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ICT Industry’s Reaction on Union Budget 2020-21

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The Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday presented the Union Budget for 2020-21. She made various announcements to support the economy and accelerate the country’s overall growth in different verticals. As India is embracing digital transformation in a very good way, the role of technology players increases many fold. The whole industry was very keen to know government’s announcement for technology sector. So the major highlights in the union budget for technology sector were setting-up the data center parks, five new smart cities, National Mission on Quantum Technologies, connecting rural areas with fibre optic cable network and etc. Also, the government seems very positive toward making India a technology hub as the focus of government towards advanced technologies (AI, IoT and ML) has increased tremendously. Government also announced some perks on make in India initiatives. The tech business leaders have expressed their views with Telecom Today on the Union Budget 2020-21, which we have compiled for our readers.

“The Government’s Move on Encouraging Manufacturing of Electronic Equipment in India is a Big Step”

“This is positive budget overall from the technology focus point of view. We are pleased that the Government is allocating Rs. 8,000 crore for the National Mission on Quantum Computing and Technology. The government’s move on encouraging manufacturing of electronic equipment in India is also a big step as this would provide much needed impetus to technology and manufacturing sector, which has been developing capacities and generating employment opportunities. Also, more focus on technology such as Machine Learning, Robotics, AI will support the industry to grow and establish India as a robust ecosystem for technology and innovation,” said Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Consumer Business Head, Acer India.

 

“Initiative of Building Data Center Parks Across India Will Strengthen The Digital Fabric Of The Country”

Sunil Sharma, Managing Director – sales, Sophos India & SAARC said “The Government’s Union Budget 2020 is built on the bedrock of emerging technologies including Artifical Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT) and more. Initiatives such as building data center parks across India aiming to safeguard ‘data’, the most critical asset of organisations along with the digitisation of 100,000 Gram panchayat through its Bharatnet initiative will strengthen the digital fabric of the country. However, increased digital penetration brings along with it cybersecurity risks. As per a recent report, Indian IT managers detected 39% of threats on servers, 35% on the network, 8% on endpoints and 18% on mobile. Additionally, 90% of IT managers believe cybersecurity awareness and education among employees is a major challenge for organisations. That said, while we welcome the Governments proposed steps in strengthening the MSMEs that provide employment to millions of people, we need more impetus on building skilled cybersecurity professionals in the country. The government’s allocation of Rs. 3,000 crore towards skill development is a step in the right direction towards building India’s youth and economy.”

 

Government’s Growing Interest In The Use Of Advanced Technologies Is An Interesting Move For Digital India”

Dipesh Kaura, General Manager, Kaspersky (South Asia) commented “Government’s growing interest in the use of Advanced technologies such as Artificial intelligence, quantum computing, etc was definitely seen as the base of the IT budget for 2020 and an interesting move for Digital India. In today’s budget we saw the government allocating funds to make data centers across India which will also support their upcoming Data Protection Act. However we do hope that this budget will be majorly focused on protecting the stored data especially of sectors like BFSI and large enterprises that consist major quantity of critical data. As it was rightly said that Data is the new oil, it becomes increasingly important for a country like India to protect and secure their data moving forward and also invest in securing other vulnerabilities that may target India’s critical infrastructures, banking, and financial institutions and government bodies against the ever-evolving cyberthreat landscape.”

 

“We Look Forward To The Policy On Private Players Setting Up Data Parks”

Leon Yu, Regional Head, India & South Asia, Asus, commented “At Asus, we believe that the Union Budget 2020 announcement has covered several pressing issues faced by the economy and is going to bring growth opportunities. All eyes would be on the manufacturing sector, with the FM proposing a scheme to encourage mobile phones, semiconductor packaging, and electronic equipment. The new scheme, Nirvik, is also going to offer respite for exporters, promising to settle refunds for electricity and VAT previously levied. Furthermore, the provision to bring digital connectivity to all public institutions at Gram Panchayat and allocation of INR 6,000Cr to bring fibre to home through BharatNet linking 100,000 Gram Panchayats in FY21 are also welcomed moves. With India’s rising aspirations reaching the rural locales, internet connectivity will pave the way for connected and smart consumerism. At Asus, we shall be pursuing ways to support the government in enriching India’s economy and traversing through rural India to ensure optimum growth and development. We also look forward to the policy on private players setting up data parks and shall be offering full support with our cutting-edge products and services.”

