The Indian smartphone market is one of the most important smartphone markets in the world. India is still very much a developing market for consumer electronics, because device penetration remains relatively low. This means that there is currently a high and growing demand for smartphones, in contrast with many other regions of the world where demand is no longer growing. Furthermore, compared with the developed markets, the Indian smartphone market is expected to evolve rather differently. Much of rural India has patchy at best cellular coverage, often using an old 2G network and this means that customers experience the mobile internet using GPRS or perhaps EDGE speeds. However, whilst India's rural cellular data coverage is patchy, in many places the power supply situation is less reliable. Simply put, the smartphone is a much easier way to bring the Internet to India's massive population compared with trying to established fixed line broadband communications and desktop or laptop computers. As such, India's carriers are busy rolling out infrastructure upgrades to include both 3G and LTE networks and there is a large and growing domestic and near-domestic smartphone market of local companies, or foreign companies with significant local investment, building devices for the home market.
Samsung are one such company, although the South Korean conglomerate has arguably less of a local presence compared with some of the smaller Chinese manufacturers. Back in October, Samsung agreed to expand its local manufacturing plant in Noida, Uttar Pradesh in order to double its local smartphone production. Samsung's investment is in the region of $300 million equivalent and the company currently employs approximately 45,000 Indians: this is a very important market for the South Korean company. However, according to unnamed "industry sources," Samsung Electronics is planning to increase this number by recruiting over 300 local engineers before the end of the year to work in its Indian research and development units. By doing so, Samsung is expected to employ the largest number of graduates from the Indian Institute of Technology, known as the "home to India's best young engineers."
Samsung must be hoping that the additional local knowledge and talent will help the company grow its exposure to the Indian smartphone market, where for much of 2016 the business has released a large number of different smartphone models into the market. The company is facing stiff competition from local competitors, who have the advantage of operating in their home market. By raising their game, Samsung is keeping the pressure on the competition.