Chennai: TVS Electronics Ltd, which makes printers, is aiming to expand its overseas business by focusing on countries where bills and receipts are still primarily printed in local languages.
“Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia—these are some of the countries we are looking at,” said S. Narendran, vice-president of the printer business at TVS, that sells about 70,000 printers—at roughly Rs10,000 per printer—every year in India.
TVS Electronics has about 70% share of the market for dot matrix printers targeted primarily at small customers who would use it for bills.
Local language printers need to be tweaked to deliver at the same speed as an English language printer because a normal printer treats a “strange” language as it would a photograph—and it prints it in a pixilated format.
A normal machine prints a local language at 40% the speed it would a page in English.
Narendran explains that the modified printers made by TVS Electronics, however, has each character in a language—such as Tamil—fed as templates into the printer so it recognizes characters when given a command to print a page filled with Tamil print.
“As a result, you can print local languages at the same speed as you would a page in English,” said Narendran. The company has an India-specific patent for this “template” method of printing Indian languages.
Currently, South-East Asian countries use normal English language printers to print their local language pages, at 40% the speed, he said. The cost for printing in the local language is the same as for English language ones, roughly 2 paise per page. Inkjet and laser printers typically cost 80 paise per page or more.
“The demand for dot matrix printers is only there in developing countries (as) transaction printing in developed nations has upgraded to inkjet (and) laser,” says P.G. Kamath, who, until March, headed Lexmark International Inc.’s Indian operations.