing boom

Mexico has overtaken China in 2013-14 as the world's top destination for automobile investment, according to Financial Times of 21 April 2015. Mexico had attracted 12.6% of global FDI in auto manufacturing as against 12.4% of China in 2013. In recent years, many global automakers have opened or announced plans to set up manufacturing units in Mexico whose car production projected to increase to 4.7 million vehicles by 2020 from 3.2 million in 2014. Mexico accounts for 20% of the vehicle production of North America and is the seventh largest producer of cars in the world. It has become the fourth largest exporter of vehicles in the world and exports 80% of its total production. Mexico's auto exports earned 85 billion dollars in 2014. 

Mexico has become competitive vis-a-vis China whose labour costs have gone up significantly. Average manufacturing labor costs in Mexico are now almost 20 percent lower than in China, whereas in 2000, Mexico’s labor costs were 58 percent more expensive than China’s. Chinese wages ( 5726 dollars per year) have become significantly higher than Mexico's annual wage of 3645 dollars for unskilled workers in the auto sector. Mexican productivity-adjusted labor costs are now estimated to be 13 percent lower than those of China
Boston Consulting Group in its August 2014 report 'The shifting economics of global manufacturing' has called Mexico as "a rising global star in manufacturing". BCG estimates that Mexico now has lower average manufacturing costs than China on a unit-cost basis. A decade ago, average direct manufacturing costs in China were estimated to be 6 percentage points cheaper than Mexico’s, Now, Mexico is estimated to be 4 percentage points cheaper. 
Mexico offers other advantages over China which poses increasing challenges to American multinationals. It has a large and growing young population unlike the ageing Chinese society. It offers better protection to intellectual property rights unlike China.  Not surprisingly, US imports from Mexico have started rising faster than those from China and Mexico is being talked of as the "China of the Americas".
Besides the lower wages, Mexico has made itself attractive for export-oriented manufacturing by its FTA with 44 countries. Mexico is a member of NAFTA, Pacific Alliance, APEC, OECD and TPP.Most foreign manufacturers use Mexico as the export platform for NAFTA.
Mexico has developed manufacturing clusters : Queretero for aerospace; central and northern industrial heartlands for automobiles; Gudalajara as a silicon valley ; and low-end manufacturing of goods like clothing and textiles in the southern part of the country. It also has a conducive ecosystem for manufacturing and exports with an integrated supply chain, reasonably good infrastructure, logistics and transport network as well as stable and predictable policies and tax regimes. 
Unlike the raw materials exporting South America, Mexico has emerged as a major exporter of manufactured products such as automobiles, electronics and aerospace equipments. Manufactured products account for 83% of the total exports of Mexico. Mexico is largest maker of  flat screen TVs and two door refrigerators and is a leading producer and exporter of white goods. 
The "Make in India"  campaign can learn from the manufacturing success story of Mexico which ranks 39th in World Bank's 2014 survey of 'Ease of doing business index' in comparison to India's 142nd. Of course the Indian growth model is different from the Mexican one of manufacturing for exports. India should, therefore, draw only the appropriate lessons for its own path and needs.  Prime Minister Modi could also get inspiration from President Enrique Penha Nieto who has brought about a dozen major reforms by forging a historic and unprecedented consensus with the opposition parties through the ' Mexico Pact'.
The Indian business would find it worthwhile to give more attention to Mexico which is quietly positioning itself to be a major economic force in the long term with its competitive manufacturing strength and market access through FTAs with a large number of countries. With a population of 114 million and GDP of over 1.3 trillion dollars Mexico is the second largest market and the largest trading nation in Latin America with exports of 398 billion dollars and imports of 400 billion in 2014.
India's exports to Mexico have made an impressive 30% increase, reaching 3727 million dollars in 2014 from 2720 million in 2013. Mexico is a regular source of crude oil imports of India. The imports in 2014 were 2291 million dollars. Over 30 Indian companies have invested in Mexico and eight Mexican companies have invested in India. The Indian IT firms use Mexico as the base for near-shore operations to service their North American clients. 
India's exports to Mexico are disadvantaged by tariffs vis-a-vis the products coming from Mexico's FTA partners which enter duty-free. The government of India needs to push for FTA negotiations with Mexico. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

India's exports to Argentina decrease by 19% in 2014

India's exports to Argentina in 2014 were 560 million dollars, down by 19%, from 696 million in 2013. This is not surprising given the difficult economic situation of Argentina which has number of restrictions on imports due to foreign exchange shortage.

India's imports increased by 32% reaching 1846 m from 1105 m in 2013. This is due to the increase in imports of soy oil by India which were 1560 million dollars in 2014. The imports of Soy oil are likely to increase in the future in view of the growing gap between demand and supply of vegetable oils in India.

The good news in 2014 was the lifting of restrictions on Indian pharmaceuticals by the Argentine government which was earlier held to ransom by the local pharma industry lobby.

The Argentine economy is expected to improve after the end of the government of President Cristina this year.

