CISCO systems, the US-based company that designs and sells networking equipment, has announced new investments in India along with a support to the ‘Make-in-India’ vision. CISCO’s outgoing chairman and CEO John Chambers and incoming CEO Chuck Robbins, along with CISCO India and SAARC President Dinesh Malkani made the announcements at a press event in New Delhi. CISCO’s top executives also spoke about how they had earlier met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
CISCO said it wants to accelerates the manufacturing ecosystem in India and plans to hold a CISCO Design and Innovation Conference in Bengaluru in February 2016 to bring together over 75 of CISCO’s key suppliers and partners in order to get the supply chain-running in India.
CISCO also announced an investment of $20 million in the CISCO Network Academy to train 120,000 students by 2020 and another $40 million to expand its CISCO Smart city.
CISCO chairman John Chambers spoke about how India’s engineering workforce made it an ideal market for future investments. “We are absolutely committed to the ideal of a Digital India. Our CISCO campus in India is the Second headquarters. We also believe that the current government is really committed to the idea of digital India,”said Chambers.
Incoming CEO Chuck Robbins pointed out that currently in India, CISCO’s investments are around $1.7 billion yearly and the revenue stands at $1.1 billion. “Of this $1.7 billion, around $250 million is spent on our facilities while the remaining is spent on people in India,” said Robbins.
On the time-frame and what products will be manufactured in India, Chambers said that the aim will be to start production of broadband products, defence contracts and the company does not have any limits on what will be produced in India.
“Once we’re start the process of streamlining and getting our ecosystem together in India, we hope to start producing in the quarters after that,” said Chambers. CISCO’s executives stressed that while the current government was pushing for manufacturing in India, it would take time to set-up the logistics for this in India.
It should be noted that CISCO’s manufacturing has been based in China for the last 20 years but company’s top executives said that in light of the government’s Digital India campaign, they were betting big on India.
On their vision and role in smart cities in India, John Chambers pointed out that ‘red-tape and bureaucracy were the biggest constraints, although in India the government’s approach was unique as it plans to target over 100 cities and over 250,000 villages.
“We’ve been part of the smart city experience in India with Navi Mumbai, Lucknow and Jaipur and we’ve made some key learnings from these experiences. Of course safe cities, planned cities holds a very promising future in India,” pointed out Dinesh Malkani.
Chuck Robbins, the new CEO, also said that where smart cities were concerned, they provide a unique mix of business opportunity and social responsibility for the company.
Given that CISCO is one of the largest IT manufacturers in the world, its announcement on manufacturing in India, is line with statements being made by other companies in the sector.