Infoprint a joint venture between IBM and RICOH is outfitted with high volume capacities and state of the art technology. This path breaking step by Infoprint in partnership with EIH limited, representing a six year commitment to support India’s mushrooming telecommunications. This 20 million USD solution contains 3 flagship Infoprint 5000 duplex systems that will provide the output of more than 2 billion full color TransPromo pages.
The association between Infoprint and EIH is expected to help telecommunication companies and financial institutions such as banks in order to increase their customer loyalty and revenue per subscriber. Introduction of TransPromo, the largest personalized marketing application in the world is added to bills and statements, thereby eliminating the low value mass-marketing inserts and helps to increase customer’s retention. The association with EIH is a next step ahead for telecommunications companies in India.
We had an interaction with Mr. Christopher Reid, Vice President & General Manager – Asia Pacific, Infoprint Solutions Company; here are the excerpts of the dialogue.
“We had number of opportunities of working with some of the largest scales in the world in terms of total number of deals, number of engines, potential employees and major share was driven by telcos and banks in India for us. It’s an exciting thing for us because if the industry continues to change and offset entrepreneur are coming to digital which is happening in India much faster. This is happening mainly because the Indian customers are really leaping, as they are moving towards value-added applications and more volumes. Rather than investing in the monochrome business they seem to be much more interested color business. Infoprint 5000, the inkjet color technology is doing really well with 60% market share in India and dominating the Asia-pacific as well”, highlights Reid.
Q: How do you compare India and China in this sector?
India is probably more ahead of China in terms of the offset to digital migration for the POD, both behind the Americans and Europeans, but India seems to be moving faster and China has just started in that transition. The color technology is pretty adopted in both the countries, like if you see devices from leading equipment manufacturers. But, the big transition in high point printing is moving faster in India. Apart from that the government control in China is highly regulated and controlled which makes the transition period very slow whereas, here in India we have a straight economy, as soon as the one makes a plan he executes it.
Q: About your workforce in the region.
Talking about our head quarters at Singapore, we have 30 people in Singapore and around 200 people in across the region in Asia pacific and continue to grow. In India there are about 30 people, with our marketing, sales and customer support. Also at present we are relying on IBM for IT support and personal solutions but in future we will be 100% RICOH owned company. Thus we are working on our single most important project internally, which is the disconnection of IT from IBM and are planning to bring more people over the next year for this front.
Q: What are your growth projections for India?
In terms of engines we can see growth of 50% next year, based on the large opportunities with some of the telcos and banks. We didn’t see this type of the growth opportunity anywhere. There is net new and continuous technology coming in the Indian market. In other countries especially in the North America and Europe it’s really a replacement model, replacing orders, slower and continuous form of work and technology. While in India it is all new and consolidated, positioned at centralized locations.
Q: What are the future expansion plans?
For next 1 or 2 years our focus is really on India for execution, doing customer interface, driving our business, continue to be a well managed company having a reasonable profit share. Whatever it takes to strive in India, our team is extremely confident in software services, project management, providing complex solutions, which would be advantageous for us. We had opened up a demonstration facility in Shanghai, and we are working with our partners to bring such demonstration facility here in India.
Q: About Paper stocks used.
With our technology one can use extended range of papers including offset papers, digital papers, inkjet coated papers. So they have an option of choosing different types of paper depending on the application and also managing the cost and quality of print. In the coming time people will use more inkjet coated papers as it improves the print quality. The advantage of using Infoprint 5000 is the high quality of dyes and ink pigments which delivers good quality print on low cost paper.
The paper selection is done like one is the offset paper and the other is inkjet treated but both of them are doing the work of the traditional offset papers. The next revolutionary technology is moving into coated stocks, so we have kept a number of maps for the coated stuff that is suitable for various applications. We are using papers from Indian manufacturers, which are certified by us. We have now a list of 200 papers that are certified and approved for the RICOH machines.
Q: What challenges did you faced in the Indian market?
Most of the people were saying that they don’t want to initiate as they first want to see as what will happen in the marketplace. We got the concept and we made the initial investments and now the conversations with those people are totally different, partly because the market has moved faster. More customers are coming because of which print economy has increased the drive of transpromo and also the telcos are willing to invest in more integrated multi-channel marketing.