Friday, April 24, 2015

India's trade with Venezuela declined in 2014… No surprise..

India's trade with Venezuela declined by 40% reaching 8358 million dollars in 2014 from 14186 million in 2013.  Venezuela remained as India's second largest trading partner in Latin America after having overtaken Brazil in the previous years.

The main reason is the flaa in price of crude oil which forms 99% of India's imports. Still, Venezuela continues to be the top supplier of crude oil from Latin America and will continue in the future too

India's imports in 2014 were 7959 million down from 13940 in 2013.

India's exports decreased by 30% in 2014 to 246 million dollars from 358 million in 2013. This is also not surprising since the Venezuelan economy is in a mess with acute shortage of foreign currency, corruption in the control of allotment of foreign exchange for imports, several different rates of exchanges, over 60% inflation ( the highest in latin America) and mismanagement of the economy. The government keeps the oil export figures as secret and do not publish them. The figures have to be estimated by going to the statistics of importing countries.

The economic situation has got worse with the fall in oil prices and the government has no clue to deal with the crisis at the moment.

But the country has the potential and resources to become prosperous when the politics becomes normal. The country has as much as 300 billion barrels of oil reserves, equivalent to the Saudi reserves. Besides, the country has minerals and agricultural potential.

Monday, April 20, 2015

India's exports to Colombia increased by 19% in 2014

India's exports to Colombia reached a record 1297 million dollars in 2014 increasing by 19% from 1083 m in 2013.

Motor cycles were the leading exports amounting to 316 million, followed by vehicles-142 m, cotton yearn-126 m, organic chemicals-110 m and pharmaceuticals 61 million dollars.

India's imports declined slightly to 2738 million dollars in 2013 from 2993 m in 2013, due to the decline in fall of oil prices. Crude oil accounted for 2641 m forming 96% of India's imports.

Total trade with Colombia stood at 4036 million dollars in 2014 as against 4076 m in 2014.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

India's exports to Mexico have increased by an impressive 30% in 2014

India's exports to Mexico increased by an impressive 30% reaching 3727 million dollars in 2014 from 2720 million in 2013. The major items of exports were: organic chemicals, auto parts, electrical machinery, aluminum products, garments and pharmaceuticals.

Imports from Mexico declined by 23%  to 2720 m $ in 2014 from 3524 m in 2013. Crude oil accounted for 2291 m and 84% of imports. The reason for the decrease in imports is the decline in the price of crude oil. India is the eight largest destination for Mexican exports.

India's trade with Mexico stood at 6447 m $ in 2014 increasing slightly from 6393 m in 2013.Mexico is the third largest trade partner of India after Venezuela and Brazil.

Mexico is the largest trading nation in Latin America with 398 bn exports and 400 bn imports. 85% of exports go to USA. Vehicles is the largest export amounting to 85 bn in 2014.


Mexico is concerned by the growing trade deficit with China which soared to 60 billion dollars in 2014. While Mexico's exports to China were only 6 bn their imports from China was 66 bn.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

India's trade with Chile reached a record 3.8 billion dollars in 2014

India's trade with Chile increased by 32% in 2014 reaching 3.8 billion dollars. India's exports were 620 million and imports 3192 million dollars.

India's exports have decreased slightly from 692 million in 2013. The leading item of India's export is car - 140 million dollars. Motor cycles, commercial vehicles and medicines were the other major items.

Chile's exports have increased from 2183 million dollars in 2013 to 3192 m in 2014. Copper is main export accounting for 2237 m. wood pulp and fresh apples were other important items of import.

Chile is the fifth largest trading partner of India after Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

India's trade with Brazil increased by 20% in 2014 despite Brazilian economic stagnation

India's trade with Brazil reached a record 11.42 billion dollars in 2014 increasing by 20% from 9.49 bn in 2013. This is impressive considering the fact that Brazilian economy had slowed down in 2014 to a meagre 0.2% growth and the country's imports had declined by 4.46%. The average annual growth since 2010 has been 20%.

India has become the 8th largest trade partner of Brazil in 2014 climbing from 12th position in 2013.

In 2014 India's exports were 6.64 billion and imports 4.79 bn.

India's exports have increased by 50 % from 4.2 bn in 2010 to 6.64 bn in 2014. which had declined from 6.06 bn in 2010. India's main export is diesel which accounted for 3.52 bn ( 53%) of the total of 6.64 bn. Exports of Chemicals, pharma, plastics and rubber products were 1.5 bn with a share of 22%. Engineering products constituted 13% and textiles 8.3% of the exports.

India's imports have increased by 53% from 3.13 bn in 2013 to 4.79 bn in 2014.  Crude oil is the main import ( 49%) followed by raw sugar(13%), soy oil( 7.6%), gold, copper and iron ore. India has started importing gold from Brazil with 278 million dollars in 2014.


