The American Dollar

posted by on 2007.11.08, under India, News, Travel

It is a topic for discussion almost every time America come up in conversation out here, and it is something I can’t ignore while scanning my trusted news sources. Most of all, I am feeling the pains of this economic backlash first hand, as the value of the dollar to the rupee is at an all time low. Since my contract with our partners out here is fixed, they too are feeling the pinch, as the agreed price now is worth less than when we negotiated it. Other outsourcing companies that deal with Americans have experienced similar pain points, and have in some cases renegotiated the deals, or outsourced the project themselves to a country where the operations would turn a profit. There is talk about some Indian outsourcing companies setting up office in the US itself, as the operation costs would be cheaper to run there than in India, with the weak dollar.

My thoughts are that is seems like the best time to start a business outside the US, and convert those profits from the local currencies, such as the rupee, back to dollars to get an added boost from the exchange rate. US exports are improving because they are now affordable abroad, and helping to reduce the $800 billion trade deficit. So…how does TheWedLink export to India? (or any foreign country for that matter)

Perhaps there is an opportunity to piggyback on the matrimony sites, such as or These sites alone have arranged over 1.6 million weddings. TheWedLink, (or perhaps TheShaadiLink in this case) would happily help those couples, (who represent more than half of the total number of US wedding couples) make their wedding day spectacular, and share the memories with all their friends and families in the most simple and modern way possible. One thought I had was to employ the Eunuch as a secondary marketing distribution channel to get other families on the website….The Eunuchs as I said before have a network that somehow informs them of every single wedding and child birth in the cities they live in. I might have to work with them on their customer service, and sales approach, as I don’ want the company to be branded along with the negative opinions of this third gender of India, but perhaps it could be an amusing experiment. In all seriousness, we are learning about the Indian wedding industry as quickly as possible, and if the mix of what we can offer matches the demand, I will be happy to let you know when we and if we decide to put our fingers in the air and do the bhangra dance to launch our glocal version of the site here. Ideas are certainly welcomed on this topic

Finally, as the topic of this post related to America and money markets, I heard something interesting which I wanted to share on here. Most of my thoughts recently have been on shifting from the US to India, and the financial implication of doing so, however even with a weak dollar and a struggling economy, there is no shortage of demand for immigrants coming into the US, especially from India. With the recently updated Immigration Policy, they number of Visa holders have been cut in half, and it is damn competitive to get to the US from India. Some of the factors that go under review is having a minimum balance in the bank of 30 lakh rupees. (3 million rupees, or about $76,000). You might be aware that due to high taxation in India, most of the wealth people have is hidden in black money. Those that don’t have 30 lakh’s to show can’t get a visa, and therefore a form of bridge financing was introduced in the banking system. Originating from private investors, who would float the money to show the required balance during the time of immigration, legal banks have started doing this, recognizing it as a profitable business. The customers are willing to pay something like 30,000 rupees for this service, or $760 (1% interest) for this short term loan, to reach the land of dreams. For those who qualify though, the competition has become so high, that there is a lottery system to pick who actually gets a visa, and the $200 dollars spent on a visa application is non refundable. Perhaps these Indians will start making threats like the Chinese to switch to euro’s eventually, or instead stick around and build enterprises here in the motherland. Schools like Indian School of Business (ISB) make a good argument to continue grad school here in India rather than going abroad to study like in the past. I n fact, American schools like Harvard are opening branches here itself in Hyderabad. It will be very interesting to see what happens in the upcoming years with immigration, education, and spending/selling dollars.


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