LED Market The Brightest Spot in a Difficult Economy

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Kwality Photonics has put India on the global LED map by setting up an ultra-modern fully-automatic LED plant with a capacity of a billion LEDs per year. The company has high brand equity in the domestic market. The new company set up this year—LEDchip Indus Pvt Ltd—is a DIPP recognised start up enterprise and is financed by SIDBI at Hyderabad. ELE Times had a tête-à-tête with K Vijay Kumar Gupta, CEO, Kwality Photonics P Ltd and LEDChip Indus P Ltd, a man wearing multiple feathers in his cap. An engineer, a scientist, an entrepreneur and a pioneer in the field of LED business in India, K Vijay Kumar Gupta shares his knowledge over the years, about the industry and his company.

 

ELE Times: How do you perceive the current LED market in India?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta
K Vijay Kumar Gupta, CEO, Kwality Photonics P Ltd and LEDChip Indus P Ltd.

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: Current LED market is the brightest spot (pun intended) in the otherwise difficult economy. As per latest view of our Association ELCOMA, the proportion of LED Lamps in Sales has increased. Last year LED business contributed to 54% of total Lighting sale and it is expected by end of 2017, this will be more than 70%.  This in spite of fact that the industry faced issues like Demonetization, GST, E-waste rules, MEITY CRO scheme etc which disrupted the sales from time to time.

ELE Times:  Can you tell us about your product portfolio and also talk about your bestselling LED products?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: LEDChip Indus is the sole Indian producer of LEDs – technically called as LED packages.  We are in LED Semiconductor Components production since 1987 and even before that in LED R&D at IISC, BARC, and TIFR & CEL since 1977. Historically Indian market is highly fragmented characterised by low volumes across DIP LED, Segmented Displays & SMD LEDs. We are into all the product segments and of late specialised as mass producer in SMD LEDs for White Light.

ELE Times: We would like to know which segment of the market according to you is your best customer?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: For Kwality-LEDchip Indus, the Lighting Segment is the major market now.  Of recent multiplicity of LED packages have converged into one size called 2835 SMD and we have created high production capacity in this 2835 LED. We offer 2835 0.2Watt for tube lights, 2835 0.5Watt for bulbs &Downlights, and 2835/3030 1.0Watt. Though basic LED voltage is 3V, we readily developed 6V, 9V 18V options for innovative applications in lighting.

ELE Times:  What is your company’s contribution towards the mission ‘Make in India’?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: A late beginner India marched into LED Lighting in the giant strides of EESL, who played the role of Demand Consolidator and gave confidence to Indian Enterprises to invest in Huge capacities of LED assembly process & to supporting ancillary industries in Casting, Molding, MCPCBs,  & EMS.  What was conspicuous by absence was local production of LED components. Historically, the entire Electronic Component Industry was wiped out when the import duties became zero under ITA1996 agreement. Its time for us  to come out of our comfort zones and take the lead to put India as producer of Components. The LEDs offered a opportunity as well as a challenge. As the senior player the market for LEDs, the Kwality Group took decision to make investments in scale that would put India firmly on the Global LED MAP. We went for the most modern automation technology, poured our 40 years of study into the production process and succeeded in LED production at very competitive cost. Our vision is to reach 10 billion LEDs capacity rapidly and 100 billion capacity in short term. All our LEDs have LM80 compliance with 99% brightness retention even after 9 month  at super high temperatures of 105OC.

ELE Times: How much domestic production of LED components gained from ‘Make in India’ initiatives?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: Surprisingly, in spite of rhetoric, there almost nil enthusiasm  & efforts from GoI or State Govt to Make-in-India proposals in LEDs. There is no effort to pro-actively approach the entrepreneur or to fast track the application through hand holding. So much of red tape just to give a ‘go ahead & invest’ signal. There is actually no need to insist to hold the investments once first application is made & intention to invest is put on record online. Many applications for incentives are waiting for months for approvals.

