OnePlus is considering turning India into its "global manufacturing hub," The Economic Times reported Wednesday, citing a company official. OnePus India General Manager Vikas Agarwal revealed the firm is presently in the process of negotiating supply deals with local manufacturers as part of its efforts to become more involved in the "Make in India" initiative promoted by New Delhi as a way to encourage consumer electronics firms to invest more resources in the South Asian country. Should OnePlus's currently ongoing talks yield significant results, the company could turn India into its main electronics hub which would create its products meant to be sold in all parts of the world, Mr. Agarwal said.
The Chinese original equipment manufacturer is already assembling its smartphones in India so as to avoid heavy duty fees on its products but sourcing the majority of their components from local factories would allow the company to additionally lower its costs and improve its profit margins. OnePlus smartphones sold in India are presently being assembled by the same Noida-based vendor that assembles OPPO-made devices. While the two firms aren't officially related, OPPO's parent BBK Electronics is widely believed to be holding a controlling stake in OnePlus, with the same tech conglomerate also owning Vivo, another OEM that's recently been revamping its business in India in order to become more reliant on the local economy and consequently lower its operating costs.
Imported smartphones are presently subjected to a 20-percent duty fee in India but the vast majority of high-end mobile devices aren't popular enough to warrant an investment in local assembling operations, Mr. Agarwal believes, suggesting that state of affairs presents a unique opportunity for OnePlus to become even more competitive in the premium segment of the market. At a time when global smartphone shipments are losing momentum, India is becoming an ever more attractive proposition for most OEMs as its record-breaking growth is still leading to tens of millions of handsets being sold on a quarterly basis. The South Asian country is almost solely responsible for Xiaomi's recent success that saw the company nearly double its global shipments in 2017 and many other Chinese phone makers are presently pursuing new opportunities in the region. OnePlus is expected to announce its next Android flagship this spring, with recent rumors suggesting the OnePlus 6 will be unveiled in May.