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TikTok is losing its cash cow

Also in today’s edition: Dead weight freight corridor; A stark contrast between the Modi and Godrej families

Good morning! Gen Z is known for being fashionably late, and they’ve got zero qualms about it. According to Fortune, new research involving 1,000 British adults reveals that the youngest workers think that joining a meeting 10 minutes late is A-OK. Millennials are mostly chill about tardiness, but the old guard boomers still at the office seethe and grumble at the sight of latecomers. They see it as a sign of disrespect, after all. But hey, if we’re entertaining the idea of sending AI clones to meetings (looking at you, Zoom CEO), maybe we can also cut Gen Z some slack for taking their sweet little time to show up.

Everything you wanted to know about NEET’s chequered past. Also in today’s episode: how pet parenting is propping up the animal healthcare industry. Tune in to Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Soumya Gupta and Anup Semwal also contributed to today’s edition.

The Market Signal*

Stocks & Economy: After rising 240% in 2023 and 140% in 2024 so far, shares of artificial intelligence chipmaker Nvidia fell 13% in three days, shedding $430 billion from its market cap and entering the correction territory many predicted it would.

A lack of enough well-paying steady jobs and skyrocketing stock valuations in India have attracted millions of inexperienced investors hoping to make a quick buck and shore up their incomes. A chartered accountant revealed to Moneycontrol.com that one of his college-going clients lost Rs 26 lakh in FY24 trading in futures and options. The third-year engineering student had lost Rs 20 lakh the previous year.  

Meanwhile, Pakistan has emerged as Asia’s best performing stock market in 2024 and cheap valuations will likely help it rise more. The GIFT Nifty hints at a slow start for Indian equities.


Fight Or Flight For Delayed Freight Corridor

The Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) project that stretches from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Mumbai remains incomplete, with a 102-kilometre stretch between Vaitarna and JNPT pending. 

Announced in 2005, this grand plan aimed to revolutionise India's logistics sector. Two decades on, it is mired in land acquisition drama.

Although initial land acquisition began in 2008, legal disputes and forest clearances slowed progress. About 3,000 project-affected persons lived on the encroached land between Vaitarna and JNPT. These residents, not legally recognised but firmly entrenched, demanded their dues, turning the relocation into compensation. 

The delay in the project costs ballooned from a modest Rs 2,800 crore to Rs 5,000 crore. Meanwhile, cargo that should be transported via the WDFC is instead being ferried by road transport. Read the full story in The Core.


Family Matters

Succession battles invoke images of warring brothers. This one is playing out a little differently. Modi family scion Samir Modi is fighting his mother Bina Modi for control of their family empire that includes the tobacco company Godfrey Phillips.

Samir has written to the company’s board of directors, accusing them of helping his mother stage a physical attack on him in May. Bina Modi’s personal security officer had claimed he was the victim, not perpetrator in the incident; Samir allegedly attacked him while forcing his way into a board meeting. A Delhi Court is hearing the matter of who-hit-who. 

Better together: In contrast, its smooth succession for the Godrej family. 

After amicably splitting the family conglomerate, the Godrej siblings and their children are setting up a family council to plan for their respective businesses. Meanwhile, the children of one sibling, Smita Crishna, are setting up family offices for investments. 


No One’s Fave

The world’s hottest social media platform has lost goodwill among anti-China hawks and lawmakers in the US. Now, TikTok is losing favour in a way it can’t afford to: Financial Times (FT) reports that advertisers — who reportedly accounted for a bulk of the app’s $16 billion in sales in 2023 — are chickening out in fear that the US will ban the app in January 2025 if Chinese parent ByteDance doesn’t divest the American business.

Details: Advertisers are introducing contingencies that can shield them from any haemorrhaging if TikTok gets banned in the US. These include “kill clauses” in contracts, which will allow them to avoid financial commitments to the app. Advertisers typically pay platforms in advance to “secure prominent slots or volume discounts”.

The Signal

Ad major GroupM has forecast that Shorts and Reels will be the biggest beneficiaries of migrating advertisers if TikTok gets banned.

That’s great news for their respective parents, Alphabet-owned YouTube and Meta-owned Instagram. TikTok has 170 million users, and it’s unlikely that advertisers and content creators would take a bulk of their business to Twitter/X, which is suffering its own executive chaos and plummeting ad revenue.

Advertisers will be wary of the long-term scenario, though. Social media giants, including Meta, are force-fitting AI chatbots across platforms to juice up engagement and ad revenue. All while said bots have proved that they can do little more than summarise content and offer biased suggestions. The last thing advertisers would want is to swim in choppier waters.


Win some, lose some: PE firm Prosus wrote off its 9.6% stake in dying edtech firm Byju’s but also disclosed that revenues of food delivery firm Swiggy grew 24% last year; it is Swiggy’s largest shareholder. 

Business calling: After buying a 1% stake from its struggling rival Vodafone-Idea, Airtel is considering buying an additional 3% in Indus Towers to take its total shareholding in the firm to a controlling 52%, CNBC-TV18 reported. 

Scarce: As supplies get tighter, India may cut taxes on wheat imports to tame rising prices; traders are keen to cash in on low-cost Russian wheat supply. 

Market madness: Several Indian firms across sectors are preparing for their markets debut; the latest include insurance firm Niva Bupa that will file for an IPO next week and EV maker Ather Energy which has converted to a public limited company. 

Waiting: Construction of the proposed Noida Airport in the NCR is delayed by four months, shifting its opening date to April next year. 


$31 trillion

The cumulative amount over one million ultra-wealthy individuals (those with an individual net worth of $5 million-plus) worldwide will pass on to their heirs by 2033, according to data firm Altrata. (Quartz)


Too much of a good thing: Pets aren't just pets anymore, they're fur babies. When celeb couples split, they pledge on Instagram to co-parent their pets. That's commitment! But our love for these critters goes further: we're now all about helicopter pet-parenting. Outdoor time? Nah, too risky. Diets? Custom-made. And guess what? Pet strollers are now a thing. But hold up — this intense care might not be so pawsome after all. Veterinary experts warn it stifles their natural cat-titude and doggy-style. Result? According to one survey, about 60% of our furry friends are now overweight. 

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