Market Segment Laptop Industry in India by gtw75969

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3 Feb 2008, 0000 hrs IST, Sujata Dutta Sachdeva,TNN

Driving through the American countryside, an Indian visitor was taking in the sights when something
caught his eye. Amid the vast, rolling fields was a farmer riding a Mahindra tractor. Conceptualised
and designed at Mahindra and Mahindra’s R&D centre in Mumbai, this made-in-India farm vehicle has
managed to grab 6% of US market share in its segment. And now it’s making inroads into mark-ets as
diverse as Europe and Sri Lanka.

Surprised? Not when you consider India’s steady emergence as an engineering and design hub. Tata’s
Rs-1 lakh Nano has already made a global splash. Then there is HCL’s homegrown Mileaptop.
Weighing less than a kilogram and priced below Rs 15,000, the entry-level laptop is touted as the
cheapest in the market. "The idea is to increase PC penetration in India and improve Net accessibility,"
says Rajendra Kumar, executive VP, HCL.

And let’s not forget Maruti’s first concept car. Saurabh Singh and Rajesh Gogu created waves at the
recent Delhi Auto Expo. The duo designed the A-Star at Maruti Udyog’s Manesar plant. Soon, the car
will be seen on European motorways. Maruti engineers have worked with Suzuki Motors to design
Swift and Zen Estilo as well. "We hope to design and produce our own car model from India by 2011,"
says C V Raman, chief general manager (engineering), Maruti Udyog.

From cars to tractors, refrigerators to laptops, made-and-designed-in-India is becoming a sought after
label. One that also means serious business. According to some studies, India’s contract industrial
engineering revenue is expected to grow from around $500 million to $10 billion in the next five years.
Worldwide, the market is growing exponentially. International market research firm IDC expects the
product engineering services industry to double, hitting $53 billion annually by 2009.

Closer home, Nasscom in its study ‘Engineering Service Outsourcing (ESO)’, pegs global spending on
engineering services at $750 billion per year - almost equal to India’s GDP. By 2020, this amount is
expected to increase to more than $1 trillion. Of the $750 billion being spent today, only $10-15 billion
is being offshored. India has about 12% market share. By 2020, the ESO market would be worth $150-
$225 billion. India’s share will be 25-30%, or $50 billion annually.

In fact, much like software design, the volume of sophisticated engineering design work being done out
of India is growing rapidly. While many IT majors have already set up captive centres for design
development here, local firms too are getting good business from global customers. Harita TVS in
Bangalore does engineering design services for customers across US and Europe. It’s the preferred
partner for many OEM and Tier-1 customers. Similarly, Plexion Technologies has worked on interior
design and windows for a top European car brand. Other car makers like Toyota Motors, Ford, Ferrari,
and Honda have all boosted Indian outsourcing.

Realising the potential, Indian companies are now focusing a lot more on innovation and design. Sona
Group, the well-known auto accessories maker, is now working on an electric power steering for non-
highway vehicles in the US. "We are trying to create a mindset for innovation. To keep ahead of the
competition, innovation in design is a must; we are creating tools and developing skills so that people
are able to think out of the box," says Kiran Deshmukh, COO, Sona Kyo Steering Systems. The
company was involved in the making of the Nano’s steering wheel.

"A lot of product design is already happening in Indian industry. The final products will be as
impressive as the Nano," assures Sarita Nagpal, deputy director general, CII. Take, for instance,
Godrej’s latest fridge-in-the-works. The folks who gave us our first indigenous locks, vegetable-oil
soaps and colour fridges have come up with the low-cost Hedge. "It’s a refrigerator with convection
floors that allow uniform cooling and is competitively priced," says G Sundarman, president, product
strategy, Godrej Appliances. Competitive pricing is also the USP of HCL’s rural PCs that run on car
batteries.

Last year, Mahindra created Shaan, a multiutility farm vehicle which won an award from the American
Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineers for design. "We have a patent for it. The tractor is
aimed at people who use it in their farms, as a family vehicle and for transporting goods," says Manrao,
senior VP, M&M. They also created India’s first bio-diesel tractor in 2004.

Likewise, the Tata Group has been in the forefront of design engineering in India. Their Indica was
touted as the ‘first truly Indian car’. Now the Nano’s become a global talking point. As Sunil Sinha,
CEO, Tata Quality Management Services explains, "As a group, we started looking at innovation
seriously in the ’90s. Internally, we have amplified the message of innovation, strengthened our R&D
and increased our budget spend."

And it’s showing. While Tata Tetley designed an iced tea dispenser that’s become a rage in the US,
Tata Technologies, which operates in 12 countries, is designing cars and vans for top foreign
carmakers. However, Sinha feels a lot still needs to be done. "In 2006, India had filed only 400-odd
IPRs while companies like Microsoft and Intel alone filed more than 2,000. We need to change the
mindset and make innovation happen here."

The problem is that over the years we have focused more on excelling in production engineering rather
than on creating our own designs. "It’s time to think beyond and recognize the importance of product
design and innovation. Only then can we remain competitive," says Deshmukh. Else, we may only end
up creating the occasional ripple with a Nano or a Shaan - hardly adequate for the long drive to design
stardom.

Source: The Times of India
sujata.sachdeva@timesgroup.com

								
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