Datawind, the Canadian tablet maker has been selling its low-cost tablet in India from last few years. Though the company also sells low-cost smartphones with one-year of free internet, they haven’t attracted many buyers as the devices come with very basic specifications and cheap build quality. Even the free internet is limited to few network carriers and used on the company’s pre-installed browser. The company is the sole manufacturer of the Indian government’s Aakash project tablets which are said to be distributed to the University students at very affordable price. The first tablet was launched in 2011, and this scheme was a failure as there is no much stock to serve the huge population of millennials in the country.
The company also sold the same tablets in the commercial market under the Ubisoft series. Though there is no much growth in the tablets usage, with its low-cost mantra, Datawind emerged as the largest brand in India in terms of tablet sales. It has a market share of 34.2% which is well ahead of the Samsung in the second place with 20.9% market share. Since the key growth of Datawind is its low price tag, it has 74.4% market share in the sub Rs. 5,000 priced segment. While most of the global brands aren’t concentrating at the Sub Rs. 5,000 price segment, there are few Indian brands who have launched couple for tablets.
Datawind imports its part from China and other Asian countries and later assembles them here in India. Now the company has formally launched its new manufacturing facility in Hyderabad. It has been functional for last two months and already shipped 2.5 lakh units. The company had first announced about this new facility in February this year. Datawind will be investing a total of Rs. 100 crore in a phased manner and also creates 600 jobs in the first year which will be later increased to 1,000. Earlier to this, the company used to assemble its device in Amritsar plant where more than one lakh units are manufactured per month. Now, at its new plant in Hyderabad, the company plans to manufacturer 2o lakh units in the first year. With its full capacity, it can also reach as high as 50 lakh units per year.
Apart from this, Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of Datawind, also said to bring laptops alongside the tablets and smartphones. With more demand in the low costs smartphones and tablets, Datawind will be focussing on devices priced between Rs 1,500 to 5,000. The company also announced to start its journey as a virtual network operator (VNO) with an investment of Rs 70-80 crores. The virtual network operator makes an agreement with established carriers and provides their services on behalf of Datawind. With their own SIM cards, Datawind also plans to announce unlimited browsing pack for just Rs 20 while the validity of the packs is yet to be announced. Stay tuned for more updates!