Google is exploring deals with Lava International, Dixon Technologies and Foxconn’s India subsidiary to move Pixel production to the country
Google is also weighing plans to move the production of other hardware, such as speakers, to India
The development came hours before PM Modi landed in the US, where he is expected to hold a dialogue on removing tech trade barriers between the two nations
Taking a leaf out of Apple’s playbook, tech giant Google is reportedly in talks with multiple vendors to move the production of its Pixel smartphones to India.
Sources told Bloomberg that Google is exploring deals with companies such as Lava International, Dixon Technologies and Foxconn’s Indian subsidiary for the same.
People privy to the development said that if Google’s bid to localise production is successful, the tech giant could also relocate the production of other hardware, such as speakers, to India. The company also believes that moving the production to India could help drive the sale of its smartphones in the country
The deal is still in preliminary stages and could not materialise, according to sources.
The development came hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in the US for a tour, where he is expected to pitch the Indian manufacturing story to US companies and hold talks on tech trade barriers between the two countries.
This comes barely a month after IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw met Google CEO Sundar Pichai at the tech major’s headquarters in California’s Mountain View. The two had discussed a slew of issues ranging from India Stack to the government’s ‘Make in India’ push.
Curiously, the reports of Google looking to move Pixel’s production to India come days after top Google executives, including COO of the consumer hardware arm Ana Corrales and senior director of Asia Pacific (APAC) operations Maggie Wei, landed in India for partnership talks with vendors.
The decision to move to India could likely be driven by concerns around the ongoing political standoff between the US and China and the stringent enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions by Beijing. The shift would also enable Google to diversify its production outside China and Vietnam.
It is pertinent to note that Google reportedly manufactured 9 Mn Pixel smartphones last year, the majority of them in China.
With this, Google could also be looking at leveraging the lucrative production-linked incentives (PLIs) offered by the Indian government. In addition, the three potential vendors have already received financial incentives under the scheme, which has attracted many global players to set up facilities in the country.
A case in point has been Apple, which has been rapidly expanding its manufacturing capacity in the country. Just a day ago, it was reported that the Cupertino-based smartphone manufacturer had exported iPhones worth INR 10,000 Cr in May 2023. Apple has raked up exports to the tune of INR 20,000 Cr in the past two months, more than 2X compared to the corresponding period last year.
Other smartphone vendors have also ramped up their India presence. Earlier this month, Foxconn unveiled plans for its upcoming plant in Karnataka’s Devanahalli, which is expected to start the production of iPhones by April 2024.
With an increasing number of foreign players making a beeline for India, it remains to be seen whether the growth percolates into the homegrown R&D ecosystem and spurs innovation in the local tech landscape.