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    Tesla rival VinFast looks to make in India; Digital India Bill to add laws on online offences

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    Happy Thursday! Vietnam’s VinFast Auto, Tesla’s closest competitor in the electric car space, is looking to set up a manufacturing unit either in Tamil Nadu or Gujarat. This and more in today’s ETtech Morning Dispatch.

    Also in the letter:
    ■ ETSA winner Digantara founders on startup’s journey
    ■ Flipkart merges tech & product ops in travel, epharmacy biz
    ■ ETtech Done Deals
    Tesla rival VinFast Auto looking at India for manufacturing foray


    Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast Auto, a deemed Tesla rival that emerged as the world’s third most valuable carmaker last month, may soon set up a manufacturing unit in India, with Tamil Nadu and Gujarat on its radar for the foray, sources told ET.

    Driving the news: The talks are still in preliminary stages, one of the sources said, but the carmaker is very keen on setting up shop in India. There’s no clarity yet on whether VinFast is looking at exports or if the new production unit would only serve the Indian market, the source added. The company has shortlisted Gujarat and Tamil Nadu after holding talks with several state governments.

    vinfast gfx

    Also read | Tesla interested in coming to India, aims to source $1.9 bn auto parts from country this year: Commerce Minister

    About VinFast Auto: Founded in 2017, VinFast Auto became the world’s third largest automaker by market capitalisation behind Tesla and Toyota, days after its listing on Nasdaq in August.

    It is the EV arm of Vingroup, the largest private corporation in Vietnam. While small in comparison to the likes of Tesla, it is expanding fast and has ambitious plans to take on the Elon Musk-owned firm in the US where Tesla has over a 50% market share.

    VinFast’s India play: While VinFast does not command the same brand value as Tesla, analysts said its cars are seen as affordable alternatives and are expected to gain a positive buzz in the Indian market for being cost-effective and value for money.
    Digital India Bill set to add myriad online offence laws under ‘user harm’
    Digital India Bill draft bill likely to open for public consultation_Digital India Act_bill_THUMB IMAGE_ETTECH

    The Digital India Bill is likely to define and encode in law various online offences such as crypto-jacking, astroturfing, dogpiling or cyber-mob attacks, dogwhistling, swatting, gaslighting and catfishing, people in know of the development told ET.

    Details: These offences are likely to be included under the broad category of user harm, and it may also define the penal provisions associated with them, sources said. The bill is also likely to moot the establishment of a Digital India Authority and a National Data Management Office under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

    bill gfx

    Also read | Digital India Bill out for discussion soon, says official

    What’s more?
    In the new bill, the IT ministry is also likely to define the contours of misinformation and the various ways it is propagated. The publication and transmission of “realistic but fake information in digital form created using a digital system” may also be barred under the new Act, another person said. The exemptions given to social media and other intermediaries under Section 79 of the IT Act may also be done away with.

    Some power for online platforms: Additionally, the bill may empower internet and social media intermediaries to bar certain people or organisations from a platform if they try to or repeatedly violate the terms of user agreement of the platform or the laws under the Digital India Act, a person said.
    ETSA 2023 | Digantara has enough in the tank to soar higher
    best on campus winner

    Dabbling in physics and space for years together prompted Anirudh Sharma and Rahul Rawat to found spacetech startup Digantara, the winner of the Best on Campus category at The Economic Times Startup Awards 2023. The two Lovely Professional University students won the best student research award for their paper on ‘smoke detection in space’ – which led to the launch of the startup.

    Also read | ET Startup Awards 2023: Digantara wins Best on Campus category

    The elite jury appreciated Digantara’s effort in starting up from campus in a complex segment like spacetech and building traction in a competitive space that has recently seen a lot of entrepreneur and investor interest.

    All winners

    Also read | ET Startup Awards 2023: Winners to be felicitated on October 7

    “Founding a space startup on a university campus has been an incredible adventure,” said Sharma, now CEO of the company, which has Rawat and aerospace engineer Tanveer Ahmed of RV College of Engineering as cofounders. “Convincing investors/partners of our capabilities as 20-year-olds was challenging, but our commitment to building innovation in the space situational awareness (SSA) domain helped us overcome scepticism.”

    What’s next? Digantara is on track to launch its own satellites that will provide access to crucial data from space, says COO Rawat. A significant part of the funding will be allocated to building space infrastructure.

