Kingston riding the memory wave

By : |June 7, 2007 0

The Indian market for memory products has been experiencing a stupendous growth rate in recent times. What has triggered this boom? What is in store for this market in the days to come?

Rajesh Panicker, Country Manager, Kingston Technologies, in a chat with Ashwini R of CIOL Bureau, elaborates on the memory map and how its curve is inclined. Excerpts from the interview:

CIOL: The Indian market for flash drives has seen stupendous growth and has grown from 1,00,000 units in 2004-05 to over 9,00,000 units in 2005-06. What according to you has triggered the boom?

Rajesh Panicker: Yes, the flash drive market in our country has seen a colossal growth rate in recent times. There has been a sharp rise in the use of USB drives (to store data) after the duties dropped. Prices have fallen by about 25 percent and this has led to their affordability.

Flash cards, too, have seen a bonanza recently. This, I believe, is a direct result of the current boom in the multimedia mobile phone segment. People want to add more space for their mobile phones using flash cards. Also, their affordability is a major factor that has contributed to their consumption.

CIOL: In the last couple of months, your product line has seen a flurry of activities, with a multitude of products being released. Are you looking to diversify your product module?

RP: We have two product lines, basically, memory and flash memory. Right now, I don’t see any Rajesh Panicker, Country Manager, Kingston Technologies diversification happening here. Also, the products that have been released newly are less in number compared to the increase in our product line capacity.

In fact, I would say that while our products have remained more or less the same, their capacities have been enhanced.

CIOL: Sharing or storing data is a big issue these days thanks to the continuing security concerns. How do your products address this issue?

RP: These days, it is possible to retrieve lost data in a number of ways – for instance, remotely. At Kingston, we have hardware and software encryption models in order to secure data. In fact, in most of our products, there is an inbuilt recovery software that tackles this issue.

CIOL: Your competitors include popular brand names such as SanDisk, Transcend and A-Data. What is your USP to ward off competition?

RP: I agree that there is a lot of competition brewing in the memory domain. However, Kingston is a firm believer in giving out quality products at an expected market price.

In fact, I can assuredly say that consistency is our USP, and our failure rates are very minimal. And thanks to this, there is an increasing demand for Kingston in India and the rest of the globe, too.

CIOL: As a maker of memory products, what according to you are the key trends in the enterprise and consumer sections of this arena? Is innovation happening at a rapid pace?

RP: Yes, I see that trends are pretty much in line, and memory consumption has increased to one-gigabyte modules in India. There is a lot of demand in the mobile flash card and digital camera domains. Also, we see a huge demand for laptops and a lot of memory products (especially DRAM).

One reason for the rapid increase in memory consumption could be the recent updates given to Vista. It could also be because of the booming mobile sector in our country. Certainly due to the current supply situations, technological advancements and subsequent falling prices, both the enterprise and consumer segments are going for bigger and better memory modules.

To give an example, the usual 512GB pen drives are going extinct. Now, 1GB products are getting consumed more and more.
CIOL: Currently, Kingston is at the number two position in the memory market. Where do you see it in near future?

RP: Our plan is to remain within the first-three slot in the memory market this year, and gradually move up to the first position in 2008.

CIOL: After reaching a ‘record’ turnover (of US$3.4bn) in 2006, what is your target for this year?

RP: We were able to achieve a record turnover last year thanks to our booming flash memory business, ValueRAM memory and PC OEM business, along with our HyperX memory business in the high-performance gaming market. We are looking to gain 15-20 points more this year.

CIOL: Is Kingston coming up with any innovative product in the next six months?

RP: Right now, we are focussing on expanding our manufacturing capabilities. We are concentrating our efforts on personal media players, too. We have a few new models in the USB flash drive segment. Besides, we have been concentrating on enhancing the capacities of some of our memory cards such as SDCF. Our R&D team is busy evaluating new applications in the flash cards arena.

To sum up, we are currently not looking at drastically changing our product line, but only enhancing capabilities of our existing products.

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