Sunday, May 19, 2024

“Capitalise On ‘China Plus Two,’ Where Products With Higher Value Addition Become The Focus”

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EPIC Foundation aims to transform India into an electronics hardware product nation by collaborating with governments, universities, design houses, and startups. In a conversation with EFY’s Yashasvini Razdan, the Foundation’s Chairman and Former HCL Co-founder Ajai Chowdhry advocates for SME-friendly incentive schemes and stresses on developing a VC ecosystem for hardware.

Ajai Chowdhry, Former HCL Co-founder

Q. One of EPIC Foundation’s goals is “Transforming India into an electronics hardware product nation.” Aren’t we already well along that path, with the numerous policies that the government has introduced?

A. I have seen many Indian brands vanish despite favourable government policies for manufacturing. Now, that’s a very terrible situation to be in! At a time when the government has come up with great policies for manufacturing products in India, the question that remains is, how many Indian companies are benefiting from it? A few Indian companies, like Dixon and VVDN, manufacture for others, but a lack of Indian products globally is evident. This is not a good situation for a large country like India; we must have our own product ecosystem.

Q. So, how is EPIC Foundation working to build India’s product ecosystem, and who funds these activities?

A. EPIC advocates for building a product industry alongside semiconductor and component manufacturing as part of the India Semiconductor Mission Advisory Board. Manufacturing alone won’t suffice without solid product demand. Companies like Dixon are considering designing and manufacturing their products, but more must follow to compete globally. Our goal at EPIC is to collaborate with governments, fostering a comprehensive product ecosystem around universities, design houses, and startups. Over the next decade, this decentralised approach across the country can create a thriving design and product ecosystem, competing with China. By nurturing hundreds of brands, we can seize the opportunity created by the trust deficit with China, attracting countries to India for product design and manufacturing.

The initial funding was put in by my co-founder, Arjun Malhotra, and I. We do some consulting work to generate revenues and look at the industry to contribute through CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.

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A. How can India implement the ‘China plus one’ strategy?


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Yashasvini Razdan
Yashasvini Razdan
Yashasvini Razdan is a journalist at EFY. She has the rare ability to write both on tech and business aspects of electronics, thanks to an insatiable thirst to know all about technology. Driven by curiosity, she collects hard facts and wields the power of her pen to simplify and disseminate information.


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