ELE Times: How much domestic production of LED components gained from ‘Make in India’ initiatives?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: The make-in-India is unable to reach its full potential, despite India presenting a huge market, and sadly & as happened in the past, all this market going to benefit overseas Producers.

ELE Times: Can you tell us your views on GST?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: GST will help automate the indirect taxation process, and ultimately mainstream the whole business cycle. This may eliminate the off-line transactions and push the market to compete on merit basis. It is this utopia that all the populace in India are hoping for.

ELE Times: How do you cope up with the ever-changing technology in the LED space?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: LED technology is rapidly developing and the packaging innovations are happening all around. We are keen students of  LED technology have access to information on developments from all corners of the world and have access to technology innovators. Our investments are selected in a way to support emerging process like Flipchip, CSP, COB, DOB, SOB, MicroLEDs etc. If opportunity arises, we will not hesitate to make India leapfrog to next generation Lighting Sources.

ELE Times: Can you tell us about your start-up ‘LEDchip Indus Pvt Ltd’? What can the customers look forward to from this expansion?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: LEDchip Indus is spun off as a startup to harness benefits of the make-in-India incentives by GOI, to build tech-savvy culture in the work force, to adapt best Industry practices and to imbibe progressive customer oriented processes. The mix of 80 man-years of experience with young eager engineers has given us vigour& optimism to take on the world best and prove that India can do it better.

ELE Times: Who are your major clients? Can you name a few? What message do you have for the prospective clients?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: We have over 2000 loyal customers spread across metros & towns of India, including large, medium and small makers.

ELE Times: What kind of innovations can we look forward to in the LED space?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: LED as lighting source is still limited to InGaN& other III-V elements. The micro LEDs & OLEDs are looking at non lighting applications. The LED lights are however upgrading to intelligent lighting and Li-Fi where they will play a dominating role in last mile communications.

ELE Times: What are your future plans?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: We are firmly engaged in the path to become No1 Global Scale producer of LEDs from India. We are going for innovative financing and scaling up to put India as a place to reckon as producer of professional grade LEDs.

Kwality Photonics has put India on the global LED map by setting up an ultra-modern fully-automatic LED plant with a capacity of a billion LEDs per year. The company has high brand equity in the domestic market. The new company set up this year—LEDchip Indus Pvt Ltd—is a DIPP recognised start up enterprise and is financed by SIDBI at Hyderabad. ELE Times had a tête-à-tête with K Vijay Kumar Gupta, CEO, Kwality Photonics P Ltd and LEDChip Indus P Ltd, a man wearing multiple feathers in his cap. An engineer, a scientist, an entrepreneur and a pioneer in the field of LED business in India, K Vijay Kumar Gupta shares his knowledge over the years, about the industry and his company.

ELE Times: How do you perceive the current LED market in India?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: Current LED market is the brightest spot (pun intended) in the otherwise difficult economy. As per latest view of our Association ELCOMA, the proportion of LED Lamps in Sales has increased. Last year LED business contributed to 54% of total Lighting sale and it is expected by end of 2017, this will be more than 70%.  This in spite of fact that the industry faced issues like Demonetization, GST, E-waste rules, MEITY CRO scheme etc which disrupted the sales from time to time.

ELE Times:  Can you tell us about your product portfolio and also talk about your bestselling LED products?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: LEDChip Indus is the sole Indian producer of LEDs – technically called as LED packages.  We are in LED Semiconductor Components production since 1987 and even before that in LED R&D at IISC, BARC, and TIFR & CEL since 1977. Historically Indian market is highly fragmented characterised by low volumes across DIP LED, Segmented Displays & SMD LEDs. We are into all the product segments and of late specialised as mass producer in SMD LEDs for White Light.

