Toy Manufacturers And Their Revenues

Toy Manufacturers And Their Revenues

The Indian toy industry began with the manufacturing of traditional toys such as whistles, wooden carts, and unbranded plush dolls, but with the increase in demand for international brands and due to the influence of pop culture and social media the Indian toy industry is transitioning.

Crux of the Matter

Prominently Manufacured Toys
Some of the most popular types of toys are licensed toys that are manufactured globally from popular shows and Disney animated movies like Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Frozen, DC, and Marvel Cinematic Universe. Plush toys are among the most popular categories of toys for children as they are considered safe and for all ages.

Other popular categories include sports and outdoor play toys, puzzles, board games, construction and building toys, and electronic toys.

Largest Toy Manufacturers in India
Geographically, the largest toy market currently is in Maharashtra, followed by, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Delhi.

  • Mattel’s subsidiary, US-based Fischer-Price is among top 10 toy companies in India. It manufactures more than 5,000 different types of toys and also manufactures products for babies like booster seats, strollers, baby car seats, etc.
  • Started in 1968, Mattel’s Hot Wheels is also a leading toy company in India which produces a collector’s item which is popular among children as well as adults.
  • Funskool (India) Ltd was established in 1987, at Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It is a joint venture between US-based Hasbro Inc. and MRF Ltd in India. They have more than 20 retail stores across the country and two factories in Goa and Ranipet.
  • MEGA Bloks, K’nex, Masoom Playmates, Simba Toys, etc are some of the other notable toy players in India

If you want to have a look at statistics around the toy industry, read this now: Indian And Global Toy Industry

Curiopedia
  • Funskool (India) Ltd. is an Indian toy manufacturing company founded in 1987 with headquarters in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. In 2014, Funskool surpassed Mattel to become the market leader in the mid to premium range of the Indian toy market. Funskool has published the Monopoly board game in India since 1987. 
  • Hamleys is a British multinational toy retailer, one of the oldest and largest in the world. The chain has 15 outlets in the United Kingdom and also has more than 90 franchises worldwide. In May 2019, Reliance Industries announced that it had acquired Hamleys for £67.96 million (around ₹620 crores) in an all-cash deal.
  • Kondapalli Toys are the toys made of wood in Kondapalli, Andhra Pradesh. Bommala Colony translates to Toys Colony in Kondapalli is the place where the art of crafting takes place. It was registered as one of the geographical indication handicrafts from Andhra Pradesh.

World’s First Human Bionic Eye

World’s First Human Bionic Eye

Researchers at Monash University, Australia, have built a bionic device that has the capability to restore the vision of the blind. As the team prepares for the first human clinical trials of the bionic eye, let’s understand the tech behind it and how they did it.

Crux of the Matter

How Did They Start?
They started with the Gennaris bionic vision system, which is a decade-old project, dedicated to bypassing damaged optic nerves to allow signals to be transmitted from the retina to the brain.

What Is The Retina?
It is a thin layer of tissue that lines the back of our eye and is located near the optic nerve. It receives light that our lens has focused, converts it into neural signals, and sends them to the the vision section of the brain, for real-time recognition of our surroundings and its components.

How The Eye Works And The Retina GIF | Gfycat
Source: VMR

Prosthetic Eye v/s Bionic Eye
Prosthetic eyes, also called glass eye, replaces the entire physical structure and appearance of an eye which was removed due to pain, disfigurement, or a disease.

Bionic eye implants work with the existing eye structure and are designed to achieve functional vision goals, and not serve physical/cosmetic purposes.

What Is The Bionic Eye Made Of And How Does It Work?
It is made up of a custom-made headgear, that includes a camera and a wireless transmitter. A processor unit takes care of data analysis, while tiles are implanted inside the brain to deliver signals.

  • The images from a video camera are converted to a high-contrast image representation, of which a part is selected for further processing.
  • The processor converts this part into electrical parameters, which are sent to electrodes implanted in the eye.
  • This allows the bionic eye recipient to recognize the presence of people and objects in both indoor and outdoor environments.

Is This Artificial Vision?
Yes. It is formed using the phenomenon of phosphenes – experiencing seeing light without light actually entering the eye, similar to swirling mosaics/colours you may see on closing your eyes.

So the vision provided by a bionic eye is not like natural sight, but a series of flashing spots and shapes the person uses to interpret their environment through training.

Has It Been Tested?
A trial in July this year, had the bionic transplants safely inserted in the brains of three sheep, with 2,700 hours of stimulation not causing any adverse health effects.

What Can We Look Forward To In The Future?
If successful on humans, the system can help those with untreatable neurological conditions, like limb paralysis, to regain movement along with giving vision to partially or completely blind people.

In fact, research is going on finding newer nanotechnology materials, that would allow electrodes to be small enough to produce high-quality resolution pictures too.

