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

Visitor: Kevin Carter is the Founder & Chief Funding Officer of EMQQ World. Whereas he principally considers himself an energetic “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 in the present day’s episode, Kevin kilos the desk for India’s tech sector. He covers the demographic tendencies, 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 keep watch over in India.

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


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Transcript:

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Disclaimer:

Meb Faber is the Co-Founder and Chief Funding Officer at Cambria Funding Administration. As a result of trade rules, he is not going to 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 bought an excellent enjoyable present in the present day. We’re crossing some borders with our returning visitor, Kevin Carter, Founder and CIO of EMQQ World. In in the present day’s episode, Kevin kilos the desk for India’s tech sector. He covers the demographic tendencies, 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 keep watch over in India. Try 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 get pleasure from this episode with Kevin Carter.

Kevin, my buddy. Welcome again to the present.

Kevin:

Thanks, Meb. Good to be again.

Meb:

The place do we discover you in the present day?

Kevin:

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

Meb:

One in every of 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 might truly extremely suggest to hearken to the primary episode with Kevin as a result of we go into his background, which is fairly fascinating. We discuss rather a lot about China and it’s a fairly good half one to this episode. So we’ll put it within the present observe hyperlinks, perhaps we’ll publish it within the feed once more simply to have each there. We’re going to hit on a special subject in the present day, 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 title. We have been joking as a result of we stated, “Burton, give us a bit one thing to ask Kevin on the present,” and he says, “Do you know once we have 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 wish to play, however Burton and I, Burton likes Blackjack and he performs by the principles. He’s bought his guidelines. I don’t know in case you requested him for his guidelines, however he’ll give him to you. I can’t bear in mind what they’re precisely. I don’t play by these guidelines. I play a bit bit extra by intestine with some math as effectively, however sure, we’re in Australia collectively for some displays about China and we performed on the Star On line casino in Sydney is the place Burton taught me his guidelines of Blackjack. I feel we each walked out with the identical amount of cash, however mine was a bit bit extra risky.

Meb:

I feel each younger particular person goes by means of a second in time the place there’s this attraction to this idea of the Martin Gale, and really rapidly you be taught rather a lot about wager sizing as a gambler, whereby, listeners, in case you don’t know the Martin Gale, it’s primarily you double down each time you lose. Theoretically, when you have an infinite bankroll, you’ll by no means lose as a result of ultimately you’ll win. The issue comes, you be taught a really fast lesson and the facility of exponentials as a result of in a short time in case you lose 5 10 in a row, the wager dimension will get greater than any bankroll anybody will ever have, however suppose that’s a enjoyable lesson. Playing, so long as you don’t go broke and even then it may be an excellent lesson. There’s so many good classes in interested by place sizing and methods to play and odds.

Kevin:

That’s proper. Just like quick promoting, the place you’ve gotten 100% upside and limitless draw back and your wager will get greater because it goes, in contrast to a protracted place which will get smaller, it will get greater.

Meb:

One in every of my all-time early favourite podcast visitors was the godfather of Blackjack card counting, Ed Thorpe. Additionally top-of-the-line performing hedge fund managers of all time, who the unique beat the vendor and beat the market books. Listeners, you possibly can go discover an outdated copy. They’re actually classics. Nicely, let’s speak about rising markets. Like many cycles, this cycle feels, like within the inventory markets, they’re persevering with to emerge. I feel as a share of world market cap, we’re within the low teenagers, however after I talked to advisors over the previous variety of years, and Goldman has provide you with some stats on this, I feel the common allocation sits down round 2% or 3% as a share of their inventory portfolio. So massive underweight. Speak to me a bit bit about the way you see them broadly after which we’ll begin to dial in additional particularly to 1 nation particularly.

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 bought six and a half billion individuals they usually’re shifting up. They’re rising they usually need stuff. They need extra and higher meals, extra and higher clothes. They need home equipment. They wish to go to motion pictures and take holidays they usually need a car, they usually need their youngsters to go to Harvard, and that’s crucial factor, and that’s a really lengthy one-directional secular development that has been very well-documented. So in case you’re investing in rising markets, it’s my perception that that’s what you have to be making an attempt to seize.

The second factor about rising markets is that there’s an enormous drawback, and the issue is the index itself. The MSCI index, which we use to trace the efficiency of rising markets, has a number of issues. The primary and largest drawback, 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 a number of these government-owned banks and oil firm, these state-owned enterprises which might be inefficient, they’ve conflicts of curiosity with you as an investor, and the governance isn’t superb, and the corruption is in all places.