ELE Times: We would like to know which segment of the market according to you is your best customer?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: For Kwality-LEDchip Indus, the Lighting Segment is the major market now.  Of recent multiplicity of LED packages have converged into one size called 2835 SMD and we have created high production capacity in this 2835 LED. We offer 2835 0.2Watt for tube lights, 2835 0.5Watt for bulbs &Downlights, and 2835/3030 1.0Watt. Though basic LED voltage is 3V, we readily developed 6V, 9V 18V options for innovative applications in lighting.

ELE Times:  What is your company’s contribution towards the mission ‘Make in India’?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: A late beginner India marched into LED Lighting in the giant strides of EESL, who played the role of Demand Consolidator and gave confidence to Indian Enterprises to invest in Huge capacities of LED assembly process & to supporting ancillary industries in Casting, Molding, MCPCBs,  & EMS.  What was conspicuous by absence was local production of LED components. Historically, the entire Electronic Component Industry was wiped out when the import duties became zero under ITA1996 agreement. Its time for us  to come out of our comfort zones and take the lead to put India as producer of Components. The LEDs offered a opportunity as well as a challenge. As the senior player the market for LEDs, the Kwality Group took decision to make investments in scale that would put India firmly on the Global LED MAP. We went for the most modern automation technology, poured our 40 years of study into the production process and succeeded in LED production at very competitive cost. Our vision is to reach 10 billion LEDs capacity rapidly and 100 billion capacity in short term. All our LEDs have LM80 compliance with 99% brightness retention even after 9 month  at super high temperatures of 105OC.

ELE Times: How much domestic production of LED components gained from ‘Make in India’ initiatives?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: Surprisingly, in spite of rhetoric, there almost nil enthusiasm  & efforts from GoI or State Govt to Make-in-India proposals in LEDs. There is no effort to pro-actively approach the entrepreneur or to fast track the application through hand holding. So much of red tape just to give a ‘go ahead & invest’ signal. There is actually no need to insist to hold the investments once first application is made & intention to invest is put on record online. Many applications for incentives are waiting for months for approvals.

ELE Times: How much domestic production of LED components gained from ‘Make in India’ initiatives?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: The make-in-India is unable to reach its full potential, despite India presenting a huge market, and sadly & as happened in the past, all this market going to benefit overseas Producers.

ELE Times: Can you tell us your views on GST?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: GST will help automate the indirect taxation process, and ultimately mainstream the whole business cycle. This may eliminate the off-line transactions and push the market to compete on merit basis. It is this utopia that all the populace in India are hoping for.

ELE Times: How do you cope up with the ever-changing technology in the LED space?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: LED technology is rapidly developing and the packaging innovations are happening all around. We are keen students of  LED technology have access to information on developments from all corners of the world and have access to technology innovators. Our investments are selected in a way to support emerging process like Flipchip, CSP, COB, DOB, SOB, MicroLEDs etc. If opportunity arises, we will not hesitate to make India leapfrog to next generation Lighting Sources.

ELE Times: Can you tell us about your start-up ‘LEDchip Indus Pvt Ltd’? What can the customers look forward to from this expansion?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: LEDchip Indus is spun off as a startup to harness benefits of the make-in-India incentives by GOI, to build tech-savvy culture in the work force, to adapt best Industry practices and to imbibe progressive customer oriented processes. The mix of 80 man-years of experience with young eager engineers has given us vigour& optimism to take on the world best and prove that India can do it better.

ELE Times: Who are your major clients? Can you name a few? What message do you have for the prospective clients?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: We have over 2000 loyal customers spread across metros & towns of India, including large, medium and small makers.

ELE Times: What kind of innovations can we look forward to in the LED space?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: LED as lighting source is still limited to InGaN& other III-V elements. The micro LEDs & OLEDs are looking at non lighting applications. The LED lights are however upgrading to intelligent lighting and Li-Fi where they will play a dominating role in last mile communications.

ELE Times: What are your future plans?

K Vijay Kumar Gupta: We are firmly engaged in the path to become No1 Global Scale producer of LEDs from India. We are going for innovative financing and scaling up to put India as a place to reckon as producer of professional grade LEDs.

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