OLPC sets target to sell 3 m laptops in India by 2009

Written by Surabhi Agarwal | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 20 2009, 04:09am hrs
The American non-profit organisation, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) has set an ambitious target to sell 3 million OLPC laptops in India by end of 2009. The company, which started its pilot in mid-2008 in India, currently has around 1,000 laptops deployed on in the country. The low-cost device comes at a price of Rs 15,000.

We are in talks with several urban schools and so far have sales of around 1 million units in the pipeline, said OLPC India president and CEO Satish Jha. Aimed at bridging the digital divide in the country, OLPC is now tapping into the corporate sector to assist in introducing computing to the underprivileged in the country. We have met several companies so far and many have come back to us with a promise of support, he said. However, Jha refused to divulge names of the interested companies.

Jha added that the cost of adopting one village will be around Rs 5 lakh. Even if a few large corporations adopt 10 villages, which means around 400-500 students each, it will be soon be a huge number, said Jha. OLPC, which does not directly sell the laptops in the market, is also in talks with several state governments to implement the project in their regions. However, the company is yet to finalise a deal with the any state government.

The 1,000 laptops sold by the organisation so far are to six schools in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. While schools in Khairat village in Maharashtra were the first to adopt the model, Katha schools in Delhi are also part of the project among others. OLPC was one of the pioneers of the low-cost computing drive, after which leading PC vendors have come out with their versions of the cheap netbooks. The OLPC laptops are manufactured by Taiwan-based Quanta Computer, the largest manufacturers of laptops in the world.