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Home > City Resources > Computers and Internet > Interview

New era in handheld
Indian English Via Voice
Taking IT to the Masses
A Social Dimension
Dr Sankaran P Raghunathan
N. Parameshwaran
A Akthar Hussain
Satyam spoke to A Akthar Hussain of Challenger Computer, one of the biggest dealers in computer peripherals, fax modems, multi media products, printer accessories and consumables on Ritchie Street.

The Computer market today

Computer ShowroomChennai, which is acknowledged as a huge market, has the same standard of products that are there on the international market. The manufacturers of computer hardware, computer peripherals, consumables and other accessories have taken us seriously and this is reflected in the market where all the goods are of the same standard as in the international market. The computer buyer in Chennai gets the latest product at the same time as in the world market. The prices are all positioned aggressively for the end user. This has been the trend right from 1998 onwards. I would say, not only in Chennai, but also across the country. Two years ago, there was one major issue that was dogging the retail scene in Chennai. This was about the warranty and after-sales-service offered by MNC's like Samsung, LG and others. From the end of 1998 onwards even this became a non-issue as the big manufacturers have strengthened their warranty and after sales service and the customer has an excellent support system at present. This and the IT boom have all made it the right time for anyone planning to buy a PC. People are now aware of the boom that has taken place in the IT sector.

The computer retail market nets sizeable revenue for the state government in the form of tax, which is applied on every product that is sold in the market.

Trends in computer purchase

All over India you can observe a similar trend in the purchase decision of people buying a computer. 70 to 80% of the companies, small offices and home users either buy the components and will assemble their own PC or get it assembled through a qualified hardware engineer. The rest of the consumers go in for branded PC's. What is more important and crucial for branded manufacturers is to understand why people prefer assembled computers to the branded ones. It is not only because of the price, but also, when a person buys an assembled computer, there is much more flexibility as far as the configuration and one can personally check the components that go into the system. The person who is investing forty to fifty thousand rupees in a computer should be able to check the system and its performance. It is the least that a company should do for its customer.

Assembled Computers

But there is a slight catch when going in for an assembled computer. The end user, be it a person from the company or the home user who is making the purchase decision, has to take into consideration the background of the firm s/he orders the assembled computer from. If the firm is unethical and unscrupulous, they will place second hand components and just give you a new cabinet. If this is to be avoided, one has to check the antecedents of the firm; like how many years it has been in the market and ask previous customers of the firm about its after-sales-service. One should not always look at price alone, while going in for a computer. The price can be quite misleading in some cases. Low-end prices or high-end prices do not always mean a good or bad bargain. There may be hidden factors or the after-sales-service response-time that may be poor.

Computer Consumables

As far as the consumables market is concerned, the potential is very high, since this is a fast moving segment. With the demand for computers only increasing, the consumable market is certainly going to grow. There is a very good distribution network as far as the consumables for computers are concerned. Also there is very wide choice for the consumers.

Fluctuating Prices

This is a very volatile market as far as the prices are concerned. The prices fluctuate almost on a daily basis. Some of the factors, which influence this fluctuation of prices, are the dollar rate and the international market trend in the computer hardware market. These factors combine to make the prices either drop or rise. The most significant factor that I would single out for the price rice in the market is the dollar rate. When the rupee gets devalued against the dollar, then the price of every single component goes up.

- Joesph Pradeep Raj R
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