MUMBAI, MAY 28
In 2007, Intel shelved plans to set up a microchip manufacturing unit in India due to the country’s bureaucracy. But in 2019, it finds India a good place to manufacture, albeit not through a multi-billion semiconductor fab but by helping local companies boost electronics manufacturing. In a conversation with BusinessLine, Prakash Mallya, Vice-President and Managing Director, Intel India, Sales and Marketing Group spoke about how Intel is trying to boost PC manufacturing in India and what the government could do to encourage local manufacturing. Excerpts:
Can you elaborate on what kind of manufacturing ecosystem that you’re trying to develop in India?
What we’ve done in the last two years is, we have gone through the manufacturing landscape and built supply chain ecosystem or match-made them with some of our global partners to ensure that they are going up the value chain of building a new product. Case in point is Coconics, which is a unique,public and private joint venture that are different entities and it is part of Government of Kerala’s initiative. It is private sector majority owned, and their objective is to build locally manufactured PCs. So this is a great example where we have asset and enabled the local ecosystem to serve the local market needs.
How do you see the policy framework for manufacturing PCs in India and what needs to be done?
I would agree that our policy needs to be conducive towards local manufacturing in a different manner in every sector. I feel that we need to make the factories that are manufacturing PCs or any of the other components in electronics, being not only efficient for the country but efficient globally, so that you can cater to the demand not only within the county but outside, and you can compete with best of the factories located in any part of the world.
What we got to do is actually connect Make in India with both local and global demand, and build the factories or ecosystems which can compete with the best, and I think that’s what the initiatives like Coconics help us do.
So, it’s a journey and I don’t think we have arrived there yet, but I am truly optimistic based on the growth in the PC business that we’re seeing in this market as well as the evolution of the ecosystem.
There are large PC manufacturers whose facilities in India are lying idle because there is no business case to actually manufacture here. So do you think there needs to be a policy shift specifically to PC industry?
I would agree that the policy orientation on PC needs to cater to the local as well as the global demand, if it can be serviced out of the manufacturing facilities here, it surely will be a big benefit.
Firstly, the procurement of local technology, if it is in some shape or form benefiting out of the local manufacturing would help. Secondly, the local demand plus global demand, can it be serviced out of the factory setups that are coming up in the country. If you look at mobile phones, they’re not only catering to the local demand, they’re also catering to the global demand. And I would say, if we can walk the same path on PCs, it will be a great achievement.
In a market which has a 1.3 billion population, we have 60 million PCs as an installed base, 400 million smartphones and a billion feature phones. So the first step to this is making PC penetration in the country to accelerate, and once that happens, and you have local demand, then you get local supply to cater to that. .
Intel has been in India for more than two decades. What are your expectations from the India market for the next couple of years?
My belief is Intel technology can help India accelerate that transformation and look at the footprint of technologies that we bring across PCs, across technologies like AI. We have not even talked next generation networks like 5G where a lot of work is happening from our side, and initiatives like IoT and edge solutions, so you can see the capabilities that we bring forward.
Our belief in the next two years is to integrate or enable the ecosystem with product innovation that we’re bringing and helping them succeed in these areas. If we can bring it all together and the local manufacturing system can cater to the local supply, that would be awesome.