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US-based firm forays into Northeast towns

- Netgear eyes business growth

Guwahati, April 25: Driven by a telecom boom and increasing broadband penetration, computer networking equipment manufacturer NETGEAR has forayed into the Northeast with small and medium businesses (SBM), home and retail as its focus areas of growth.

The US-headquartered company which had over the past three years made a mark in eight metros and big cities of India is now spreading to 10 tier II and tier III cities, including Guwahati.

A global networking company that delivers innovative products to consumers, businesses and service providers, NETGEAR started its India operations a decade back and its business has grown by about 60 per cent every year.

“Our growth, particularly in the past three years, has been driven by a telecom boom, SMB growth and broadband penetration. This has encouraged us to expand our operations to the smaller cities now. Besides, a growing population in the tier II and III cities is also a favourable factor for us as it allows scope for further penetration,” Subhodeep Bhattacharya, regional director of NETGEAR (India and SAARC) told The Telegraph here.

The company, with a turnover of $1.5billion, enjoys a market share of 20 per cent in home and retail and about 8 per cent in the small and medium businesses.

“We are eyeing a similar market share in the Northeast in a year’s time. Soon we plan to spread to Shillong, Jorhat, Sivasagar, Agartala and Imphal,” Bhattacharya said.

Home to 48.8 million small and medium businesses, the country is set to emerge as the largest SMB national globally.

According to a report released by Bangalore-based advisory firm Zinnov last year, the Indian SMB space is largely dominated by micro scale businesses, contributing 95 per cent of the SMB landscape, followed by small-scale businesses, contributing 4.8 per cent and the rest 0.2 per cent by medium-scale businesses.

Internet penetration in the Northeast is still low at 5 per cent as against 15 per cent in the country.

“But there is scope for improvement which is why we are here. Our strategy in the region will be two pronged. One is to expand distribution and the other is to equip system integrator companies through our solution partners to sell our products,” he said.

“Currently, we have three distributors and five solution providers in Guwahati,” Bhattacharya said.

NETGEAR has over 300 products across three divisions — home and retail, commercial (network and wireless services) and service provider (3G and 4G dongles).

A dongle is a device that is attached to a computer to control access to a particular application.

Dongles provide the most effective means of copy protection.

“Our dongles are SIM-free in the sense that any SIM can be used in them. We also believe in coming up with innovative products for smart IT solutions. Recently, we launched a Wi-Fi router (NETGEAR N300) with external antennas (WNR614) which allows speed for faster downloads and Internet gaming,” he said.

NETGEAR competes with companies such as Cisco and HP in switching, Iomega, Synology and Netapp in data storage and Belkin, Dlink among others in home and retail.