So what you discover, and I bought pulled into China 18 years in the past, because of Burton, the very first thing I did was I requested for a listing of all the businesses within the China ETF as a result of we had these traders that have been interested by 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 have been the businesses. I don’t care in regards to the title of the ETF, I wish to know what are the companies we’re going to personal.

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

In actual fact, I feel the 12 or 13 12 months return is about 25%. I do know that for the ten years ended with 2022, the earnings development was unfavorable. So in Omaha, investing is basically easy. The explanation companies have worth is as a result of they make earnings for the homeowners. The one strategy to make the worth go up is to make the earnings go up, and that hasn’t occurred within the conventional indexes, that are, once more, filled with banks and oil firms and mineral firms which might be state-owned and probably not for-profit in a standard sense.

Meb:

We spend a number of time most likely means an excessive amount of for this to be wholesome and helpful to our obtain statistics, however we spend a number of time speaking about market cap investing and the way it’s an fascinating and good first step, and it enabled some issues within the ’70s, however so far as an investing methodology can grow to be fairly suboptimal given some situations, notably instances when issues go completely bananas.

The fascinating half that I really feel like is among the largest dislocations for me when speaking about rising markets as a result of I like my polls on Twitter, and we’ll ask individuals what share of world GDP is rising markets, and nearly everybody says zero to twenty%, 20% to 40%. We each know that that’s completely unsuitable. Rising markets find yourself being most of world GDP, which surprises so many individuals. Then trying on all the varied statistics, like once we have 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 stunned that Macau is multiples of Las Vegas already. So simply the size of rising markets is basically staggering, notably for most individuals who’ve by no means achieved any touring, which is, after all, many, if not most.

So that you and I sat right 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 have 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 reasonably large alternative right here?

Kevin:

Nicely, 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 when they’d these pocket-sized supercomputers, they have been going to get on the web, and that as a result of they didn’t have financial institution accounts they usually didn’t have vehicles and there was no goal shops, that they’d leapfrog and grow to be digital customers, and since we’ve had such an evolutionary expertise with data and with expertise, we don’t notice that not everyone else on the earth has traveled that path as we’ve.

So swiftly, what I used to be seeing was that each one of those billions of customers have been going surfing 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 chances are you’ll know, I launched plenty of China ETFs with Guggenheim, however we launched a China expertise ETF, CQQQ, most likely 13 years in the past to seize that story, the net 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 the earth 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 essentially the most developed nation on the earth 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 consider customers and the web and private computer systems, that mainly began in america within the 12 months 2000. When might you actually have a pc at your own 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, in case you embrace Pakistan and Bangladesh to the west and east, that is nearly two billion individuals and about 850 million Gen Z. So that is essentially the most fertile floor for this story going ahead.

India stands alone in my thoughts proper not solely as the largest alternative in rising markets, however perhaps one of the best 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 they usually’re lined up at a time when now you can get a $12 smartphone model new in India. After I noticed you for dinner a number of months in the past, I might inform you you could possibly 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 bought on-line, they have been on PCs they usually, like us, migrated onto the smartphone, effectively, these individuals are skipping the PC altogether and the India story is simply extremely compelling.

Meb:

Let’s dig in. So you’ve gotten the apparent demographic. I really feel like most traders can recognize that. You simply talked about there’s multiples extra Gen Z than there are Individuals 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 a bit bit about what the macro image. Stroll down what took you from, “Okay. That is curious and fascinating,” to, “Okay. That is truly actually fascinating.”

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 firms, however what I noticed was that there was dozens of unicorns that have 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, so that they didn’t get a lot protection right here. What was given me unbelievable 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 tapped into. As , we launched INQQ, the India-only product final 12 months as quickly as there was sufficient firms. So as soon as there was over 20 firms 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 the earth. It handed China in April in response to World Financial institution, so 1.4 billion individuals in India. In case you take a look at the chart because it goes out, it’s going to get greater and larger than China as a result of it’s younger. It has the youngest financial system, a serious financial system. They’re about 11 and a half years youthful on common than China. So that you’ve bought 600 million individuals which might be simply moving into their early a part of their prime. You might have the quickest rising main financial system. Most of that development is coming in a swelling center class that can the truth is cross China and have extra consumption inside a decade by most estimates, and also you’ve bought the quickest rising e-commerce market. India’s rising just a bit quicker than Brazil, about 28% a 12 months.

