India has been one of the largest markets for HP Inc. And the company enjoys a dominant position in both the PC and printing business verticals here. The tech major does not add the contribution of its Indian business to its global turnover. But Richard Bailey, President, Asia-Pacific and Japan, HP, maintains that a conversation about the world “starts with” North America, larger economies of Western Europe and focusses on “where the growth will be from” which is where India comes in.
In an interview to BusinessLine, Bailey spoke about the India market, HP’s outlook and focus areas. Excerpts:
How important is India as a market?
Of course, it has been one of our largest markets. Every government in the region is focussed on smart cities, innovation or digital transformation. And, India is amongst the movers on how to digitise provision of government services and modernising economy through digital transformation. So, it puts the country very much on our radar.
Then there is the whole discussion of talent acquisition in the region, and again India is a strong region for us.
And, from a macroeconomic perspective…
As an economy, it is clear that India will be amongst the top 2/3 economies of the world. It is a matter of time. Issues like demonetisation and GST are over. From the macroeconomic perspective, there is every reason for the organisation to be bullish on India as a market. We already have a large footprint and infrastructure and we have a market leadership position in PC and printers segments. We want to grow, move with the economy and maintain our position.
So does that mean
We have become a lot more focussed on defining markets, products and services relating to it. It means we are thinking specifically for the Indian market. And we are building products that will resonate here, what will be useful and create value.
For instance, we came up with an India development centre for the PC business to understand the opportunities in the market, see what others are doing in that market, influence the product range.
What sort of investments have you made in India?
We have invested in adding people and resources in India. We are also making marketing investments like any other company… there are investments in the core PC and print businesses. But in India, we balance our discussions between now and what does the future look like.
Did GST affect your business?
I think we mirrored what the economy experienced. If there is a change, you have to absorb it. But we focussed mostly on protecting our channels.
Overall, the movement of goods has changed significantly because of GST and in the medium to long term that’s better. There were multiple tax regimes before GST, now it has become easier to do business in India.
Does a tariff war between the US and China impact HP?
I do not see any impact of that on the India business. On tariffs, the position we have taken is that if you impose tariffs, you impact consumers in the US. And we are providing our part to the US-admin on that. In the end, we will do what we need to in the interest of our stakeholders and customers.
In India, you vacated the devices market (mobiles and tablet PCs). Any plans to get back into it?
It is very unlikely. I don’t think we have the technology to add value and provide adequate return. We do tablet PCs for specific purposes and we will do that as long as they make business sense.
Are you participating in any smart city project in India?
We have spoken with some of the large corporations involved in the project. But as of now, we do not have any direct participation.
However, we need to be cognisant about how our devices, services and solutions can play into that.
The writer was in Singapore
at the invitation of HP
Source: The Hindu