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Last Updated: Monday, 1 August 2005, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
India launches its first cheap PC
By LR Jagadheesan
BBC News, Madras

New low-cost computer
India's new desktop computer is expected to enhance access
India's first low-cost personal computer has been launched in the Tamil Nadu state capital, Madras (Chennai).

Designed by IT firm HCL Infosystems, it is priced at 9,990 rupees ($225) and includes all the basic features required for a first-time user.

The computer is expected to increase India's level of computer penetration.

Bringing down PC prices below 10,000 rupees has been the government's aim for some time. The firm hopes demand will make the exercise cost-effective.


IT experts have always maintained that low-cost computers will help increase the number of users by a large margin.

They also say that internet connectivity will spread across the country, which would be of great advantage to India.

Federal Minister for Communications and IT, Dayanidhi Maran, told journalists he had personally tested the new computer and is fully satisfied with it.

"This PC meets all the basic needs of a first-time user and it can be upgraded in the future," he told journalists at the launch in Madras.

Processor - 1 GHz
Memory - 128 MB RAM
Hard disk memory - 40 GB
Monitor - 15-inch colour

The chairman and chief executive officer of HCL Infosystems, Ajai Chowdhury, said the huge demand for low-cost computers would make the initiative cost-effective for the company.

"When HCL launched computers below 15,000 rupees (US$340 - 223), the company's market share in PC sales in India was only 3.7%," he said. "But within 15 months, it increased to 15%."

At present, India has 15 million computers and five million net connections. The government wants to increase the number to 75 million computers and 45 million net connections by 2010.

"Bringing down computer costs to below 10,000 rupees is one effective measure to achieve this goal," said Mr Maran.

He said he hoped other manufacturers would follow suit and build computers that would help drive prices down even further.

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