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Your hard disk drive may have been designed in India

Western Digital has made India a key engineering base with several global products developed out of local R&D centre. Push on developing talent is an important reason why most new products created by Western Digital have an India connection. The company has put in place a dedicated training program for its campus hires in India.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 13, 2019, 08.31 AM IST
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The company has set up teams comprising entirely of university hires to do end-to-end product development within the first year – something that would typically take an engineer over two years.
For Western Digital, India has emerged as an important engineering centre, with several products in the hard disk drive and flash drive segments entirely designed and developed here by the data storage solutions firm.

Earlier this year, the company launched the world’s first 1 terabyte micro SD card, which was completely engineered in India, said Ganesh Guruswamy, senior vice-president, Data Storage Products Group at Western Digital.

Similarly, the 512 GB micro SD card, which is the world’s fastest UHS-1 microSD was also developed here.

The nearly $21-billion enterprise has increased its India headcount by almost 10 times to 2,700 over the last five years, 95% of whom are engineers.

The company set up its India operations in 2005, focused mainly on R&D.

“India is an important development centre and the fastest growing market in the consumer segment for us. It will play a significant role from a market perspective in the years to come,” Guruswamy said.

The enterprise segment is likely to grow faster as the pace picks up on government initiatives like Smart Cities. “I was clear that India would not be just about the human capital and that it would play an important role in product development. We have to be responsible to deliver global products independently,” he said.

To make it happen, the company has been actively hiring from the market and top universities over the last few years, said Supria Dhanda, vicepresident and country manager at Western Digital India.

The upward trend in hiring numbers is likely to continue in the next few years as well, Dhanda said.

The company has put in place a dedicated training program for its campus hires in India and this is starting to show results. Over the past year, many patents that it filed were by engineers in their first year on the job.

“Globally, we have 13,750 patents, many of which have been filed out of here,” she said.

The company has set up teams comprising entirely of university hires to do end-to-end product development within the first year – something that would typically take an engineer over two years.

This push on developing talent is an important reason why most new products created by Western Digital have an India connection.

The company is working closely with the government to see how it can bring in products from its global portfolio for smart city and surveillance initiatives.

It will also launch the second edition of the Data Innovation Bazaar, DIB 2020, where it partners with the Startup India and Invest India ventures to find solutions to larger problems, like affordable healthcare, using data.

Western Digital, the largest company in the non-volatile storage segment, has grown significantly through acquisitions, including HGST, which gave it leadership in the enterprise segment, and Sandisk, which was the biggest company in the flash segment.

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