koti

Google fb32x32 twitter linkedin feed-icon-32x32

El Cheapo India

El Cheapo India

February 15, 2012

How long are we to stay cheap?

Picture this: A Tata Nano zips by you in a Manhattan Avenue. At Harvard, you see every Tom, Dick and Harry crunching data in their swanky new thirty-five dollar tablet computer. Doesn’t it ring a bell? Doesn’t it depict India’s profound superpower ambition and what could come of it? Boy would that also kick in barrels of national pride. However, truth is on the flip side, (and quite often under-hyped) we’ve got it all fragmented and flawed. The ambitions have been blocked from swift progression. They may happen albeit very, very slowly.

The essence of the problem lies in a five-letter word: “Cheap”! There have been some exceptions, but time and again, someone in India hits a brainwave of producing something that’s destined to be “cheap”, imbued with unfinished and barebone attributes. We’ve got a plethora of cheap goods in the market, and increasing by the day. What’s been intriguing me even more is the way this is evolving into a culture, making India synonymous with “cheap”. Garnering much attention at the recently concluded Delhi Auto Expo was an apparent ultra cheap vehicle by a notable Indian two-wheeler manufacturer. The “four-wheeler” – as they describe it, resembled plain sheets of metal stuck together; awful to say the least and stripped down to the extent that even Fred Flintstone’s Stone Age vehicle seems more appealing and advanced. Critical reviews were negative, but that sadly matters not for some of these corporate money munch-kings. The iconic one lakh rupee Nano rode on similar lines, only that compared to the former, now feels way more premium. A program initiated by the government had aimed to supply ‘ultra low cost’ tablet computers to every child. The idea surely sounds great, but that’s about it. Besides, look at the complexity; there was low cost, now ultra low cost, and who knows, maybe super ultra low cost tomorrow?

Smart suit clad executives would gleam proudly at ‘international’ accolades and countless photo-shoots, acting like they’re responsible for the second coming of Gandhi. Covering up for their rather disastrous looking products, they’d eject heartwarming narrations of how the “Indian masses’ thirst for a better quality of life has been fulfilled” – whatever that means - and how “hundreds of man-hours have worked hard to make this product possible”. Surely, you’d be left wondering how all those hours of hard work only came up with something as shoddy as this? Isn’t it a direct insult to Indian innovation? But wait, you can’t settle down with your thoughts. They brainwash you into how great the product apparently is for the country and you, till you’re forced to ditch your rationale and go by them.

No, I’m not against the aam-aadmi, or his ambitions. In fact, I think the Nano is a remarkable engineering feat. I also duly appreciate its team for tumbling the toughs to make it see light of the day. However, neither are such products needs of the hour and nor are they what the world expects from a country as dynamic as India. Taking the Nano’s story as a perfect example: the way it had been hyped and anticipated unfortunately worked out to be inversely proportional to how cash registers in its showrooms are now ringing

The base point is: no one wants cheap stuff. Seen zipping in that tiny Pokémon-like thing isn’t something that most people like, Indians per se. Going by history, philosophy and every myth possible in the Indian status quo psychology, we may bargain, but cheap isn’t how we like our things. It’s just that it is forced upon us. The prosperous India that once existed was known for its exquisite prowess. The Taj Mahal is only one among the finest examples of how our culture embraced so much of passion for perfection, quality, artistic craftsmanship and meticulous creation. And that made our civilization enviable and distinct.

So how is the cheap price tag achieved? Simple. By compromising substantially on quality, safety, craftsmanship and technical advancement: all that would actually take India forward. As far as the question of claims of the ‘masses’ goes, I’d quash them, because we lack the basic infrastructure in the first place. The countrywide quality of roads need no mention, and as far as tablet computers go, at this price all that is offered is only barebones technology. The battery wouldn’t last longer than three hours and, considering the targeted majority user base; we have people with access to electricity for barely an hour a day. In fact its underpowered – too inefficient to replace old worn out textbooks and help children lighten the bag. Connectivity to Internet is the next major downside, in a country that secretly wants to ban social media. Going by the creator’s claims of accessing online content, our default 2G networks are overcrowded and insufficient to carry that magnitude of data. So where exactly has the sensibly useful innovation occurred? In making it cheap? The focus, I believe, shouldn’t be on cutting costs, but on how much improvement can be made while maintaining an affordable price, and there should be a push toward that. We then need to spend time and money (there’s a lot of it by the way) to get the whole country connected to the basic necessities and infrastructure – quickly, without compromises on quality. That way, lives of people would improve collectively two-fold and they’d be able to afford the right things at the right times.

