A PC for every Indian

DQW Bureau
New Update


One out of every 50 Indian owns a PC: a very dramatic statement;

a potential headline for newspapers and magazines.

The jubilation, however, was short-lived. At a time when we are

trying to position India as a competitor to China on the IT front, especially in

software, services, and BPO, the 22 million installed PC base of India is a

number that should not have headlines. In fact, it should be a secret, we should

all shudder at the thought of becoming public.

My jaws dropped when somebody mentioned that in China about 30

million PCs are being sold every year. And, this number is going to increase

rapidly, because market trackers predict that by 2010, China would have added

another 178 million PCs.


Actually, at a global level also, the numbers being discussed

are gigantic. From the current 600 million PCs in the world, the number will

more than double by 2010 to about 1.3 billion PCs. And, we as Indians, being

happy at reaching a total installed base of 22 million PCs, need second


"As in the case

of cell phones, India seriously needs to have PC targets too"

Agreed that PC numbers might not be the only thing in the world,

but I believe that in the coming years, it will be. Countries with a very high

PC penetration will have so many advantages.


A huge domestic hardware market in China, where about 40 plus

million PCs will sell every year, means that China-based IT related

manufacturing will beat all calculations of economies of scale. And,

manufacturing PCs and all the components in any other country besides China

might not make any sense at all. This could be bad news for India, at a time

when IT and telecom manufacturing is gathering some steam here.

The impact of a huge PC base in China will go far beyond making

that country and its neighbors the global manufacturing hub. Just imagine a

situation if there are 300 million or more PC owners in China, with some

knowledge of English and IT, or any other technical skills, that can be

connected over high- quality telecom networks. They could substantially change

China's strength in the IT services, BPO or KPO space. The ecosystem will have

thousands of software developers, application builders, systems integrators,

content aggregators, and other service providers ranging from managed services

to facility management to maintenance units. This will give not just a big boost

to the domestic IT industry, but to the overall economy of the country.

Ever since the merging of the IT and telecom ministry, one hoped

that both will grow on each other's strengths, and therefore get equal impetus

from the government. However, what we have witnessed is something different. The

erstwhile IT and communications minister was actually more of a telecom

minister. One hopes and urges the new minister to give a lot of focus to IT too,

and perhaps PC targets for the country, just as there are cellphone and

broadband targets.