While the global smartphone market is showing early signs of a thaw, smartphone sales in India continue to skyrocket. Only recently did the country overtake the US as the market with the second largest number of active mobile phone users after China, and now, the country’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has come out with a research report of its own, which claims that mobile phone production in the country may climb to an astounding 500 million units within just two years. India, traditionally known more for its software and IT-enabled services rather than as a manufacturing hub, has recently been rolling out the red carpet to electronics and automotive manufacturers with a slew of incentives, as part of its much talked-about ‘Make in India’ campaign.
Speaking in New Delhi at a seminar on Telecom and Broadcasting theme – ART (Adjudication, Regulation, Telecommunication) of Convergence, TDSAT, India’s Telecom Secretary Mr. J.S. Deepak, said that the country’s mobile manufacturing sector has seen record growth in recent times, having gone from manufacturing just 10 million units a few years back to 45 million units in 2014 and as many as 100 million units last year. What was more interesting was his projection that the number could climb to 500 million in just two years’ time, meaning, India might end 2018 with over half a billion mobile phones rolling out of the assembly lines in the country. Deepak however, lamented the growing ‘digital divide’ in the country, saying, “We have only 14 percent rural households which are digitally literate … this needs to change”.
While Samsung, LG and some other multinational biggies were already operating manufacturing units in India for years, over the past year or so, a number of OEMs like Foxconn, Sony and Lenovo etc. have set up manufacturing bases in the country, thanks to the exploding market and the generous incentives on offer. Most smartphones sold in the country by Indian OEMs like Micromax already come from factories within the country and of late, ASUS, Xiaomi, Motorola and a whole host of multinational brands have also been rolling out ‘Made in India’ handsets to users across the country. India is already becoming a manufacturing hub of sorts for global automotive majors, with the likes of Nissan, Volkswagen, Ford, Hyundai, Suzuki and a whole host of other companies literally exporting hundreds of thousands of passenger cars out of the country each year. Now, it may be the time for the consumer electronics industry to follow suit.