New Delhi: US-based Fortune 500 major Corning is launching a online service for the Indian market to get their treasured photographs printed on a high-resolution, scratch-resistant Gorilla glass panels, just like the touch screens on smartphones and tablets. The 160 year old firm, that created the glass casing for Thomas Edison’s light bulbs, is a major supplier to Indian auto, pharma and telecom firms and has been exporting a part of its optic fibre cables made in India, Thomas Appelt, Corning’s president for international emerging markets told ET.
Apart from entering the Indian consumer space with Gorilla glass photo prints and special laminates for interior furnishings, Corning is keeping a close watch on investment plans announced by global players like Foxconn before making fresh investments for domestic production. “Prime Minister Modi is making a big pitch for Make In India. If a player like Apple starts making part of its phones in India that would be a tipping point,” said Appelt. Corning, which clocked revenues of $10 billion last year, has had a physical presence in India since 1988 through warehouses for its different segments and began manufacturing optic fibre cables in Pune in 2013. While the Asia Pacific region accounts for 60% of its revenues, India clubbed with a few other South East Asian countries accounts for $300 million.
“Our India revenues may not seem large, but we have seen nice growth over the past four years — driven by the optical fibre infrastructure market in India. Most of our business segments are seeing an upward trend so we are looking to grow with new products in the Indian market,” Appelt said. The firm has already set up a supply chain for its e-commerce venture, which will allow users to upload pictures that they want printed with Gorilla glass toughness.
“Paper photos get destroyed, but Gorilla glass survives 80% of all drops from about 1 metre height, so such prints can stay for over 100 years. We hope this will find customers who can print five or seven pictures for their rooms, if not their entire wedding albums,” Appelt said.
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