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Business News/ Companies / News/  Intel bets on digital transformation, local manufacturing for India growth
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Intel bets on digital transformation, local manufacturing for India growth

These initiatives are also driving momentum for domestic technology spending, says India MD Santhosh Viswanathan

Santhosh Viswanathan, managing director of Intel India. Premium
Santhosh Viswanathan, managing director of Intel India.

US-headquartered Intel, one of the world’s largest chipmakers for consumer and enterprise markets, is betting on the digital transformation and Make in India initiatives to accelerate growth in India for the long term. In an interview, managing director of Intel India Santhosh Viswanathan said these initiatives are also driving momentum for domestic technology spending.

“If you look at market sentiment in India, there’s a lot of momentum on technology and tech spending. The entire conversation around digital foundation is strong, and in the long run, it gives us good appetite to grow, and grow faster in India. Further, initiatives around Make in India and building a resilient supply chain are other factors where we’re starting to see a lot of innovations," he added.

Intel’s operating revenue for the quarter was down 8% from a year ago due to conservative tech spending sentiments worldwide, according to its Q2 FY24 earnings results announced on 26 October.

However, Viswanathan said the advent of local brands, driven by optimism in domestic manufacturing and production-linked incentives (PLIs) of the central government, will be a key growth factor. “We are seeing multiple local brands coming up during the festive season sales in India, across categories. At one point, they didn’t even exist. This foundation is great, and will hopefully lead to a lot more contributions from India from a technology market perspective. It’ll help us grow here."

During the September quarter, the company’s consumer and enterprise chip markets contributed over 82% to its overall revenue.

Despite ceding market share to Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Intel continued to lead the data centre processors segment with a market share of 70.8%, according to a 27 February report by Counterpoint. This is helping Intel leverage brand partnerships by offering reference designs to the local brands. “Intel’s role in local manufacturing in India has many angles: one, the local electronics manufacturing push is a key deal, since it will help us build a supply chain here. This is an area where we can accelerate. Intel has been a fundamental building block for many of these products—be it laptops, servers, or any area where computer is used."

“It works exactly the way we work with many ODMs, offering reference design, engineering and other support. This helps us ensure that when we launch something, there’s readiness for adoption of products."

Viswanathan said the company has over 14,000 employees in India, who are focused on research and development initiatives. However, it would not have a single-lineup focus on creating chips for the nascent generative artificial intelligence market, which has helped rival Nvidia gain significantly in the past one year.

“Our latest global earnings call detailed on how AI is driving interest. Our belief is AI is not a one-engine model—it will be everywhere. The building block of our AI push is our Xeon lineup, which can run multiple AI models already. That’s the most deployed infrastructure that India has. If you look at LLMs, we have GPUs and accelerators that support them in the market. We’ve spoken about Meteor Lake and other recent lineups is to make AI inferencing possible at the edge. This has led to notebooks with dedicated neural processing units. Our concept of AI is not around a single massive structure to support it, and involves multiple edge devices that turn everything into AI engines," Viswanathan said.

He, however, refrained from comment on whether Intel is holding any talks about semiconductor PLI. “We are in the conversation to make technology adoption wider, greater and better in the country."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shouvik Das
Shouvik Das is a science, space and technology reporter for Mint and TechCircle. In his previous stints, he worked at publications such as CNN-News18 and Outlook Business. He has also reported on consumer technology and the automobile sector.
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Published: 07 Nov 2023, 11:25 PM IST
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