Lastly, and that is the half that I didn’t recognize 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 achieved plenty of initiatives to assist the digitization of the nation, however I had no concept how well-developed these techniques and this digital public infrastructure had grow to be, which is an summary factor, which I hope we go into intimately. So you’ve gotten all these staple items, massive, younger, simply the guidelines, and it’s laborious to, with phrases or photos or numbers, to elucidate the size of this chance, the sheer variety of people, the density.

Meb:

Nicely, you’ve gotten an precise fairly good chart and a few of the stats we’ve talked about earlier I feel hit residence, however you’ve gotten an excellent chart that we’ll put within the present notes on Bangladesh, however you stated the scale 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 scale of Illinois. Additionally, a 3rd of its all the time flooded. So it’s mainly two-thirds the scale of Illinois. You’d must take the third by means of ninth largest nations and mix them to get to the scale 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 bought 1600 completely 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. After I bought concerned with China 18 years in the past, it was mainly tied with India. It was a bit bit forward of India when it comes to its GDP per capita, however not very far, however what you could possibly see was China had begun this huge infrastructure funding to construct the world’s greatest 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 have been doing this, India was mired in paperwork and mainly sat on its palms and didn’t actually spend money on its infrastructure, and China blasted forward and mainly quadrupled the scale of their financial system. Plus in that interval, effectively, India didn’t actually get shifting and the paperwork that the British left India or I feel largely accountable.

Nicely, 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 nearly actually 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 bought an 80% approval score. Not everybody likes him, however the overwhelming majority do, and he has bought the federal government organized and environment friendly and really business-like, and that features the infrastructure investments. So all the infrastructure numbers have exploded below Modi within the final 10 years. They’re presently in the midst of a trillion and a half greenback complete infrastructure plan that includes modernizing the beautiful intensive rail community they’ve, electrifying it, including a whole bunch 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 velocity 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 patron 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 tip 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 they usually had brownouts and so forth. They fastened most of that they usually’re making massive investments.

Now, a number 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 bought one of the best infrastructure they usually’re in a position to make one of the best 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 instances 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 tip of 2025 by estimates. So the infrastructure is lastly there they usually’re actually taking it significantly and it exhibits, and it does appear and feel like Shanghai and China did after 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 the earth, no different nation developed or rising has this, and it’s what they name the digital public infrastructure or the India Stack. A lot of the parts of this digital public infrastructure whereas summary to me, I knew what they have been, however I didn’t fairly recognize 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 novel 12-digit quantity on a card given formally from the federal government as a result of one of many issues they have been having with creating was that no person 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 financial system the place no person can show who they’re.

They requested the chairman of Infosys, Nandan Nilekani, if he could be in cost. Mr. Nilekani stated, “Look, I’ll be in control of this, but when we’re going to do that, I’m going to make use of a number of expertise as a result of,” as he stated, “I didn’t see as a lot expertise as I might’ve anticipated after I helped the individuals in Bangalore, and now if I’m going to do that, we’re not solely going to make use of one of the best expertise of in the present day, 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 knowledge.

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 financial 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 could possibly go into any financial institution. In case you have been within the Aadhaar system, you could possibly 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 looking out into the digicam.

In 2016, they launched this different initiative, the Unified Funds Interface or UPI. Once more, this bought a number 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 permit instantaneous, fully free switch of cash from any particular person to some other particular person or enterprise, no delay, no friction. I might ship you $10, you could possibly ship it again to me. We might do it 20,000 instances, it might nonetheless be $10.

So I stated, “Okay.” Nicely, however to be completely trustworthy, the primary factor I felt about that program was a priority as a result of one among our firms 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 non-public.

The following a part of this isn’t a part of the digital public infrastructure, however it successfully acts prefer it, and this was form of the Huge bang second. It is a non-public enterprise known 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 choice that Jio wanted to go all digital and that Reliance wanted to go massive 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 few dozen different carriers and all of them have been on 2G, they usually have been all locked in a value warfare, and their steadiness sheets have been horrible they usually couldn’t even make investments to maintain their 2G operating very effectively. So Jio is available in after which they launched within the November of 2006, similar 12 months because the UPI, and their pitch is fairly easy, “We now have the one 4G community. In case you join with us, we’re going to present you free voice calls endlessly, limitless, and we’ll provide you with six months of free knowledge, after which after your six months is over of free knowledge, we’ll nonetheless be the one 4G community and we’ll even have the bottom costs.” In order that was their supply.

