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OYO Flourishes Its Hospitality Business In China

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India’s largest operating hotel chain OYO Rooms, is now expanding its business in the hospitality industry in China. The company which is owned and operated by Oravel Stays Pvt., Ltd., subsists more than 11,000 rooms across 26 Chinese cities including Hangzhou, Xian, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Xiamen and Kunming. Lately, OYO has been busy investigating new growth opportunities and boom! The expansion of the hotel budget aggregator in one of the fastest developing countries China is one big achievement for the homegrown startup.

The young lad who is the founder and CEO of OYO, Ritesh Agarwal said, after our successful overseas expansion and operations in Malaysia and Nepal, we are thrilled to offer OYO hotels’ hassle free and standardized stay experience to guests in China.

The company has been growing exponentially and it claims around 100,000 rooms in India.  Ritesh added, the expansion is in line with our mission of creating beautiful living spaces by empowering hotel owners to become better hospitality players while ensuring an end to end controlled experience for our guests. Apart from the newest China, OYO’s foreign market presence includes Dubai, Malaysia and Nepal.

Another fascinating news for OYO is that the well known investor SoftBank Group is keen on doubling its investment in the budget hotel aggregator. SoftBank has been part of four funding rounds worth $ 512 million in OYO, since August 2015. Recently, the Chairman and Chief Executive, Masayoshi Son of SoftBank, called OYO Hotels a ‘next generation hotel company using the internet service’. Mr. Son also revealed his plans to support OYO Hotels in its foray into China through a joint venture.

OYO was founded in the year 2013 by Ritesh Agarwal who was a teenager then. He also happens to be a Thiel Fellow who got the idea for the business after a not so satisfying experience of staying in budget hotels in India. The hotel budget aggregator provides various convenient services to the customers that include bringing the long tail of small hotels online to generate bookings by ensuring minimum standards for travellers such as hot water, clean towels, linen and internet services.

The company would soon enter the unicorn club when it would raise fundings in the next round of capital. A unicorn startup is valued at $ 1 billion or more! At present, OYO is valued at around $ 260 million. 

With its latest diversification, OYO is definitely aiming high!

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Supreme Court Puts End to Misleading Celebrity Endorsements 

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Supreme Court Of India

The Supreme Court of India has taken a strong stance against misleading advertisements featuring public figures, emphasizing their responsibility in promoting products. This decision comes in response to concerns about the influence celebrities and public figures hold over consumer choices.

 

The Heart of the Matter:

 

The court’s ruling highlights two key points:

 

  1. Shared Responsibility: Advertisers, advertising agencies, and the public figures endorsing products are all equally liable for issuing misleading advertisements. This means that celebrities can no longer simply lend their face to a product without due diligence. They are expected to have a good understanding of the product and its claims before endorsing it.

 

  1. Self-Declaration:  The court mandated a stricter protocol requiring advertisers to obtain a self-declaration from endorsers. This declaration, similar to the Cable Television Networks Rules (1994), ensures that the advertised product complies with existing laws and avoids offensive content.

 

Why it Matters:

 

Celebrity endorsements hold immense power in influencing consumer behavior. Consumers often trust the judgment of their favorite actors, athletes, or social media personalities. This trust can be exploited by promoting products with exaggerated claims or those lacking scientific backing. 

 

The Case that Triggered the Ruling:

 

The court’s decision stemmed from a case involving Patanjali Ayurved Ltd., a popular Indian consumer goods company, and yoga guru Ramdev. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) filed a plea against the company and Ramdev, accusing them of misleading advertisements and a smear campaign against COVID-19 vaccinations and modern medicine.

 

The Road Ahead:

 

This ruling is a significant step toward protecting consumers from deceptive marketing practices.  It encourages celebrities and public figures to be more selective and responsible about the products they endorse. Additionally, the court urged government bodies to implement procedures for consumers to easily report misleading advertisements. 

