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Philips CEO sees India as engine of growth

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Mr Gerard Kleisterlee, President and CEO of Royal Philips Electronics, and Mr K. Ramachandran, CEO, Philips India, at a press conference in Bangalore on Monday. — G.R.N. Somashekar

Bangalore , Nov 14

CONSUMER Electronics major, Royal Philips Electronics sees India as an engine of growth for the company, the CEO of the company, Mr Gerard Kleisterlee, said here today.

"India has the potential to become a test bed for developing solutions that address the needs of the people at the base of the global economic pyramid," said Mr Kleisterlee, who reviewed initiatives in the areas of healthcare, technology and lifestyle.

He said that India was a small but growing part of its Asian revenues; the latter would account for a third of the company's total revenues by 2008. India was not yet competitive in electronics manufacturing, he said, when queried about plans to set up a lab in the country.

New sustainable innovations being developed locally are the most tangible outcome of the company's ambitions in India to serve markets whose needs are not yet met, Mr Kleisterlee said. The company is taking local challenges as the starting point for developing products and the resulting solutions have the potential to reach millions of people in India and across the world, he added.

For instance, the company has launched a line of radios with integrated television bands to allow people to tune in to their television programmes during power breakdowns, as well as lower cost alternatives to its Ambilight and Pixel Plus technologies.

Mr Kleisterlee and the visiting Philips board also evaluated Philips India's DISHA project, a telemedicine initiative that looks to change health screening in rural areas.

According to the CEO of Philips India, Mr K. Ramachandran, the project, in coordination with ISRO, Apollo Hospital Group and the DHAN Foundation, takes multi-modal mobile tele-clinical truck with remote connectivity to villagers in a pilot project in Theni district in Tamil Nadu.

Philips India, which had achieved a turnover of Rs 3,000 crore is growing at 17-18 per cent per annum and it expects volume and value growth to continue and expects to cross the Rs 5,000-crore turnover mark by 2008, Mr Ramachandran said. He said the company was seeing fast growth in some smaller businesses as well as in consumer electronics.

Mr Kleisterlee said that though Philips India's lamps manufacturing unit is the company's most efficient one, the logistics and shipping costs make it uncompetitive for exports.

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