Asia Express - East Asian ICT
Computing - Kobian, ABIT to Partner in India
November 05, 2004
ABIT announced this week that it has reached an agreement with Kobian -- an Indian firm that owns Mercury-brand products -- to jointly develop and manufacture high-end motherboards. Kobian is one of India's four major makers of motherboards.  


The two companies have signed an agreement of intent. However, whether ABIT will invest in Kobian, or the two parties will jointly establish a new venture, and details such as investment figures, holding shares, and the like will be discussed at a meeting of ABIT's board of directors at the end of November. Another decision that has yet to be made is whether the jointly produced motherboards and other devices to be sold in India and Southeast Asia will carry the Mercury label or ABIT's brand. Kobian is preparing to enter the Singapore market next year, and plans to rely on ABIT as its main supplier. 


Seeing great market potential, other motherboard makers have made moves toward India. ASUS set up an office in India back in April and is going forward with plans to invest in a factory. Foxconn is also considering setting up a production facility in India to compete for more orders. ASUS executives have indicated that they view the Indian market as on par with the Chinese market in terms of importance.


India's population exceeds one billion and the domestic PC market is still in its infancy, with consumers tending to prefer value-line offerings. HP, Dell, Acer, BenQ, ASUS, ABIT, and ECS are all struggling to get a piece of the pie. Intel's motherboard division has already moved its troops into the Indian market. It is estimated that Intel, ASUS, Gigabyte, and Kobian currently hold near three-fourths of the motherboard market in India.