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Episode #499: Kevin Carter, EMQQ World – India is Occurring NOW – Meb Faber Analysis



Episode #499: Kevin Carter, EMQQ World – India is Occurring NOW

Visitor: Kevin Carter is the Founder & Chief Funding Officer of EMQQ World. Whereas he principally considers himself an lively “worth” investor, he has collaborated with Princeton economist and indexing legend, Dr. Burton G. Malkiel, for greater than 20 years.

Date Recorded: 8/30/2023     |     Run-Time: 55:41


Abstract: In at present’s episode, Kevin kilos the desk for India’s tech sector. He covers the demographic developments, The India Stack, the distinction from China 15 years in the past and the present valuations. He additionally explains why environmental dangers are one thing to control in India.

Hearken to Kevin’s Kevin’s first look on the podcast.


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Hyperlinks from the Episode:

  • 1:13 – Welcome again Kevin to the present; Episode #187: Kevin Carter,
  • 1:35 – Classes discovered from playing
  • 4:18 – Rising markets and points with the MSCI index
  • 13:52 – The demographic shifts fueling India’s booming digital economic system INQQ ETF
  • 18:01 – India’s tech stack
  • 22:17 – API-driven digital infrastructure for a paperless, cashless, and presence-less society; India Stack; UPI; GEO; ONDC;
  • 33:00 – India’s digital platform sparks each optimism & privateness issues
  • 37:32 – Rising markets funding alternatives and challenges
  • 44:15 – World CAPE ratios from Barclays
  • 45:03 – Reflecting on experiences in South Asia
  • 49:16 – Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts; The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga;
  • 49:39 – India’s potential dangers
  • Be taught extra about Kevin: EMQQ World; LinkedIn

 

Transcript:

Welcome Message:

Welcome to The Meb Faber Present, the place the main focus is on serving to you develop and protect your wealth. Be part of us as we talk about the craft of investing and uncover new and worthwhile concepts, all that can assist you develop wealthier and wiser. Higher investing begins right here.

Disclaimer:

Meb Faber is the Co-Founder and Chief Funding Officer at Cambria Funding Administration. On account of business rules, he won’t talk about any of Cambria’s funds on this podcast. All opinions expressed by podcast members are solely their very own opinions and don’t replicate the opinion of Cambria Funding Administration or its associates. For extra data, go to cambriainvestments.com.

Meb:

What’s up, everyone? We acquired a brilliant enjoyable present at present. We’re crossing some borders with our returning visitor, Kevin Carter, Founder and CIO of EMQQ World. In at present’s episode, Kevin kilos the desk for India’s tech sector. He covers the demographic developments, the India tech stack, comparisons to China 15 years in the past within the present Indian inventory valuations. He additionally explains why environmental dangers are one thing to control in India. Take a look at the hyperlink within the present notes for Kevin’s first look on the present, which is a good pay attention earlier than this episode. Please take pleasure in this episode with Kevin Carter.

Kevin, my good friend. Welcome again to the present.

Kevin:

Thanks, Meb. Good to be again.

Meb:

The place do we discover you at present?

Kevin:

I’m in Lafayette, California, 15 miles east of San Francisco.

Meb:

One among our mutual favourite locations on the planet, Lake Tahoe. When’s your subsequent journey up there, man?

Kevin:

I’ll be going up this weekend.

Meb:

Final time we talked to you and, listeners, I’d really extremely advocate to take heed to the primary episode with Kevin as a result of we go into his background, which is fairly attention-grabbing. We discuss quite a bit about China and it’s a reasonably good half one to this episode. So we’ll put it within the present notice hyperlinks, possibly we’ll publish it within the feed once more simply to have each there. We’re going to hit on a distinct subject at present, however within the meantime, we had one among your companions and mentors over the 12 months on the podcast, Burton Malkiel, who listeners will definitely know that identify. We had been joking as a result of we mentioned, “Burton, give us just a little one thing to ask Kevin on the present,” and he says, “Do you know once we had been touring across the rising markets, Kevin’s a little bit of a card participant.” So I all the time say, what does that imply? Is that Bridge, Blackjack? Are you a craps gambler? What’s the story? You simply doing your individual due diligence in Macau?

Kevin:

That’s humorous. I’ve been to Macau. It’s laborious to discover a Blackjack desk at Macau and Blackjack’s the sport I prefer to play, however Burton and I, Burton likes Blackjack and he performs by the foundations. He’s acquired his guidelines. I don’t know when you requested him for his guidelines, however he’ll give him to you. I can’t keep in mind what they’re precisely. I don’t play by these guidelines. I play just a little bit extra by intestine with some math as properly, however sure, we’re in Australia collectively for some shows about China and we performed on the Star On line casino in Sydney is the place Burton taught me his guidelines of Blackjack. I believe we each walked out with the identical amount of cash, however mine was just a little bit extra unstable.

Meb:

I believe each younger particular person goes by way of a second in time the place there’s this attraction to this idea of the Martin Gale, and really rapidly you study quite a bit about guess sizing as a gambler, whereby, listeners, when you don’t know the Martin Gale, it’s primarily you double down each time you lose. Theoretically, you probably have an infinite bankroll, you’ll by no means lose as a result of ultimately you’ll win. The issue comes, you study a really fast lesson and the facility of exponentials as a result of in a short time when you lose 5 10 in a row, the guess measurement will get greater than any bankroll anybody will ever have, however assume that’s a enjoyable lesson. Playing, so long as you don’t go broke and even then it may be a great lesson. There’s so many good classes in occupied with place sizing and how you can play and odds.

