Over 500 small-scale PC assemblers in Mumbai attended a seminar organized by Suburban Computer Association of Latent Entities, (SCALE), to understand the implications of recent duty cuts on small-scale PC manufacturers vis-a-vis the branded manufacturers. And this event turned out to be a morale-booster for all those present there. Most of the attendees were a worried lot because of the narrowing price differential between branded and unbranded PCs as a result of duty cuts.Â
However the association had got three IT industry veterans to offer new directions to these small-scale manufacturers. These were Vivek Prakash, VP-IT, Samsung India; Suresh Pansari, Director, Rashi Peripherals and Sandeep Parasrampuria, Director, The Best.
While, all three agreed that the marketshare of assembled PC will surely go down, they felt that it was not a situation to be worried about, because of the large growth potential the country holds for hardware business.Â
Vivek feels that the Indian government is very appreciative that a large community of assemblers can do a lot for the national hardware industry, and hence, will not do anything that will harm them. According to him, the excise duty is a non-tariff barrier, not covered in the WTO regime. And hence many people in the government were not very happy when excise duty was reduced as it was linked to revenues.Â
"But the Finance Minister ordered this cut because its largest beneficiary would be the Government itself. Just as defense was a large priority for the current Central Government, the next Central Government could possibly be giving the single largest priority to computerization," reveals
The government typically has to buy from excise-registered PC manufacturers. In that respect, the number of people going in for excise-registered PC manufacturing units will go up and non-excise registered PC manufacturing units' total share in percentage terms will dip.
According to Suresh, the price gap between branded and assembled PCs has narrowed down from 3% to around 1.25%. This will put the branded players in a very aggressive position. "But, the small assemblers need not worry about this situation, because of the strengthens and opportunities that lies with this segment," says
"Your interest will be best protected if you sell service, knowledge, reputation and trust. So it is important for each one of you to acquire certain skill and uniqueness that cannot be easily duplicated, to be at an advantage," advises Vivek to the huge gathering of small-scale PC manufacturers..