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1/10 Users Aware Of Graphics Port ! - 2/21/2005 8:40:04 PM   

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Vikas Gupta is director, Big Byte Corporation - one of two distributors in India responsible for sales, service and brand building in India of the Nvidia-based XFX graphics accelerators (the other distributor is Rashi Peripherals). XFX won the Best Editor's Choice Value Low/Mid-Range Graphics Accelerator award. Here's an excerpt of a chat with Gupta.

Techtree: What strategy have you followed in building the XFX brand here?
Gupta: We've believed in three things that has brought us success with XFX - placement, price and range. We have a range of products at many price points and the people who sell them, the dealers, are first equipped with knowledge about them. Even though it's key for us to be present at the entry level, users are willing to pay extra money for performance, as we saw in the XFX GeForce 6600 GT SLI.

We have been doing road shows and showcasing demo units at colleges and malls. We plan to have at least one event in a month. We have offices in Bangalore and Delhi, and eight associates. Each of these will have at least 5 dealers in each city.

Techtree: What trend do you see in the discrete graphics card market?
Gupta: The graphics card market is less than 5 percent at the moment but this should rise to at least 15 percent in 1-2 years. We have seen the rise especially since both ATI and Nvidia began aggressive brand building exercises here.

We expect LAN gaming and such events that we promote, will lead to the market being as much as 15 percent of the total PC market. Gaming has moved up from the root level to the professional level.

Techtree: What advice do you have for first-time buyers/users of graphics cards?
Gupta: Anyone buying graphics cards should do so after getting used to the requirement for one. They have to know the features of a particular card before making the purchase. At the dealer level we are ensuring they know how to sell based on the requirements of the buyer.

Techtree: How has the response to your road shows in colleges been?
Gupta: They don't just want the low-end cards but also the 6800, 6800 Ultra, 6600 GT and 5700 Ultra. Our focus is always on education because this is a niche segment.

Techtree: What is the awareness level of graphics cards here?
Gupta: Knowledge is low - only 1 in 10 user may have heard of a graphics port. But in south India, we have seen not only higher awareness among users but they also upgrade more often. North India has a lot of localized importers - almost 90 percent of the cards there are remarked. So a brand may be good but this practice ultimately makes a dent in the consumer's confidence. But the manufacturers are ensuring that all the products carry information like whether it's 64-bit or 128-bit.

Techtree: What do you have to say about users here preferring to buy graphics cards from abroad - either carry-in or online?
Gupta: Over 50 percent of graphics cards used in India are purchased directly from abroad, and much of these are high-end. It has to do with the difference in pricing due to the taxes here.

Techtree: Do you foresee any concessions from the Budget this year?
Gupta: If the motherboard can have zero tax, so can the graphics card. Currently it is at around 18 percent.

Techtree: Why do you think XFX hasn't managed to gain the brand recall like say, Asus, here?
Gupta: Asus has an office in India and this adds to the customer's confidence. It also has multiple products sold here.

Techtree: What is XFX or Nvidia doing to curb the remarking menace?
Gupta: Nvidia is working on a downloadable patch to help users detect whether the card is remarked or not. It also certifies components used in the cards. Each of the 20-odd partners who make Nvidia-based cards, also have serial numbers and their products are approved by Nvidia.

Source : TechTree

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