Curiopedia
  • Dr. Bill Dobelle was a biomedical researcher who developed experimental technologies that restored limited sight to blind patients. He was the former director of the Division of Artificial Organs at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.
  • The Six Million Dollar Man is an American science fiction and action television series, running from 1973 to 1978, about Colonel Steve Austin, portrayed by Lee Majors. Austin has superhuman strength, speed, and vision due to bionic implants and is employed as a secret agent.
  • The word bionic was coined by Jack E. Steele in 1958, being formed as a portmanteau from biology and electronics. It was popularized by the 1970s television series like The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman.

A Look At Soft Drinks Industry

A Look At Soft Drinks Industry

When the global soft drink market, especially in developed countries is slowing down or contracting, its demand in developing countries like India seems to indicate faster growth. Let’s have a comprehensive look at the global and Indian soft drinks industry.

Crux of the Matter

Global Soft Drinks Industry
In 2019-20, the global revenue from soft drinks was $667.4 bn in 2020 and the US contributed $200.29 bn to it. Moreover, the soft drinks market is expected to grow annually by 6.5% (CAGR) from 2020 to 2025. In relation to the total population, $89.67 per person were generated from soft drinks revenue in 2019-20.

Reasons For Declining Trend

  • Nourishment Based Food – Consumers are focusing on nourishment and nutrient-rich food.
  • Sugar a slow poison – A big impact on purchasing decisions due to awareness among people about the anti-sugar movement.
  • Shift in preference for ‘naturally healthy’ – Consumers preferring natural and organic products for better health. Carbonated beverages are being replaced by Fermented drinks, ready-to-drink teas, and products with natural sweeteners.
  • Business model promoting Sustainability – Consumers making more conscious purchasing decisions keeping in mind a business’ values so as to have a positive impact on the world.
  • Increasing Prices and Tough Competition – Profit margin on carbonate-sugar contained drinks is shrinking.

Experts estimate that non-carbonated drinks are expected to overtake their carbonated rivals.

Soft Drink Market In India
Experts say that the soft drink market in India seems promising and might continue its “robust growth trajectory”. Carbonated beverages account for 51% of PepsiCo’s sales volumes in India. Demand for lemon-based soft drinks is expected to increase rapidly in the Indian market.

The bottled water category is expected to see a robust volume growth with increasing awareness among consumers about water-borne diseases and shortages in drinking water in the urban areas.

Varun Beverages Limited

Covid-19 Impact
Indian Beverage Association’s (IBA) preliminary assessments for full 2020 indicate a contraction of ~34% in the soft drink industry, i.e. of ~₹70,000 crores. Due to lockdown, the industry suffered a loss of ~₹1,200 crore as raw material expired. Recently IBA sent a letter to the Finance ministry to reduce GST on beverages.

Curiopedia
  • Costa Coffee is the second largest coffeehouse chain in the world, and the largest in the UK. Coca-Cola Company acquired Costa Coffee in 2019 for $5.1 billion.
  • Coca-Cola sponsored the 1928 Summer Olympics, and has subsequently remained a sponsor to the current time. Coca-Cola Olympic City was an 8-acre plaza in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, built in concurrence with the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta.
  • Campa Cola is a soft drink brand in India. It was a market leader in the Indian soft drink market in the 1970s and 80s in most regions of India until the advent of the foreign players Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Campa Cola was created by the Pure Drinks Group in the 1970s.

New Beginning And A Brave Ending For Indian Armed Forces

New Beginning And A Brave Ending For Indian Armed Forces

While the iconic aircraft carrier INS Viraat sailed the last time before its dismantling, news of jubilation came from the Indian Navy as it appointed its first female airborne tacticians from warship decks. Let’s have a look at the recent events surrounding Indian Armed Forces.

Crux of the Matter

INS Viraat To Be Dismantled
INS (Indian Naval Ship) Viraat, an Aircraft Carrier ship, arrived on the Alang coast in Bhavnagar district (Gujarat) on 22 September 2020. It would be dismantled “during high tide at 1 PM on September 28” after being decommissioned in 2017 by the Indian Navy, and would be sold as scrap.

INS Viraat belonged to the ‘Centaur-Class aircraft carrier’ category, while having Sea Harriers jet fighters and ‘Anti Submarine aircraft Sea King Mk 42B, Sea King Mk 42 C and Chetak’ helicopters operate from it.

History Of INS Viraat

  • The ship was integrated into the Royal Navy of the UK in 1959 by the name ‘HMS (Her Majesty’s Ship) Hermes‘.
  • It played a vital role in the 1982 Falklands war between the UK and Argentina.
  • It was decommissioned by the UK in 1985, after which India purchased it in 1985-86.
  • The ship was integrated into the Indian Navy in May 1987 as INS Viraat.
  • It played an important role in Operation Jupiter (1989) during the Peacekeeping operation in Sri Lanka.
  • It was deployed in Operation Parakram (2001-02) after terrorist attacks on the Parliament of India.