Kevin:

That’s proper. Much like brief promoting, the place you may have 100% upside and limitless draw back and your guess will get larger because it goes, not like a protracted place which will get smaller, it will get larger.

Meb:

One among my all-time early favourite podcast company was the godfather of Blackjack card counting, Ed Thorpe. Additionally the most effective performing hedge fund managers of all time, who the unique beat the seller and beat the market books. Listeners, you possibly can go discover an previous copy. They’re definitely classics. Effectively, let’s speak about rising markets. Like many cycles, this cycle feels, like within the inventory markets, they’re persevering with to emerge. I believe as a proportion of world market cap, we’re within the low teenagers, however once I talked to advisors over the previous variety of years, and Goldman has give you some stats on this, I believe the typical allocation sits down round 2% or 3% as a proportion of their inventory portfolio. So huge underweight. Discuss to me just a little bit about the way you see them broadly after which we’ll begin to dial in additional particularly to 1 nation specifically.

Kevin:

I inform individuals there’s actually two issues to find out about investing within the rising markets. The primary is that the factor that’s rising are the individuals. You’ve acquired six and a half billion individuals and so they’re transferring up. They’re rising and so they need stuff. They need extra and higher meals, extra and higher clothes. They need home equipment. They wish to go to films and take holidays and so they desire a automobile, and so they need their children to go to Harvard, and that’s crucial factor, and that’s a really lengthy one-directional secular pattern that has been very well-documented. So when you’re investing in rising markets, it’s my perception that that’s what you ought to be making an attempt to seize.

The second factor about rising markets is that there’s an enormous downside, and the issue is the index itself. The MSCI index, which we use to trace the efficiency of rising markets, has loads of issues. The primary and largest downside, which I encountered my first 5 minutes into being a part of rising markets 18 years in the past, is that the rising markets have loads of these government-owned banks and oil firm, these state-owned enterprises which can be inefficient, they’ve conflicts of curiosity with you as an investor, and the governance isn’t excellent, and the corruption is in every single place.

So what you discover, and I acquired pulled into China 18 years in the past, because of Burton, the very first thing I did was I requested for an inventory of all the businesses within the China ETF as a result of we had these buyers that had been all in favour of investing in China after listening to Burton speak about China. I assumed we’d use the ETF that iShares had. There was just one China ETF again then. It was the FXI, however since I’m an Omaha particular person, I wished to see what had been the businesses. I don’t care in regards to the identify of the ETF, I wish to know what are the companies we’re going to personal.

So I requested for that checklist and that’s when Burton pulled me apart and defined to me that 80% of the index was government-owned banks and oil corporations and the way the government-owned banks would make loans to corporations that had been already bankrupt, mainly, to maintain the workers paid. In order that’s an enormous downside and I don’t have an answer for it. A variety of buyers have given up on rising markets and so they have very small allocations as a result of they’ve had loads of promise for a very long time, however nobody’s actually acquired any actual return from investing there.

In reality, I believe the 12 or 13 12 months return is about 25%. I do know that for the ten years ended with 2022, the earnings progress was unfavorable. So in Omaha, investing is de facto easy. The rationale companies have worth is as a result of they make income for the house owners. The one technique to make the worth go up is to make the income go up, and that hasn’t occurred within the conventional indexes, that are, once more, filled with banks and oil corporations and mineral corporations which can be state-owned and probably not for-profit in a standard sense.

Meb:

We spend loads of time most likely manner an excessive amount of for this to be wholesome and helpful to our obtain statistics, however we spend loads of time speaking about market cap investing and the way it’s an attention-grabbing and good first step, and it enabled some issues within the ’70s, however so far as an investing methodology can develop into fairly suboptimal given some circumstances, notably occasions when issues go completely bananas.

The attention-grabbing half that I really feel like is among the largest dislocations for me when speaking about rising markets as a result of I really like my polls on Twitter, and we’ll ask individuals what proportion of world GDP is rising markets, and virtually everybody says zero to twenty%, 20% to 40%. We each know that that’s completely flawed. Rising markets find yourself being most of world GDP, which surprises so many individuals. Then trying on all the assorted statistics, like once we had been speaking about Macau earlier and also you Google Macau On line casino annual income and Vegas annual income, in a short time individuals could be shocked that Macau is multiples of Las Vegas already. So simply the size of rising markets is de facto staggering, notably for most individuals who’ve by no means finished any touring, which is, in fact, many, if not most.

So that you and I sat all the way down to dinner and looking back, we most likely ought to have gone to an Indian restaurant. There’s some good ones round right here versus the one we went to, which was good, however you had been very excited and animated, which is your pure state, however give me the lead in. What was the preliminary attractant to what you see as a fairly large alternative right here?

Kevin:

Effectively, 9 years in the past, first recognized was the truth that all of these billions of customers in rising markets we’re going to get their first ever laptop in type of an Android-based smartphone, and that after they’d these pocket-sized supercomputers, they had been going to get on the web, and that as a result of they didn’t have financial institution accounts and so they didn’t have vehicles and there was no goal shops, that they’d leapfrog and develop into digital customers, and since we’ve had such an evolutionary expertise with data and with know-how, we don’t understand that not everyone else on this planet has traveled that path as we’ve got.

So impulsively, what I used to be seeing was that every one of those billions of customers had been logging on and getting their first checking account, however it wasn’t a standard checking account. It was a smartphone-based place to maintain your cash and make funds. Once more, I first noticed that in China. That began taking place in China. As it’s possible you’ll know, I launched plenty of China ETFs with Guggenheim, however we launched a China know-how ETF, CQQQ, most likely 13 years in the past to seize that story, the web client.

