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India approves Apple partners and Samsung for $143 billion smartphone manufacturing plan

Manish Singh
·2-min read
An employee tests the camera quality of a mobile phone on an assembly line in the mobile phone plant of Rising Stars Mobile India Pvt., a unit of Foxconn Technology Co., in Sri City, Andhra pradesh, India, on Thursday, July 11, 2019. Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., opened its first India factory four years ago, it now operates two assembly plants with plans to expand those and open two more. The company was integral to Chinas transformation into a manufacturing colossus, and founder Terry Gou has told India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Foxconn could help India do the same. Photographer: Karen Dias/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An employee tests the camera quality of a mobile phone on an assembly line in the mobile phone plant of Rising Stars Mobile India Pvt., a unit of Foxconn Technology Co., in Sri City, Andhra pradesh, India, on Thursday, July 11, 2019. Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., opened its first India factory four years ago, it now operates two assembly plants with plans to expand those and open two more. The company was integral to Chinas transformation into a manufacturing colossus, and founder Terry Gou has told India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Foxconn could help India do the same. Photographer: Karen Dias/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Samsung and three major contract manufacturing partners of Apple are among 16 firms to win $6.65 billion incentives under India's federal plan to boost domestic smartphone production over the next five years. These companies had applied for the incentive program, unveiled earlier this year, in August.

In a statement Tuesday evening, Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said these companies will be producing smartphones and other electronics components worth more than $143 billion over the next five years. In return, India will offer them an incentive of 4% to 6% on additional sales of goods produced locally over five years, with 2019-2020 set as the base year.

New Delhi’s move is aimed at significantly improving India’s manufacturing and exporting capacities and generating more local jobs. Around 60% of the locally produced products will be exported, the Indian ministry said. The companies will generate more than 200,000 direct employment opportunities in the next five years and as many as 600,000 indirect employment opportunities during the same period, the ministry said.

The move is also a precursor to how the dynamics among major smartphone makers might change in India, the world’s second largest market, over the next few years. The inclusion of Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron underscores how rapidly Apple, which launched its online store in India last month, plans to expand its local manufacturing capabilities in India. Wistron began assembling a handful of iPhone models in India three years ago, followed by Foxconn. Pegatron has yet to start production in India.

“Apple and Samsung together account for nearly 60% of global sales revenue of mobile phones and this scheme is expected to increase their manufacturing base manifold in the country,” the ministry said.

"Industry has reposed its faith in India’s stellar progress as a world class manufacturing destination and this resonates strongly with Prime Minister’s clarion call of AtmaNirbhar Bharat - a self-reliant India," the ministry added.

Indian firms Lava, Bhagwati (Micromax), Padget Electronics, UTL Neolyncs and Optiemus Electronics have also received approval. But missing from the list are Chinese smartphone makers Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus and Realme, which had not applied for the program. Chinese smartphone vendors currently command about 80% of the Indian market. Samsung, which once led the Indian smartphone market, has faced intense competition from Xiaomi and Vivo in recent years.