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Xiaomi trumps Samsung as top dog of India‘s smartphone market in Q4

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(FinancialPress) — India‘s sizzling smartphone market has a new king of the hill – the world‘s biggest maker for the devices, Samsung (SSNLF), has been dethroned.

New industry figures released this week reveal that China‘s Xiaomi has usurped the throne.

Enjoying a 25% share of the Indian smartphone market in Q4 2017, Counterpoint Research indicates that Xiaomi has beaten out Samsung‘s 23% share in the same domain. A different research firm has the two brands at 27% and 25%, respectively.

South Korean-based Samsung has been a dominant force in India‘s market for over half a decade. However, since Xiaomi initiated operations in the country back in 2014, it started gaining ground soundly and steadily. Combined, the two companies accounted for over 40% of the total volume of smartphones sold in the country. The total tally was 132 million units sold over the year.

Only China is a bigger smartphone market than India globally – with the U.S. standing in third place. It‘s also the major market that‘s experiencing the fastest growth –  with about 900 million citizens not having experienced the Internet just yet. Many of them will do so for the first time on a mobile device.

The same analysts point the low-cost units that Xiaomi offers as a reason for their success – a major factor in a country where a lot of people still earn less than $2,000/year.

“Samsung’s loss comes from its inability to transform its low-cost product portfolio,” said Rushabh Doshi, an analyst at Canalys. “It has been unable to win over cost-conscious consumers.”

He added that Xiaomi‘s been chipping away at bigger companies‘ market share with phones that cost as low as $240.

Xiaomi‘s sales on Indian soil exploded an astounding 259% over 2017. Through the entire year, however, Samsung still sold more – 24% of total sales vs. Xiaomi‘s 19%.

Despite the latest results, analysts do not expect Samsung to just give way for a new king.

“The power struggle between Xiaomi and Samsung will continue well into 2018,” said Canalys‘ Doshi.

Ruben is a South American writer who focuses on the state of the cryptocurrency, cannabis and tech industries worldwide.

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Cannabis

Nationwide US cannabis legalization lawsuit movement scores an L

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(FinancialPress) — The first legal battle held by the lawsuit levvied against the federal government, launched by cannabis legalization advocates, finds the plaintiffs on the losing side.
Judge Alvin Hellerstein, who officiates for the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, ruled that the plantiffs “failed to exhaust all administrative remedies“ to settle their request, and therefore granted the motion to dismiss filed by the U.S. Justice Department.
The suit argues for the unconstitutionality of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, and requested that marijuana be reclassified from the schedule of controlled narcotics.
Had the suit been successful, marijuana would have been immediately legalized country-wide.

The ruling will be appealed by the plaintiffs – a group that includes a young epileptic girl and former NFL players.

Hellerstein‘s ruling read as follows:

“Although plaintiffs couch their claim in constitutional language, they seek the same relief as would be available in an administrative forum – a change in marijuana’s scheduling classification – based on the same factors that guide the (Drug Enforcement Administration’s) reclassification determination.”

The judge emphasized the fact that the ruling was an administrative measure, and should not be taken as support towards the notion of that marijuana should remain classified a Schedule I drug:

“This decision should not be understood as a factual finding that marijuana lacks any medical use … the authority to make that determination is vested in the administrative process,” he wrote.

He also denied the plaintiffs‘ claim of that using marijuana is a fundamental right of theirs.

“No such fundamental right exists,” he wrote.

“Every court to consider the specific, carefully framed right at issue here has held that there is no substantive due process right to use medical marijuana.”

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Alibaba bets big on Olympics for household recognition

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(FinancialPress) — The biggest e-commerce portal in China is making a strong investment as an Olympic sponsor for the Pyeongchang Olympic games. The imposing pavilion the company put up at the event is in line with the ones erected by giants Coca-Cola, McDonald‘s and Samsung.

With this, Alibaba (BABA) likely hopes that some of the 3 other giants‘ global recognition rubs off on it.

The Jack Ma-founded company made waves with its 2014 New York Stock Exchange IPO – the largest recorded in history. The eccentric frontman is a regular at major international events, and just last year was part of a photo op with US President Donald Trump.

However, despite its massive success in Asia, its  “brand awareness outside China is not commensurate with its size,” according to National University of Singapore marketing professor Junhong Chu. Alibaba‘s market value is larger than Walmart‘s, and the company looks to change that with the Olympic sponsorship.

The requirements of the contract are extensive – minimum commitment of 4 years, and hundreds of millions in investment. While the exact numbers are not required to be made public, a report states that BABA‘s estimated investment will border $800 milion for the duration of the deal, which ends in 2028. This puts the company shoulder-and-shoulder with name giants such as Toyota, GE and Visa.

Alibaba steps in at a critical time – as longtime main sponsor McDonald‘s announced it will end its deal with the Olympics 3 years early. Not only does the new partnership bridge that financial hole, but a spokesperson for the Asian giant also stated that it comes “at a very critical time,” and that it will use its technology to help make the Olympics “more efficient, secure and engaging,”

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Ethereum founder warns about cryptocurrencies as bitcoin breaks $11,000 again

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(FinancialPress)  —  Bitcoin’s rebound continued on Monday as it recovered from the depths reached on February 6th, by closing at $11,000 – a massive recovery from the below-$6000 value it had reached at its lowest of 2018. Even so, Ethereum’s founder took the time to warn her that cryptocurrencies still “could drop to near-zero.”

At the time of this publication, Bitcoin sits steady at over $11,505 on Coindesk. Bitcoin returned to over $10,000 of value last Thursday. Factors to be considered for the rise are the fact that Bitcoin Investment Trust had a strong surge last week – as it grew in unison with Bitcoin and other recovering cryptos. Meanwhile, a CNBC investigation caused Riot Blockchain to lose considerable value.

After an all-time high of $20,000, Bitcoin drastically stumbled in December after regulators from major financial hubs, such as China and South Korea, began cracking down on the cryptocurrency market. Fast forward to today, and the latter is also a leading factor for the continuing rise in the digital currency‘s value, as enthusiastic trading occurs in the Asian country. The recovery began on February 6 after a Senate hearing in the US in which regulators warned about the cryptocurrency market, but did not signal that they would be aggressively pursuing regulation or restricting trading in any way.

The re-surge is condimented with comments from top cryptocurrency Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, who said in a tweet that cryptocurrencies as a whole are a “new and hyper-volatile asset class“.

Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin all closed with gains Monday.

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