Then I noticed that it was evolving and it wasn’t simply China, it was Mercado Libre, which went public out of South America. That was the amazon.com of Brazil and Mexico. Now, what we see is that since this story began in China, China’s e-commerce market, it’s the biggest on this planet by far. So China is an rising market in a standard sense, however when it comes to the digitization story and e-commerce, China’s probably the most developed nation on this planet by far.

So what we began to see was that whereas there’s the opposite 45 rising markets, they’re mainly the place China was 15 years in the past. So if you concentrate on customers and the web and private computer systems, that mainly began in the USA within the 12 months 2000. When may you actually have a pc at your home, get on the web and do some enterprise on the web? That mainly began within the 12 months 2000, and we noticed this 15-year S-curve because the FANG shares took over our lives and our inventory market.

The China wave, the second wave was mainly proper behind us, 2005 to 2020, Alibaba and Tencent main the way in which, and now what’s coming is the third wave, and that is the opposite 5 and a half billion individuals that aren’t in China, and India is the largest a part of the story and South Asia, when you embrace Pakistan and Bangladesh to the west and east, that is virtually two billion individuals and about 850 million Gen Z. So that is probably the most fertile floor for this story going ahead.

India stands alone in my thoughts proper no longer solely as the largest alternative in rising markets, however possibly the perfect alternative in rising markets when it comes to a single nation that we’ve seen, and it’s due to plenty of causes which have simply lined up and so they’re lined up at a time when now you can get a $12 smartphone model new in India. Once I noticed you for dinner just a few months in the past, I’d let you know you might get a $50 smartphone model new in India. That is an Android-based smartphone, however simply seven weeks in the past, Reliance Jio launched a $12 smartphone, a $12 supercomputer. So whereas China once they acquired on-line, they had been on PCs and so they, like us, migrated onto the smartphone, properly, these individuals are skipping the PC altogether and the India story is simply extremely compelling.

Meb:

Let’s dig in. So you may have the apparent demographic. I really feel like most buyers can admire that. You simply talked about there’s multiples extra Gen Z than there are People in complete, simply the size of the quantity of individuals, the density. I’ve by no means been to India. I actually wish to go, so you possibly can assist be my tour information, however inform me just a little bit about what the macro image. Stroll down what took you from, “Okay. That is curious and attention-grabbing,” to, “Okay. That is really actually attention-grabbing.”

Kevin:

Meb, three years in the past, we solely had one half of 1% of EMQQ inside India, and we solely had three publicly traded corporations, however what I noticed was that there was dozens of unicorns that had been lined as much as IPO. So I’d initially deliberate to go to India within the spring of 2020, however then the COVID got here and I used to be unable to go, however the IPOs occurred. There have been 23 Indian web IPOs within the first 18 months of the COVID, however all of them went public in India, in order that they didn’t get a lot protection right here. What was given me unimaginable quantity of conviction is the final 9 months. I’ve mainly devoted all the final 9 months to a deep, deep dive into all issues India, together with the web alternative there, the digital alternative that we’ve got tapped into. As , we launched INQQ, the India-only product final 12 months as quickly as there was sufficient corporations. So as soon as there was over 20 corporations sufficient to make a diversified portfolio is once we registered and launched.

So the story for India, which, by the way in which, this isn’t a secret. Virtually each main funding agency has some report outlining the bullish a part of the India story, however there’s mainly eight bullet factors. First, it’s now the biggest nation on this planet. It handed China in April in response to World Financial institution, so 1.4 billion individuals in India. When you have a look at the chart because it goes out, it’s going to get larger and larger than China as a result of it’s younger. It has the youngest economic system, a serious economic system. They’re about 11 and a half years youthful on common than China. So that you’ve acquired 600 million individuals which can be simply moving into their early a part of their prime. You’ve got the quickest rising main economic system. Most of that progress is coming in a swelling center class that may the truth is cross China and have extra consumption inside a decade by most estimates, and also you’ve acquired the quickest rising e-commerce market. India’s rising just a bit sooner than Brazil, about 28% a 12 months.

Lastly, and that is the half that I didn’t admire fully till not too long ago, India has a authorities that’s a democracy, which lots of people favor, and it’s a democracy that’s led by a authorities that has mainly gone all in on digitization. Modi, who’s been the chief for the final decade, his complete platform is Digital India. So I knew that they’d finished plenty of initiatives to assist the digitization of the nation, however I had no thought how well-developed these methods and this digital public infrastructure had develop into, which is an summary factor, which I hope we go into intimately. So you may have all these basic items, huge, younger, simply the guidelines, and it’s laborious to, with phrases or photos or numbers, to clarify the size of this chance, the sheer variety of people, the density.

Meb:

Effectively, you may have an precise fairly good chart and among the stats we’ve talked about earlier I believe hit house, however you may have a great chart that we’ll put within the present notes on Bangladesh, however you mentioned the dimensions of Bangladesh after which if half of the US moved to Illinois is the inhabitants of Bangladesh, which simply places it in perspective, the density.

Kevin:

No, it’s staggering. There’s 170 million individuals and it’s the dimensions of Illinois. Additionally, a 3rd of its all the time flooded. So it’s mainly two-thirds the dimensions of Illinois. You’d must take the third by way of ninth largest international locations and mix them to get to the dimensions of India. It’s very, very younger, it’s very dense, and it’s fairly chaotic. Not like China, which is homogenous, 95% Han Chinese language, India has acquired 1600 totally different languages and 24 of them the federal government publishes each doc in. So there’s 1,580 languages that aren’t even acknowledged formally. So it’s extremely numerous and it’s very dense.

