Google Follows Apple's Lead, Explores Pixel Smartphone Production in India
Google Explores Manufacturing Partnerships in India
20 June 2023
Alphabet's Google is exploring partnerships with Indian suppliers to assemble its Pixel smartphones, following Apple's footsteps to diversify production beyond China.
Discussions have been initiated with companies like Lava International, Dixon Technologies India, and Bharat FIH (Foxconn's Indian unit), which have secured government incentives for local manufacturing.
While no deal has been confirmed, moving production to India could boost Pixel sales and potentially pave the way for manufacturing other hardware products in the country.
Alphabet's Google is actively seeking suppliers in India to assemble its Pixel smartphones, following in the footsteps of Apple Inc. as it aims to diversify its production beyond China. The tech giant has initiated discussions with prominent Indian companies, including Lava International Ltd., Dixon Technologies India Ltd., and Bharat FIH, the Indian unit of Foxconn Technology Group. These potential partners have secured Prime Minister Narendra Modi's production-linked financial incentives, which have incentivized local manufacturing. This move mirrors Apple's strategy of expanding its supplier base in India, resulting in a significant increase in iPhone production to over $7 billion during the last fiscal year.
Prime Minister Modi has been promoting India as an alternative manufacturing hub, particularly as more companies become wary of relying solely on China due to factors such as Covid-related lockdowns and the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. Modi is scheduled to visit the US soon, where discussions on removing tech trade barriers between the two countries are expected to take place.
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Google's CEO Sundar Pichai recently met with India's Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw, to discuss Modi's local manufacturing drive and India's state-backed technology push. Executives from Google, including Ana Corrales, the operating chief of its consumer hardware division, and Maggie Wei, a senior director of global sustaining product operations, also visited India this month to further these partnership talks.
While there is no official confirmation of a deal, the fact that Google is exploring talks with Indian suppliers indicates its intention to move production away from China and Vietnam. Currently, Google manufactures approximately 9 million Pixel smartphones annually. Expanding production to India could significantly boost Pixel sales in the country, where cheaper Chinese phones currently dominate the market. Furthermore, if successful, Google may consider shifting the production of other hardware, such as speakers, to India.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that these discussions are still at an early stage, and there is no guarantee that Google will proceed with manufacturing Pixel smartphones in India. The company may choose alternative options or decide against this plan entirely.