 

“The Emphasis On Mobiles, The Largest Import Bill In Electronics And ATMP Is Welcome”

Nitin Kunkolienker, President-MAIT stated “The emphasis on Mobiles, the largest import bill in electronics and ATMP is welcome. The government needs to include IT, Datacom, Medical and other sub-sectors of electronics. While the scheme is still in the works this will result in rise in exports from India.”

 

“Government’s Move on Increasing the Threshold for Small Is a Welcome Move”

Manu Jain, Global VP and India MD Xiaomi and Governing council MAIT commented “Government’s move on increasing the threshold for small business requiring audit from 1cr to 5cr, if cash transaction is less than 5%, is a welcome move. This will spur technology adoption by them which will further increase the demand for PCs and POS.”

 

“The Setting Up Of A Cyber Forensics University Is A Welcome Move From The Government”

Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal Technologies Limited said “For cyber Forensics University – One major step announced by the FM involved the proposal for establishing a national forensic university and cyber forensic university. With cybercrimes increasing at a rapid rate, the need for cyber forensics has become more important than ever for a rapidly digitising country like India. The setting up of a cyber forensics university is a welcome move from the Government. This will definitely help in improving India’s expertise to solve complex cybercrimes.”

 

“Budget 2020-21 Is A Promising Budget In Support Of Making India’s $5 Trillion Economy”

CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra, said, “With a thrust on talent, technology and entrepreneurship, Budget 2020-21 is a promising budget in support of making India’s $5 trillion economy dream come true. It is heartening to see initiatives that are aimed at enhancing digital penetration in the country by making Fibre to the home (FTTH) accessible to 100,000 Gram Panchayats via Bharat Net, which will go a long way in bridging the digital divide. Also, the decision to build data centre parks for the private sector is another step towards making India a data economy superpower. Furthermore, strategic initiatives aimed at leveraging new-age technologies like the Internet-of-Things, machine learning, robotics, bioinformatics, quantum computing and artificial intelligence across sectors will further help in laying the foundation of a robust, digital economy.”

 

“The Announcement to Boost Artificial Intelligence Is A Great Step”

“We congratulate the government on presenting the Union Budget 2020 for the common man and it’s encouraging to see that the government has taken the lead to deliver on its promise of excellence in healthcare. The government’s “TB Harega, Desh Jeetega” initiative to eradicate tuberculosis by 2025 is a significant step towards building a healthy Society. India being the highest recorder of TB cases in the world makes it imperative for us to understand the high risk of catching the disease. The government’s vision aligns with our mission to raise consciousness and promote advanced diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis among patients. Additionally, the government’s impetus on boosting the domestic manufacturing of electronics and medical devices in the country will reinforce the commitment towards raising awareness for early detection in India. Apart from this, the announcement to boost Artificial Intelligence is a great step to strengthen the usage of technology in the field of healthcare while intensifying the quality with accessibility and affordability. We believe that the government has put forward a progressive budget with a strong vision to take India’s social, economic and overall well-being to greater heights.” said Mr. Haruto Iwata, Managing Director, Fujifilm India.

 

“Five Smart Cities Have Been Proposed And Barco Looks Forward To Partnering With Government”

“The 2020 Budget has been drafted around the key themes of talent, technology, entrepreneurship and sustainability and we applaud the Centre’s efforts at boosting the economy.  The Hon’ble Finance Minister has maintained focus on tourism by announcing that iconic destinations will be connected by “corporate” trains like Tejas and with the plan to develop 5 archaeological sites into iconic sites. Five new smart cities have also been proposed and Barco looks forward to partnering with the Government in this direction” says Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco India.

 

“This Has Been A Historic Budget, I Would Rate It 8/10”

Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd, a Kodak brand Licensee said “This has been a historic budget, I would rate it 8/10. This is common man’s budget. From education to infrastructure, Govt has ensured promising new projects. This would encourage buying and would improve market sentiments. In terms of Electronics and TVs, we were expecting reduction in GST to 18% and extent the 0% duty on open cell panel.”