The opposite factor that India has going ahead now is also infrastructure. Once I acquired concerned with China 18 years in the past, it was mainly tied with India. It was just a little bit forward of India when it comes to its GDP per capita, however not very far, however what you might see was China had begun this large infrastructure funding to construct the world’s finest infrastructure, high-speed rail, airports, highways, high-speed trains, and seaports to load up the manufactured merchandise and get them on a ship.

Whereas they had been doing this, India was mired in forms and mainly sat on its palms and didn’t actually spend money on its infrastructure, and China blasted forward and mainly quadrupled the dimensions of their economic system. Plus in that interval, properly, India didn’t actually get transferring and the forms that the British left India or I believe largely guilty.

Effectively, proper now, Modi is the chief of India, and he’s been the chief for the final 10 years. So he’s ending up his second five-year time period. He’ll virtually definitely get one other five-year time period once they vote subsequent 12 months and a fourth time period if he needs it. There’s no time period limits. He’s beloved. He’s acquired an 80% approval score. Not everybody likes him, however the overwhelming majority do, and he has acquired the federal government organized and environment friendly and really business-like, and that features the infrastructure investments. So all the infrastructure numbers have exploded underneath Modi within the final 10 years. They’re presently in the course of a trillion and a half greenback complete infrastructure plan that includes modernizing the beautiful in depth rail community they’ve, electrifying it, including lots of of recent stations, modernizing the stations. They’re constructing their very own high-speed trains now. They’ll ship 400 of these trains within the subsequent a number of years connecting the cities, clearly, with the excessive pace rail.

The Indian air journey market’s going to blow up. That’s one of many early luxurious spends of individuals as they transfer up the buyer ladder, they wish to go see the websites of their very own nation. So the home air journey market will explode in India. It’s already exploding. The airports are going to triple by the top of 2025. So all components of the infrastructure now are catching up. Again 17, 18 years in the past, they’d issues with the facility grid to the factories and so they had brownouts and so forth. They fastened most of that and so they’re making huge investments.

Now, loads of this has to do with this China plus one technique, looking for different provide chains and different suppliers so everybody’s not completely depending on China, and that’s most likely a sensible factor to wish to do anyhow, however the actuality is China’s acquired the perfect infrastructure and so they’re in a position to make the perfect merchandise, get them on a ship higher than anyone, and it’s the port capability that’s going to be a bottleneck as a result of China’s port capability is 10 occasions India’s, and it apparently takes a very long time to construct a port.

So that you’ll see manufacturing jobs go to India. Apple’s going to make 1 / 4 of their iPhones, the newest iPhones, by the top of 2025 by estimates. So the infrastructure is lastly there and so they’re actually taking it significantly and it exhibits, and it does appear and feel like Shanghai and China did once I first went there 17 years in the past.

Now, right here’s the third a part of this setup that India has, and that is the half that I alluded to earlier that’s it’s distinctive on this planet, no different nation developed or rising has this, and it’s what they name the digital public infrastructure or the India Stack. Many of the elements of this digital public infrastructure whereas summary to me, I knew what they had been, however I didn’t fairly admire how they’d developed and developed. It began in 2009 when the Indian authorities had determined it was lastly time to create a nationwide id card so that everyone within the nation would have a singular 12-digit quantity on a card given formally from the federal government as a result of one of many issues they had been having with growing was that no one had identification. Only a few individuals had driver’s licenses or passports or any type of official authorities identification. As you possibly can think about, it’s laborious to develop your economic system the place no one can show who they’re.

They requested the chairman of Infosys, Nandan Nilekani, if he could be in cost. Mr. Nilekani mentioned, “Look, I’ll be in control of this, but when we’re going to do that, I’m going to make use of loads of know-how as a result of,” as he mentioned, “I didn’t see as a lot know-how as I’d’ve anticipated once I helped the individuals in Bangalore, and now if I’m going to do that, we’re not solely going to make use of the perfect know-how of at present, however we’re going to look to the long run, and never solely will we give everyone a card, everyone may even have their 12-digit quantity linked to their eyeball scan and fingerprints.” So each quantity has a human being tied to it, biometric information.

Now, once they launched it in 2010, it was completely voluntary. You didn’t have to enroll. So I knew about this program. I had the emblem in my presentation. It’s the nationwide id quantity. That’s going to be good for the economic system, however I didn’t fairly observe its improvement. Then about three years later, they put one other layer onto the stack. So the Basis Aadhaar, then they put a KYC, know your buyer, layer on prime. With this program, they began initiatives in order that you might go into any financial institution. When you had been within the Aadhaar system, you might stroll right into a financial institution and open a checking account in three minutes with no paperwork simply by placing your fingers on a pad and searching into the digicam.

In 2016, they launched this different initiative, the Unified Funds Interface or UPI. Once more, this acquired loads of protection. It was a part of Digital India. I put the emblem in my presentation about India, however I didn’t actually observe the event, however the headline of the UPI was that it might enable instantaneous, fully free switch of cash from any particular person to every other particular person or enterprise, no delay, no friction. I may ship you $10, you might ship it again to me. We may do it 20,000 occasions, it might nonetheless be $10.

So I mentioned, “Okay.” Effectively, however to be completely sincere, the principle factor I felt about that program was a priority as a result of one among our corporations that we talked about, it hadn’t gone public but, however it was the Indian Funds Chief, Paytm, which I began that includes in my presentation after Berkshire Hathaway invested within the firm about eight years in the past and it was nonetheless personal.

