Undeterred by the slow adoption rate of smart card based solutions in the
coun-try, semiconductor major STMicroelectronics believes that now is the right
time for India to adopt smart card based solutions and applica-tions. Firmly
committed towards increasing its India focus, the company is all geared up to
increase its sales and marketing effort within the country. Zia Askari of
CyberMedia News spoke with STMicroelectronics emerging markets VP and Country
Director-India Pradeep Kumar. Excerpts:
Why has smart card based applications not taken off in India so far and
how do you place yourself in the overall scheme of things in this area?
The country is just beginning to gather momen-tum in this area. There was
not much of an infra-structure to deploy smart card based solutions and
applica-tions. This was primarily the reason for these applications not taking
off. This will change as we see a lot of different areas like banking,
insurance, trans-portation and the government sector adopting smart card based
solutions in the daily walk of life for the Indian population.
ST Microelectronics is wor-king closely with its set of partners to provide
its tech-nical support on different fronts in the area of semicon-ductor design.
The company always works towards design-ing chips packed with more power and
memory, which in turn ensures better chip perfor-mance for various applications
in the above-mentioned sectors.
How are you planning to address the Indian market with regards to smart
card based solutions?
We are all set to increase our sales and marketing base to almost all the
major locations within India. As the Indian market is just opening up to various
consumer elec-tronics based equipments-we would be expanding our sales efforts
in cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kol-kota, Chennai, etc. In about three to
four month's time, we would be having our teams in place to address marketing
and sales related issues in these locations.
What kind of investment has ST earmarked for this sales and marketing
expansion in the country?
This sales and marketing expansion is primarily fuel-led by our broader
invest-ment commitment to invest $ 100 million in India over the next five
years. The current expansion plans also include building another
state-of-the-art design center in a 25-acre land purchased in Greater Noida.
Earlier this year, we had opened our third design and develop-ment center at
Noida, which has a capacity of 500 skilled chip design and embedded software
Apart from this, we had also opened a design center at Bangalore capable of
housing 100 people. Currently, we have a manpower base of 1,600 people and plan
to add another 500 people by end of 2005. Till date we have invested about $ 50
million in setting up our design and development centers in India.
What is driving ST to have its market presence in these cities within
The growing disposable income of people within the country has led to a
tremen-dous growth in consumer electronics and durables mar-ket. The demand for
DVDs, set top boxes (STB) and other such consumer electronic items has grown
Consequently, we see a huge potential market for semiconductor chips on which
these items are based. Hence, we want to increase our market presence in the
country as we are a key supplier of chipsets for DVDs and STBs. ST is currently
in talks with several OEM manufacturers for supply of chipsets for DVD and STB
Further ST is also upbeat on the smart cards market. We wish to replicate our
global success in India's smart card market also.