Another important consideration is: this time when India’s garnering international attention isn’t like the time of Industrial Revolution. Back then; Britain was in unanimous control of almost the entire world. It had arguably everything: material and intellectual. Human rights issues or technology sharing agreements weren’t even in question. It had an obvious monopoly, and a lot of advancement happened. India is unfortunately not in such a scenario today. We are not lucky to be the only country with the advantage of a rapid development monopoly and countless colonies for resources. For every thing we do, right or wrong, rightly or wrongly, there is an entire global watchdog community. Almost every developing country today, particularly the key competitors in Asia or South America, has the ambition coupled with an insightful view of the world market at large, at least one or more superpower aide(s), and of course wholesome access to free and open technology. Since what and how we produce judge us, we’re in danger. In this age, which country made it, seldom maters.

As I write this, I faintly recall the words of Steve Jobs: “Teens (Americans) don’t care whether its Made in America, if they’d get something better”. I think this statement applies to India too, with a multitude of global world-class brands. The slightest of gaffes will affect the reputation of the entire country’s local manufacturing sector, and will eventually create a stereotype of Indian products – a big black mark that will be difficult to erase. China sort of took that road, and here they are: facing terrible human rights and similar issues off what they manufacture due to their erstwhile obsession with cheap goods. I think they’ve realized their mistake now, and have started to work against it. For India though, it’d be even more devastating because China’s infrastructure happens to be much more advanced. They are also strong in their research, something that’s barely happening here. India needs to earn international acclaim by creating tremendous technological/skill advancement and innovation to outshine other nations. I believe there is the intellect and will for that. Affordable costs should only be seen as one important factor in the package, and not the purpose.

We need to advance by producing quality products at value for money price points, than stripped down versions for ultra cheap prices. 

38 Comments

  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    16.11.12 11:12 AM
    Standing out in bitter cold of November our Indian Machchaans will always go for the expensive iPhones. To these guys Aakash is just Trash.

    I personally witnessed a long queue of Indians in front the Apple Store, Covent Garden, London.

    At the Regent Street Apple Store(Oxford Circus)wasn't any different a day later.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2232238/
  • Vivek Iyer
    By
    Vivek Iyer
    13.10.12 11:59 PM
  • Vivek Iyer
    By
    Vivek Iyer
    19.03.12 08:00 PM
    @ Rajpriya: Its okay, and thanks! I'm truly humbled by your kindness :)

    Apple has revolutionized each industry that it has entered into!
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    19.03.12 12:26 AM
    @Vivek

    Sorry for using this post to tell you of an opportunity.
    I did not know how else I could I have intimated something thing that can change your future.

    Iam glad you got the message.

    It was with technology that I was able move on to where I am today. Technology in the wrong hands can only prove worthless and lead to frustration and a scant disregard for it.

    If Apples' Technology did not revolutionize the printing industry we would still have remained in the stone age of printing even today.

    I know that typewriters were used to type hundreds of pages, taken as manuscript to printers who used typesetters to compose forms to be printed on paper.

    People who have never known this cannot appreciate what comforts technology has afforded us.
  • Vivek Iyer
    By
    Vivek Iyer
    18.03.12 11:58 PM
    @ Rajpriya: Still one more year to go, and No, we'd only learn those kind of things in an MBA program (tho, I anticipate them to be interesting).

    Well, thanks! Will keep you posted :)


    @ Pallavi & Rajpriya: It happens when people tune their brains to think that technology is purely meant to take over our lives, wherein its actually only to help us to move further! :)
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    18.03.12 10:32 PM
    @Vivek

    Sometimes even professionals get clean bowled by technology.
  • Pallavi
    By
    Pallavi
    18.03.12 10:07 PM
    Grrr I 'meant'.
    Sorry Vivek, for spamming this thread!
  • Pallavi
    By
    Pallavi
    18.03.12 10:06 PM
    Oops I ment LOL. Stupid iPad thinks it is very smart and keeps correcting what I type!
  • Pallavi
    By
    Pallavi
    18.03.12 10:05 PM
    Lom! Tys, I want my kid back. It's angry bird or some silly insect smasher!
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    18.03.12 12:17 PM
    @Vivek,

    Does your Bachelor's IT education cover Process planning, production planning, Supply Chain Management, material Demand and Requisition Planning, Procurement Strategies, Process Modeling?