The following a part of this isn’t a part of the digital public infrastructure, however it successfully acts prefer it, and this was kind of the Large bang second. It is a personal enterprise referred to as Jio or the Jio Community. That is the biggest cellphone service, the cell phone subscriptions. Jio is a part of Reliance Industries. What occurred, the identical 12 months that the UPI was launched, Mukesh Ambani, who runs Reliance Industries, had made a really decisive resolution that Jio wanted to go all digital and that Reliance wanted to go huge on the digitization of India’s story, and their first and really daring transfer was to purchase the one 4G license, the one 4G spectrum within the nation, and make investments $25 billion to construct a national state-of-the-art 4G community that was additionally contemplated 5G and 6G coming down the road.

Now, on the time, there was a couple of dozen different carriers and all of them had been on 2G, and so they had been all locked in a value warfare, and their steadiness sheets had been horrible and so they couldn’t even make investments to maintain their 2G working very properly. So Jio is available in after which they launched within the November of 2006, identical 12 months because the UPI, and their pitch is fairly easy, “We’ve got the one 4G community. When you enroll with us, we’re going to offer you free voice calls ceaselessly, limitless, and we’ll offer you six months of free information, after which after your six months is over of free information, we’ll nonetheless be the one 4G community and we’ll even have the bottom costs.” In order that was their supply.

Then the aim that Mukesh put ahead was that they’d enroll 100 million individuals by the top of the following 12 months, so by the top of 2017, and that was a reasonably daring aim. It was particularly daring as a result of again then when you wished to get a brand new cell phone, it took about three hours on common while you went to the cellphone retailer since you would, once more, must show who you had been and so they must confirm you manually.

When Reliance Jio launched, they used the Aadhaar system as a result of it’s open for individuals to make use of, and of their shops, they’d mainly the eyeball reader and the fingerprint reader, and so they opened 100 million accounts in 4 months, a mean flip time of 5 minutes down from three hours. So this was the primary time the business energy of this India Stack actually made itself seen.

So now when you quick ahead to at present and what’s occurred within the final three and a half years as a result of COVID accelerated as greater than anyone, every other nation, that cellular funds have exploded, that UPI platform now accounts for 40% of the world’s real-time immediate cash transfers, and the slope of the curve remains to be at 45%, 50% progress. What has occurred along with that’s the authorities additionally took out the excessive denomination payments and so they simplified the tax code.

So seven years in the past, the Indian economic system was 95% cash-based, paper-based money. Now, it’s 75% digital. So it went from 4.5% digital to 75% digital. Once more, the funds numbers have exploded. The tax revenues to the federal government have exploded as a result of everybody’s now within the correct monetary system not dodging taxes and dealing off of money. So that you’ve taken what would’ve taken 60 years within the previous world to modernize their monetary system, and so they’ve finished it in seven years.

So this India Stack, no one else on the planet has this, and apparently now, Nandan Nilekani, the chief of all of this, he’s now providing it as much as different international locations. In reality, a number of international locations have signed as much as take a replica of the UPI, together with France. Aadhaar will most likely be just a little more durable to promote individuals due to the privateness, however anyhow, this digital stack is a secret weapon and other people I don’t assume admire it and perceive it as a result of I didn’t perceive it or admire it till not too long ago and it’s not finished.

The opposite necessary ingredient to India is you say, “Okay. Effectively, when you’re going to have e-commerce, what’s the present commerce? The place are individuals getting their stuff at present?” In South Asia, in India particularly, they get their stuff from 13 million mother and pop shops. So 90% of all client spending occurs in these little like a bodega in New York Metropolis. It’s a small store that has 200 objects of what you want day by day. Once more, there’s 13 million of those shops and so they’re extra formal retail. Large field shops have been launched, however they’ve not been in a position to take very a lot market share.

So what I believe India goes to finish up with is a hybrid, the place the kirana shops are going to develop into digitized. It’s already taking place. In reality, Paytm, who I referenced earlier, it actually has a stronghold in these service provider markets. Paytm’s discovered a technique to become profitable. They make mortgage now, they develop into the banker for the kirana retailer house owners and make loans. So, I believe what you’re going to finish up with is a extremely digital mother and pop, hyperlocal e-commerce, and there’s a brand new layer to the stack to drive this. It’s referred to as the ONDC, and that is the newest, once more, led by Nandan Nilekani.

The ONDC is the Open Community for Digital Commerce. It’s designed to assist additional combine these mother and pops into the nation’s e-commerce. I can’t clarify it properly, and I don’t assume when you … There’s an excellent Morgan Stanley interview with this man, Nandan Nilekani. It’s a 12-minute interview the place he talks about all of these items from the start after which seems to be ahead to what’s coming down the pipe, however he says that this explicit new program could be probably the most highly effective factor that they’ve launched. It’s laborious for me to consider something might be extra highly effective than that basis, but-

Meb:

Effectively, it’s fascinating. While you speak about this, listening to it, it’s extremely optimistic and apparent and thrilling, and then you definately do it by way of the American lens of Large Brother and, don’t know, if it’s even libertarianism. It simply needs the federal government out of their life. The prospect of doing one thing like this in a rustic like US, I put it at close to zero.

Kevin:

That appears proper. That looks like the correct quantity.