 

This move by the Supreme Court is likely to have a ripple effect across the advertising industry in India.  It will force companies to be more transparent and hold celebrities accountable for promoting products they don’t fully understand or that make unsubstantiated claims. 

 

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Mercedes Hits the Brakes on EVs: Profit Woes Lead to Focus on Gas-Powered Cars

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StartupStories - Mercedes

Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz is experiencing a shift in gears, prioritizing gasoline-powered vehicles over its previously ambitious electric vehicle (EV) strategy. This comes after disappointing sales figures and shrinking profit margins for their electric offerings.

The Dream Runs out of Charge:

Mercedes, a leader in the luxury car market, had set a goal to be fully electric by 2030. However, sluggish sales of their electric vehicles, particularly the high-end EQS and EQE sedans, have forced a recalibration of their plans. The company’s profit margin dipped to a concerning 9% in the first quarter of 2024, falling below their long-term target range.

Why the Slow Charge?

Several factors are contributing to the lackluster performance of Mercedes’ EVs:

  •  Price Point Pinch: The high price tag of Mercedes’ electric cars, ranging from $70,000 to $120,000, limits their appeal compared to more affordable electric options. 
  •  Competition Heats Up: Other luxury carmakers like Tesla and BMW are offering strong competition, with some even surpassing Mercedes in EV sales growth. 
  •  Infrastructure Concerns: Gaps in charging infrastructure and anxieties about range remain significant deterrents for potential EV buyers.

Back to the Drawing Board:

In response to these challenges, Mercedes CEO Ola Källenius announced a revised strategy. The company will:

  •  Extend Focus on Combustion Engines:  Production of gasoline-powered and hybrid vehicles will continue well into the 2030s, catering to customer demand.
  •  Rethink EV Strategy: Mercedes will analyze consumer preferences and market trends to refine their electric car offerings. This may involve focusing on more affordable models or improving features to enhance range and charging efficiency.

The Road Ahead

The shift by Mercedes highlights the complexities of the automotive industry’s transition to electric vehicles. It underscores the need for car manufacturers to balance ambitious environmental goals with the realities of consumer behavior and market competition.

Is this a Permanent Pause?

While Mercedes is putting the brakes on its all-electric vision, it doesn’t necessarily signal a complete retreat from EVs. The company may leverage this time to strengthen its electric offerings and ensure they are competitive in the rapidly evolving market. Only time will tell if Mercedes can reclaim its position as a leader in the electric vehicle race.

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Reddit Soars After Strong Earnings and Upbeat Outlook

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Reddit, the social media platform known for its online communities and meme culture, saw its stock price jump significantly after releasing its first earnings report since going public in March. Investors were impressed by the company’s strong financial performance and optimistic forecasts for the future.

The report highlighted a surge in user engagement, with daily active users increasing by 37% to 82.7 million in the first quarter. This growth was accompanied by an 8% rise in average revenue per user, indicating Reddit’s success in monetizing its platform. 

Perhaps the most significant factor driving the stock price increase was Reddit’s forecast for the second quarter. The company projected revenue to fall between $240 million and $255 million, exceeding analyst expectations. Additionally, Reddit anticipates achieving break-even status or even generating a profit, surpassing predictions of a loss.

This positive outlook can be attributed in part to Reddit’s flourishing advertising business. The company is also capitalizing on a new revenue stream: content licensing deals with artificial intelligence (AI) firms. Reddit’s vast collection of user-generated content provides valuable data for training AI models, attracting companies like Google.

Analysts believe Reddit is still in its early stages of monetization and predict continued growth in the coming quarters, fueled by advancements in ad targeting and measurement tools. This optimism is reflected in the stock price surge, which has climbed roughly 70% since Reddit’s IPO.

Overall, Reddit’s first earnings report paints a bright picture for the company’s future. With a thriving user base, increasing revenue opportunities, and a promising outlook, Reddit appears well-positioned for continued success in the ever-evolving social media landscape.

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