ARTICLE PUBLISHED 26/NOV/2014: In India, Nasdaq-listed SanDisk Corp currently has a marketshare of about 35 per cent across product categories such as microSD cards, SD cards and flash. However, the dynamics of the Indian market are keeping SanDisks India country manager Rajesh Gupta and his team on their toes. Recently, the company launched what it touts as the worlds highest capacity full-size SD memory card and the fastest microSD UHS-1 memory card in India. Also, SanDisk is said to be in talks with home-bred smartphone-makers to embed a 128-GB memory card with their devices. The company has been using its India operations, which was established in 2005 as a talent sourcing destination and for serving the domestic market. Gupta in an interview with BusinessLine says that he wants to augment the companys distribution network for making further inroads into tier-2 and -3 cities. Edited excerpts: How important is India in SanDisks scheme of things both as a marketplace and a sourcing destination? From both perspectives, India is critically important for SanDisks operations. We look at the Indian market from the standpoint of different host devices. Camera is one host device, followed by mobile phones and other devices. The fact that India is the second largest phone market presents a significant opportunity for us.
Whats the investment roadmap for SanDisk in India? Majority of Indian consumers are unaware that SD cards and USB sticks come at different quality points. Hence, we are trying to establish a training system for our distributors and channel partners. We wish to do so by deploying easy-to-use merchandising with local language. This is part of the larger strategy of establishing a strong distribution and supply chain network. Soon, we would embark on a geo-expansion programme for which we have identified 27 cities. We will be adding distributors in these cities. Given the Centres renewed push on manufacturing through the Make in India campaign, isnt the time ripe for a company like SanDisk to think about the prospects of start manufacturing and shipping products from India? Like any other technology company, we keep exploring opportunities and options here. The current focus is R&D as we till have unutilised capacity. Our constant endeavour is to scale up investments in research development and design development. When we feel that the timing is right for manufacturing in India, we will look at it.
Currently, there is a tussle between the online and offline distribution models. Several consumer product companies do not want their products to retail through the e-commerce route. What is SanDisks stance on this? At SanDisk, we closely observe how consumer and network preferences evolve over time. Our endeavour is to ultimately ensure that customers get the best possible experience and support. When it comes to channels, we do not have a specific choice of A over B. So we continue to remain engaged with our traditional channels while engaging with the growing e-tailing segment. We want to follow a balanced approach as our final responsibility is to the consumer.