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India’s quest to become a mobile production hub

Technology giant Apple Inc. moving production of multiple iPhones to India is being seen as a significant milestone in the country’s goal to become a global manufacturing powerhouse. But where does India stand right now in the scheme of things? Mint takes a closer look

Technology giant Apple Inc. moving production of multiple iPhones to India is being seen as a significant milestone in the country’s goal to become a global manufacturing powerhouse. But where does India stand right now in the scheme of things? Mint takes a closer look.

What are key areas in India’s manufacturing

India isn’t just the second-largest smartphone market in the world, it’s also the second-largest mobile phone manufacturing country now. However, there are five primary categories that are expected to grow in the longer term. These are air-conditioners, audio equipment, refrigerators, televisions, and washing machines. According to the estimates from a Frost and Sullivan and Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA) report, manufacturing industry in India is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 11.7% by 2025, from 76,400 crore to 1,48,600 crore.

Who is manufacturing smartphones in India?

Companies making smartphones in India include Taiwanese giants like Foxconn and Wistron who make phones for Apple. Pegatron, another large iPhone maker, is also expected to start manufacturing soon. Foxconn is currently making the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 in its Chennai plant, whereas Wistron makes the 2020 edition of iPhone SE at its Bengaluru plant. It has also made iPhone 7 and 6 before. Among Indian firms, the big names are Lava, Padget Electronics, Dixon Technologies, and Sojo Manufacturing Services. Indian manufacturers are now expanding to accommodate orders from global phone sellers too.

Gaining traction
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Gaining traction

Which smartphone units are made in India for now?

Manufacturing in India has been growing over 10 years, but most of it still involves assembling. However, phone chargers and other accessories are being made here. In the next five years, the Product Linked Incentive Scheme is expected to bring peripheral firms, who make components of smartphones, to India. This includes things like camera modules, wafers, etc.

What elements cannot be made in India yet?

In the long run, India wants the manufacturing for high-end phones and electronics to move here too. However, the industry doesn’t expect it to happen anytime soon, because India doesn’t drive high volumes in the segment. Even if firms export products from here, they will have to export volumes to the tune of 500 million units per year, as per experts. Executives believe that it will be a long time before things like semiconductor fabrication come to the country, because it doesn’t make sense for those companies to move here.

Which nations are our major competitors?

China remains the big-daddy for manufacturing of electronics. Firms manufacturing here have to depend on Chinese imports too. However, with companies looking to reduce dependence on China, they’re moving extra capacities to India. For instance, Apple moved the iPhone 11 manufacturing to India this year, while preparing to launch iPhone 12 series globally. None of the phones currently made in India are its “flagship" devices. India’s competition also includes Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

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