We’re All in for India, from Data Technology to Social Good

We see India as a land of innovation, with a growing ecosystem of entrepreneurs and tech-savvy users. At the same time, the country is also a data powerhouse, consuming and generating massive data at scale. That presents an intriguing opportunity to us as a leading data technology and infrastructure company. So, we’re investing heavily in our business operations, R&D, and workforce in the country.

To dive in further, two of our top leaders from India sat down with CNBC-TV18, a leading business news channel, to talk about our partnership with the Government of India, guidance on data center “parks”, technology developments, and more. Here’s a look at the top takeaways from their interview.

Note: You can watch the full, five-minute interview here.

Supria Dhanda – Vice President & Country Manager, India

Supria Dhanda, VP and Country Manager of India at Western Digital, poses for a photo.

In her remarks,
Supria went into detail on the Data
Innovation Bazaar 2020, a digital platform that we helped launch to address
national issues in India through the use of data. We had the help of several
partners to launch the contest, including from the Government of India: Startup
India, Invest India, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY),
and TiEDelhi.

It’s the second year that we’ve had the Data Innovation Bazaar, following our 2019 edition. Last year, Supria noted that we saw over 500 submissions from university students and early stage startups from across India. Their ideas applied to a wide range of social challenges, including affordable healthcare, equitable education, and sustainable transportation. From these submissions, 40 teams were chosen and invited to present their ideas in a bazaar-style format to a panel of experts from academia and industry. Upon further evaluation, the top-3 teams were awarded with cash prizes. The top-10 teams were invited to attend a three-day innovation boot camp with our leadership team at our Bengaluru campus. We profiled seven of these winning teams on our blog last year.

This year, we’re scaling up the
program. Specifically, Supria pointed out the newly added “Financial Inclusion”
category, to provide sustainable digital services that leverage emerging
technologies and data services. In addition, a special prize will be awarded to
the top entries from entrepreneurs that happen to be women. Doing so supports
diversity and inclusion within the entrepreneur ecosystem in India.

Guruswamy Ganesh – Senior Vice President, Data Storage Products Group

Guruswamy Ganesh, Senior Vice President, Data Storage Products Group at Western Digital, poses for a photo.

Ganesh started out by
talking about the move towards data localization in India. The national
government is looking to develop a series of “data center parks”,
which are multi-tenant, open access data centers. For hyperscalers and cloud
providers, data center parks could offer an ecosystem with benefits in cost,
reliability, scalability, sustainability, and power. Our role as a neutral,
third-party is to guide how these data centers can be built with a robust

These comments led Ganesh to
describe the strong investments that we have made in the country. We spend around
$200 million per year on research and development in India. Whether research
into 112-layer
or other types of data technology, we’re always looking at new ways
to help people better move their data. Along with this R&D spending, we
employ around 2,700 workers in India, which is one of our largest branches
outside of the United States.

Ganesh also highlighted a few
recent announcements in our SanDisk portfolio. One major launch was our 1TB
microSD card. He mentioned that during his early years as an engineer, it was
not uncommon for an entire data center to have 1TB in capacity. Now that data
is stored in a device the size of a human thumb nail! In addition, we added a
new product to our iXpand family – a wireless charger that can automatically
backup your photos, videos, and files. Our initial launch in Japan has been
well-received, and we have ongoing plans to launch the product in India. Finally,
we introduced a dual-drive USB, which makes it easier to move your data between
a USB Type-C mobile phone, tablet, or laptop and USB Type-A computer.

Our Future Data Technology in India

We’re all in for India. Our
R&D spending consistently tops $200 million per year in the country, with
no current plans to slow down. Through university outreach, our recruiting
teams are bringing onboard the next generation of scientists, technologists,
and innovators. And our partnership with the Government of India will continue
to build out and explore new areas of data collaboration. We’re excited to help
realize the potential of data in India, and will continue to support growth in
the country.

Here’s the Latest from Western Digital in India:

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