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Birth of the Rs 9990 PC!

Last updated on: April 12, 2005 16:18 IST

The writing on the wall was clear for a long time, but it was left to two gawky young men from West Bengal's countryside to decipher it and go for the killing. Perhaps, this is how good companies are born -- without a warning.

A simple mathematical calculation -- that, branded computers formed only about 40 per cent of India's PC market -- was what prompted Shantanu Ghosh and his brother-in-arms Tathagata Dutta to try their luck in the competitive world of hardware assembling.

The duo began small, but with a definitive plan and moved up steadily in their business of PC assembling until it was time to graduate into the big league.

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Around end-2001, the Indian PC market saw HCL, Compaq and Zenith together cornering only 40 per cent of the pie, the rest of the market was being taken care of by small, unorganised computer assemblers.

Ghosh and Dutta were quick to realise the huge price gap between the branded and assembled products and decided to capitalise on the difference.

According to Ghosh, the market waited to be tapped and anyone providing computers at a low cost with excellent after-sales service could claim a huge share of the 60 per cent differential market.

Xenitis Infotech was, thus, born.

Rs 9,900 Xenitis PC launched!

With a relatively small investment of Rs 500,000, they opened a factory in West Bengal and began producing 'Amar PC'. It costs Rs 9990 only!

The nomenclature indicated the kind of computer brand Xenitis wanted to build -- inexpensive, non-intimidating and friendly.

The rise of Xenitis was phenomenal and within a year it became the top-selling brand in eastern India and the third largest in the country.

Pushing the price bar and providing top quality after-sales service have been their vehicle to success.

The process of pushing the price bar continues and the company this year came out with a 'sub-10K' PC.

Also known as 'Apna PC' and 'Amchi PC', colloquial nomenclatures that would ring familiar with customers, the computers are predicted to capture the second highest marketshare in India in the next two years.

The company has tied up with China's Unitech for hardware components and is starting another production line in Goa that will take care of the market in southern India.

Company officials said they were hoping to touch Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) in business this fiscal.

"We hope to revolutionise the Indian PC market. Our aim is to encourage every child to become PC savvy.

"We are also encouraging our grand parents to mess around with the PC and familiarise themselves so that the initial phobia of a computer is erased," said Xenitis group CEO David Nair.

David N Nair, CEO XenitisGroup

How has the company managed to bring out PCs so cheap? Where's the catch?

There is no catch. Long-term business does not run on 'catches'. It is a collective effort of good sourcing and human area networking.

How good are these PCs compared to those which, say, have an AMD or Intel platform?

A PC does not alone depend on CPUs. There are other devices also that makes a PC efficient. We maintain a quality control on all our products.

How does it compare to the Simputer?

A simputer is a simputer, a PC is a PC. Don't know how we can compare two different products.

Will this increase PC penetration?

Yes. Xenitis has become the first company in India to come out with a sub 10K PC. We are also the first to come out with a sub 11K (Intel based) PC. We are addressing the mass here. We want to de-mystify the myth that PC is not for every one. Our aim is to encourageªevery child to become PC savvy. We are also encouraging our grand parents to mess around with the PC and familarise themselves so that the initial phobia of a computer is erased.

Is the company a part of the so-called 'affordable computing' campaign that's been talked about for long now?

We are not a part of any group. XenitisGroup is an entity by itself. Our endeavour is to revolutionise our country and our dream is that every home should have a PC (along with the TV).

M Chhaya in Kolkata