India low-cost tablet not a product of China

Aakash's manufacturer, Datawind, says motherboards and kits of 10,000 units were manufactured by its Chinese subcontractor to speed up production process, but software development and final assembly were in India.

In response to allegations India's low-cost Aakash tablets were bought off-the-shelf in China, the company behind the device has explained certain parts were manufactured in the Chinese market primarily to speed up the production process, but the software development and assembling of the tablet components were done in India.

Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of U.K.-based company Datawind, in a statement said the motherboards and kits used in the the first 10,000 units for Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) were manufactured in its Chinese subcontractor's facilities "for expediency sake", whereas the final assembly and programming were done in India, AFP reported Saturday. Tuli added this step was "well discussed" and approval was given by IIT-Bombay prior to shipping.

A report in the Hindustan Times Saturday said the latest Aakash 2 tablets were allegedly bought off-the-shelf in China, and cited an unidentified source who claimed Datawind did not play a role in the design or manufacturing of the device.

Datawind said allegations it "conned" India were "inaccurate and misleading". In the media statement, Tuli said the "software and mechanical parts" were developed by Datawind and the company's business model was similar to that of Apple, using subcontract manufacturers to build its products, the AFP report stated.

The latest Aakash 2 tablet , which has a faster processor and improved battery life than its predecessor, was recently unveiled in India by President Pranab Mukherjee on Nov. 11, selling at a subsidized price of US$20 for students, it added.

The first 10,000 Aakash 2 tablets will be provided to students at engineering colleges and universities, according to a Press Trust of India (PTI) report.

Datawind said with the first batch of 10,000 units delivered to IIT, it will start production of another batch of 20,000 units in two weeks, the report added.