In post-GST era, SMBs driving growth of computers, printers: HP India's MD

Sumeer Chandra, Managing Director, HP India
In November 2015, HP split into two companies — HP, which sells personal computers (PCs) and printers, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which is focused on data centre, storage and networking. Since then, HP has been going through a reinvention not just in products but the entire organisation — brand, people and processes. HP India’s Managing Director SUMEER CHANDRA shares with Bibhu Ranjan Mishra how this helped them gain market share in key segments in India and the strategy to gain inroads. Edited excerpts:


How has the journey been in India after the split?


We have been on a good growth trajectory for the past 4-5 years. If you look at our core business, which is PC and print, we are the market leaders. In PCs, we had close to 30 per cent share last year, significantly up from two years back when it was about 25 per cent. In print, we have always been a leader in India, with a share of over 45 per cent.


What’s your strategy to continue the growth momentum?


We have a three-fold strategy for India — core, growth and future. In the core PC and print segment, we already have a strong presence. Thus, within that, we are focusing on innovation, especially in segments like premium PC and gaming. We are trying to reinvent printing. One of our new products is Sprocket, which is a printer in a pocket. Since its launch in September, it has created a lot of excitement. Similarly, we got into gaming last February (2017), and within a short time, we have a 25 per cent share of the gaming notebook market. We are focusing on segments like A3 printing and also looking at opportunities in Digital India.


Which are the growth areas for HP in India and what are the products you are bringing to the table to cater it?


The growth pillars for us are 3D printing, augmented reality and virtual reality. We got into 3D printing almost three years back globally, and we launched the products in India in January. We are at early stages of our sales engagement with customers, but are really excited about 3D printing, which can disrupt the traditional manufacturing industry. It (disruption) has not been possible so far as the segment lacked certain productivity, speed and cost benefits. If you look at our portfolio, our (3D) printers are 10 times faster and available at half the cost of other comparable printers. We already have three partners (resellers) and one of them is also offering 3D printing as a service.


How is the Digital India initiative helping you to sell more?


We are very active in Digital India projects in terms of helping the states in rolling out ICT (information and communication technology) initiatives targeting classrooms, digitalising paper records, or even in surveillance and smart cities. We have also created a unique product targeting Digital India, which is an 8-inch android tablet. It has been designed for Indian weather conditions such as bright sunlight, dust and water. There are jackets with features like fingerprint reading, iris scan, printer and credit card readers that can be fixed and dismantled based on requirements. In one of the states, it is being used by the police for passport verification.


A lot has been spoken about the future of PCs. Will they continue to stay relevant for the Indian consumer?


PCs are going to remain relevant for a long, long time, and definitely in markets like India. Smartphone penetration is certainly on the rise, but they cannot do everything. It’s largely a consumption device. We are seeing a strong growth in the small and midsized business (SMB) segment. Especially with the goods and services tax (GST) coming in, SMBs will see a greater degree of automation. It’s because companies now have to file their claims online. After the GST, we saw a pickup in demand from the SMB segment both in PCs and printers, and this is continuing. Sixty per cent of the six million SMBs in India don’t have a PC. Right now, SMB definitely is the fastest growing segment followed by consumer and enterprise.

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