Three Chinese smartphone brands – Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo – have started negotiations with Indian manufacturers to produce smartphones locally and then export them worldwide. The move seems to be a step to turn India into an electronic manufacturing hub, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
According to people familiar with the matter, the companies involved are hoping to take advantage of cash incentives readily available to local firms. OPPO and Vivo have begun discussions with Lava International Ltd., while Xiaomi is courting Dixon Technologies India Ltd. If the plans go ahead, Lava and Dixon will assemble the phones and begin exporting them from their plants as early as this year.
Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo have in previous years begun shifting capacity to India, which helped the country emerge as the second-largest manufacturer and assembler of mobile handsets by volume. Such a partnership would be a milestone for an industry in India increasingly dominated by Chinese brands.
Both groups are eyeing government cash incentives linked to production capacity, a program intended to make India more competitive as an electronics maker. Chinese executives are expected to begin visiting Lava and Dixon factories as soon as Covid travel curbs lift, one person said.
India’s mobile exports have soared since the Indian government introduced the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme in 2020. Mobile exports are expected to exceed 450 billion rupees ($5.9 billion) in the year ending March, a 30-fold increase in five years, according to the India Cellular & Electronics Association.
Representatives of Lava, Dixon, Xiaomi and OPPO did not respond to the report. A spokesman for Vivo referred to previous statements that the company planned to export phones from India by the end of 2022.