TheNFAPost Podcast

Kingston Technology Corporation, an American multinational computer technology corporation, is known for its competence to develop, manufacture, sell and support flash memory products and other computer-related memory products, as well as the HyperX brand of headsets, solid-state drives, keyboards, mousepads and other gaming equipment. In an interaction with N V Vijayakumar Kingston Technology India sales head Tejashwar Singh elaborates on the company’s India plan to take on the competition and growing demand.

Can you elaborate on the NAND flash products you have? How is it performing in India market?

If any of our users own a Kingston USB flash drive, MicroSD & SD card, they already own products that incorporate flash memory, also known as NAND flash. NAND flash memory is a non-volatile form of storage and can store data even when power failures occur. Its consumption has been burgeoning in India over the past few years especially SSDs, are now making significant inroads across segments. In the past few years, the cost of NAND flash dropped enough to make new primary storage devices such as solid-state drives possible for client systems and servers.

In the past, solid-state drives were designed with DRAM memory chips and were expensive, making them suitable only for demanding server applications. Today, with lower costs of NAND flash, SSDs are being used in a variety of applications, ranging from consumer to enterprise and military computing.

Kingston Technology has been a frontrunner in the SSD segment in India. Kingston uses NAND flash memory with an endurance rating designed for the workload of an SSD. This allows Kingston to offer a variety of SSDs for an application at a competitive price point.  We have compelling products across price segments right from entry-level products made for upgrade, to mid-level products for power-up users, to high-end products for extreme gamers.

 Some of our products like Kingston A2000, Kingston A400 SSD, Kingston KC600, Kingston KC2500 have received an overwhelming response from our customers, making us the No.1 player in the SSD segment in India in the last quarter.

Even in the USB segment, we have a wide range of USB Flash Drives available both in standard and encrypted security for personal, business and enterprise use with different interfaces and capacities- USB 3.0 which has many options with different colors and function, Type-C port and Duo Drive- a dual interface that works with both standard USB and USB Type-C ports. We have launched Kingston Exodia USB 3.2 and Kingston DT70 Type C USB and have been receiving good response from Indian consumers.

Kingston makes excellent SD, CF and microSD flash memory cards for a variety of devices, such as digital cameras, Android phones, drones, dashcams and security cams. We have recently launched high-end cards- Kingston React Plus and Kingston Go Plus, which is available on tatacliq. Our products across segments have received good acceptance in the Indian market.

Customising products tailored with end consumers demand is a priority for the company. How do you evaluate this segment in India?

At Kingston, we have always been close to our consumers and have consistently introduced compelling products basis their needs and requirements. We truly understand that India is a diverse country, and the requirements of the people are also varied. In the current times, when everyone is working from home or learning from home or spending more time gaming, data is redefining the way of life. We have been coming up with array of products customized especially for the discerning users.

For the avid gaming aficionados, we have Kingston KC2500 for an excellent performance. The KC2500 SSD can reach input/output speeds over 3500/2900 MB/s using the Gen 3.0 x 4 controller, which could transport the gamer to an altogether new level of gaming. Similarly, to help our users upgrade their PC for work from home or learning from home, we have Kingston KC600 2.5” SATA SSD which utilizes the latest 3D TLC NAND technology while supporting a full-security suite that includes AES 256-bit hardware encryption. Now users can ace the multi-tasking of their jobs seamlessly.

Optimizing the business needs of the ever-growing enterprise segment, we have launched five new Data Center SSDs in India- – Kingston Data Center 450R (DC450R), Kingston Data Center 500R (DC500R), Kingston Data Center 500M (DC500M), Kingston Data Center 1000M NVMe PCIe SSD (DC1000M) and Kingston Data Center 1000B M.2 NVMe boot drive (DC1000B). The new Data Center SSDs are truly augmented for both read and mixed-use workloads. The streamlined server SSDs deliver on performance while providing exceptional I/O and latency predictability, which are the requirements amongst Data Center Class SSDs.

In the USB/SD card segment, we have Kingston’s Customization Program which offers unique packaging, custom profiles, colour adjustments, content loading and more all with easy and convenient ordering. This helps in organization’s brand recognition.

What is the recent tech updates Kingston has made in further fine-tuning your product?

Since we entered into the Indian market, Kingston has been known for coming up with the highest quality products. Innovation is the key pillar of our product strategy, and we have been at the forefront of innovation across segments. Some of our products have been optimised for the needs of our users, and we have come up with excellent innovations basis the same. For instance- our product KC600 is optimised for functional system responsiveness with incredible boot, loading and transfer times. It supports a full-security suite that includes AES-XTS 256-bit hardware-based encryption, TCG Opal 2.0 and eDrive, allowing users to protect and secure their data.

Similarly, our A2000 is an affordable NVMe storage solution with impressive read / write speeds up to 2,200 / 2,000MB/s1, respectively, thus delivering 3x the performance of a SATA SSD. It is ideal for entry-level users and DIY system builders who appreciate responsiveness and ultra-fast loading times.

A2000 is a self-encrypting drive that supports end-to-end data protection using 256-bit AES Hardware-based encryption that allows the usage of independent software vendors with TCG Opal 2.0 security management solutions including Symantec, McAfee, WinMagic and others. In near future, we are planning to launch a series of PCIe Gen 4 SSD in the coming year to give an exemplary experience to our users.

With respect to the marketing strategy of Kingston in India, how are your channel partners are performing? Could you elaborate on your India revenue during last fiscal and the expected growth during fiscal 2021 (top line and bottom line)

At Kingston, the focus is on helping partners drive profitability by enabling them to embrace and monetise the new opportunities around upcoming industry trends. Channel partners are intrinsic to our growth story in the Indian market and at the same time are a pivotal part of Kingston Family. We empower our channel partners to play a vital role in sustaining and expanding the brand’s presence in the country.

Our SSD numbers are growing on a month to month basis. Kingston is the most preferred brand in the Indian market and well poised in the market due to extensive SSD product portfolio and aggressive pricing.  We are the dominating brand in the industry currently. The company enjoys 65% YoY growth in the segment, and the category grew at over 50%.

This year we have seen explosive growth, and robust demand for the NVMe SSDs and our Q3 2020 monthly average increase is about 7X. Our channel partners have received a great response for our key SSD products like Kingston A400 2.5 SATA, Kingston A400 M.2, Kingston KC600 2.5 SATA, Kingston A2000 and Kingston KC2500. We are very confident about establishing a stronger foothold and building more awareness around the SSD segment in India.

Recently you have entered into a partnership with CSD in APAC. Can you please tell us how do you benefit from this initiative?

Creativity has been the essence of innovation, and at Kingston, we have always given creativity the paramount importance. To keep up the momentum, Kingston Technology has recently announced a creative alliance with CSD, a leading brand of facemasks, to kickstart a one-of-a-kind initiative, Kingston x CSD APAC Mask Design Competition. The competition is centred around the theme of ‘There’s Strength in Memory.’

We believe that our memories connect us to our inner strengths. For over 30 years, we have worked consistently to empower our customers to create, manage and preserve their digital content on the move, with best-in-class products. Through our partnership with CSD, we are thrilled to capture the most enthralling memories on face masks.

We expect that this initiative will undoubtedly motivate consumers to come up with something unique for the rest of the world in the form of beautiful face masks. Our partnership with CSD will help us turn a new leaf in our journey to bring people closer to their memories which they really love; and, to embody that Kingston is with you during these life moments The winners of the competition stand a chance to win exciting prizes worth up to $14,400.

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