New Delhi: Taiwanese original design manufacturer (ODM) Wistron Corp., which focuses on information and communications technology (ICT) products, and Optiemus Infracom Ltd, a distribution and management services provider for mobile brands, accessories and other telecommunication products, on Tuesday said they would set up a manufacturing facility for telecom products in India.

“Over the next five years, the partners will strategically invest approximately $200 million in best-in-class infrastructure, technologies and processes, to cater to growing Indian and global demands for telecom products viz smart phones, tablets and smart devices", said Ravinder Zutshi, managing director, Optiemus Infracom Ltd.

This is the most recent in a series of investments announced in India under the government’s Make in India initiative. According to union minister for communications and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, India has received electronics manufacturing proposals worth 1,17,000 crore, of which the government has already approved proposals worth 19,000 crore.

Last month, Videocon Industries Ltd said it would set up a mobile handset assembly plant in Punjab, entailing an investment of 500 crore over three years, in addition to tying with Coolpad Group Ltd to manufacture phones.

In September, Chinese smartphone vendor Gionee tied up with Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group and Dixon Technologies (India) Pvt. Ltd to start manufacturing mobile devices in India and committed to invest $50 million ( 330 crore) over the next three years. The same month, Lava International Ltd, which has an assembly unit in Noida, said it will invest 2,615 crore over the next seven years to set up one more factory in the country by 2017.

The most notable investment announcement was made by Foxconn in August. The company will invest $5 billion to set up manufacturing units in Maharashtra over the next five years. Smartphone brands including Xiaomi Corp., InFocus, Oneplus, Asus and Meizu have also either tied up with Foxconn or are in talks with the company to start assembling smartphones in the country.

“With Foxconn, and now Wistron, we expect a large number of similar initiatives in the manufacturing space, completing the loop from design to innovation in the manufacturing landscape," said M.N. Vidyashankar, president, India Electronics and Semiconductor Association. “Technology transfer from countries like Taiwan will certainly enhance the bar of local manufacturing to global standards."

Also in August, China’s Lenovo Group Ltd started assembling smart phones in its 40,000 sq. ft facility in Chennai run by Singapore-based contract manufacturer Flextronics International Ltd.

In July, Karbonn Mobile India Pvt. Ltd set up a 150,000 sq. ft plant with an investment of 50 crore in Noida in partnership with mobile phone designer, manufacturer and supplier Water World Technology Co. Smartphone

The joint venture between Wistron and Optiemus targets to create over 15,000 employment opportunities in India, over the next five years.

“Embarking on this new journey, we intend to emerge as one of the top three third party manufacturers in the country in the next five years," said Zutshi.

Robert Hwang, President & COO, Wistron Corp., said India is the fastest growing smartphone market and the company sees a huge opportunity to grow in the country.

“With our extensive expertise in the global ICT sector and our partner’s unique local market understanding, we plan to significantly grow and nurture the Indian technology market," said Hwang.

By 2017, India is expected to overtake the US to be the second largest smartphone market globally, according to research firm IDC.

However, some industry analysts take these developments with a pinch of salt.

“There is a difference between companies announcing investment plants and money actually coming in. For the money to actually come in, you have to have a favourable environment, which is still lacking in India," said Vishal Tripathi, principal research analyst at research and advisory firm Gartner Inc.

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