Hilton, Starbucks Add to Their India Portfolio

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May 14 – Looking to further break into the Indian market, Hilton Hotels has committed to expand its mid-market and luxury brands in the country.

Hilton, which already has established various hotels in India, recently acquired an additional number of properties on which it looks to open up and develop hotels for its luxury brand, Conrad, and its mid-market brands Doubletree and Hilton Garden Inn. Hilton is also looking to introduce its world-renowned Waldorf Astoria brand to India in the near future.

“We are on equal footing with our competitors both from the perspective of the number of hotels trading and the number of hotels that are actually going to come up in the next one or two years. By the end of this year, we expect 17 hotels to be trading, and we have the second largest pipeline of hotels in the Asia Pacific region with 21 hotels in various stages of construction,” said Guy Hutchinson, Hilton Worldwide’s Vice-President of India Operations.

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India’s Top Six Cities – Free City Guides!

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Dec. 22 – Asia Briefing takes a closer look at India’s top six cities (by GDP) in the newly released Indian city guides for Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. These city guides are available for free download on the Asia Briefing bookstore.

1. Mumbai
GDP: US$209 billion

Mumbai is the most populous city in India and in the top five in the world. While the 2011 census estimated population at 12.4 million, external estimates suggest double that.

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India’s Top Ten Business Schools Rated

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Oct. 27 – Business India magazine has just released its tenth best business schools survey which ranks India’s top institutions. The top ten is as follows with the name of each school also linked to its website.

1) Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

2) Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

3) Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta

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Another Unnecessary Name Change: Orissa is now Odisha

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Seal of Orissa now Odisha By Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Oct. 26 – In the latest politically correct movement of stupidity, the State of Orissa is now legally to be known as  Odisha following a ruling by the Indian Union Cabinet. The regional language, previously known as Oriya, will now be called Odia.

The move follows prolonged lobbying by the BJP Party, long bent on correcting misnamed cities and states. The confusion arises partly due to the phonetic and dialect differences in pronouncing the English version and the local language version with the BJP determined to revert all names to the ones used locally. Hence Bombay became Mumbai, Madras became Chennai and Calcutta became Kolkata.

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New Survey Ranks India’s Ten Most Affluent Cities

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Photo by flcker user laszlo-photo under the creative commons licenseSept. 4 – The Nielsen Company in India has just released the results of the first ever  Nielsen Upper Middle and Rich (UMAR) survey that sought to decode the behavior of India’s well-heeled.

The UMAR polled more than 18,250 wealthy individuals across 35 Indian cities on their lifestyle and mass and emerging media consumption. The definition of affluence was based on the standards of defining socio economic class and other Nielsen variables.

“The primary reason for conducting Nielsen UMAR was to obtain first of all a realistic estimate of this segment, and secondly, to profile their media and consumption habits. There is no study today in India which provides an accurate estimate of this target group; large scale surveys like the NRS and IRS grossly underestimate this segment as their sampling procedures are directed towards a mass audience and not specifically to this segment,” said Partha Rakshit, Managing Director, South Asia, The Nielsen Company, said in a statement.

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Bank Employees Begin Strike Today

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Aug. 6 – Employees of India’s private, overseas and state banks numbering more than 900,000 will begin their two-day strike today.

An estimated 26 state-run banks, 10 private banks and eight foreign banks will be affected when its workers join the strike organized by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU). “We seek expedition of wage revisions,” C H Venkatachalam, convener of the UFBU,was quoted by Bloomberg. “There is no question of calling off the strike now.”

The banking workers are demanding at least a 17.5 percent salary hike, pension benefits and that family members of those who die in service be employed.

China’s FAW Interested in Manufacturing Cars in India

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Nov. 6 – Even as the dust settles on what would have been the Tata Nano plant in Singur, the West Bengal government reportedly offered the land to First Automobile Works Limited (FAW), a Chinese automobile manufacturer. Reports by the Hindu said a 12-member delegation from Chinese automobile company FAW Group Corporation met West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Industry Minister Nirupam Sen expressing interest in setting up a joint venture automobile unit on about 600 acres – about the same size that is ‘undisputed’ in Singur — to set up a small car factory in Bengal.

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