Soon You Will Be Seeing 'Make In India' Laptops From Us: Asus India To News18 Tech

The laptop category in India is no longer considered to be stagnant, and buyers have plenty of options with brands like Xiaomi and Realme added to the mix. Most people consider HP, Lenovo and Dell as the mainstays in this sector, but it is hard to ignore the importance of a brand like Asus which has continued to scale new heights in the industry by prioritising innovation for consumers.

We spoke to Arnold Su, Head of Consumer PC, Gaming (ROG), Asus India and Sam Huang, Country Product Manager (India) – PC, ASUS India, to understand the company’s product lineup, its ideas behind the new innovative products and plans for make in India.

News18 Tech: How has the PC market evolved in the past few years?

Arnold: In the past few years, before COVID, us as a PC brand, we saw a decline in the PC industry. Some said mobiles will takeover PC. But in the last year 2 years, people realised that mobile is for content consumption, while you need a PC for creation. Asus has so many products for different customers, because we release in the PC market, you have screen, keyboard and mouse. For instance, gaming is a big part of our focus, not just now but many years back. There is a requirement from customers for gaming laptops to play on the go.

People can’t buy a PC for gaming, and another for work. So, we have worked on machines that can do both. Even I use a powerful PC for light gaming and still able to use it for work and carry it with ease. We also have dedicated convertibles that have enhanced graphics cards so that the customer can work and play on the same machine.

News18 Tech: Many brands faced issues during the pandemic, but also saw a huge demand from the market. Did you face similar challenges as well?

Arnold: Asus is still a growing brand. We are not worried about the supply part, and focus on working with our supplies to provide them with the required units. We collect the feedback from the market, and plan our product strategy based on the demand and needs of the consumers. The previous two years, laptop demand was strong, which has now come down. But Asus can easily manage the demand and deliver with products for consumers.

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News18 Tech: India has predominantly been a budget-conscious market, even for laptops. How have you managed to build interest for your high-end machines?

Arnold and Sam: In the past few years, Asus has launched premium products, especially with gaming, like the G14. These kind of machines cost over a lakh in India. But you would be surprised to know that the model sold more in India than in China, Europe and even the US

Yes, we can agree that over 30 to 40 pc market in India is still price conscious and prefers the entry-level laptops, but Indian buyers also like to try the latest tech, which shows in the demand for such products. Apart from gaming, you have the ZenBook premium series, which includes the dual-screen model, the OLED version, and Indian consumers knows about these technologies and they are ready to pay for such products. India is the third-largest PC market in the world, but we don’t see the country just as an entry-level laptop market, we can bring different products.

Asus India laptops

In the past 2 years, the average selling price (ASP) of laptops in India increased by about 15 per cent. In 2022, it has has gone up from around $450 (Rs 35,500 approx) to $510 (Rs 40,290). Consumers are willing to pay more, if the product has good features, latest tech and more. The other reason for the increase in ASP can also be attributed to the increase in cost of the raw materials used in making laptops.

In 2019, the entire consumer laptop market size in India was less than 4 million, and last year, it was 6 million, which is a decent growth for the overall segment. The demand has pushed the market to a new level, and now we are seeing it saturate after that jump.

News18 Tech: In the high priced segment, people tend to prefer MacBooks over Windows laptops. How have you managed to attract consumers towards your products?

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Arnold and Sam: Apple has come out with new hardware for its MacBooks, but we are confident with the support from Intel and Nvidia that can deliver better performance and some value.

Also, it is easier to adopt different software’s on Windows, which can be a challenge on MacOS. Customers understand these differences, and willing to spend big on a powerful Windows laptop these days. We also give some features that Apple does not have, so that works in our favour. We want to capture some share from the MacBooks in this region.

Asus has worked closely with Microsoft to ensure that some software are compatible with the dial and even the dual screen versions. We have been selling the dual screen laptops for over three years now, and we can worked on making the products better which has been received well by the users and the market in general. Having said that, we continue to push ourselves
and look for better solutions for our dual screen series.

News18 Tech: How are you able to offer OLED display on your mainstream laptops, what was the reason behind this move?

Arnold and Sam: For the OLED series, we have different kind of products, starting from Rs 50,000 price band. For the panels, we have different solutions, which could offer Full HD, or even 4K quality.

For users with limited budget can enjoy OLED display quality for around Rs 50K, with an Intel Core i3 which is good enough for daily users. For creators, who want better graphics and performance, for them we have the 1 lakh+ series available in the market. The reason we have OLED in the mainstream models is because we want the major chunk of the consumers to experience the technology. Before us, nobody has offered OLED models in this price range.

You had to spend upwards of 80K to buy an OLED-based laptop. The idea behind adding OLED panels to our regular laptops was based on the increasing screen usage during the pandemic when people were working from home. So, instead of people spending 35K on regular laptops, they can now get an OLED screen laptop for around Rs 40K.

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We are giving consumers the choice to try the best available features, and we believe that even a person buying a regular laptop would like the quality of an OLED panel on a laptop. So, more than a sacrifice, we are trying to cater to as many consumers in the mainstream segment as possible.

News18 Tech: Dual screen and dial. These are unique features, how did you come up with these ideas?

Arnold and Sam: All these features have come from the requirements that customers have. For instance, most people these days engage in multi-tasking, which has brought about the origin of these dual-screen laptops, which can let you access mails on the main screen, and open the WhatsApp account on the secondary display. Also, you could continue working on the big screen, and probably catch a movie on the second screen. We don’t just want a laptop to be a machine with a panel.

News18 Tech: Chipset supply shortage has been an issue, affecting the prices in the market. Is the situation changing now?

Arnold: Asus did not face any supply issue in India which helped us grow in the market. Globally, the shortage was there especially in 2020, but in 2022 we see it coming down. The chipset market has also stabilised and we see the prices slowly reducing in the near future.

News18 Tech: Does Asus have plans to set up local manufacturing unit for laptops in India?

Arnold: Most PC makers don’t have manufacturing units. Since 2011, Asus got separated into two companies, Pega and Asus, wherein factories are controlled by Pegatron and Asus is the consumer-end brand. We are working with manufacturing partners and also talking to the Indian government to setup a plant in the country. So, very soon you are likely to see make in India Asus laptops.

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