Chinese smartphone maker Huawei will start manufacturing handsets in India after rival Lava introduced its plans to shift handset manufacturing from China to India in July. Details of Huawei's manufacturing plan will be revealed in about a month.
"Now we already have licences for manufacturing in place. In short term we will announce our local manufacturing plan...in one month," said Peter Zhai, President of Huawei India Consumer Business Group.
Zhai added that the company hopes to make India its second largest market after China.
"We will be aggressive in India. Huawei will increase presence across 50,000 stores by end of this year from about couple of thousands now," he added.
He said Huawei's strategy is to go local in branding as the company hopes to tap into the research and development centre it established in Bengaluru 15 years ago to get a better grasp of local consumers.
"We would like to be more localised in terms of branding. We have a team of 3,000 people in R&D which we would like to leverage for local understanding of consumer needs," Zhai said.
In 2015, Huawei targeted 10 per cent of the affordable smartphone market share (less than Rs. 15,000) in India, but a research by mobile market analytics firm Counterpoint revealed early this year that the Indian smartphone market was dominated by Samsung while Lava finished fourth with a six per cent market share.
The company's competitor Lava is set to open new manufacturing units by 2018 while the smartphone seller will set up its design centre by the end of 2017. The company already has a manufacturing unit in Noida.
"We have hired professionals, who are being sent to China for training. Post training, they will come back to set up the entire design ecosystem in India," Solomon Wheeler, Vice President of Lava International was quoted as saying by the Hindu.
Lava has set aside Rs. 2,165 crore for its manufacturing plant and plans to produce 216 million units per annum for the next five to eight years.
Though research and analysis firm IDC notes that smartphones cater to only around 30 per cent of the population in India, it disclosed a decline in smartphone shipments for two consecutive quarters for the quarter ending March 2016.