Then the purpose that Mukesh put ahead was that they’d join 100 million individuals by the tip of the subsequent 12 months, so by the tip of 2017, and that was a fairly daring purpose. It was particularly daring as a result of again then in case you wished to get a brand new cell phone, it took about three hours on common once you went to the cellphone retailer since you would, once more, must show who you have been they usually 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, they usually 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 industrial energy of this India Stack actually made itself seen.

So now in case you quick ahead to in the present day and what’s occurred within the final three and a half years as a result of COVID accelerated as greater than anyone, some 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 continues to be at 45%, 50% development. What has occurred along with that’s the authorities additionally took out the excessive denomination payments they usually simplified the tax code.

So seven years in the past, the Indian financial 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 outdated world to modernize their monetary system, they usually’ve achieved it in seven years.

So this India Stack, no person else on the planet has this, and curiously now, Nandan Nilekani, the chief of all of this, he’s now providing it as much as different nations. In actual fact, a number of nations have signed as much as take a replica of the UPI, together with France. Aadhaar will most likely be a bit more durable to promote individuals due to the privateness, however anyhow, this digital stack is a secret weapon and folks I don’t suppose recognize it and perceive it as a result of I didn’t perceive it or recognize it till not too long ago and it’s not achieved.

The opposite necessary factor to India is you say, “Okay. Nicely, in case you’re going to have e-commerce, what’s the present commerce? The place are individuals getting their stuff in the present day?” 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 gadgets of what you want day by day. Once more, there’s 13 million of those shops they usually’re extra formal retail. Huge field shops have been launched, however they’ve not been in a position to take very a lot market share.

So what I feel India goes to finish up with is a hybrid, the place the kirana shops are going to grow to be digitized. It’s already taking place. In actual fact, Paytm, who I referenced earlier, it actually has a stronghold in these service provider markets. Paytm’s discovered a strategy to earn cash. They make mortgage now, they grow to be the banker for the kirana retailer homeowners and make loans. So, I feel 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 known 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 effectively, and I don’t suppose in case you … There’s an important 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 ahead to what’s coming down the pipe, however he says that this explicit new program is perhaps essentially the most highly effective factor that they’ve launched. It’s laborious for me to consider something could be extra highly effective than that basis, but-

Meb:

Nicely, it’s fascinating. If you speak about this, listening to it, it’s extremely optimistic and apparent and thrilling, and then you definitely do it by means of the American lens of Huge 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 as if the suitable quantity.

Meb:

Rounds to zero is the phrase from Oppenheimer. It’s humorous as a result of I ponder 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 completely different perspective in India that really, whereas we might imagine it’s a possible, everybody sees the China Huge Brother, you’re strolling by means of the intersection, they’re going to zap your face after which endlessly you’re shamed and in a database, however I feel on the flip facet of that, there’s a ton of positives and alternative that appear like an Indian instance is fairly fascinating.

Kevin:

I feel it’s simply getting began. I feel there are …. Once more, once you hear this man, an, speak about it, he stated, “Loads of the stuff they’d no concept of the way it was going to work out. They simply knew it might be highly effective.” Like I stated, I feel it’s a secret weapon and for a lot of causes, together with what you simply talked about, like a number of nations, the inhabitants goes to have a look at that as a Huge Brother kind of factor and never conform to it, no less than not anytime quickly, and perhaps that was a part of the success with Aadhaar was voluntary. No one needed to do it, however I feel individuals noticed that there was a profit. You can show who you have 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 rather a lot aside from commerce causes that that is perhaps a helpful factor or no less than a liquefier of issues. You concentrate on going by means of safety strains in airports or what have you ever that may be accelerated with that platform that, once more, I feel is sort of distinctive.

The opposite factor that I feel is fascinating about this, and Nandan Nilekani talks about this as effectively, 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 take 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 share factors to their GDP development on an annual foundation, and that’s one of many issues now that Nandan is speaking about is, effectively, now that you’ve this what he calls informational collateral, that it’s going to set the inspiration for a probably very massive development in client credit score, which then accelerates the GDP development, 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 pals which might be Indian traders, they usually’re extra skilled than me, actually in India, however they’re extra skilled than me additionally simply in years. Lots of them have been very profitable in enterprise capital or hedge funds, non-public fairness. I’ve tried to determine, “Okay. What am I lacking right here? What can go unsuitable? What are the issues that I’m not understanding?” One in every of these people who has most likely in some ways an unbelievable pedigree, Wharton, early enterprise investor in India, he’s the true deal and he stated, “The factor individuals are lacking is we will most likely develop quicker, and why not? China grew. It died 10%, 11% for some time. Why can’t India try this?”

