Samsung makes a comeback in India with local manufacturing

The tech scene in India is buzzing with activity.

Samsung makes a comeback in India with local manufacturing
A journalist uses a mobile phone as he works outside the Samsung Electronics smartphone manufacturing facility in Noida, India, July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

The backstory: The tech scene in India is buzzing with activity. All thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's effort to transform India into an export hub with the "Make in India" campaign, the government is handing out financial incentives left and right to tech companies.

More recently: Apple was ahead of the game, already producing iPhones in Tamil Nadu since 2017 and recently announcing plans to manufacture the latest iPhone 14 there. By 2025, a quarter of all iPhones could be made in India.

Samsung was also in India, participating for the first time in the manufacturing incentive program last year. But it has faced a bit of a bump in the road, struggling to collect the sweet financial incentives from the government, unlike other manufacturers (like the world's largest Apple manufacturer Foxconn, which has already collected its benefits).

The development: Still, Samsung doesn't want to be left behind in the booming Indian market. Now, it's assembling its top-tier smartphones there, increasing its presence in the country with more stores and ramping up sales and marketing.

With competition from Chinese rivals heating up, Samsung is determined to make a comeback and manufacture its entire phone portfolio domestically in India. Samsung also launched the Galaxy S23 last week, which brought in 140,000 orders worth US$169 million in just 24 hours of its release in India, double the number of orders received for the previous generation on the first day.

Key comments:

“That also builds on our strong commitment to growing the India market,” said Raju Pullan, the head of Samsung’s mobile business in the country, in a Monday interview. He didn’t comment on whether the locally assembled devices will be cheaper than the imported ones.

“India is a crucial market that we’d like to take back,” said TM Roh, president of Samsung’s smartphone business, last month in an interview.

"Driven by a conducive policy environment and deepening manufacturing ecosystem in India, Apple's Made-in-India iPhones will potentially account for close to 85 per cent of its total iPhone production this year," said Prabhu Ram, the head of Industry Intelligence Group at CyberMedia Research, referring to Apple reportedly setting up manufacturing facility in India.