Indian Armed Forces – Women Make History
Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh were recently selected as ‘Observers’ (Airborne Tacticians) in the “helicopter stream” of the Indian Navy, becoming the first women airborne tacticians in India to operate from warships’ decks. Earlier, women were restricted to ‘fixed-wing aircraft’ that both ascended from and landed on the shore.

Rear Admiral Antony George claimed that women trained for the first time in “helicopter operations” would eventually lead to women being deployed in “frontline warships of Indian Navy”.

Rafale
Indian Air Force (IAF) would be inducting a female pilot (name withheld currently) in the ‘Rafale’ squadron, with the pilot currently operating MiG-21 Bison jets. IAF has been integrating women fighter pilots since 2016.

Curiopedia
  • The motto of INS Vikrant is, Jayema Sam Yudhi Sprdhah, which is taken from Rigveda and can be translated as “I defeat those who fight against me”. The Rigveda is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns.
  • The motto of INS Viraat is, Jalameva Yasya, Balameva Tasya. It translates as, “He who rules over the seas is all powerful”.
  • INS Viraat was originally commissioned by the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes on 18 November 1959, 15 years after she was laid down in June 1944. In April 1986, Hermes was towed from Portsmouth Dockyard to Devonport Dockyard to be refitted, re-activated and sold to India.

Paytm Google Feud: What Counts As Digital Gambling?

Paytm Google Feud: What Counts As Digital Gambling?

Google took down Paytm and Paytm First Games from its Play Store after the former alleged Paytm’s Cricket Fantasy game to be a breach of its gambling policies. The digital payments app accused Google of discrimination by pointing out that its Tez app has a similar strategy for cashback promotions. Let’s dig deeper into the issue.

Crux of the Matter

What Happened?
On 18th September 2020, Google blocked Paytm from its Play Store after the ‘PayTM Cricket League’ was started by the latter in its ‘PayTM First Games’ section. The move came one day before the cricketing league IPL was set to commence.

A policy update ahead of IPL was made by Google, which stated that they will discontinue apps that support any unregulated gambling.

About Paytm Cricket League
In this fantasy cricket gaming model, users would receive virtual stickers of cricket players on making certain transactions. They can then add these players in their virtual team and earn points based on the actual performance of the players. Top 1 lakh performers – based on cumulative points at the end of the tournament – would earn scratch cards that can fetch them rewards up to ₹1 lakh.

If an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes, it is a violation of its policies.

Google

Paytm Restored
Google later restored the app a few hours later after Paytm rolled back the campaign. However, on Sunday, 20th September 2020 Paytm claimed that to get re-listed on the Play store, it was forced to roll back the UPI cashback and scratch card campaign even though it is legal in India. Paytm denies any violation of rules.

Allegations Of Discrimination
Paytm in its blog alleged Google of discrimination and mentioned that Google Pay’s campaign of Tez Shots mentioned “score runs to earn assured rewards up to ₹1 lakh” at the beginning of this cricket season. In Tez Shots games, a user can play multiple times and earn vouchers. Then they are qualified for a lucky draw through which they can get assured tickets for up to ₹1 lakh. They can further earn discounts and reward points on various services through their Google Pay app. Paytm said ‘either these cashback campaigns are not in breach of Play store policies, or, they have a different set of rules for their apps.’

What About Dream11 Then?
There has been a debate around whether Paytm First Games, Dream11, or any other Fantasy Sports game that utilizes a similar reward and cashback strategy on the basis of a real-time cricket match would be considered gambling.

In 2019, a Bombay High Court bench said that Dream11 was “undoubtedly a game of skill and not a game of chance”. Dream11’s app is also not listed on Google Play Store. Mobile Premier League, another sports fantasy contest app, is also not listed on the Play Store.

Google’s Response
In response to the allegations, a spokesperson from Google stated that their policies do not allow any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate betting or support online casinos. If the policy violation is repeated they may take serious actions that may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts. These policies are enforced on all developers.

New Groupings
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of Paytm asked for a formation of a new grouping which will give representation to the domestic tech firms. He added that since established industries such as NASSCOM and IAMAI are dominated by US-tech companies, a new platform will ensure that local tech firms have their voices represented.

Madhur Deora, president of One97 Communications, and owner of Paytm verbalized the issue, “You’ve got a player which regulates India’s digital ecosystem while competing with many companies in the same ecosystem”, and asked the problem to be taken into account.

Founders are coming together and there is a discussion on this topic. We will be talking to the government, lawmakers, and regulators. We would like to amplify the voice of the Indian startup community and our technology companies.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, Paytm

Curiopedia
  • PayPal filed a case against Paytm in the Indian trademark office for using a logo with a similar color combination to its own in 2016. PayPal claimed to be using the logo with the said color combination since 2007.
  • Tez was a mobile payments service by Google, targeted at users in India, later folded into the new Google Pay app in 2018. Within 37 days after being launched, Tez got about 8.5 million installations.
  • Paytm has alleged that telecom companies are not blocking numbers used for phishing activities and sued them for ₹100 crores in damages in the Delhi High Court. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.