Is ProDot poaching printer OEM's market

DQW Bureau
New Update


Walk into the lanes and by-lanes of the

channel marketplaces in Delhi, Mumbai or Bangaluru, the local refill

dealers sport their low-cost compatible printer supplies. Be it an

HP, Canon, Epson or Samsung printer, the consumers can have locally

made, price-friendly toner powder, refill kits, cartridges and

ribbons. Blame it on the soaring price of the printer OEMs, who have

miserably failed to keep down the price-levels, giving a way to

embrace such readily-available options. Take an instance of

Delhi-based ProDot-a brand of Datalink Industrial Corporation,

which is growing steadily in the compatible consumables business. The

company today maintains five warehouses and sells its compatible

products through more than 150 distributors and over 2,500 resellers

in the country.

The printer OEMs are significantly

loosing their market share to the locally-grown manufacturers.

Flouting the CVC norms, several of the PSUs and government

departments are sourcing consumables from the ProDot. Besides, SOHO

and SMB segments, the company's clientele include Indira Gandhi

National Open University, Steel Authority of India, Punjab National

Bank, State Bank of India, Indian Oil Corporation and the Supreme

Court of India, among others. Canon has recently initiated the US

International Trade Commission (USITC) Section 337 complaint against

a China-based vendor, claiming infringement on two of its patents for

toner cartridges. HP alone holds more than 4,000 patents for

consumable supplies, and spends huge amount in R&D activities and


The generic print consumables has posed

a serious threat to the industry giants, who are experiencing more

than 50 percent YoY sales decline. Alarmed with this viable scare,

the vendors like HP are contemplating to install chip with a

sequencing code on the printers' head so that they could easily

identify, if the cartridge is original by keying the code onto the

website. A source in Epson said that, the company does not facilitate

warranty repairs if the compatible cartridges are being used in their

printers. QualityLogic 2010 study revealed that more than 60 percent

of all refilled cartridges tested were found DoA or of a low quality.

Compitables' hazards include failure in printing ahead of schedule,

shorter yield than originals, poor quality of image and direct impact

on printers' head. The sluggish and laid-back attitude of printer

OEM's biggies is fueling compatibles' growth in Asia, and India in

particular. Canon did not respond to The DQ Week's query,

despite of repeated attempts. Nitin Hiranandani, Director- Enterprise

Sales and Services, IPG at HP India, when asked about the presence of

local manufacturers like ProDot said that, they advocate and educate

customers and partners to use original printer supplies. "Supplies

play a critical and integral part of printing and lot of customers

buy counterfeit cartridge assuming them as originals," said

Hiranandani on the sidelines of a recent press conference.

Questioning the legitimacy of its printer supplies, ProDot choose not

to answer.