In recent times, India has been trying to support smartphone makers in the country and ramp up export numbers.
Apparently this push is already paying off.
The figures released by the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) are encouraging. Smartphone exports in the month of August totaled Rs 1781.1 crore in value, higher than Rs 976.3 crore in March.
However, imports were pegged at Rs 1050.1 crore, as opposed to the meager Rs 13.4 crore in March.
The good news, however, is that imports, as a trend, have been going down since June when the number reached a three-year high of Rs 2,225.2 crore. For example, in August last year, a device import of Rs 1984.7 crore per value was recorded.
Local production up
One of the reasons why export figures are on the rise is that local production has started again. The Covid-19 and the resulting economic blockage had hit production hard. But since August, companies are slowly getting back on their feet.
According to reports, “industry production has been ramped up to 80-85% capacity, which is optimal given current demand”.
Imports for August showed a high number as the phone manufacturers were building up stock for the festive season sale. But now that production here has improved, import numbers for September are expected to decline.
According to a report in Economic times, “Pre-covid, 95% of the devices sold in India were assembled locally. But to meet the high pent-up demand for smartphones in early May-June, as the economy started to open up, most cell phones had to companies fully built units from China, given the constraints on local production as a result of the Covid rules. “
Most of the phone makers here plan to go back to pre-Covid levels and cut imports.
“Ultimately, the intention is to go back to the same level as before, maybe even to a higher level. Of course we continue to face challenges because somewhere in a factory there will be a COVID-19 patient and then the line, sanitize. But despite all these things, things have scaled up significantly, “said Manu Jain, Managing Director of Xiaomi India recently.
Apple, Samsung led the charge
Major players such as Apple and Samsung are also increasing their activities here.
The much-discussed PLI scheme, which aims to make India a smartphone manufacturing hub, was reported in April. And that seems to work.
Apple’s contract manufacturers began production of the latest handset models, the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE, in India shortly thereafter. The plan aims to attract manufacturers who want to leave China amid the trade tensions between China and the US, and even try to pull companies out of other manufacturing centers.
If Apple is already in the process of making India its main manufacturing center, its arch-rival Samsung Electronics is well underway with a move that could shift all production from Vietnam and South Korea to India.
Samsung is considering a plan to make India its manufacturing hub, and $ 40 billion worth of devices will be produced here over the next five years.