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

Chinese mobile players see big opportunity in India

Many Chinese firms are looking for avenues to set up manufacturing base on their own or through joint ventures with Indian counterparts

New Delhi: Chinese mobile phone and component makers firms are likely to invest $2-3 billion over the next two years in India, said Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman of the fast track task force (FTTF) set up by the government to build an ecosystem for handset manufacturing in India.

FTTF was formed by the department of electronics and information technology under Mohindroo, who is president of industry lobby Indian Cellular Association, in 2014. It is aiming at production of 500 million mobile phones and employment for about 1.5 million by 2019.

At the first China-India Mobile Phone and Component Manufacturing Summit organized by the mobile phone industry body in association with Smart World (Shoujibao), a Chinese mobile industry service platform, some 100 representatives from about 80 Chinese mobile phone and component companies took part.

The companies such as Techno, Gionee, Coolpad, Holitech, Wingtech, Camera King, Galaxy Core, Poxiao, Vivo and Sprocomm showed their interest in tapping the existing and emerging opportunities in the smartphone industry in India.

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China in May last year, industry bodies in India and China had been in talks for creating a platform to strengthen cooperation to promote mobile manufacturing and create a component ecosystem in India. This is crucial for Chinese mobile companies as India has become one of their key markets at a time when their own market is reaching saturation.

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

While Chinese firms such as Lenovo Group Ltd, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, and Xiaomi Corp. already have a strong presence in India, companies including Gionee, Coolpad, Vivo, and Meizu ventured recently into the country.

Indian mobile companies such as Micromax Informatics Ltd, Micromax, Karbonn Mobiles India Pvt. Ltd and Intex Technologies (India) Ltd also participated at the summit.

“Chinese companies are usually reluctant to set up a manufacturing base in other countries as their own ecosystem is highly efficient and supremely productive. But they are still seeing India as the hottest next destination to set up a manufacturing base. This is absolutely great news. This is a huge endorsement of PM Modi’s Make in India vision," said Mohindroo. “Going by the encouraging response of Chinese companies and definitive joint collaboration talks between Indian and Chinese mobile and handset manufacturers, Chinese investment of $2–3 billion over next two years in this sector looks like a real possibility along with employment for 1-2 lakh people."

Many Chinese companies are looking for avenues to set up a manufacturing base on their own or through joint ventures with Indian counterparts—a move that will be a major boost to the government’s Make in India programme.

Zhong Qi, vice president of Tecno, a Chinese mobile handset manufacturer, said India, which is the fastest growing mobile phone market globally, presents the biggest manufacturing opportunity, which the firm is keen to tap.

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