    KVP (continuous process improvement by Kaizen, Toyota-Method)?

    If so when will you complete your education? There may an opening in one of our companies in Germany depending on when you finish.

    I will tell you how to contact me.
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    18.03.12 11:10 AM
    @Vivek

    The link to Indians buying iPads I sent you gives plenty of meaning to your post El Cheapo India that made great sense. Though Aakash was meant to lure the poor students and the rural masses of India none would stay days in front of any shop to buy it.

    While iPad is a great tool with intelligent technology for any busy businessmen traveling a lot because of its lightweight and keeps him quite productive even away from his own office.

    If you are using one try applications iPhoto to organize and edit photos, Keynote for business presentations with and Cisco WebEx online conferences (18 $ a month), Evernote to capture and remember things, Autocad (I use it to draw carton shapes) and any make business a child play. With Dropbox one can access files from the home computer while sitting in an Airport lounge.

    Unlike huge desktop computers an iPad can amuse grandmothers and grand children alike. The battery lasting more than two or three days it’s a brilliant product.
  • tys
    By
    tys
    18.03.12 10:51 AM
    absolutely none.
  • Vivek Iyer
    By
    Vivek Iyer
    18.03.12 01:29 AM
    @ Rajpriya: Thanks for the link! Apple though, is more than just technology. Its a company that pays tribute to craftsmanship, meticulous quality and perfection to anything that it creates, every time. Though a little over-board, such kind of cult status isn't surprising, esp. after using most of the other monotonous brand products!!!

    @ tys: Your point being...
  • tys
    By
    tys
    17.03.12 06:43 PM
    i will never understand this.

    my mother has one of those apple ipad and now she is found at all odd times swapping at the screen like a bear, playing something called angry birds.

    i want my mother back.
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    16.03.12 10:42 PM
  • Vivek Iyer
    By
    Vivek Iyer
    07.03.12 06:57 PM
    In the editorial of today's (07.03.12) The Hindu.
    A wonderful read, and precisely linked to one angle of what I was trying to say in the above article:

    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article2967567.ece
  • Vivek Iyer
    By
    Vivek Iyer
    18.02.12 07:33 PM
    @ HARRY: I just did not limit to quality. I also wanted "Advancement" as opposed to what we are doing now thats just "Stripping things down"!

    @ Dee: "What’s wrong in expecting and crafting a CHEAP thing ?" - Thats exactly what I've answered in this article!

    Rajpriya has caught the point very well, and I don't think I could put it in better words that that!

    I've tried to point out a transition that we ought to make in the way we project ourselves to the world! You should also not forget the millions of Indians in Europe and USA working for the companies who produce VFM goods and services. They are motivated by not only the salary levels, but also from what they do and how its done there! By bringing that culture, we can have that in India! That would lead us to advancement!

    Talking about Steve Jobs, he was a maniac for quality way more than anyone in US industry was! On a scale of 10, I'd rate him as 15! I'm not saying we should get to that level immediately (neither is it possible) but we should at least pull from 3 to 6, and try earning respect for our goods and services from the international market too.

    Its widely belived in India that everything foreign is supreme. That's quite true unfortunately, but it can, and has to be broken! Since the Nano and Akash, I reiterate, were only examples, an Indian product perfectly placed in the VFM area is the newly launched Mahindra XUV 500! Google it, go through any and every auto review and EVERYONE would say thats the kind of advancement and product we'd expect from India too! Its possible, provided we have the "cheap" mentality broken!
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    17.02.12 09:45 AM
    @Dec,

    More than policy makes we desperately need to spot a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs of India produce great stuff for the world to admire. It is not policy makers who made any thing that added value to the world.
  • Dee..
    By
    Dee..
    17.02.12 09:04 AM
    haha.. Thanks for understanding my comment and nice feel to see your wise comment, but i am not speaking in fury or anger, just a state...
    Yes indeed, India wants best minds in us to put some good show, but as we know it is not so easy to survive such wide open market, which has so many competitions every day, we are seeing some TRANSITIONS :P
    From a poor country to developing country...

