Tue, Jul 10, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Samsung opens largest phone plant near Delhi

GREAT POTENTIAL:Less than half of the 1.3 billion Indians own a smartphone, but India’s low wages mean that manufacturers such as Apple have struggled in the market


Samsung Electronics Co yesterday opened the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturing facility on the outskirts of New Delhi as smartphone demand in India surges.

The factory was to be inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at 5pm local time. Both leaders were visiting the facility adjoining the capital, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said.

“The opportunity is just massive,” said Faisal Kawoosa, who heads new initiatives at researcher CMR Pvt. “Such a large facility will help Samsung cater to the huge demand in a country of 1.3 billion people where there are only 425 million smartphone users.”

Since taking power in 2014, Modi has pushed his Make in India initiative, which encourages companies to set up plants in the country as the nation attempts to bolster domestic manufacturing. India attracted the highest ever foreign direct investment over the past year with inflows totaling US$62 billion.

India’s smartphone market grew 14 percent with total shipments of 124 million units last year, the fastest pace of growth among the top 20 markets, International Data Corp said.

Demand for new phones is surging in India, helped in part by billionaire Mukesh Ambani offering US$23 4G feature phones, free voice services and cheap data plans.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp (小米) in April said that it would set up three more factories in India.

The new Samsung factory is to have the capacity to fabricate 120 million smartphones per year and make everything from low-end smartphones that cost less than US$100 to the company’s flagship Galaxy S9 model, Samsung said.

Indians favor low-end smartphones priced at US$250 or less, given the country’s low average annual income, Bloomberg Intelligence said.

That is one reason Apple Inc has struggled to gain market share in India, with most iPhone models priced higher than US$500, Bloomberg Intelligence said in a report earlier this month.

India last year overtook the US to become the world’s second-largest smartphone market after China.

There will be 780 million connected smartphones in 2021, compared with 359 million in 2016, a study by Cisco Systems said.

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