 

“The Scheme To Encourage Manufacturing Of Phones, Semiconductor Packaging And Electronic Equipment Is A Welcomed Move”

Mike Chen, General Manager, TCL stated “At TCL, we believe that the Finance Minister has announced an encouraging Union Budget 2020. Proposing the scheme to encourage the manufacturing of mobile phones, semiconductor packaging and electronic equipment is a welcomed move and we look forward to a complete policy and leveraging the same to kickstart the domestic manufacturing through our panel factory in Tirupati.  Furthermore, painting a futuristic picture in this year’s budget announcement, the FM also acknowledged advanced technologies like IoT, AI, and analytics changing the world. At TCL, we are forever committed to advancing our ‘AI x IoT’ ecosystem in India and will continue to invest in cutting-edge technologies to offer the best services to our customers in India.”

 

“The Decision To Encourage Domestic Manufacturing Of Mobiles And Electronic Goods In India Is A Welcome Move”

Manish Sharma, President & CEO, Panasonic India & SA, Chairperson -Electronics & Manufacturing Committee, FICCI; Co-Chair FICCI Energy Storage Committee said “Our honourable FM’s second Union Budget will help iron out some concerns for the Indian economy related to manufacturing, ease of doing business leading to make in India. From a consumer electronics industry perspective, the decision to encourage domestic manufacturing of mobiles and electronic goods in India is a welcome move while a definitive timeline would have helped further boost the industry sentiments. It is one of the vital steps towards establishing a robust, ecosystem for domestic manufacturing while also giving a boost to exports. With the NIRVIK scheme, the SMEs stand to gain financial stability.  We look forward to seamless implementation of this scheme to scale up manufacturing and developing an export hub. Also, the Government push on enabling technology with regard to development of 5 new smart cities, setting up of data center parks, investment in quantum technology, will help establish India as new age economy. With increased focus of Panasonic on developing smart business solutions, we see a role for ourselves in driving this agenda. There is a positive outlook towards what the budget brings, particularly with regards to the decisions on simplification of GST filing, extending tax rebates on the personal tax bracket for people with income up to 15 lakhs. With increase in the disposable income, we hope this will drive consumption for the consumer durables industry too which experienced flat growth in this fiscal. Further reduction in Corporate Tax for existing companies to 22% and for new at 15% and abolishment of dividend distribution tax making India a more attractive destination for investments.”

 

“This Budget Definitely Favours New Age Digital Economy”

Priya Mahajan, Head of APAC Public Policy & Regulatory Counsel, Verzion Enterprise Solutions Said, “The Union Budget 2020, is  encouraging , forward looking and would ensure the necessary boost to the Digital India Vision. The Budget duly recognises the transformational impact of emerging technologies such as AI, IOT, Big data, Cybersecurity, ML and Robotics on the economy. The digital growth momentum is steered further and India definitely has a key role to play in the global economy and future of technology and innovation. We believe that India has a unique success story and a step towards being a global technology leader. This budget definitely favours new age digital economy and we look forward to further growth in the sector”.

 

“The Union Budget’s Focus on Local Production is Going to Propel The Make In India Vision Further”

“It is heartening to see that the Government has time and again recognized the significance of electronics manufacturing in today’s economy. The Union Budget’s significant focus on local production of mobile phones, electronics and semiconductor packaging is going to propel the Make in India vision further. We are excited about the detailed scheme, which will follow soon” Stated Nipun Marya, Director – Brand Strategy, vivo India

 

“The Reduction Of Income Tax Will Definitely Increase The Disposable Income Of The Consumers”

Arjun Bajaj, Director, Videotex International ( Daiwa & Telefunken) said “The reduction of income tax in the slabs below 12 lakhs will definitely increase the disposable income of the consumers hence resulting into an increase in the overall sales across industries which will further improve the economic conditions of the country. We were expecting the government to take action on the 0% open cell duty structure which could increase post-September due to no manufacturing/bonding plants of open cell in India. An extension in 0% duty is needed due to no local manufacturing.”

 

“We Welcome The Union Budget 2020 Announced By The Government”

Anish Kapoor,CEO Infinix India said “We welcome the Union Budget 2020 announced by the government as it proposes a scheme focused on encouraging the manufacturing of mobile phones and electrical equipment, this will further give a boost to government’s Make in India program.”