    we need such things and some more time and very honestly, some good policy makers to rock the world, personally i have no anger over the author or akash..
    I don't get any subsidy as well :P
    Just a thought, i shared !
    -http://deepakkarthikspeaks.blogspot.in
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    17.02.12 08:40 AM
    @Dec

    I read this news today in the UK’s Daily Mail. I provide you the link below. So what the consumer expects from a product is money’s worth. So India should concentrate on producing cars that give value for money and if they are cheap even Germans might import the Indian cars.

    “Want the best-value car? German models now cheapest to run after overtaking Japanese rivals”.

    Although they have long been envied for their engineering, design and luxury, German cars are rarely considered cheap to buy or to run.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2102309/German-cars-best-value-models-Britains-roads-overtaking-Japanese-rivals.html
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    17.02.12 07:20 AM
    @Dec

    I fully understand your anger. There is nothing wrong creating a cheap thing. The thing is: How the cheap thing Aakash produced by a British company in India, that needs Wireless Broadband, bought by Indian Government at $50, given to rural masses at a subsidized price of $35 could effectively be put to use. In most areas there is no wireless broadband to be accessed.

    It was first in the week of November 2011 I made a visit to the Apple Store in Regent St. London. I saw a long queue starting from the pavement outside into the Store. Many of them were Indians. They were all tourists in Britain I was told.

    I inquired from one of the (Blue shirt) Apple guys what the queue was for. He said they were there to buy the new iPhone 4S with unlocked SIM. One Indian to whom I spoke to, proudly said he came to London specially to buy the iPhone 4S because he did not know when it would come to India.

    So the expectation of an average Indian is a quality product similar to the iPhone or iPad and the capabilities. Producing cheap things is not all bad. The point in debate is do you like headaches if they are given free or cheap?

    Lots of brainwork and expertise goes into designing a product that could be effectively put to use and one that would make people really go for. If a product is popular and sold in millions the cost of production would automatically be cheaper.

    India does have the people with brains that need to be put to effective use to produce stuff that beat the products that are already available even if they are a little bit more expensive.

    That’s what Vivek wants to say.
  • Dee..
    By
    Dee..
    17.02.12 12:56 AM
    WHAT THE HELL ?? What's wrong in expecting and crafting a CHEAP thing ?
    Cheap- That's the reason WHY USA outsources JOBS to INDIA and CHINA, so that Million people gets paid..

    If American companies hadn't worried about the cheaper outsourcing, we could not be what we are...

    You may be a RICHARD BRANSON or VIJAY MALLYA, not all INDIANS, We(INDIANS) are developing economy, instead of ranting.. produce some COSTLY GOODS and mark it as MADE IN INDIA...
    What do you expect politicians to do ? MOST OF THEM ARE IN TIHAR...

    Atleast things like AAKASH and NANO, will make people to experience something new..

    ONE THING FINALLY< "" NANO is POOR MAN'S BMW and BMW is rich man's NANO""

    Ipad may be american's aakash but aakash is Indians IPAD...

  • Anju
    By
    Anju
    16.02.12 11:08 PM
    don't you drive a nano?
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    16.02.12 07:25 PM
    @Vivek

    India does not have a market place for expensive stuff. However, this does not mean they should not produce quality stuff but quality can be achieved only at higher prices. Technology does not come cheap.

    I am almost certain you never went through the marketing strategies of computer guys of the early eighties. IBM computers were huge, expensive and unproductive. It was the time computerization was the Buzzword.

    A huge metal case with a thing called processor inside it came in corrugated carton. You were threatened not to dare open to see what could be inside the metal case. While you were wondering how the hell this computer would work you were looking for things the advert said the Mouse, Monitor and the Keyboard.

    Searching an almost empty corrugated box you look at the guy who delivered it. He seems to be an experienced guy who reads the big question mark on you face with out you uttering a single word and says WYDSIWYDGF. “What You Don’t See Is What You Don’t Get Free” for the price you paid. Ouch me Gawd!

    I was one who tried to exploit El Cheapo India 7 years ago.

