No Magic Pill. HP Looks to Ride Digital Wave Here
HP is focused on the Digital India market and the company is building devices, such as tablets with fingerprint and iris readers, to deliver Aadhaar-based services that will likely launch in September, CEO Dion Weisler said. Weisler added that GST had collapsed some complexities and that the company could re-look at expanding manufacturing in India. In an interview with ET’s Jochelle Mendonca and TV Mahalingam, Weisler spoke about the company’s plans for Indiaspecific devices and its prospects in the Indian market. Excerpts:
INDIA PLAY We design in India for India. We are then looking to figure out how we can export these design principles to other markets
It’s been about two years since the company split into two — HP and HP Enterprises. How is that separation going? For us, 18 months into separation, I think we’ve even surprised ourselves. We’re often asked ‘What’s your biggest surprise?’ And my answer is, ‘The speed at which we’ve been able to execute.’
Here we are, almost two years into it, and the results are really starting to show. I characterised it on our last earnings call as a breakthrough quarter for us, where both business segments grew and that’s the first time since 2010. We’re performing well in the market on the back of great innovation. There’s no trick in here, no magic pill. It’s just a lot of hard work that we did. Our personal systems business has been growing in the double digits over the past couple of quarters and our printing system returned to growth as well.
You had said you would create a Digital India division. How is that working out? In India, we said we would go out and form a division to focus on Digital. And we formed that in 2016, it is very well funded and staffed. We have a customer welcome centre in Delhi, and I visit a lot of them all over the world, and this one is by far the best we have anywhere in the world. Not because of the size and scale but because of its applicability in solutions.
So, everything you see there is anchored around a solution that is geared to transforming the Digital India mission that the government is putting in place.
How important is creating India-specific solutions to HP? We only have two design centres in the world, focused on designing for local markets, one is here and one is in China.
So, we design in India for India. We are then looking to figure out how we can export these design principles to other markets, whether emerging markets or even developed markets that we think has a viable option for the solution.
We are encouraged by the market opportunity and the work the team is doing.
HP already manufactures in India. Would you consider expanding manufacturing here? As a global manufacturer and a global brand, when we’ve looked to India in the past as a country to set up manufacturing shop, the economic equations never made sense for a number of reasons.
For one, the math just doesn’t work but, two, the complexity of getting anything done here with the tax regulations and duties was so difficult that it just goes to the ‘too hard’ basket and you go somewhere else.
With GST, you collapsed a number of those barriers and that’s forcing us to do a re-look at how we look at our manufacturing footprint. One, will the math work and two, will we be able to execute. Because the executability is key and GST has