Mobility has taken a major leap in India and among Indians. According to the recent market reports highlights that the demand of sub Rs 5,000 ($75) tablets in Indian market have been growing. It was also recorded that the tablet market in India experienced 7% QoQ growth with 0.91 million units of tablet PCs shipped in Q1 2016. In an exclusive conversation with Faiz Askari of SMEStreet, Mr. Suneet Singh Tuli, President & CEO, DataWind explained the buying trends towards tablet PCs among Indian consumers.
Faiz Askari: How is the tablet market evolving in India?
Suneet Singh Tuli: Considering the above mentioned figures, it wouldn’t be wrong to think that the tablets are the future of computing. Tablets are very easily accessible as they have almost all the features of a laptop or computer, like large touch screen. 80% of the work can be done effortlessly on a tablet.
Besides being economical and more portable than desktops and laptops, tablets offer a more intuitive user experience for customers with a lower learning curve. There are multitudes of applications from logistics to mobile payments which can be facilitated with tablets. Education and Corporate sectors will be the primary drivers in pushing the sales exponentially in the coming year.
How do you foresee education sector from the perspective of tablets and smartphone?
The pervasiveness of technology has truly affected many areas of society in positive ways, including education. Modern-day students not only have computers to help them with their schoolwork, they also use the Internet for research and assignments while teachers use technology to enhance their lessons. Tablets in particular have the potential to open up the world’s rich store of information to willing minds and expert instruction.
Today tablets and smartphones can be used as one convenient way to show textbooks with all kinds of features like audio & video lessons. These devices are very important to the students as they improve collaboration, developing IT skills, publishing, sharing and searching for information, creativity, flexibility in terms of space and time, and motivation in their studies.
Datawind’s tablets, which come bundled with one year of unlimited Internet access, feature SKILLSdox’s online education marketplace, School of Skill, which provides access to high quality resources from the world’s top educators. DataWind’s low-cost Internet-enabled tablets are perfect way to deliver online educational resources to people across India providing a platform to change the lives of millions– even those in rural villages.
What are your experiences as an entrepreneur in the era of flagship campaigns such as ‘Make in India’?
India still has a long way to go as for the penetration of smartphone and tablets to the total potential population; hence it is important that Government provides support for the industry. The Government had launched ‘Make in India’ campaign to rev up economy, boost investor confidence and re-chart India’s growth story. The campaign provides significant opportunity for transforming the country’s telecom sector and spearhead economic growth.
The provision of infrastructure further needs to be supported by an awareness and educational campaign that enthuses the disconnected to leverage the inherent benefits. Affordable tablets, smart phones and phablets are very much in the market, what we lack is internet connectivity and educational content. There is a need to collectively work towards improving these by creating better IT infrastructure and making available educational oriented content on the computing devices for easy adoption.
DataWind took major steps in the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Vision of ‘Make in India’ by setting up 3 manufacturing facilities with phased investment of more than Rs 300 crore.
The company has an assembly unit and a manufacturing facility for touch panels in Amritsar with a production capacity of over 2,50,000 units per month.
The second unit in Hyderabad which was recently inaugurated has generated 500 + jobs in the first phase of its operation. It has a capacity to produce 00 lakhs units of tablets and smartphones per annum and cater to the growing demand of low cost devices in the country.
It is due to our commitment to the ‘Make in India’ that we became the first ones, in fact the only ones so far, to set up a facility for manufacturing ‘touch panels’ in India. We are happy that the Govt. is moving in the direction of creating a manufacturer friendly environment which is great news for us.
What are the key priorities of DataWind for next 12 months?
There are over 900 million mobile phone subscribers but only 18 million broadband connections are available. This gap segment is our priority. We create products that are optimum balance between usability, performance and affordability for the Indian population.
We have so far forayed into the affordable 4G device segment this year. We plan to come out with a sub-Rs 3,000-priced 4G-enabled smartphone as the 4G market matures.
Also, we were amongst the first ones to apply for MVNOs license in India.
Datawind’s moto is to bridge the digital divide, and we intend to utilise our patented web delivery platform to help deliver affordable Internet access to bring the next billion Indians online. Through MVNO, we intend to offer bandwidth cost advantage to consumers in rural areas. Our target is Rs 199 a year tariff for unlimited Internet browsing across any site. We have also, earmarked an investment of INR 100 crore for the MVNO foray.
What opportunities you witness for your business?
As mentioned earlier, there are 900 million mobile phone subscribers but only 18 million broadband connections are available. This gap segment is our priority. We create products that are of optimum balance between usability, performance and affordability for the Indian population.
Instead of the small niche of high-end tablets and smartphones, our focus will continue to be on affordable devices that can empower the masses of India. Future specifications will include expansion in 4G networks at reasonable pricing.