I feel, once more, I’m not an economist, however I really feel like the facility of this digital platform they’d in and of itself might be value some incremental GDP development price. Simply if you consider the working capital cycles for individuals once they’re immediately shifting cash, so it’s going to be the thrilling 20 years in India and it seems actually good.

Meb:

So let’s discuss a bit bit in regards to the funding alternative set. I feel there’s a common apathy in terms of rising markets. A part of that as we all know is simply traders’ sentiment is all the time drawn to what’s going up essentially 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 a bit bit, and I feel we talked about at dinner, however I stated a really massive variety of my startup investments over the previous 5 years particularly however actually over the past 10 have been XUS and a few of the greatest performers have been XUS, Latin America, Africa, which we did a complete collection on the podcast, however then India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

These three particularly, you see these exponential traction alternatives such as you talked about, the place you’re going from yellow pen and paper to swiftly a digital adoption and the numbers simply in a short time grow to be staggering. So it’s undoubtedly been fascinating and curious to look at. As you speak about this message, and also you’ve achieved it earlier than, speaking about these markets, what are the largest pushbacks from traders on why they might not be or why they’d be not fairly but or turned off by this chance?

Kevin:

Loads of our narrative of our India analysis is, is India like China 15 years in the past? As I discussed that the GDPs have been about the identical, there wasn’t smartphones again then so we will’t take 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’ll have talked about earlier, the issue is in case you had invested in China 15 years in the past, appeared and stated, “All proper, I feel China’s going to develop rather a lot. I’m going to purchase the China ETF,” effectively, you have been proper, the Chinese language financial system grew 409%, however the FXI went down 51, so that you misplaced half your cash.

So now the query is, okay, effectively you wish to spend money on India, the PE multiples for the broad indexes are fairly excessive, the best on the earth 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 secure haven in a means amongst rising markets the place you’ve bought wars occurring and folks suppose 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 current major product, EMQQ, it’s out there at locations like Morgan Stanley and UBS with advisors that we all know, and the India product continues to be small and it’s not out there in these locations. So the primary 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 fairly important correction in our predominant product, EMQQ, and that was rather a lot due to the China tensions and the delisting threat and the federal government crackdown, each of that are achieved and probably not … I don’t consider them the way in which most individuals do. I feel they have 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 firms additionally went down about 75% from their prime. Now once we launched, they have been already down rather a lot. So our monitor report’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 feel are very compelling. After I take a look at the PE for the Indian inventory market, so in case 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 development price as a result of the highest line to me is essentially the most pure type of development. You may 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 endlessly. So I take a look at the PE to income development first.

After I take a look at the PE to income development for the INDA, the INDY, it’s 3.5. You’ve bought a 21 PE and a development price of 6%. Now, the INQQ has bought the identical PE and it’s bought a development price 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 firms, 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 development foundation, the PEG ratio for INDA and INDY isn’t as dangerous. 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 in the present day and also you’ve bought 10 or 15 years, I feel you’ll do fairly effectively.

Meb:

There’s a few issues that you just delivered to thoughts. One is, listeners, we’ll put rather a lot … Kevin’s talked about a number of assets, PDFs, movies. We bought the worldwide CAPE ratios from Barclays. All these items we’ll put within the present observe hyperlinks at mebfaber.com. Right here’s a enjoyable experiment, listeners, to examine your biases is you possibly can pull out a chunk 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 means out of order. I feel it’s a enjoyable experiment and likewise to examine the magnitude of a few of these which might be perhaps already there that you could be not suppose that might be, and even a number of that don’t commerce a complete lot. So test it out.

If you’re speaking about China and the efficiency, I don’t know that there’s been a rustic over this previous cycle. There’s actually been overseas and rising nations over the past 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 drawn to stuff that’s in drawdowns. That’s my factor, however taking a look at your fund particularly, which is extra concentrated probably 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’ve gotten 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 feel, to rope Burton into this.

I like the issues which might be unloved, and the rising story, my goodness, throughout the board seems like that. As you look again at touring by means of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China even, any explicit reminiscences or tales that basically stand out? It might be from assembly firms, from chatting with traders to authorities officers, something that you just’re like, “Wow, this can be a nice story,” or, “This left an enormous impression”?