 

“We Welcome The Union Budget 2020 As It Will Boost Startups”

Rishabh Mehra, MD and CEO, Digital Mall of Asia said “We welcome the Union Budget 2020 announced by the government as it will boost startups, tax burden on employees due to tax on Employee Stock Options to be deferred by five years or till they leave the company or when they sell, whichever is earliest.”

 

“It was Heartening to see FM Recognise the Importance of Deep Tech”

Dr. Pulkit Mathur, CEO, Queppelin said “It was heartening to see FM Sitharaman recognise the importance of Deep Tech is driving the next wave of growth in India. From AI in Ayushman Bharat to Data Centre Parks to allocation of Quantum Tech….there was enough in that Budget for the Technology sector to be enthused about.”

 

“The Important Step Taken Is The Further Push Provided By The Government For Smart Cities Mission”

Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, Syska said, “We welcome the steps taken by the Government in the Union Budget towards boosting electronic manufacturing in the country. The electronic industry has huge potential both in terms of manufacturing in India and job creation and will provide a major impetus for growth. This will further enhance the exports of networked products. Another important step taken is the further push provided by the Government for its smart cities mission. It aims to create 100 cities with state-of-the-art infrastructure that includes intelligent lighting, Wi-Fi access points, leading to enhancement of the quality of life of every citizen while building efficient living spaces for future generations. As a company, Syska has been striving towards developing technology-driven, energy-efficient and affordable solutions that positively impact the lives of our customers. With India heading towards mass urbanization, we are aligned towards promoting sustainability, enhancing social development and creating new employment opportunities through rapid digital innovations.”

 

“The Steps Taken Towards Making India Manufacturing Hub Will Give A Further Fillip To Make In India Initiative”

“The Union Budget 2020 has provided enormous opportunities for companies looking to set up manufacturing facilities in the country. The steps taken by the Government towards making India a manufacturing hub by providing impetus on electronics manufacturing in India will give a further fillip to the Government’s flagship Make in India initiative. Additionally, the budget also provides emphasis on making every district of the country an export hub, with the Government allocating Rs 27,300 crore for the development and promotion of industry and commerce in 2020-21. This initiative will enable Indian companies to develop the infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities required to build products that can be exported. We also welcome the Government’s commitment towards boosting emerging technologies such as internet of things, (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Analytics and the creation of a sustainable environment to combat climate change. As a company, Goldmedal Electricals has always been at the forefront of introducing innovative and sustainable solutions that make our planet not only smarter but also sustainable for future generations” said Bishan Jain, Director, Goldmedal Electricals.

 

“Union Budget 2020-21 Focuses On The Improvement Of Ease Of Doing Business For Startups”

Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Co-Founder and Managing Director, 9Unicorns stated “The NDA government’s continued efforts towards bolstering the startup landscape in India are commendable. Like the previous year, Union Budget 2020-21 focuses on the improvement of ease of doing business for startups. The proposal to set up an investment clearance cell that will provide end-to-end facilitation and support to entrepreneurs is a step in the right direction. Under this initiative, startup owners will receive pre-investment advisory, information on land banks, as well as a faster clearance on the state level. We believe this will present unbridled opportunities to entrepreneurs and the overall startup ecosystem in the country. Another positive move in favour of startups is postponing of taxation for employees for 5 years, along with ESOP taxation in the hands of employers of startups being deferred. As an accelerator for early-stage startups, the budget announcements meet our expectations.”

 

“We Welcome This Year’s Budget”

Chander Agrawal, Managing Director, TCIEXPRESS commented “This year, the government has introduced reforms that are in line with the vision of integrated national infrastructure. The reforms include monetization of 12 lots of highway bundles by 2024, the institution of a governance framework for ports, the establishment of 9,000 KMs of the economic corridor, and PPP model in transportation alongside others. Further, 100 additional airports will be developed under the UDAN initiative by 2024 which will improve national connectivity and catalyze freight movement. We welcome this year’s budget.”

