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Cover Story
 
INTERVIEW
“Our focus will be to develop solutions customised for India”
Nagaraja Upadhya, Deputy Director, VP NW Marketing and R&D, Huawei India talks to be B&E about leveraging R&D to further innovation in India
Issue Date - 30/05/2012
 
B&E: Where do you see R&D investments and outcomes in your company as compared to the global best? What is the normal time lag nowadays for Huawei when it comes to launching the latest products globally and in India?
Nagaraja Upadhya (NU): We have been here in India for more than a decade. Our market share has increased due to local market support and an improved value system. Since then, our investment in manufacturing facilities and local R&D centers in India has substantially increased, as we continue to work on strategic alliances with our local partners. Particularly in India, our patents have increased by 34% yoy, and last year alone, we acquired 20 patents. This year, we have a target of 100. We are focussing on bringing new solutions, particularly in the counter duty (cyber security) and new seed initiative market in India, In terms of the ecosystem, we don’t have any time lag between launching a new product and marketing it.

B&E: To what extent do you see the role of the ecosystem in enabling you to extract the most out of your R&D investments?
NU: Ecosystem is the key enabler in the development of India as a manufacturing and R&D hub, and its has been improving. We share a high level of trust with our partners and they are developing products which are of key value for us, and we share a unified vision of increasing value. Therefore, the ecosystem not just facilitate innovation but also improves standards. Our partners like Cognizant keep up with our vision, thus creating a value chain for a better overall ecosystem.

B&E: How do you plan to leverage on India as a R&D hub in next five years?
NU: First of all, our focus will be to develop solutions that are customised for India, and expand our telecom/IT operations as we initiate the process of establishing an R&D center in India for global product support and development with an initial investment of $150 million. Along the way, we will also improve our delivery center, infrastructure for which is already in place. So, R&D will be a key area of focus for us in India for moving up the value chain. The next five years will be a defining period for India in terms of innovation and you will see many upfront activities like cloud computing and broadband services taking on the market by a storm and we are upbeat about making the most out of this opportunity. Our associations developed in the other regions of the world will help in further R&D initiatives in India. Our focus on research and innovation can be gauged from the fact that our R&D workforce makes up for 44% of our total manpower.

B&E: What is the way forward for Indian companies to achieve globally benchmarked standards with respect to research and innovation? Should we instead be relying on extensive licensing in the initial phase and then move on to new innovation?
NU: To stand up to global standards, we must focus on innovation heavily. We need a team of dedicated people and corporates who come together in sharing their knowledge. These exchanges should be both Indian and global as well. This will help in accomplishing the goals for better standards. I don’t think that there are major challenges here. We’re almost there. All we need is to stay focussed and just push harder.

 

Anirudh Raheja           

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