    A dearth of qualified people and increasing cost of labor made us look for outsourcing destinations for our Advertising Agency clients in Germany. Encouraged by some Indian executives I knew over the years in the printing Industry I went to India several times over a period of two years.

    I was looking for:

    1. CMS Systems (Content Management Systems) for Web clients who want to have just a design and update their content themselves.

    2. Outsourcing Team India in the field of architectural designing and statistical drawings in the branch of Civil Engineering (Building Projects)

    3. E-Shop Systems (Online Shops) with paying facilities (Master Card, Visa Card, Pay-Pal, etc.) and must be 100 % secure systems) and other paying facilities like cash-advance, payment on delivery etc.

    4. We needed a Picture gallery system: we wanted to open up an online picture gallery for selling, around 10.000 pictures from all over the world.

    5. Scan software– that would directly digitalize incoming faxes etc., to avoid the use of paper in companies.

    After two years of bungled jobs, hundreds of email, Telephone calls, missed deadlines and not El Cheapo. I had to give up to tell them:

    “Doing Business in Germany is like playing a game of Tennis. If you Fail to Serve Well, You End up Losing”

    Then I found Polish Programmers who do similar services hassle free and faster.
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    15.02.12 11:45 PM
    @ Vivek

    There are lots of biggest product I can think of in the market that has never made any money, but they are still supported, which I can't understand the reson behind, but that's the way thing are in the west. Quality always doen't pay but it does satisfy consumer and ticks all the boxes in what we want.

    Sometimes it's cheapest things that make the money not the best and I have lived long enough to know this.

    For your information Taj Mahal was made from taxes collected from hindus, for just being hindus and going for pray in the temple by the rulers and their fathers before, and if you were muslim you were exempt from paying this tax, so this quality build can be applied when you don't have to pay for it your self.

    HARRY
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    15.02.12 11:20 PM
    Hi Vivek

    When you said that we need to produce quality, I understand, but those who want tin can, thats all they can afford, and nothing else, and to produce quality it will cost more, and those people may not be able to buy it, so the objective is deafeated in bringing value for money, that's why I gave the example of Mali. People will buy anything at a price, which they think it's bargain, and that's fact, and that's what this Items are giving and nothing more as I said. I import/export goods for living and I can tell you one thing is, that people will by anything when they think they are getting a bargain, even if they don't use it and that what this goods are. Something for nothing, I may not buy, but others may, that doesn't mean it's wrong.
  • Vivek Iyer
    By
    Vivek Iyer
    15.02.12 10:50 PM
    @ HARRY: I do respect your views, however I think you've got me wrong.

    As technology progresses, we can indeed make things cheaper. However, I hope you remember that with time, it also becomes quite ubiquitous. What I'm trying to say is that, we need to advance in technology, which will not happen if we concentrate on "cost cutting"

    I've never been against affordable products. But whats happening now, I think, is that we're going beyond that to merely producing stuff for the sake of it by stripping it down as much as possible. You drove a Daihatsu in your youth. I don't know when that would have been but I'm certain it wasn't anywhere in the recent past. Please read the last paragraph and understand that I had discussed that the cheapness in this day and age may not work as well.

    As far as Mali goes, I reiterate that this is an India centric article. A country like Mali I believe still does not have the kind of economic privilege that India has atm. India has passed that phase, and I'm afraid we should not stagnate on the current one.
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    15.02.12 10:37 PM
    Hi Vivek

    From what I understand and you think it makes India looks and sounds cheap thus the title and this is not good for Indian image. Correct me if I am wrong, I think in your understanding, you also think that cetain things cannot be possible thus not good.

    I do not agree with you on this.

    It is possible to make things cheap / economical. Everyday new thing are invented and created, and more we understand and more we make, cheaper we can make it, so this is not new. So how can you say that once we reach that point we canot make it any cheaper then before. What you saying is that we can no longer make things cheaper then before without compromising the quality, then you are also wrong.

    I am not saying that all cheap things are best, what I am saying is that, there are lots of things in the world that are better and more robust cheap items then expensive ones. As long as it serves it's purpose thats all you need, even if it doesn't sing and dance which you like it do.

    You only get is what you pay for, and not more. This is the biggest rule of thumb.

    My father bought a calculator when I was a child, which was $200 then, which was bigger then your I-PAD now, same calculator now comes stuck as a free gift on kiddy magazine and lot smaller. This amount was his 4 weeks wage then.

