Anku Jain, MD of MediaTek India, one of the most profitable global fabless semiconductor companies, opens up about his journey through the very interesting phases in India’s tech evolution. In a chat with Nijhum Rudra, he discusses the key role he plays at MediaTek India, the turning point in his career, and his major contributions to the industry.
It was my dream to do my engineering degree at one of the IITs. I would have been following in my father’s footsteps if I managed to get in. And thankfully, I did. It was at IIT Delhi that I built the foundation for a great career in tech, studying computer science. I must have also inherited some of my father’s passion. Though he had got admission into IIT in his time, under family pressure, he was made to study locally—but he ran away and took his well-earned seat at IIT Kharagpur!
Highlights from my professional journey
Over the past 25 years, I have been fortunate enough to work and contribute equally to the software product industry as well as the semiconductor space. I worked for organisations like River Run, Network Programs, Tata Group and Sprint, before embarking on my journey as an entrepreneur. I was the founding member of Pixtel Communications, a startup that developed distinctive embedded software solutions for mobile phones. Our team created tremendous value by transforming Pixtel from a services-centric technology startup to a product company. This eventually led to our firm getting acquired by MediaTek Inc. for our intellectual property. That’s how my exciting and incredible journey with MediaTek began 15 years ago.
Key role in MediaTek and the challenges faced
It’s been a challenging and rewarding journey with MediaTek—from its inception, to it becoming a world class centre of excellence. I head MediaTek’s India operations across its locations in Noida, Bengaluru and Mumbai, and am also responsible for multiple R&D business units, in addition to fostering Indian government relations. MediaTek India’s R&D centres support the smartphone, operator and connectivity businesses, both in India and globally. The company contributes to various domains like mobile phone software, several new-generation technologies like 5G modems and AI, amongst others. Hurdles are actually interesting transformations! Handling the market transition from feature phones to smartphones, and now to a new digitised world full of intelligent and connected devices are my biggest achievements.
The turning points in my career and my success mantras
Joining MediaTek has indeed been the turning point in my career. I feel very proud to mention that my current organisation has been instrumental in democratising and changing the face of the Indian mobile ecosystem. Earlier, the Indian market was dominated by just a few key players. MediaTek mobilised new players to challenge the established giants, which in turn created immense business growth and benefited the end customer.
I passionately and regularly support budding entrepreneurs as an angel investor and mentor. I can relate to their efforts and enthusiasm, having been a founding member of Pixtel Communications. Entrepreneurship is no doubt an important part of the economic development of a country. For startups, the key to success is persistence, hard work, passion, good execution and some degree of good market timing. As someone said, a good startup is 10 per cent inspiration and 90 per cent perspiration.
Those are the success mantras that I have lived by and would like budding entrepreneurs to imbibe for a flourishing career. Apart from that, the quote, “You are as good as your last outing,” holds true for my industry, for my company and for me as well. With rapid technology changes, it is immaterial what your past success stories are. Accomplishments have to come consistently, and almost daily. Incremental improvement over time can add up to significant competitive advantage. It can change the numbers game completely. Continuous learning and consistent perseverance are fundamental to big wins.
My management style and recent achievements
I have always focused on building strong teams and grooming leaders who can deliver on the global stage. My mantra is to create a conducive environment that enables leaders to do ‘deep dive thinking’ in order to arrive at effective business solutions. My expertise in MediaTek includes business leadership, strategy, managing cross-cultural teams, site operations, and engineering proficiency related to innovations in embedded software, telecom, semiconductor and mobile phone design. I have filed for multiple patents in the field of mobile telephony.
My idol and the qualities I admire in professionals
I am an adventure freak and an ardent sportsperson. I regularly do long distance running, cycling and participate in marathons. My passion took me to the highest level when I successfully climbed up to the Mt Everest base camp recently. I idolise sports persons for the sheer perseverance, discipline, sportsmanlike spirit and the winning attitude they demonstrate. Many of these traits are applicable to a business as well. Kapil Dev has been an idol for me since yesteryears, and he remains my hero even today.
MediaTek’s roadmap for the future
MediaTek Inc. is a leading Taiwan based global fabless semiconductor company that powers more than 1.5 billion devices a year and is a leader in developing innovative Systems-on-Chip (SoC) designs for mobile devices, home entertainment, connectivity and IoT products. The semiconductor is the future of technology across domains, business verticals and industries. The future of semicon is very thrilling and so is MediaTek’s. I plan to continue my exciting journey in MediaTek, and look forward to contributing further to a digital India through MediaTek’s 5G, AI and rich IoT initiatives. Our country and the world are getting connected like never before. MediaTek will play an important role in changing people’s lives with great technology.