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Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi will open two new mobile manufacturing plants and a television plant in India. In an interview, Manu Jain, Xiaomi’s India head and global vice president, said 99% of its smartphones and 100% of its televisions sold in India will now be manufactured in the country.

“We would love to see India as an export hub. We started exporting in small quantities last year to nearby countries such as Bangladesh and Nepal. Right now, the No. 1 priority for the Indian business is to meet local demand, which we believe is significantly more than what we are supplying. Once we meet 100% of the local demand, we will start thinking of further increasing our exports," he said.

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One of the two mobile manufacturing plants is already up and running, Jain said. The company has partnered with DBG India, which is operating the plant in Haryana.

The second plant will be set up by Chinese electronics maker BYD in Tamil Nadu. Having plants in both north and south India will keep the company better positioned to tackle possible lockdowns in either side of the country.

“At least with respect to covid, I think our business is a lot more stable and resilient, as compared to what it was nine months ago," Jain added.

The new television manufacturing plant is being set up in Telangana by Radiant, a Hyderabad-based TV manufacturer. Xiaomi also has two other mobile manufacturing plants in Tamil Nadu, run by Foxconn and Flex, and a TV manufacturing plant in Andhra Pradesh, run by Dixon Technologies.

The company has been assembling phones in India for a while, but the scenario is “rapidly changing", said Jain. A “majority" of the components in mobile phones, including printed circuit board assembly and sub-boards, back panels, chargers and battery, are being locally manufactured now, he said. The company also plans to start manufacturing camera modules in India from 2021.

“Initially this investment (cost of setting up factories) could be slightly higher (than paying import duties), but will turn out to be a better decision from a long-term view," he said

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