    As for Nano it can't be worse then some cars I have driven in my youth. I have driven Dhahitsu, this was basically a tin can, nothing inside but it drove. I have driven cars that have fallen to bits and they are still in the market.

    When you also said that people on breadline cannot afford a car and don't need one, you are wrong. In mali africa people depend on the transport to get to A to B and if they can't, then they can't earn anything. This is the country where they have biggest use of moped (scooters). The french brand was costing $2000, and one from china in kits format cost $500 now. The biggest selling brand is from china by far more than 99%. The avarage wage in mali is $300 per year for people on breadline yet they are still buying scooters.

    People will still buy Nano because all they need from a car is to get to A to B, and don't need all the other fads like you and me. If it's meant to fail then it will, but it will not be on yours or mine saying so.

    HARRY
  • Vivek Iyer
    By
    Vivek Iyer
    15.02.12 10:03 PM
    And I comply with your opinion on using the Nano as a taxi.
    However, its been almost three years, and we still don't see that happening, sadly! Adding to that, I'd say that the Nano is indeed quite a dud in the market. It has sold nothing close to what was forecasted and hyped! In fact, if you'd just Google it, you'd see a number of auto experts and users in all praises for it, including the two wheeler wallahs, but 1 out of 30 would show interest in buying one. I've scrutinized this topic very well.

    Internationally, the Nano has been well received no doubt. I should remind you that, the European version was miles ahead to what we have in India, in every aspect. Still, though critics appreciated the fact that it drove like a car (even I appreciate the Nano a lot for that), they were still skeptical about a market for the car in Europe!

    Yes, indeed I also hope the Nano takes off. Its a great showcase of innovation, but what I was trying to say is that riding in the above lines, is dangerous for us as a country!
  • Vivek Iyer
    By
    Vivek Iyer
    15.02.12 09:55 PM
    @Subhorup: I second your point. But it's something the corporate society always seems to ignore!

    @Whome Doyou: I guess it was rectified by the admin before I noticed. Thanks nevertheless :)

    Yes, in fact I never restricted my article to the Nano or the tablet or the "sheet metal" car. I just said they were the best prominent examples.

    Yes you're right. But how much do you think that tablet could technically do? Exactly as you pointed out, millions are able to finance their own education. And this goes to buying books, stationery, uniform etc. There are indeed many students who can't afford Android tabs either. But in which books of education is it written that Tablets are the only way through which students could study?

    So how do you think a tablet would help? The most ideal thing would be E-Books, but as I stated, it's technically incapable of containing much of that e.g. interactive learning videos and clips, etc. And technically speaking it cannot even use apps downloaded from the Android store! What else? Movies? I think for 35 dollars, you could watch about ten movies at least? There are plenty of theaters all around the country. In fact, as of now, movies have a better reach among the public than education. Next - music and games? Mobile phones, already in plenty take care of that. Then accessing the net, which is impractical due to lack of sufficient connectivity in the country. Even mobile phones face difficulties in attaining signals for mere voice transfer. So essentially, the focus on "bettering" education - as you pointed out - through this tablet makes no sense, esp. when the basic education facilities are absent in the first place, like, no tablet could replace a teacher. Ever.

    I hope you're aware that tablets are merely for consuming information and not producing it. Maybe the higher priced Android's could do some teeny bit of producing, the iPad does a fair bit. A 35 dollar tab doesn't even fall into game. If you wanted to really help the students explore their talent, I'd say give them computers. That empowers them more! Infact, many companies and charity trusts do donate computers too.

    And for sure, I don't think it could work better than a 199 dollar tablet, esp when the later are struggling in a highly competitive market already.
  • Whome Doyou
    By
    Whome Doyou
    15.02.12 02:44 PM
    In my mind the economically viable car could replace the horrible option of the 3-wheeler (or even 2-wheeler) as a mode of transport on Indian roads, its a cleaner mode of transportation. Nano taxis as opposed to those horrible pollution spewing noise makers, sounds like a good thing to me for the Indian roads.

    Since you bring up the topic about quality world class goods at good price points - are you aware whether or not the Europeans appreciate the Nano? I know for a fact that they like the small Marutis - dare I say its smaller than the Mini. Who knows what they'll make of the Nano?