 

“The Latest Budget Announcement Bears Vast Potential In Achieving Its Target Of 5 Trillion Economy”

Ambika Sharma, Managing Director & Founder at Pulp Strategy stated “The latest budget announcement for the year 2020 -21 bears vast potential in shaping India’s road towards achieving its target of emerging as a 5 trillion dollar economy. Also admirable is the government’s successful implementation of the Beti Bachao and Beti Padhao scheme which was reflected by the high gross enrollment of girls in all levels of school education. With the budget modeled towards realizing a progressive and equal women-centric society, the Finance minister also highlighted the fact that presently more than 6 lakh Anganwadi workers are equipped to upload status of more than 10 crore households. The government’s decision to provide Rs 35,600 crore for nutrition related programs and Rs 28,600 crores for women – linked programmes will vastly help in furthering women empowerment and gender equality.”

 

“This Year’s Budget Includes A Number Of Positive Reforms For The Surveillance And Security”

Abhishek Kumar, Regional Director, ONCAM commented “This year’s budget includes a number of positive reforms for the surveillance and security agency. The government has announced the launch of Police Academy and Forensic Sciences, 5 more smart cities, 9,000 KMs of economic corridor, enhancement of tourist attractions, and improved business landscape for MSMEs alongside others. Security and Surveillance infrastructure is a core element of all of these reforms and will give a strong stimulus to the segment.”

 

“The Union Budget 2020 Is A Most Progressive Budget”

Suresh Pansari, Director, RP tech India said “The Union budget 2020 announced by Finance Minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitaraman is a most progressive budget, where the Government has given an impetus to the economy to achieve its $ 5 trillion mark by 2025. This budget focuses on structural reforms and the additional emphasis is been given on infrastructural development for a long term growth. The Government has further escalated its efforts to bring ease of doing business by lowering various compliances and simplifying the GST. The importance is been given to E-Governance for speedy approvals and transparent processes. This will boost confidence among investors who are keen to set up their businesses in India. The Government has also given major relief to tax payers by reducing the tax slabs for income below 15 lakhs. This will increase the cash flow and tax payers will be able to spend more, ultimately benefiting the industries. From the industry and economy point of view, the Government has proposed special incentives for mobile phones, electronics component, networking products and semiconductor units, which will push domestic electronics manufacturing and generate more employment opportunities.”

 

“The Announcement In The Union Budget Of Almost 1 Lakh Crore For Education Sector Is Most Welcome”

Shobhit Mathur, Dean at Rashtram School of Public Leadership said “The announcement in the Union Budget of almost 1 Lakh Crore for the education sector is most welcome. Supporting research and innovation and increasing access to high quality higher education should be the priorities. The government should use the funds to set up a National Research Foundation (as suggested in the Draft New Education Policy) focussed exclusively on improving research and innovation. Additionally, to make higher education accessible, the government should subsidize student loans (rather than fund institutions). This will reduce the burden on households, promote competition for quality as students are free to choose high-quality institutions for their education”

 

“This Budget Has Addressed The Importance of Analytics, IoT and AI”

Neel Juriasingani, CEO & Co-founder, Datacultr stated “As per our expectations, the budget 2020 is much focused on driving financial inclusion in the country and the initiative to provide digital connectivity to all public institutions at Gram Panchayat level is a key step to support the same. We are glad that the honorable Finance Minister has announced a series of major policies in the budget which will give a push to emerging technology companies in India. Moreover, this budget has addressed the importance of Analytics, IoT and AI with the government planning to set up data center parks throughout the country which will enhance the whole ecosystem. We are happy that the budget has given much-required push on creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs. The setting up of investment clearance cell which will offer assistance in funding is a welcome move to boost the start-up ecosystem in India. We look forward to this and to the Government marking progress against it”.

 

“We Are Thrilled With The Announcement To Enable Private Sector To Build Data Center Parks”

Deepak Mittal, CEO & Co-founder, TO THE NEW said “Being the first budget of the decade, this budget holds immense value & importance and we are glad to see the government’s continued commitment towards positioning India a digital hub and fostering emerging technologies. We are thrilled with the announcement of a soon to be rolled out policy to enable private sector to build data center parks throughout the country. This would reap benefits such as on-demand access to ICT infrastructure, cater to Indian regulatory requirements as well as drive scalability for businesses in India. We were, however, also expecting the government to announce measures with respect to Data Protection keeping in mind the amount of Data being created and stored at unprecedented rates. Moreover, the government’s move to set up an Investment Clearance Cell for entrepreneurs to offer assistance in funding, will certainly encourage more start-ups to set up their businesses in India. This will, in turn, lead to the growth of the Indian economy. With a slew of growth measures announced, the emphasis of the government is very clear on the overall economic development.”

