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Gionee plans to start manufacturing phones in India within three years


Chinese handset maker Gionee is planning to set up a manufacturing facility in India within the next three years, reports BGR India. The company claims it will invest Rs 300 crore to setup this plant, which will manufacture devices for India, the SAARC countries and Nigeria.

According to Gionee it has already seen two locations, although they are yet to be finalized by the head of manufacturing who will be visiting in the coming few weeks. The company plans to manufacture entry-level devices at this plant. As of now, it has tied up with the consultancy firm Ernst & Young to advise on partners and potential locations across the country.

Currently, India is Gionee’s second largest market behind China, where it claims to have sold over 4 million devices last year. The company mentions it has also earmarked a budget of Rs 225 crore for marketing and advertising in India over the next year.

Note that, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi had also mentioned plans to start making its smartphones in India in November last year. Xiaomi’s VP of International operations Hugo Barra had said then that production in India will likely begin in a year or two. However he didn’t disclose any specific details on where they intend to setup this manufacturing facility. Similarly various smartphone manufacturers have said they will start manufacturing in India or have already started to do so.

Manufacturing in India:

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In January, Spice Group said it would invest Rs 500 crores to set up a manufacturing unit in Uttar Pradesh. The company also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Uttar Pradesh for the same, as per which the UP Government will support Spice in establishing the facility by providing the necessary infrastructure, ecosystem and incentives under various schemes. The company will use the manufacturing plant to make affordable smartphones and feature phones to target tier II and tier III cities in India.

The same month, smartphone maker Samsung Electronics revealed that it had invested Rs 517 crore towards the expansion of its mobile phone plant in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, under the UP Mega Policy. Subsequently, last month the company had reported that it would invest as much as $500 million to $1 billion in the manufacturing unit that will produce smartphones and tablets for the company.

Sony too wants in on the action: at the MWC in Barcelona, Kenichiro Hibi, the head of Sony’s India operations, said that the company was planning to launch an Indian manufacturing unit ‘very soon’. He mentioned that while final decisions have not been made yet, the company would look to manufacture both flat-panel televisions and smartphones in the country. Meanwhile, mobile phone manufacturer Micromax is already manufacturing devices in the country in its Rudrapur plant, since April last year.

The Indian government has been encouraging domestic companies to start manufacturing electronics goods within the country instead of importing them and had approved National Policy on Electronics. The National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) had also proposed the creation of a $1 billion fund to encourage telecom equipment manufacturing in India. The Cabinet had approved the setting up of two semiconductor wafer fabrication units at a cost of Rs 63,412 crore in India, in February last year.

Gionee pre-loaded virus allegations:

In December last year, the mobile security firm Lookout had reported that some models of Gionee and Karbonn mobile devices are coming with viruses pre-loaded on them. Researchers at Lookout found a Chinese malware known as DeathRing pre-installed on a number of handsets and devices popular in India and Africa. However, Gionee had mentioned then that the devices mentioned in the list are not being sold in India. Karbonn meanwhile, had denied any allegations.

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Image source: Mememaker

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