In 2015 Brazil is projected to suffer a GDP contraction of 0.9%. The construction and infrastructure projects are expected slow down as a consequence of the ongoing Petrobras corruption scandal in which many private sector companies are also involved.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Latin America is projected to grow only 1% in 2015

Latin American GDP growth in 2015 has been revised down to 1% by ECLAC in its 7 April 2015 report. This is the lowest growth in the last six years. It is a marginal deterioration from the 2014 growth of 1.1%

South America is expected to show zero growth while Central America is likely to get 3%

Brazil's GDP will face a contraction of 0.9% and Venezuela will suffer a 3.5% negative growth

Mexico's GDP growth projected at 3%, Argentina zero percent, colombia-3.6%, Peru-4.2% and Chile-3%.

Panama will have the highest growth of 6% followed by Bolivia with 5%.

Central America and Mexico benefit from the recovery of US which is their main export market while South America faces less demand from China and lower prices for its export commodities.

More information
http://www.cepal.org/sites/default/files/pr/files/tabla._proyecciones_pib_america_latina_y_el_caribe.pdf

Thursday, March 12, 2015

India's exports of textiles and garments to Latin America

India is the third largest supplier of textiles and the fourth largest supplier of ready made garments to Latin America. The exports in the period 2009-13 have shown average annual growth of 17.4% for textiles and 21% for garments. Impressive growth despite the post-world financial crisis conditions!

In 2013, Latin America imported 30.6 billion dollars of textiles. Predictably, China was the top supplier with 11.9 billion dollars, followed by US with 6 billion and India with 1.6 billion. In the same year, Latin America imported ready made garments worth 11.6 billion dollars of which 6 billion came from China, 628 million from US, 466 million from Bangladesh and 450 million from India. Bangladesh has overtaken India since 2012.

There are two surprising facts about the Latin American imports: first, Mexico is the largest importer of textiles and garments although Brazil is the largest market with twice the population and GDP in the region. 
The second surprise: Chile with a small population of 17 million, is the second largest importer of garments and the third largest importer of textiles, although Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and Peru have larger populations and bigger economies. 

The 2013 textile imports of Mexico were 9.8 billion dollars, Brazil-6.8 bn, Chile-4.2 billion, Colombia- 2.3 bn, Peru- 1.8 bn, Argentina- 1.5 bn and Venezuela- 1.4 bn, 

The top garment importers ( 2013 figures) are: Mexico- 3 billion dollars, Chile- 2.7 bn, Brazil -2.4 bn, Colombia 741 million, Venezuela-664 m and Peru-655 mn. It is amazing that Chile's import is larger than that of Brazil whose population and GDP are ten times bigger.

There is scope for India to increase its exports of textiles to 5 billion dollars and garments to 2 billion dollars by 2020. The following factors favor growth of India's exports:

-Millions of Latin Americans have come out of poverty thanks to the effective pro-poor government programmes in the region. The increase in middle class, the new paradigm of sustained growth and prosperity of the region means more demand for textiles. Since 2009, the textile imports of the region have been growing by 10.7% and garment imports by 12.4% per year.

-Textile and garments industry in South America especially in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela have become less competitive due to high local cost of production and the steady decline of the sector.

-The Latin American governments and business want to reduce the over-dependence on China and diversify their imports as part of their long term strategy. 

-The damage caused to local textile and other industries by the flooding of Chinese goods in the region has developed a fear about China. The Chinese business model of non-transparent deals at government level, bringing their own labour, illegal flow of Chinese immigrants and the cultural and communication gap has made the Latinos wary of China in general. In contrast, India is comfort zone for the Latin Americans many of whom practice yoga, meditation and follow Indian gurus such as Sai Baba and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. This traditional positive image has been reinforced by the prominence of Indian IT companies which employ over 25,000 Latin Americans and the pharma companies which have helped reduce the cost of health care in the region.

Lastly, the Chinese wage levels have gone up and the Chinese government itself is moving into industries higher in technology and lower in pollution. This has reopened space and given an edge for Indian textile exports to some extent.

The main challenge faced by Indian exporters is the high customs duty in the big markets of the region. Indian garments attract ad valorem tariff of 35% in Brazil and Argentina, 31.7% in Venezuela, 30% in Mexico, 15% in Colombia, 11% in Peru and  5.8% (the lowest in the region) in Chile. Indian textiles face ad valorem duty of 25.1% in Brazil and Argentina, 16.5% in Mexico, 19.8% in Venezuela, 8.7% in Colombia, 8.4% in Peru and 5.8% in Chile

While Indian exports face tariffs, the exports of textiles and garments from countries which have FTAs with the Latin American markets enter duty free. India has Partial Trade Agreements (PTA) with Mercosur and Chile for limited number of items. This is not enough. There is need to go in for FTAs with the larger countries of Latin America.

The FTAs with US and EU help Mexico and Central America to gain advantage over India's exports to those large markets. 

Given the clear long term potential for increasing the textile and garment exports to the growing markets of Latin America, the Indian exporters, export promotion councils, the government and the embassies need to intensify the export promotion activities systematically and in a coordinated manner.


Note -  Source of statistics - Apparel Export Promotion Council, New Delhi.