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MEDIATEK: Tapping India

The Mobile revolution in India has had many ramifications, foreign investment being among them. Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company MediaTek’s growing interest in India, for instance, stems from the country’s growing market for technology-driven products like mobile phones

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The Mobile revolution in India has had many ramifications, foreign investment being among them. Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company MediaTek’s growing interest in India, for instance, stems from the country’s growing market for technology-driven products like mobile phones.

Last year, MediaTek invested some venture capital into two payment system firms: Mobikwik and Paytm. This year, it is weighing its options for more investments in India — both strategic and financial. “From the business point of view, India is growing very fast,” says Grant Kuo, managing director of MediaTek India. The company has 500 employees in India and plans to expand its workforce to 1,500 in the next three years. Taiwanese companies in general, have invested over $6 billion to support ‘Make in India’, as they see India as a potential market.

Recently, MediaTek collaborated with the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Indian Cellular Association through the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taiwan, for a training programme for Indian engineers. MediaTek’s smartphone ecosystem partners shared their expertise with the talent pool from India’s home-grown handset design industry.

It all began when MeitY secretary Aruna Sundararajan, during a trip to Taiwan in June 2016, visited MediaTek and enquired if it could help Indian engineers learn more about hardware and designing. A group of 42 Indian engineers was subsequently sent to Taiwan for a month-and-a-half-long learning programme, to enhance their skills in hardware designing.

The participants represented 22 leading Indian companies, including smartphone brands Micromax, Videocon, Lava and Intex.

The six-week-long training programme focused on in-depth knowledge of product design theory, as well as hands-on experience of building smartphones from scratch. The company also taught soft-skills to help participants lead a team for efficient execution of handset projects.

Participants say the programme has given a solid boost to their confidence level. A senior engineer with Micromax, Abhishek Karmakar, says engineers like him were not confident of their ideas and not sure about their execution either. “But after this programme, I think we can now connect the dots. We lag behind in hardware designing, but we can make this work if we invest more capital in research and development,” he adds.

MediaTek is now building an ecosystem for future partnerships between India and Taiwan. “In future, if India decides to design handsets, it will become our customer and we can help it with the chipset. Currently, we consider, India among the top three markets” says Kuo.

The company plans to hold more such training programmes and tie-ups with India. Chairman and CEO Ming-Kai Tsai, says, “MediaTek and its partners in the smartphone supply chain will continue to collaborate with India, and support its industry to build a complete mobile ecosystem. I hope to see all the participants fully utilise what they have learnt in Taiwan, to bring new handsets to the Indian market in the near future.”

MediaTek earned close to $5 billion from smartphones in 2015, and estimates its global revenue for 2016 at $8.6 billion. It spends about 25 per cent of its return on investment on research and development globally.

The company is now expanding its range of products to smart homes and the Internet of Things (IoT). It recently announced its entry into the automotive sector with IoT, and is excited about the India-Taiwan collaboration.


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