India urges handset makers to top Vietnam and China in mobile exports

India handset makers
Photo by Deepak Sethi

The Indian government has again urged handset makers and electronics firms to leverage local schemes and incentives to develop an electronic system design and manufacturing ecosystem in a bid to attract global investment and to emerge as a solid alternative to Vietnam and China.

Currently, around 85% of global mobile handset exports are for catered by China and Vietnam.

The Indian Central government will provide financial support of Rs 50,000 crore (US$6.7 billion) to these companies through various schemes, namely, PLI, SPECS and EMC2.0 to develop the ecosystem and make a mobile manufacturing hub.

Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), which represents companies like Xiaomi, Apple, Oppo, Vivo, Foxconn in India, also presented a timeline of 2020-25 to attract global investors to develop a fully-fledged electronics and mobile ecosystem to displace Vietnam to become one of the biggest exporters.

This comes at a time when handset companies in India have been trying hard to seek “essential item” tag for mobile devices and related products to resume sales amidst the ongoing nationwide lockdown in the country.

The handset brands, however, have received support from the country IT and Electronics Ministry (MEITY), but the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) hasn’t taken any calls to allow handset sales.

IT and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday informed handset and electronics companies that their requests regarding broadening the definition of essential goods to ICT products, including handsets were forwarded to the MHA.

Handset and electronics sales have been practically zero in India for the last one month.

Industry players through their representative associations like ICEA, MAIT, IESA, and CEAMA met Prasad via video conferencing on Wednesday to discuss investment opportunities.

ICEA, however, sought the government support to revive domestic demand for handsets and to resume local manufacturing in India. 

Foxconn, Wistron, Oppo, Vivo, Samsung, and home-bred handset company Lava, are still awaiting permission from state governments on restarting manufacturing. They had submitted their detailed plans earlier this month with local authorities, but haven’t received permission due to their presence in areas like Noida, Greater Noida, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh which are currently considered high-risk zones due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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