Dragon to roar in India's tech market

NEW DELHI: The dragon is all set to roar in India's tech market with all sorts of services and products. The reason is simple: most Chinese companies feel that India holds potential to be as big as the China market.

It is evident in what Huawei Technologies, one of the biggest Chinese companies operating in the telecom segment, has to say. "The Indian market is not only big, but unpredictable too, which makes it an exciting place to be in," Huawei Technologies Pakistan Pvt. Ltd. product manager (intelligent network product marketing department), Lam Seak Wai told indiantelevision at the ongoing 12th Convergence India international exhibition and conference.

Based in Kuala Lumpur, this is Lam's second visit to India in three years and he feels that a "change for the positive" has come about. At the moment Huawei has a marketing and liaison office in India and is going about in a systematic way targeting the Indian market. First the north and south markets would be targeted before the other regions of the country would be taken up for some aggressive promotion and marketing blitz.

The Chinese company has already invested approximately $ 18 million in India and would add another $ 100 million dollar by the end of 2006. Having already bagged two long-term projects with MTNL for GSM and CDMA - it would provide the government-controlled telecom company with both software and hardware - Huawei has set its eyes on getting business from another telecom giant, the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL).

Pointing out that the response from the exhibition has been tremendous, Lam said, "We are looking at doing some business with BSNL and have also started talking to the Tatas."

The importance of the Indian market can be gauged from the fact that Huawei has an office in Bangalore where India-specific R&D is done and is the biggest such center outside of China. The company provides end-to-end network solutions, routers and switchers and also intelligent business units in India and has plans to add some fizz in the optical, mobile and fixed networks data communications segments.

And along with Huawei are a host of other companies too. Coship, for example, which was at the last Convergence India meet too, this time around has come with the evolved and redesigned satellite receivers with powerful chips targeted at end users directly.

Specialising in R&D and production of digital TV, satellite communication, optic communication, LED displays equipments, Coship has developed a series of products like digital multimedia receiving card and data broadcasting system.

"India is a very exciting market and the Convergence forum is the best place to do business as almost everybody who matters in the industry is here," said Jeff Yin, the company's international business project manager.

Coship has come to India after exploring the markets of Asia, Middle East, Africa, America and Australia. The company has big plans to expand in the Indian sub-continent too by increasing its manpower from the current 600 to an estimated 3000 by 2006. Present clients include BSNL, MTNL and Tata Infocomm.

Whether Coship does manage to jazz up the Indian market remains to be seen, but that hasn't stopped the company from getting in touch with big and small cable-operators dotting the Indian cable TV world. Another Chinese companies with hopes in its hearts, which has come to India after exploring the markets of homeland China, Singapore and Hong Kong, is Amoi Electronics that has signed up with Banaras House Ltd. for import and marketing of their products like cells in attractive designs, MP3 players and laptops In India.

"With a showroom in Delhi coming up at e@innovation mall, the company is targeting Delhi and NCR regions for now," said Rachna Bal, a company executive, adding , "The penetration in the market will determine if we can have a production unit in India or not."

ZTE, which offers global solutions and local services, is another big Chinese attraction and it's just not because of its huge stall or the number of products displayed. Its shared resources and seamless roaming products are attracting clients like Tata and Reliance. The company is also working with various government agencies.

The company provides outdoor base station, core network and support Node, a whole series of router products, GPRS, CDMA and GSM-enabled support systems and solutions. "We are looking for products and software development opportunity in India and also to tie up with the leading network operators", Xiang, a company executive, pointed out.

With offices in 40 countries, including India, ZTE's business associations include BSNL and Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. Then there are companies like XAHT, Xian Haitian Antenna Technologies Company Limited, which is an antenna maker for mobile telephony. Apart from antennas to clients like Orange and Reliance, it also provides value-added services like ring tones and multi-media messaging.

According to a company executive, future plans include setting up a manufacturing unit in Goa by the end of this year.

Then smaller players from China include Shanghai Yindga Audio and Video Equipment Co. Ltd, a TV-equipment manufacturing company that has come to India for the first time and is looking at dealers, and Etronics Corp, which provides the main back-up for CDMA technology.

With the proliferation of the Internet, traditional telecommunications and data communications networks and TV networks are gradually converging and the offering from the Chinese companies are getting positive response. The digital revolution that India is going to witness has already begun and the Chinese want to influence this techno-graphical change. As do other countries.

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