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January 3, 2000
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
Intel Corporation, the international microprocessor giant, is all set to expand its network in south Asia, said the company's south Asia chief Atul Vijaykar. And, as often happens nowadays, India is projected as the major market.
"It was not merely because of (India's) sheer size and population , but also because of the fairly high level of computerisation and growing Internet use that we see India as the most promising market in this region," says Vijaykar.
"We currently have our presence in 50 cities in India, while plans were afoot to expand our base in 50 more cities in the new year."
Describing India as the only country in the south Asian region likely to soon catch up with neighbour China , he said the next country on the company's list was Pakistan. They already have an office in Karachi and are in the process of moving to Islamabad and Lahore.
But Intel has found the going tough in other south Asian nations like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
"That was because we made our maiden entry in these two countries only about a year ago. We were yet to set up our offices in both these places," Vijaykar said. Currently Intel's Bangladesh and Sri Lanka operations are run from offices in Calcutta and Madras respectively.
Intel, however, sees greater potential in Sri Lanka, where, Vijaykar says, "computers had registered a healthy growth rate and our initial efforts had received positive response."
What he finds the most positive factor in the south Asian region was the genuinely supportive attitudes of the governments, without which the desired growth rate of information technology would not be possible. He, however, felt, "a reduction in the official tariff could make a greater difference."
Asserting that Intel had already registered a 40-50 per cent growth in the four years of its Indian operations, he added that Intel's current stress was on China, India and Brazil.
"We can foresee the biggest potential for the promotion of information technology (in these countries), because of the increasing demand for the Internet economy," he said.
Referring to the overall growth made by the company, Vijaykar disclosed how Intel was responsible for taking the monthly e-business turnover to over a billion dollars. "We produce the engines that drive e-business", he declared.
Vijaykar said the company was now focussing on servers, Networking and Internet-related services. He said he was sure PCs would continue to evolve and register increasing demand, but said the company had plans to diversify into smart phones, set-top boxes and net-related services.
He said that the company was keen to tap the younger generation in India, "tomorrow's potential market". Vijaykar says "education was the best way to promote the use of computers."
A pilot project to involve students in its research and development activities had already been launched in three Indian cities, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Indore. Vijaykar had also visited Lucknow to explore the possibility of a similar project there.
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