    As for quality - if people don't like something they will stop buying and it will become a failed product. Have you heard of the Ford pinto - it was a failed "small" car built to compete with cheap Japanese cars in the American market. Guess what Ford still makes small cars, sounds like Ford supposedly learned something from the failed experiment.

    You make some good points - but there are lessons to be learned from all this for the market. The metal-sheet car will more likely fail - I read about it a short while back and didn't think much of it either. The Nano probably needs more time - products that shake the consumer's point of view can take longer to take off.
  • Whome Doyou
    By
    Whome Doyou
    15.02.12 02:22 PM
    Well lets not forget your article is not just about the Nano but also the tablet that you start your article off with.

    I think the tablet from India is an economical marvel. Again it is not cheap - it was produced for the Indian market where millions of students are still unable to finance their own education and have to compromise with their possible livelihood for the rest of their lives just trying to get through school, college etc.

    I feel I shouldn't have to bring this up for you - but there are many students who could not afford a $199 price tag of a normal Android tablet as sold in most of the world, let alone a basic wifi ipad.

    But a $35 tablet - if it will help students I bet there are organizations that would be able to fund this at that price point and be able to impact many more students. I don't know the Gov of India's or private industry's plans but heck they could do it for a large pool of students too - and I know I'm speculating here.

    And yes I would look into financing it for some students because I feel it can have a positive impact on their lives.

    Again it's not a bad thing for prices to be low. I do feel it's been produced for the Indian market - and we're not forcing the world to use our product.

    Just for the sake of argument if the $35 tablet works as well as or even better than a $199 Coby tablet for the US market. Why don't you tell us which is cheap and which is sensible - I think it's all relative.

    And btw what is stereotypical about using economical instead of cheap? Heck another word is frugal, but I'm not trying to throw the thesaurus at you.
  • Whome Doyou
    By
    Whome Doyou
    15.02.12 02:03 PM
    The correction has already been made from bread in Nairobi to bred in Nairobi. So moot point at this time.
  • Vivek Iyer
    By
    Vivek Iyer
    15.02.12 08:36 AM
    Looks like you tried to point out a correction. Thanks, but I can't find any. Mind rephrasing?
  • Vivek Iyer
    By
    Vivek Iyer
    15.02.12 08:34 AM
    @Whome Doyou: I'm clearly not surprised by your reply. Its the stereotypical one that I'd expect.

    The point has been missed by you. Please care to read the entire article. Maybe one more time if you're still confused.

    Its also strange that even you know that people "can barely afford to feed themselves twice a day", but you indirectly are trying to opine that a cheap car or tablet computer could fetch them food?

    Taking just one case example: Lets assume, for your arguments sake, that the "economically viable" car has been bought by a family who could "barely feed themselves" (I still fail to understand how its possible, but anyway), so owning a car is more than just buying it right? The cheap price tag is only the initial thing. What about a quarterly maintenance? Or the ever sky rocketing fuel costs? Or the vehicle and road taxes? Or accidental service and repairs? Who'd bear this for them? You?

    For this, the only solution to help "pull people out of poverty" - with respect to transportation - can only be successfully implemented by public/mass transit systems. Private alternatives, other than high costs, have many more downsides - that will eventually hurt the exchequer a great deal.
  • subhorup dasgupta
    By
    subhorup dasgupta
    15.02.12 08:19 AM
    Wanted to add another angle to the concept of economical products and quality pricing. The bulk of the cost of consumer goods and engineering products comes from marketing and advertising. I strongly feel that if all consumer goods companies eliminated their cost of advertising and marketing, and passed it on in the form of better pricing, it would make a lot of difference to the economy.
  • Whome Doyou
    By
    Whome Doyou
    15.02.12 06:49 AM
    Btw its bred and not bread in your profile.
  • Whome Doyou
    By
    Whome Doyou
    15.02.12 06:46 AM
    I believe the word you're looking for is economical. Economical products India.

    How strange what you see as cheap is seen as a reachable opportunity by those who can barely afford to feed themselves twice a day. This has less to do with ambition than with a helping hand out of back breaking poverty.

    And no I don't think you are thinking about the aam aadmi - you think you are but you really are missing the point.

    Successful engineering can be expensive or economical. This is successful engineering that is economically viable.

Leave a comment