 

“Proposal To Develop Data Center Parks Throughout The Country Is Another Major Step Towards Digitization”

Takayuki InabaManaging Director, NEC Technologies India Pvt. Ltd commented “The current budget proposals exhibit a determined approach of government to make India ready for new technologies. Rs.6000 crore allocation for the proliferation of technology to the lowest level of society by connecting 1 lakh gram panchayats through Fibre to Home connections for supporting basic social infrastructure is a welcome step. The vision of providing panchayat level public institutions with digital connectivity will help streamline the integrated development work and open big opportunities for several stakeholders in the country. Proposal to develop Data Center Parks throughout the country is another major step towards digitization and capitalizing data resource available with government agencies. This step will help analyze the data better and make a well informed decision regarding resource allocation for social development of a specific geography and demography. Allocation of Rs.8000 crore over 5 years for National Mission on Quantum Technology is another positive step towards taking the country to the digital era. All these efforts will promote the use of technology and digitization and play an important role in the overall development of the economy.”

 

“We Welcome The Initiatives To Boost The Start-Up Ecosystem”

Yogesh Bhatia, Founder, and CEO, Detel stated “We welcome the initiatives announced by the honorable Finance Minister to boost the start-up ecosystem. The measures made by the government will encourage fresh investment in the sector because the proposed scheme is set to focus on encouraging the manufacturing of mobile phones and electrical products. The government planned to reveal more of a detailed scheme to boost mobile phone, electronics products in the country and to initiate more of phones and electronics to be Made in India soon. We are glad for this opportunity that the government has taken and it encourages us to scale up our defined mission of connecting40croreIndians.”

 

“The Announcement Of Rs. 3,000 Crore For Skill Development Is A Welcome Move”

Divya Jain, Founder & CEO, Safeducate said “We are thrilled that the Union Budget has touched upon the greater finance needs for educational institutions in order to attract good teachers. For this, the decision to look at ECBs are FDI is definitely a step in the right direction.  The setting up of apprenticeship programs within 150 higher education institutes will have a significantly positive impact on skill development. Similarly, urban local bodies providing fresh engineers with job opportunities for one year, allowing them to learn on the job, will contribute to a highly-skilled workforce. The announcement of Rs 99,300 crore outlay in favour of the education sector in 2020-21 and a separate Rs. 3,000 crore for skill development is a welcome move for sure. FM Nirmala Sitharaman has fittingly identified the rising demand for teachers, nurses, paramedical staff and caregivers abroad and the pressing need for skilling programs for professionals in these domains. The stellar success of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is evident from the fact that gross enrollment of girls is 94.32 percent in elementary levels, 81.32 percent in secondary level and 59.7 percent in higher secondary level as compared to boys. We are looking forward to further promotion of girl child education as the program continues to gain scale.”

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Dinesh Nair Appointed as Director for Consumer Business Lenovo India

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Global technology leader Lenovo has appointed Dinesh Nair as Director, Consumer Business for India region. Dinesh succeeds Mr. Shailendra Katyal, who has recently been appointed Site Leader for Lenovo India and Managing Director of Lenovo’s PC and smart device business in India. 

Dinesh Nair has been an integral part of the Lenovo India consumer business for more than 11 years and has worked successfully across several roles. His most recent role was as the sales & channel management lead for Lenovo’s consumer segment in India. He has handled leadership responsibilities across offline general trade retail, distribution management, field sales, eCommerce, large format retail and category management, and has been a key contributor to the company’s growth journey in India. 

“During this difficult time in India, we are working hard to ensure the safety of our employees, partners and customers and I am grateful that we have excellent leaders in place to bring our team together and offer this support. I am proud to hand over the reins of the consumer business to Dinesh. At the same time, this is a demonstration of our commitment to developing talent internally. I am sure he, along with the consumer leadership team, will propel the business to new heights,” said Shailendra Katyal, Managing Director, Lenovo India.

