The Aakash tablet has been a source of pride for Indians both for its being budget-friendly and its made in India label. The tablet is supplied by Datawind, a Canadian company which ensures that the first 10,000 units of the tablet are delivered to Indian schools.
However, officials at Chinese companies say that the second-generation Aakash tablet, known as the Aakash 2, was produced and designed in China.
According to Li Junhao, head of the Shenzhen, China company called Trend Grace, one of the companies making the Aakash 2 tablets, Datawind only takes charge of sales. The name of Trend Grace appears in invoices to Datawind which have been checked by India Ink.
According to the newspaper, it had checked invoices from four companies where it appears that Datawind Innovations purchased “A13” tablet computers. The price of the tablets are around $42 to $42.86 per unit.
Says Li Junhao, “The tablets we sell to DataWind are ready to be sold. They are finished, ready-to-use products.” He goes on to say that “All parts are made in China. We buy the touch screen from a Chinese manufacturer and make the rest of the parts ourselves. We then assemble the tablets into finished products.” Two other China-based companies made similar statements according to India Ink.
Meanwhile, Suneet Singh Tuli of Datawind claims that although some of Aakash 2 tablet’s parts are sourced from China to expedite the production process, its design as well as the assembly of said parts are done in India. Tuli also notes that Datawind manufactures the tablet’s touchscreen display as well as designed some of its hardware and software. He also explained that the assembly of the parts take place in Amritsar and Delhi.
The Aakash tablet has already been in a lot of hullabaloo since its first version was launched last year. The earlier Aakash was criticized for its alleged poor performance, albeit it did have a less than $50 price tag that meant good news for its target consumers, Indian students.
The Aakash 2 tablet costs around $42, but it will be subsidized by the Indian government for as much as 50 percent to make it affordable for students.