Meb:

Rounds to zero is the phrase from Oppenheimer. It’s humorous as a result of I’m wondering what a part of the story once we arrive at analyzing these alternatives and investments, we include our preconditioned bias of considering of the world in American phrases or Western phrases or no matter, after which it’s a very totally different perspective in India that truly, whereas we might imagine it’s a possible, everybody sees the China Large Brother, you’re strolling by way of the intersection, they’re going to zap your face after which ceaselessly you’re shamed and in a database, however I believe on the flip aspect of that, there’s a ton of positives and alternative that appear like an Indian instance is fairly attention-grabbing.

Kevin:

I believe it’s simply getting began. I believe there are …. Once more, while you hear this man, an, speak about it, he mentioned, “A variety of the stuff they’d no thought of the way it was going to work out. They simply knew it might be highly effective.” Like I mentioned, I believe it’s a secret weapon and for a lot of causes, together with what you simply talked about, like loads of international locations, the inhabitants goes to have a look at that as a Large Brother kind of factor and never conform to it, a minimum of not anytime quickly, and possibly that was a part of the success with Aadhaar was voluntary. No one needed to do it, however I believe individuals noticed that there was a profit. You would show who you had been simply by simply taking a look at a digicam, and simply as utilizing your QR code to pay for one thing is healthier than utilizing money. There’s quite a bit aside from commerce causes that that could be a priceless factor or a minimum of a liquefier of issues. You consider going by way of safety strains in airports or what have you ever that may be accelerated with that platform that, once more, I believe is sort of distinctive.

The opposite factor that I believe is attention-grabbing about this, and Nandan Nilekani talks about this as properly, however India doesn’t have a really well-developed client credit score market. I’m not an economist, however what I’ve seen from some economists once they have a look at India’s client credit score market and if it begins to develop and look extra like a developed world’s client credit score market the place extra individuals have credit score and use it, that would add two or three proportion factors to their GDP progress on an annual foundation, and that’s one of many issues now that Nandan is speaking about is, properly, now that you’ve this what he calls informational collateral, that it’s going to set the muse for a doubtlessly very giant progress in client credit score, which then accelerates the GDP progress, which the estimates are 6%-6.5%.

By the way in which, that’s one of many different issues. I’ve made over time plenty of associates which can be Indian buyers, and so they’re extra skilled than me, definitely in India, however they’re extra skilled than me additionally simply in years. A lot of them have been very profitable in enterprise capital or hedge funds, personal fairness. I’ve tried to determine, “Okay. What am I lacking right here? What can go flawed? What are the issues that I’m not understanding?” One among these people who has most likely in some ways an unimaginable pedigree, Wharton, early enterprise investor in India, he’s the true deal and he mentioned, “The factor individuals are lacking is we will most likely develop sooner, and why not? China grew. It died 10%, 11% for some time. Why can’t India try this?”

I believe, once more, I’m not an economist, however I really feel like the facility of this digital platform they’d in and of itself may very well be value some incremental GDP progress fee. Simply if you concentrate on the working capital cycles for individuals once they’re immediately transferring cash, so it’s going to be the thrilling 20 years in India and it seems to be actually good.

Meb:

So let’s discuss just a little bit in regards to the funding alternative set. I believe there’s a basic apathy on the subject of rising markets. A part of that as we all know is simply buyers’ sentiment is all the time drawn to what’s going up probably the most, however one of many causes I do angel investing is with the hope that making an attempt to remain present and hopefully see across the nook just a little bit, and I believe we talked about at dinner, however I mentioned a really giant variety of my startup investments over the previous 5 years specifically however actually during the last 10 have been XUS and among the finest performers have been XUS, Latin America, Africa, which we did an entire sequence on the podcast, however then India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

These three specifically, you see these exponential traction alternatives such as you talked about, the place you’re going from yellow pen and paper to impulsively a digital adoption and the numbers simply in a short time develop into staggering. So it’s positively been attention-grabbing and curious to observe. As you speak about this message, and also you’ve finished it earlier than, speaking about these markets, what are the largest pushbacks from buyers on why they might not be or why they’d be not fairly but or turned off by this chance?

Kevin:

A variety of our narrative of our India analysis is, is India like China 15 years in the past? As I discussed that the GDPs had been about the identical, there wasn’t smartphones again then so we will’t have a look at smartphone penetration, however it does look statistically like China. Then there’s anecdotal issues. My second journey to Beijing was 15 years in the past, and I visited the model new Apple retailer, the primary Apple retailer that was opened in China, and two weeks after I left India, the primary two Apple shops opened there. Now as I could have talked about earlier, the issue is when you had invested in China 15 years in the past, appeared and mentioned, “All proper, I believe China’s going to develop quite a bit. I’m going to purchase the China ETF,” properly, you had been proper, the Chinese language economic system grew 409%, however the FXI went down 51, so that you misplaced half your cash.

So now the query is, okay, properly you wish to spend money on India, the PE multiples for the broad indexes are fairly excessive, the very best on this planet in response to Shiller CAPE ratios that Burton likes to make use of. In order we are saying in Omaha, you pay a excessive value for a cheery consensus. The truth that India has all these constructive issues, that it’s not concerned with Russia, that it’s not concerned with China and Taiwan, it’s like a protected haven in a manner amongst rising markets the place you’ve acquired wars happening and other people assume China’s going to do one thing with Taiwan. There’s all that stuff. India stands alone.

Frankly, we’re discovering fairly good reception for it. We didn’t discuss in regards to the product for actually the primary 12 months till I went and noticed what I noticed and got here again and processed all of it, however we’ve had some, once more, coming off of a really, very small base, we’ve had some flows and individuals are , however one of many challenges that we face as a enterprise is that our present main product, EMQQ, it’s out there at locations like Morgan Stanley and UBS with advisors that we all know, and the India product remains to be small and it’s not out there in these locations. So the principle pushback we get is I can’t purchase it as a result of it’s not permitted on my dealer’s platform.

