People are looking towards made in India smartphone for several reasons: the expectation of better pricing, and loyalty coupled with basic pride in home-grown brands. Many of us would be positively delighted if our fancy 4GB RAM smartphones were completely home-made.
While the idea of Indian made smartphones is appealing, the question at hand is: can India stand on its own two feet when it comes to end-to-end manufacturing of smartphones? Things look positive on the surface. Manufacturing units for assembly of mobile phones have mushroomed all over the country, sprouting from the Make In India campaign.
For instance, big-ticket brands like Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi already have manufacturing units set up and running in the country. Vivo and OPPO reportedly also have plans to set up manufacturing units in India. Looks like we’re well on our way to Indian-made smartphones, doesn’t it?
But a second glance will yield the realization that these facilities are not so much manufacturing units, as they are assembly lines. In truth, parts are imported from other countries and only assembled within these units. These parts are chiefly supplied by China and also Taiwan to a lesser extent. India could just begin manufacturing these parts in-house and make Indian-made smartphones a reality, one would say. How hard can it be to put together the 4GB RAM smartphone that is so popular today?
Especially because India has world-class know-how when it comes to the design of the chip-sets, it should be easy. In fact, India already has state-of-the-art facilities that are actively involved in chip design.
However, India lacks the capability to manufacture the chipsets and displays required for the manufacturing of printed circuit boards, also known as PCBs. Across tech, manpower, logistics, policy, and market dynamics, the environment looks rather prohibitive for Indian-made smartphones to actually happen.
India falls short in terms of a handful of basic manufacturing requirements. Factories producing PCBs have five requirements, and if Indian-made smartphones are to be a reality, the country will need to pave the way by making these requirements a reality. The five requirements include high-end technology, skilled manpower to run the said technology, continuous water supply, continuous electricity, and factories that offer vacuum environments.
The overall environment also makes it challenging for home-grown brands and foreign brands to set up end-to-end manufacturing units in India. Being a price-sensitive market, brands are looking to save every rupee to pass on price benefits to the market. But the initial cost for setting up units, and the costs involved in sourcing materials and testing will result in less competitive pricing, and as such brands have no choice but to import chipsets from China and Taiwan.
Smartphone manufacturers will require access to capital via investment, and also favorable policies to make Indian-made smartphones a reality.
Indian-made smartphone or not, you can get yourself a 4GB RAM smartphone that runs like Usain Bolt without breaking the bank. Most e-commerce platforms offer No Cost EMI plans that give you the option to pay for your phone over easy installments.