HP India talks about the growth potential in the Indian market

Devang Karia, country manager-large format design, PPS-GSB at HP India shared insights from the wide-format market and its growth potential on the sidelines of Media Expo, scheduled from 23 to 25 February at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Mumbai.

10 Mar 2017 | By Krishna Naidu

PrintWeek India (PWI): What’s is your top product at Media Expo? What are you showcasing at Media Expo?
Devang Karia (DV): At Media Expo, we are focussing on PageWide because it's our flagship technology. We are also displaying solutions for the graphic, photo and signage industry. This is the mix of verticals but the intent is to really connect with our customers and hear from them the value proposition solution that we are offering to our industry.

PWI: Any new product launch from your company at the show?
DV: It’s the HP PageWide XL 5000 that we are showing at the Media Expo for the first time in the Mumbai edition, it's been around as we had launched PageWide XL 5000 in India about a year ago but we are showcasing at Media Expo for the first time.

PWI: How it has been for HP in the 12 months?
DV: We have been dominating as far as the HP PageWide segment is concerned. We have about 80-90% share in that particular space throughout the year and we hope that we continue to maintain that share. The installations have been pretty strong throughout the year, we have installed about close to 45-50 machines throughout the country already. There is a lot of interest and there is a buzz in the industry about the PageWide. Currently, we are working strongly and we expect strong closures. There was a slight slowdown in the industry because of the demonetisation but the segment is recovering and coming back very strongly.

PWI: How Media Expo 2017 has been for HP in terms of sales?
DV: We had few closures on day one and two of the show.

PWI: What is your take on this market?
DV: Especially, the design industry has been growing steadily in India. In a lot of other economies, we have seen either stagnant performance, when it comes to overall market size. But in India, it is slowly growing; it is primarily because of the infrastructure and the reforms which the government is driving in India, especially in tier two and three. The top cities in tier one for us continues to deliver top performance. All in all, it is not only helping us growing in our share of the market, while the market is growing itself. We definitely see that the market is going to change a bit, especially with the reforms that the government has announced and GST coming into play, definitely, the way the Indian customers are doing business; it’s definitely going to change. In terms of market, we are positive and we expect the trend of growth to continue.

Yes, GST will be helpful, now the market size is growing and we are practically shipping 40 percent more units than we were shipping earlier. This also means that managing the inventory and moving it around will be a lot easier. Then, all the levels of taxes will get further simplified. It will also help the customers to do business in more easier and efficient way. There will also be cost consolidation, this will happen because of GST and that will help us as well. If we are able to save on the logistics and moving around units across the country, I guess, it should help and transform a lot of OEM.

PWI: How is this market?
DV: The market in India is growing and we retain a strong share, currently, we have about 74 percent share in this space. In segments, we are holding a very strong share as well. We are extremely optimistic and then we are also having critical announcements for the Indian market. We have been introducing new products in the past one and a half year. We also expect the new announcement to move forward in this financial year as well. I think this should help to build the momentum that we are trying to build in the overall market.

PWI: What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for the wide-format industry in 2017 and why?
DV: It’s going to be Government E-marketplace (GeM), an initiative driven by the Government of India (GOI). Especially in the rate contracts, previously done manually through vendor process has now gone online through an e-marketplace. This practically opens up the market, when it comes to the way we have been engaging with the government and enterprise customers. I personally feel that this will be a game changer in the market because digitisation is really picking up the speed. This will be one of the key factors, especially in the technical printing space.

On the graphic space, I see the market consolidating. I see that it’s always been the few players dominating the market and more players are becoming aggressive. The market size is growing in the graphic side by almost 40 percent and that should make this space more useful for the vendors including HP. With the Latex portfolio, we will be going very aggressively and try to gain the share.

PWI: Print pricing in your region? Is it better than the rest of India?
DV: Our main intent is that the customers remain competitive in their own business structure, especially in the products and value proposition that they are offering to their end customers. Our main intent is that the customers are always able to differentiate themselves in the market by offering very high-quality application at a reasonable cost.

PWI: What’s the one thing that the industry should do more of, or do better, in 2017?
DV: This industry has been always a fragmented industry. It’s not been structured or segmented well. As the market continues to evolve, the maturity of the customers and the technical know-how is growing significantly. But if the industry association is able to train the print service providers and try and help vendors like us and really create that segmentation in the market. I really believe that OEM’s can offer a much better value proposition and solutions for the Indian market. Everybody is trying to do their own bit but if it’s a joint effort then the output will be on a bigger scale.

PWI: How many Media Expo shows have you participated in (years)? How big is your stand at the show?
DV: I have been around for the last 16 to 17 years in the industry and I think it’s more than 35 Media Expo. At the 40th edition of the show, we have got two booths, in booth one, we are focusing on the signage industry and we are showcasing value proposition with our Latex printers and in booth two, we are displaying a mix of solutions. We have got the technical printing, graphic and PageWide portfolios on display. We wanted our customers to really focus on these areas and we try to spend time with our customers and explain the solution offerings.

PWI: How would your product help a print company build on their business?
DV: We have been doing backend activities for our customers. One of the initiatives is our brand owner engagement, where we reach out to the customer and explain the value of printing on the HP platform and how they can retain and sustain their brand across the country. We do a lot of investments there as well and help the customers to reach out to the segments where they have not been before. Another critical thing which we especially invest in the Indian market is the application development and constantly looking for different kinds of substrates. Different kinds of applications that we can try and create to our print service providers so that they can offer a different solution to their end customers. We are also involved in the end customers training programme. We want to speak to our customers and take feedback from them. Lately, India has been getting a lot of attention from our headquarters as well. They are trying to understand the needs of the customers. HP has always been a company, which develops technology using the customer requirement in mind and it’s about the customers, what they need and why does he need it? So, we have been doing a lot of market research. Recently, we have acquired Samsung and the idea is to really reach out to the market and take up the offering of the digital and inkjet printing portfolio to the next level together. HP continues to invest in the thing which benefits the customers business and ensure that they have a different level of profitability.

PWI: Which is the most popular technology in your region - and why so?
DV: Latex is really picking up and the PageWide is the buzz around and it’s making lot of heads turn. We have got a strong install base but it has a long way to go. It's just the tip of the iceberg that we have touched and it's really going to change the way of technical printing is done. So, we see the entire industry transforming from black and white to colour in a very short period of time from the responses that we are getting from the customers. I believe that this is the way the market will shift.

Tags : HP India;