Meb:

Say, “Good, simply go open up a private PA account and you should purchase it in your personal-”

Kevin:

We’re doing what we will to search out individuals that may purchase it, however the efficiency this 12 months is fairly good. It’s up about 20%. As , there was a reasonably important correction in our predominant product, EMQQ, and that was quite a bit due to the China tensions and the delisting threat and the federal government crackdown, each of that are finished and probably not … I don’t consider them the way in which most individuals do. I believe they had been simply noise, however they’re additionally each behind us. The China shares weren’t the one ones that go down. All of the Indian web corporations additionally went down about 75% from their prime. Now once we launched, they had been already down quite a bit. So our monitor file’s unfavorable, however it might’ve been a massacre if we had launched 9 months earlier.

I’ll say that the valuations proper now for the INQQ portfolio I believe are very compelling. Once I have a look at the PE for the Indian inventory market, so when you purchased the iShares India product, both the Nifty 50 or the MSCI, they’re mainly the identical, INDA and INDY. These merchandise proper now, the PEG ratios are very excessive. I like to make use of the PEG ratio. That’s the one ratio I care about. I like to have a look at it two methods. I like to have a look at the PE over the income progress fee as a result of the highest line to me is probably the most pure type of progress. You’ll be able to have a enterprise that’s even shrinking and purchase again inventory and in any other case develop your earnings, however that may’t go on ceaselessly. So I have a look at the PE to income progress first.

Once I have a look at the PE to income progress for the INDA, the INDY, it’s 3.5. You’ve acquired a 21 PE and a progress fee of 6%. Now, the INQQ has acquired the identical PE and it’s acquired a progress fee that’s 3 times that. So the PEG ratio is 1.28 or name it 1.3. So whereas the India market broadly, the Nifty 50 and the MSCI, they replicate a really rosy outlook with these 3.5 PEGs. These corporations, which they’re not included within the indexes, most of them, have a PEG on a income foundation that’s 1.3. On an earnings progress foundation, the PEG ratio for INDA and INDY isn’t as unhealthy. It’s like one seven-ish, however the PEG ratio for the INQQ portfolio is 0.98. So a long-term investor, and if you should purchase the digitization of India at a PEG ratio of 1 at present and also you’ve acquired 10 or 15 years, I believe you’ll do fairly properly.

Meb:

There’s a few issues that you just delivered to thoughts. One is, listeners, we’ll put quite a bit … Kevin’s talked about loads of assets, PDFs, movies. We acquired the worldwide CAPE ratios from Barclays. All these items we’ll put within the present notice hyperlinks at mebfaber.com. Right here’s a enjoyable experiment, listeners, to test your biases is you possibly can pull out a bit of paper and write down, see what number of you possibly can guess and see what number of you possibly can guess so as the world’s 10 largest inventory markets. There’ll be a pair in there that’ll most likely shock you, and there’ll be a pair in there that you just’ll most likely get manner out of order. I believe it’s a enjoyable experiment and in addition to test the magnitude of a few of these which can be possibly already there that you could be not assume that will be, and even just a few that don’t commerce an entire lot. So test it out.

While you’re speaking about China and the efficiency, I don’t know that there’s been a rustic over this previous cycle. There’s definitely been overseas and rising international locations during the last 40, 50 years that has seen a wider spectrum of agony and ecstasy than China. The previous isn’t all the time prologue to the long run, however taking a look at your fund, I used to be smiling as a result of I’m interested in stuff that’s in drawdowns. That’s my factor, however taking a look at your fund specifically, which is extra concentrated seemingly than the broad mark cap index, however the percentile rank, which is waffled between, primary, and it goes to 96, one, 100, two, two, sorry, one 12 months one, then 190, 90. So you may have this era the place simply the flip flop of individuals being binary, so excited and optimistic, after which so despondent, and simply the emotional swings on this nation would make a random walker blush, I believe, to rope Burton into this.

I really like the issues which can be unloved, and the rising story, my goodness, throughout the board appears like that. As you look again at touring by way of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China even, any explicit recollections or tales that basically stand out? It may very well be from assembly corporations, from chatting with buyers to authorities officers, something that you just’re like, “Wow, it is a nice story,” or, “This left an enormous impression”?

Kevin:

Effectively, let me communicate to the South Asia a part of that. To start with, we began in Dhaka in Bangladesh, which could be probably the most intense metropolis on the planet. The density of Bangladesh we talked about, however the density of Dhaka itself, it simply will get laborious, you possibly can’t put it into phrases. The opposite factor about South Asia is it’s fairly chaotic. The streets themselves are kind of emblematic of the entire thing. You’ve acquired donkeys pulling carts, you’ve acquired individuals pulling carts, individuals pushing carts, cement vehicles, bicycles, rickshaws, motorbike rickshaw, all the things, and it’s simply chaos, and due to the density of Dhaka, it’s intense, and there have been a number of occasions once we had been strolling and we actually couldn’t transfer anymore. We may cease, and it only a … It was a visitors jam, however there have been extra than simply vehicles concerned and also you’d must step backwards three steps and take two steps to the correct simply to go ahead.

So I’d say my first day in Dhaka was fairly intense. I believe the issues we selected to go see had been notably its heads, the wholesale market and so forth. The Dharavi slum in India can be fascinating. That is the place the Slum Canine Millionaire got here from. It is among the densest locations on the planet. There’s virtually 1,000,000 individuals. It’s like a 3rd of a sq. mile. It’s very small and dense.