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ASUS ROG Announces ROG Masters Asia Pacific eSports Tournament

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ASUS ROG will host its first ROG Masters Asia Pacific eSports tournament from March to April 2021. Due to COVID-19 pandemic affecting travel around the region, the tournament will be conducted entirely online, with quarterfinal to final matches livestreamed.

The ROG Masters tournament will feature Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) as the official game title will provide opportunity to teams with enthusiastic players to pitch their skills against each other, as well as the best professional teams from their market and in the region.

Tournament Structure

The tournament will see various teams from 15 markets across the region vying for the chance to be crowned as the first ROG Masters Asia Pacific Edition CS:GO Champion. 

The tournament will be played in three stages played over the course of 2 months:

  • Country qualifiers
  • Country finals
  • Asia Pacific finals

Country qualifiers matches for India will start in the second week of April 2021; 8th April and the finals to be held on the 10th April. The India finals to find the top three teams to represent the country will be livestreamed live on 10th April.

Professional teams from across the region will be automatically placed into seeded positions in the country finals. This gives a greater chance for non-professional, enthusiast teams from India to get through the qualifiers and meet the pro teams in the country finals. 

Country Champions will then go on to experience battling winning teams from other APAC markets in the finals that will be livestreamed during 22nd to 25th April 2021.

Prizes

3 qualifying teams from India finals will stand to win US$800 for first place, US$400 for second place, US$200 for third place. They will then go on to the Asia Pacific finals with the chance to win the following prizes for the championship:

ROG Masters APAC ChampionshipAPAC Finals (USD/ team)
1st$10,000
2nd$3,500
3rd$1,500

Registration and Official Tournament Website

Registration for the first ROG Masters Asia Pacific tournament opens on February 8, 2021 at the tournament’s official website.

Registration closes on February 28, 2021 Further details, match schedules, pro team information as well as rules and regulations can also be found on the tournament website.

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Garena Launches Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars

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Garena has announced the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars, Free Fire’s first-ever esports tournament for the South Asia region. Taking place on 6 February, the tournament will feature some of the gaming community’s favourite Free Fire streamers and personalities from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

The Free Fire community has continued to expand in South Asia and across the world, with the mobile battle royale game the most downloaded mobile game globally in 2020, according to App Annie. Through the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars, Garena will look to continue its efforts to excite and delight its fast-growing South Asian community with exciting Free Fire content, and to support and develop the incredible online community in the region.

Tournament Format

The Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars will feature a total of 12 teams. Each team will be led by one of the top 3 streamers from each of the 4 participating nations – chosen by public voting – in this epic clash to determine the best in the region. 

The 12 teams will compete in the Battle Royale Squad mode for a slice of the 1 million diamond prize pool. The ultimate winner of this star-studded tournament will receive 500,000 in-game diamonds; the first and and second runners-up will be awarded 300,000 and 200,000 diamonds respectively. 

Invited Teams

The Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars will feature some of the most popular streamers and personalities from across South Asia. 

The team captains for each nation are: 

India

  • Total Gaming (19.4 Million YT Subs)
  • Desi Gamers (7.8 Million YT Subs)
  • Two-Side Gamers (6.85 Million YT Subs)

Bangladesh

  • Gaming with Nayeem (1.6 Million YT Subs)
  • Illusionist YT (479K YT Subs)
  • Gaming With Zihad (698K YT Subs)

Nepal 

  • Sooneeta (3.26 Million YT Subs)
  • Bshow Mgr (399K YT Subs)
  • Tonde Gamer (2.37 Million YT Subs)

Pakistan

  • RKG ARMY (1.77 Million YT Subs)
  • Unusual Gamer (81K YT Subs)
  • The Skinzo FF (75.5K YT Subs)

Broadcast Details:

Fans can witness all the high-octane action by tuning in to the live broadcasts of the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars. These will be hosted on Free Fire Esports India YouTube and Facebook, Free Fire Bangladesh Official YouTube and Facebook, as well as on BOOYAH!. 

To cater to the diverse South Asian community, the matches will be streamed with live commentary in 5 languages – Bengali, English, Hindi, Nepali and Urdu.

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