    Read all the important stories on ET Startup Awards 2023:

    Fintechs scramble to tweak systems as DPDP Act looms
    data protection Bill_Fintech_UPI Payments_THUMB IMAGE_ETTECH

    As the government prepares to implement the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act, 2023, fintech experts predict that companies in the space may have their work cut out for them.

    What’s the news? Weighed down by strict data guidelines from the sector regulators already, industry experts fear that the data protection law will significantly add to the compliance burden of these entities.

    Also read | Companies panic, want clarity on data rules, seek more time

    The impact: Banks, NBFCs and fintechs will also need to redraw contractual agreements with business partners they usually share customer data with. Processes around co-lending, cross-selling of financial services on the basis of payment data and data sharing on digital frameworks like Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for payments and account aggregators for credit will need to be relooked, the experts said.

    Also read | Big Tech companies must comply with new data law in 6 months: MoS IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar

    Expert take: “For fintechs, their business revolves around customer data, so the scale of responsibility for them is that much higher, and their compliance burden is set to go up that many times,” said Salman Waris, partner at Techlegis Advocates and Solicitors.
    Flipkart merges tech and product ops in travel, epharmacy biz
    Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy
    Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart

    Pulling out all the stops ahead of the festive season, ecommerce firm Flipkart has merged key technology and product roles in its travel (Cleartrip) and epharmacy (Flipkart Health Plus) businesses into the core commerce team.

    Driving the news: The move to streamline operations comes ahead of its annual shopping event. “Essentially, they (Flipkart) want to have a linear structure across these businesses and tech, product and supply chain is being managed at the group level,” a person aware of the matter said. Flipkart is introducing new tech initiatives like its generative AI-based shopping assistant Flippi across businesses, including Cleartrip.

    flipkart gfx 2

    Racing ahead: Cleartrip and the online pharmacy business are among the faster growing new businesses for the Bengaluru-based etailer. “Cleartrip, especially, among the new businesses has been growing at a fast pace trying to corner market share from incumbents,” another person aware of the growth said.

    Also read | This festive season, bigger e-commerce sales set to light up volumes
    ETtech Done Deals
    Harshit Jain, CEO & founder, Doceree

    Physician engagement startup Doceree raises $35 million led by Creaegis: Doceree, which operates a network of physician-only platforms for programmatic messaging, on Wednesday said it has raised $35 million in a Series B funding round led by Creaegis. The funds will enable Doceree to accelerate product development, augment technologies, scale global expansion and expand the team.

    Bollywood actress Dia Mirza invests in parenting platform BabyChakra: Bollywood actress Dia Mirza has invested an undisclosed amount in online parenting platform BabyChakra, a subsidiary of content-to-commerce conglomerate Good Glamm Group.

    Consumer fintech startup Bright Money raises $12 million: Bright Money, which allows users to reduce debt, has raised $12 million in an equity funding round led by existing investors Alpha Wave, Hummingbird VC and Peak XV Partners.

    Gaming startup QuriousBit raises $2 million in funding from Lumikai, General Catalyst: The firm, founded by Ramakrishna Reddy Y L and Shubham Joshi, will build online puzzle-based casual games. The funds will be used to expand the team size, currently at seven, and for marketing its games.
    Other Top Stories By Our Reporters
    Signature what to expect

    Protean eGov Technologies eyes Rs 1,300 crore listing by end of October: Protean eGov Technologies (formerly NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure) is planning to make an initial public offering of around Rs 1,200-1,300 crore by the end of October, people privy to the development said.

    Neobanking firm Fi cuts 10% of staff in latest round: The layoffs have been undertaken to increase its cash runway from almost one and a half years currently to two years and are expected to impact employees across functions including engineering, product, analytics and process excellence, among other teams.

    Delhivery plans to improve working capital intensity:
    The Gurugram-based company told shareholders at its annual general meeting on Wednesday that it is benefitting from synergies following the integration of Spoton’s network with its own.

    Software firm KX Systems to enter India, open offices in Bengaluru, Mumbai: The company wants to target Indian developers, IT firms and other enterprises as it plans to capture the country’s AI market that is expected to touch $4.2 billion by 2030, CEO Ashok Reddy said.
    Global Picks We Are Reading

    ■ How the fall of the 'King of Crypto' cost one British man millions (BBC)

    ■ China’s economic malaise hits efforts to raise $41bn chip fund (Financial Times)

    ■ AI hurricane predictions are storming the world of weather forecasting (Wired)

    Updated On Sep 28, 2023, 07:48 AM IST

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    The Economic Times