Kevin:

Nicely, let me converse to the South Asia a part of that. To start with, we began in Dhaka in Bangladesh, which is perhaps essentially 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 form of emblematic of the entire thing. You’ve bought donkeys pulling carts, you’ve bought individuals pulling carts, individuals pushing carts, cement vans, bicycles, rickshaws, bike rickshaw, every thing, and it’s simply chaos, and due to the density of Dhaka, it’s intense, and there have been a number of instances once we have been strolling and we actually couldn’t transfer anymore. We might 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 suitable simply to go ahead.

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

What I didn’t recognize is it’s mainly a enterprise as effectively. Principally, one facet of the slum, they carry in waste merchandise and plastic remnants and so forth, they usually 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 made from plastic and separating them, after which the subsequent station, they’re melting. Principally, by the tip of the road, they’re model new completed backpacks with tags on them which have been all made between the junk pile and the opposite facet 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 shall be fascinating as a result of just like the hutongs and the lilongs in China, they’re historic neighborhoods, and that’s most likely an excellent purpose to modernize it. By the way in which, the true property costs within the slum are off the charts. So in case you personal a home, you already are a slum canine millionaire, mainly. In order that was fascinating.

Meb:

I used to be going to say, as I strive to consider the chance to any funding on the macro, on the micro, on every thing … By the way in which, listeners, two actually excellent books, Shantaram, after all, is legendary, White Tiger, additionally a wonderful e-book. It’s been made right into a present, however the e-book, like many, might be a lot better. Are there any issues that you just suppose 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 steady. Is there something that’s on the record, whether or not it’s for you or for different individuals which might be speaking about … China, there’s so many entrance of thoughts ones with Taiwan and their interactions, however India, no less than, I don’t see the headlines as a lot.

Kevin:

I’m looking for the chance. Those which might be apparent are, to begin with, Modi. Modi, this can be a threat … Finally, one of many issues I feel we’ve discovered within the final 10 years is it doesn’t actually matter what type of authorities you’ve gotten. If the man in cost goes loopy or in any other case does belongings you don’t like, then all bets are off, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a monarchy or a communist get together or a democracy. The particular person in cost generally is a drawback.

Now, the excellent news is I feel Modi, he’s an asset, however he’s not in his 30s, so there’s undoubtedly the political threat, the Modi threat. The nation has had different leaders which have left workplace prematurely for unplanned causes. So there’s undoubtedly racial tensions. Up within the very, very far east of the nation, there’s been a complete 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 a number of sectarian violence they usually haven’t had the web for 3 months both.

One of many different fascinating issues I did after 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 primary metropolis there, and it’s the place the Golden Temple is, which is the middle of the key faith, which is a tremendous place, equally as spectacular and wonderful, I feel, because the Taj Mahal.

Whereas we have been there that afternoon, the web went out, and what we came upon was there’s a Sikh separatist that had sprung one among his followers from a jail someplace, they usually shut off the web so he couldn’t talk along with his different separatists. My colleagues have been unable to e-book 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 convey it with me, however I crossed the border in time to get protection on the Pakistan facet. The opposite threat that appears fairly clear to me is the environmental threat. The nation is … So most of the individuals stay alongside the Ganges River they usually’re having very massive warmth. Actually, it could grow to be uninhabitable, they usually’ve seen a number of issues in the previous few years with excessive, excessive warmth in and round Delhi. Air pollution is a big drawback throughout South Asia as effectively. Once more, a number of the water comes down from the Himalayas, and there’s most likely extra environmental threat in India than different locations.

I feel that, as with a number 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 as if … As a result of a number of the India tales, that inner story, whereas the China story was an export pushed story, I feel what India goes to finish up with is much more inner development versus pure export development, which is what China led with.

Meb:

Nicely, it’s thrilling. After we talked final time, you stated you have been going to assist me once we have been beginning the Kevin Carter Journey Capitalist Journey Company to return 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 a bit boat tour of Tahoe. How’s that sound?

Kevin:

That sounds nice.

Meb:

Superior, my buddy. Finest locations for individuals to take a look at your funds, web sites? I don’t suppose 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 in the present day.

Kevin:

All proper. Thanks, Meb.

Meb:

Podcast listeners, will publish present notes to in the present day’s dialog at mebfaber.com/podcast. In case you love the present, in case you hate it, shoot us suggestions at suggestions@themebfabershow.com. We like to learn the evaluations. Please assessment us on iTunes and subscribe to the present wherever good podcasts are discovered. Thanks for listening, pals, and good investing.

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