SanDisk to reach tier I, II cites through partners

By : |February 14, 2006 0

Bhaskar Hazarika

NEW DELHI: After opening the India Design center, the $2.3 billion flash storage manufacturer, SanDisk Corporation is planning to expand its distribution network to increase it direct sales in the country. The company invests about 10 percent of its revenues in R&D and holds about 350 patents.



In an exclusive interview, SanDisk’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, Sanjay Mehrotra revealed the company’s future plans for increasing the direct sales.

What are your plans for expanding the business in India?

We are looking for distributors in tier I and tier II cities to expand our business. This year, we are planning to tie-up with some channels with good distribution network across the country.

What is your present market share in India?

Our current sales in India are worth “low single-digit million dollars”. Though there are no official estimates available on the market size, the boom in sales of high-end phones, digital cameras, gaming devices, and flash-based MP3 players is seen driving demand for flash memories. The ‘no name’ brands and the grey market are dominating the major share of flash cards in India.

Who are the other players in this segment?

Other players in the segment are Sony, Samsung, Lexar, and QMemory. There are also some Taiwanese companies in this segment.

Who are your customers for these flash storage cards?

Nokia is one of our major customers for the mini SD cards. Sumsung is also one of our valued customers. The mini SD cards are used in the latest GSM handsets designed by these mobile companies.

Is the recently inaugurated R&D center at Bangalore the first center in the Asia-Pacific? Do you have plans to expand it?

The design center is the first stand-alone facility in India. There are currently 10 people at the design center who would jointly work with the design team at California and Japan. We have our R&D center in Silicon Valley, California and research facilities in Israel, Japan and Scotland.

We have plans to develop our design center in Bangalore. We will be hiring around 40 engineers for our center within a year.

What will the design center concentrate on?

The SanDisk India Design Centre will initially concentrate on projects involving NAND memory – the heart of SanDisk’s flash memory cards, USB drives and MP3 players. The team will be expanded to include development work on ASIC controllers, which are the gatekeepers for data in flash memory cells. We would undertake cutting-edge product design and controller development work.

Are your optimistic about your growth in India when your direct sales are still low?

India is a logical place for us to expand our global network of research and development centers because of the great talent pool here and because of our existing relationships with companies that support us in hardware, firmware and software testing. We are serious about India and see great growth opportunity here.

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