Daily Capsule | 11th Jan

Here’s a dream-come-true destination for you – the month-long ice festival in China’s Heilongjiang Province. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival began last Saturday. Over the years, it has come to be known as a one-of-its-kind event and attracts millions of tourists even in the dead of winter.

And it looks like 2019 won’t be any different. Tourists from different corners of the world have already started to flock to China and mesmerising pictures from the annual festival are making rounds all over the internet. Among the top attractions, this year has a magnificent ice castle called the Harbin Ice and Snow World, a spectacular Buddha statue, 3D light show and an ice sculptors’ competition.

Breathtaking in every way, the festival is supposed to last until February 5. Time to book your air tickets!


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Stories you shouldn’t miss

Reliance Jio enters the fintech market! After disrupting India’s telecom industry, Reliance Jio is now moving into fintech, one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Indian economy. The Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio is planning to get into the point-of-sale (PoS) devices space and has launched pilots with merchants in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune. This move by Reliance Jio comes at a time when card transactions in India are at a peak.

Bengaluru-based online stock trading startup Zerodha has emerged as the largest broker in India with the highest number of clients  (8.47 lakh clients) as compared to traditional giants like ICICI Securities, HDFC Securities, Kotak Securities, Motilal Oswal, and Sharekhan. In addition to this, the Zerodha platform also marks processing two million trades per day, according to Founder and CEO Nithin Kamath, making Zerodha the “largest retail brokerage firm in the world, not just India.”

A technical glitch seems to have exposed the private financial data of sellers and vendors on Amazon India. Although the retail giant didn’t reveal the exact extent of the breach, their official statement said that the technical team had resolved the issue on Tuesday. “Our teams identified the issue and resolved it on priority and sellers were soon able to download the correct MTR reports,” an Amazon India spokesperson said.

If Uber’s newly appointed Chief Product Officer (CPO) Manik Gupta’s words are any indication, the company is going to have a great year when it comes to product development and growth in 2019. IN conversation with YourStory, Gupta shed light on how Uber is building products out of their India R&D centre to deploy globally, and their plans for Uber Eats. “I am excited about building a product infrastructure and more features that bring the power of our platform to every user and consumer,” he said.

Organisations representing the interests of Indian startups – including Nasscom, TiE Global, Indian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, and Indian Angel Network – made a joint appeal to the government to provide relief on angel tax provisions. The startup community has been struggling with the issue of angel tax, under which the income tax department has even sent formal notices to several startups questioning their valuation methodology.

Shreyas Shibulal has launched a new early-stage fund, Micelio to invest across different startups primarily in the electric vehicle space. Speaking about the fund, Shreyas said, ”The amount will depend on what the core needs and requirements of each startup are. Currently, we are focussed on seed and early-stage companies.”

Hike plans on launching multiple apps this year in line with its strategy of focussing on “social and content” through 2019. These multi apps will be specialised apps aimed at solving singular problems with greater ease and efficacy and they will be executed through a step by step evolved approach. The company, currently, has more than 100 million downloads and has raised $175 million from Foxconn and Tencent.

Mumbai based edtech startup Eruditus raised $40 million in Series C funding led by Sequoia India, with participation from existing investor Bertelsmann India Investments. The latest funding will allow the company to increase its course offerings in high-demand subject areas such as data science, machine learning, blockchain and cybersecurity and to expand its language offerings to include Portuguese and Mandarin, in addition to English and Spanish.

Cloud-based software solutions company Capillary Technologies has launched DealHunt, its first exclusive deals and coupons shopping app. Deemed as a one-stop destination for offers and deals across various categories such as fashion, beauty, food, health, travel, and electronics, the app is available in Android version in Google Play Store. And later this month, the iOS version will also be expected to debut.

Among Netflix users, it’s not unheard of to share their login credentials. After all, the OTT platform’s services are among the costliest in India, where competitors like Amazon Prime and Hotstar have comparatively cheaper options. But this might soon come to an end, all thanks to an AI-led tool developed by UK-based startup Synamedia.


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