India's venture into olive-growing,frontiers funds, and the rise of sportswear brand Li Ning.
Although most EU citizens are free to move and work in other member states, large numbers choose not to. Lithuanians are the most mobile (3.1 per cent). Italians and Finns clearly prefer to stay home (0.2 per cent). Higher wages are cited as the main reason to move (46 per cent).
Government-backed olive groves are springing up in Rajasthan, with an initial test of 100,000 saplings. As part of the joint venture, the government provides land and capital, a Pune firm supplies funds, and an Israeli agro-business, Indolive, is offering its technical guidance.
Rajasthan, a region that is predominantly desert, was chosen because of its climatic similarities to Israel, as well as its similar cultivation problems caused by poor soil and a lack of rain. So a drip irrigation approach – which has been successful in Israel – is being used.
Early signs of success have led the Indian states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to push for their own olive cultivation projects. With the edible olive oil market in India predicted to grow nearly 150 per cent by 2010, according to the Indian Olive Association, the market looks ripe.
India: where the rupees go
01 Indians bought 1.5 million cars in 2007. India is predicted to overtake China this year to become the world’s fastest-growing car market.
02 India is making more and more of its own wine and the market grew by almost 18 per cent in 2007.
03 Indians eat on average 2,440 calories per capita per day compared to Americans, who eat 3,770.
04 Indian meat consumption is forecast to increased by 5 per cent during 2009. It is currently at 5.5kg a year per person.
play the market
Unlikely ways to get rich
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. With Wall Street’s oldest financial companies being consigned to the history books, it is tempting for investors to stuff cash under their mattresses. But some unlikely stock markets are finding favour with fund managers. So-called “frontier markets” are so underdeveloped that their stocks and currencies seem divorced from the financial turmoil in the West. Kenya, Tunisia, and Nigeria have been in vogue with managers of frontier funds.
In eastern Europe, Bulgaria and Romania are also good bets. These countries have emerging middle classes and the advantage that they are growing from such a low base that almost the only way is up.
It might be the last place on earth you’d consider investing in, but the Palestinian Securities Exchange (PSE), located in the West Bank city of Nablus, appears to be one of the best performers of 2008. Forget about the sub-prime crisis or the global recession – the Al-Quds index has risen 25 per cent since the beginning of 2008, and 48 per cent in the past 12 months. With an average daily trading volume of nearly €1.4m, and a total of 37 companies traded – of which all but one are Palestinian – PSE is now recovering from two terrible years caused by political unrest and the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip. Director of public relations for PSE in Ramallah Sufyan Barghouti says he’s optimistic, “because in the last couple of months we have seen Arab institutional players investing in our stock market. The Gulf market and the Egyptian market are all going down, so we are a good alternative.” At an investment conference in London this December, PSE hopes to attract European institutional investors as well.
Li Ning, China’s top sportswear maker, scored a marketing coup when its chairman Li Ning – a former gymnast – lit the Olympic torch in Beijing, despite the fact that Adidas was an official sponsor. As the Games were ending Li Ning reported that profits were up 59 per cent during January to June this year, to €148m. Revenues are booming thanks to the brand’s 6,393 stores across China.
With its V-shaped logo – oddly reminiscent of the Nike swoosh – the company is now in brand-building overdrive. It taps Hong Kong for designers and in March called on Michelin to craft branded soles. If all goes to plan, Li Ning, founded in 1990, expects to rival Adidas and Nike by 2018. Might it sponsor the 2012 Olympics? As its tagline says: “anything is possible”.