What I didn’t admire is it’s mainly a enterprise as properly. Mainly, one aspect of the slum, they bring about in waste merchandise and plastic remnants and so forth, and so they undergo the alleys and there’s all these little artisan or craftsman, I don’t know what the suitable phrase is, however they’re breaking apart issues manufactured from plastic and separating them, after which the following station, they’re melting. Mainly, by the top of the road, they’re model new completed backpacks with tags on them which were all made between the junk pile and the opposite aspect of the slum. It was very fascinating.

Additionally, that is very well timed as a result of Tata is on the point of redevelop the Dharavi slum, which will likely be attention-grabbing as a result of just like the hutongs and the lilongs in China, they’re historic neighborhoods, and that’s most likely a great motive to modernize it. By the way in which, the true property costs within the slum are off the charts. So when you personal a home, you already are a slum canine millionaire, mainly. In order that was attention-grabbing.

Meb:

I used to be going to say, as I attempt to consider the chance to any funding on the macro, on the micro, on all the things … By the way in which, listeners, two actually excellent books, Shantaram, in fact, is legendary, White Tiger, additionally a wonderful guide. It’s been made right into a present, however the guide, like many, might be a lot better. Are there any issues that you just assume are typically one thing that folks ascribe to being a threat for India? Is the caste system? Is there any political? You talked about it’s democracy and it appears to be fairly a bit extra secure. Is there something that’s on the checklist, whether or not it’s for you or for different individuals which can be speaking about … China, there’s so many entrance of thoughts ones with Taiwan and their interactions, however India, a minimum of, I don’t see the headlines as a lot.

Kevin:

I’m looking for the chance. Those which can be apparent are, initially, Modi. Modi, it is a threat … In the end, one of many issues I believe we’ve discovered within the final 10 years is it doesn’t actually matter what type of authorities you may have. If the man in cost goes loopy or in any other case does stuff you don’t like, then all bets are off, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a monarchy or a communist occasion or a democracy. The particular person in cost generally is a downside.

Now, the excellent news is I believe Modi, he’s an asset, however he’s not in his 30s, so there’s positively the political threat, the Modi threat. The nation has had different leaders which have left workplace prematurely for unplanned causes. So there’s positively racial tensions. Up within the very, very far east of the nation, there’s been an entire lot of racial violence. Really, one of many issues that India does once they have issues is that they shut off the web. So there’s a area, a small area in India the place they’ve had loads of sectarian violence and so they haven’t had the web for 3 months both.

One of many different attention-grabbing issues I did once I was in India is I went and crossed into Pakistan on the Wahga border, the land border, and it’s the place the Indian guards and the Pakistani rangers do their ceremonial march and making an attempt to out excessive step one another. We flew to Amritsar, which is the principle metropolis there, and it’s the place the Golden Temple is, which is the middle of the key faith, which is an incredible place, equally as spectacular and superb, I believe, because the Taj Mahal.

Whereas we had been there that afternoon, the web went out, and what we discovered was there’s a Sikh separatist that had sprung one among his followers from a jail someplace, and so they shut off the web so he couldn’t talk together with his different separatists. My colleagues had been unable to guide flights to get out of city that afternoon.

Meb:

You bought to hold round Elon’s Starlink, man.

Kevin:

No, I’ve one someplace, however I didn’t carry it with me, however I crossed the border in time to get protection on the Pakistan aspect. The opposite threat that appears fairly clear to me is the environmental threat. The nation is … So most of the individuals reside alongside the Ganges River and so they’re having very huge warmth. Actually, it might develop into uninhabitable, and so they’ve seen loads of issues in the previous couple of years with excessive, excessive warmth in and round Delhi. Air pollution is a large downside throughout South Asia as properly. Once more, loads of the water comes down from the Himalayas, and there’s most likely extra environmental threat in India than different locations.

I believe that, as with loads of different dangers, you don’t actually realize it’s a threat till it exhibits up and also you say, “Oh, sure, that was a threat,” however I’d say the political stability, which is nice now, however issues can change in a single day for any variety of causes, and the environmental threat appears actual. Apart from these two predominant ones, it looks like … As a result of loads of the India tales, that inner story, whereas the China story was an export pushed story, I believe what India goes to finish up with is much more inner progress versus pure export progress, which is what China led with.

Meb:

Effectively, it’s thrilling. After we talked final time, you mentioned you had been going to assist me once we had been beginning the Kevin Carter Journey Capitalist Journey Company to come back give some excursions. So I’m going to tag alongside and be part of you on one among these subsequent time, however first, we’ll begin with just a little boat tour of Tahoe. How’s that sound?

Kevin:

That sounds nice.

Meb:

Superior, my good friend. Finest locations for individuals to take a look at your funds, web sites? I don’t assume you try this a lot on Twitter. The place do they go?

Kevin:

Emqqglobal.com is our web site, after which yow will discover me on LinkedIn, Kevin T. Carter, and yeah, you’ll discover us if you wish to.

Meb:

Superior. Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us once more at present.

Kevin:

All proper. Thanks, Meb.

Meb:

Podcast listeners, will publish present notes to at present’s dialog at mebfaber.com/podcast. When you love the present, when you hate it, shoot us suggestions at suggestions@themebfabershow.com. We like to learn the opinions. Please evaluation us on iTunes and subscribe to the present anyplace good podcasts are discovered. Thanks for listening, associates, and good investing.

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