Traditionally, the norm has been that the new brands enter the Indian market with expensive and aspirational products to create a brand presence for themselves in the premium category. Unfortunately, such strategies have missed the opportunity to connect and serve the billion strong Indian ‘Aam Aadmi’ (common man). DataWind has been successfully able to do so and the Brand has become most recognized Tablet brand in India by carving a niche for itself in the affordability segment.
In 2012, the launch of Aakash tablets in support of the Government’s mission was to improve the quality of education which made DataWind the brand for the masses. DataWind’s commercially launched UbiSlate tablet created a revolution in the tablet industry, growing it from 2.5L units in 2011 to over 50L units in 2015. The strength of DataWind’s brand catapulted it to top position in the Indian market with a 37% market share overall (according to CMR) which is double of its next competitor (the almighty Samsung at 18%). What is most astonishing is that in the entry-level segment of devices below Rs.5,000, DataWind commands a dominating 76%.
The secret behind the establishment of DataWind’s brand in India is its sole focus on the entry-level segment with over 33 different product models all priced below Rs.5,000. While most companies have one or two products in this segment, DataWind has not limited itself with just a few products but the brand has a plethora of devices from calling tablets on 2G, 3G and 4G networks to netbooks and smartphones. The devices range from 7” to 10” in screen sizes, and also come with detachable keyboards. An important part of DataWind’s strategy is to give its customers a wide range of products to choose from.
DataWind’s devices come with significant value additions focusing on the two key driver’s viz. Education and Commerce. The UbiClass software developed by DataWind has made noteworthy contribution in the Education sector which has helped in promoting flipped-classroom pedagogy. The company offers this software free of charge with all its devices. To support both commerce and education, the Company has partnered with Reliance Communications and has bundled a year of unlimited internet browsing with all its devices. The internet is facilitated by DataWind’s breakthrough web delivery platform, covered by 18 U.S. and international patents, which reduces bandwidth consumption by 97% and delivers the fast mobile web experience on any network.
Another key reason for the establishment of DataWind’s brand in India, is the evangelism by its CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli to bring internet access to the masses and bridge the digital divide. Over the years, he has actively spoken at Universities, Conferences and Global Forums about the need to create affordable internet access to level the playing field and empower the ‘forgotten billions’. It is as a result of this evangelism, that DataWind products were launched at the United Nations, where the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called it the “great enabler …. with the potential to transform people’s lives.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “This could also be something for Germany – some schools have nothing at all.” Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt enthused, “India could be revolutionized by the new very low-cost tablets I saw tonight. Internet for the billions is coming!”
DataWind’s brand has further been strengthened by the hundreds of awards it has received over the last four years, including being recognized by the MIT Technology Review as among the 50 Smartest Companies in the World. DataWind’s CEO Suneet Singh Tuli has also been recognized by the prestigious magazine Forbes among its Impact 15 list, as a classroom revolutionary.
Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma talked about how to create market disruption from the bottom-up. DataWind has illustrated that methodology to perfection, creating India’s strong brand for tablet computers. No wonder, when Indians want powerful technology at an affordable price, they first think of DataWind, making it one of the 30 Most Valuable Tech Companies in India.