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Dennis Hissink : January 27th 2004 - 02:10 CET

SanDisk commences retail sales in India


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SanDiskSanDisk today announced that it has begun distribution of its entire line of flash memory cards, card readers and other digital accessories in India, a country of more than 1 billion people that is poised for major growth in consumer electronics. The company has chosen Cosmo Digitec Private Limited, with offices in New Delhi and Mumbai, to distribute its products nationwide, primarily in specialty photographic and computer supply stores. In India, most retailing consists of small, family-owned shops, generally under 500 square feet, with just a few large shopping malls and chain-store retailers sprouting up in major cities. Acording to Alex Chan: "Currently, the India consumer electronics retail market is in its infancy."
Alex Chan, SanDisk's sales manager for Asia and the Pacific Rim: "We are at the beginning of the growth cycle, and we think there is significant potential for the future sales of SanDisk's products in India."

Chan said that the boom in information technology bodes well for SanDisk. According to A.T. Kearney, an international management consulting company, the class of discretionary spenders now ranges between 40 million and 70 million people and is growing by 5-10 percent each year. Kearney projects that the organized sector of retailing, which currently is a fraction of the overall $202 billion retail market, will rise from its current level of $409 million per year to $2.9 billion by 2006 as retail chains expand their operations.

India has achieved a higher profile worldwide, especially in IT, with its well-regarded computer training institutions, its leadership in software development, and the rapid growth of database management companies with global contracts. All of these have been helping the local economy and fueling interest in consumer electronics. According to Bhupinder Sachdeva, President of Cosmo Digitec, the market is projected to expand dramatically when the government lowers import duties in the near future - as it is expected to do -- thus reducing retail prices.

Sachdeva said that the digital photography market, while new, is showing a strong growth rate and may ultimately yield the highest sales volumes, as it has in other Asian countries, once consumers discover that reusable flash memory is cheaper and more versatile than using conventional film. Cosmo Digitec already is distributing CompactFlash, Secure Digital and MultiMediaCards through specialty photo shops. In addition, SD cards and the Cruzer line of portable USB memory devices are going into IT shops, he said, while MultiMediaCards and CompactFlash WiFi cards are shipping to outlets selling mobile phones and PDAs.

Sachdeva's company, which was started in 1998, specializes in consumer electronics products. It imports and distributes blank storage media, home entertainment systems, professional sound and light equipment, and photographic goods such as Minolta, Nikon and Olympus cameras. "Cosmo Digitec's dynamic young leadership has a grasp of the emerging markets and has the diversification necessary to represent our product line," said Chan. "We believe that this is an excellent partnership."




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