There's something about Nokia that still manages to strike a chord with Indians. Although the times have changed quite drastically for the once-reigning-king of the mobile phone market in the country, it is now trying to make a comeback and, slowly but steadily, inching closer toward bringing back its glory days.
Nokia, which made a re-entry last year into the market it once dominated, plans to go on the offensive this year. HMD Global Oy, the company that sells the Nokia brand of phones, is planning to start manufacturing its components in the country with an aim to tap the Indian market (and people's sentiments toward the Nokia brand).
"We are following the phased manufacturing programme. In line with this, we have started having conversations with our partner FOXCONN to manufacture our own components in the country," Ajey Mehta, vice-president and country head-India, HMD Global, said in an interview to IANS.
Reportedly, HMD Global, which sold over 70 million Nokia-branded devices globally, has grown its business five-fold in just the past eight months in India. The Nokia brand is still synonymous with quality, and despite the over-crowded competition, especially from Chinese brands, Nokia is managing to regain its momentum in the country.
According to Counterpoint Research, Nokia occupied the fifth spot in the feature phones market with 6 percent share as of December 2017.
Nokia's plans will not only give a push to the "Make in India" initiative of the Indian Government but also help the company cut down on the costs of the final product.
"It will happen over a period of time. We may be a little behind, but it will eventually happen and the components that attract import duty will be manufactured here," said Mehta.
The government, with an aim to boost domestic manufacturing, has imposed a 10 percent duty on the import of key components such as camera modules and printed circuit boards (PCBs). Nokia also said it was working with FOXCONN to set up surface-mount technology lines.
As the name suggests, surface-mount technology (SMT) is a method of producing electronic circuits wherein the components are mounted or placed directly on the surface of the PCBs.
In 2016, HMD Global acquired the license to sell Nokia devices for the next 10 years and launched its first line-up last year.
The Finnish manufacturer recently launched three new smartphones including its flagship Nokia 8 Sirocco, and the mid-rangers Nokia 6 (2018) and Nokia 7 Plus Android One device.
Xiaomi Supplier Investment Summit 2018 India
Meanwhile, another smartphone major, Xiaomi — which has had a very good run in India — is also betting big on the "Make in India" program.
The Chinese brand, which is currently India's No 1 smartphone brand, has announced that it is organizing a three-day "Supplier Investment Summit" in India from April 9, 2018.
As part of the summit, Xiaomi will host more than 50 of its component suppliers from around the world who will visit different Indian states to learn about the opportunities abound.
India is the most important market for Xiaomi outside of Mainland China and a major manufacturing hub.
The summit will allow the suppliers to visit different states and evaluate the opportunities for setting up a local manufacturing base in the country.
Xiaomi currently has three manufacturing facilities in India — two in partnership with FOXCONN in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh dedicated to manufacturing smartphones and a recently opened unit in Noida, Uttar Pradesh in partnership with Hipad Technologies for manufacturing power banks.