You heard right: Huawei's making phones in Chennai

Even the Chinese prefer an Indian takeaway


Asian tech giant Huawei is to start manufacturing smartphones in India next month, in a move that could signal China is starting to lose its shine as the world’s low-cost manufacturing sweatshop, with even native companies looking to expand elsewhere.

Huawei, which is currently the world’s third largest maker of smartphones by volume, is to begin operations in partnership with the Indian arm of electronics manufacturer Flextronics International in the southern Indian city of Chennai, according to Reuters.

This particular move is apparently to take advantage of burgeoning demand for smartphones in the sub-continent, with India now said to be the fastest growing market for handsets. However, Huawei is just one company among many China-based firms looking to set up shop in India recently, as the Chinese economy slows.

Even maker-of-almost-everything Foxconn – which is Taiwanese but has a large manufacturing base in mainland China – last year said it was investing in new factories in India to make handsets for partner Xiaomi.

The local media has been quick to seize on the trend, with the Hindustan Times bullishly reporting that government officials in Beijing should be worried about job cuts and the shifting of production bases with increasing economic rivalry between India and China.

“In recent years, countless Chinese companies have been included into the production chain for smartphone vendors. It is difficult to accurately determine how many Chinese workers are involved in the production chain, but what is clear is that all those workers face potential job cuts if smartphone vendors transfer the whole industrial chain of mobile production from China to India,” it reports.

Furthermore, Huawei and Foxconn are not merely makers of smartphones, but a wide variety of other kit, including PC systems, tablets and telecommunications equipment. Huawei itself sells networking kit to many of the big telecoms providers over in the UK, including BT, and is also growing strongly in the burgeoning market to supply servers to large-scale service providers.

At present, Huawei’s plans for India only appear to go as far as manufacturing handsets for the local market, but it could be early signs that India is starting to, err, curry favour with tech vendors and eat into China’s dominant position as the world’s manufacturing centre.

For its part, Huawei said that India is "a very important market”, and that the company has “renewed its focus on India”.

“We are convinced about the growth potential and future of India and we’ll keep looking for opportunities to increase our presence here,” said Jay Chen, chief executive for Huawei India, in a statement regarding the current move. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Now that's wafer thin: Some manufacturers had less than five days of chip supplies, says Uncle Sam

    Components fabbed using 40nm-plus process nodes hit hard

    Hardware manufacturers hit hardest by the global semiconductor shortage had less than five days of chips in their inventories last year – and should expect supply chain issues to continue throughout 2022 – the US Department of Commerce said this week.

    Demand for semiconductors skyrocketed during the pandemic as folks purchased more PCs, laptops, and tablets to work or learn from home, and cloud giants scaled up their backend systems to cope. Supply, however, couldn't keep up. The median inventory of semiconductor buyers in 2019 was 40 days of supply. By 2021 that figure was down to less than five days for certain key US sectors, the department said in a report, while demand was up 17 per cent.

    Production was initially slowed at factories around the world due to shelter-at-home orders as the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Some facilities had to temporarily shut down after they were hit with natural disasters, such as fires and snowstorms. But between Q2 2020 and the end of 2021 fabs were operating at over 90 per cent capacity and still couldn't meet global demand.

    Continue reading
  • Baidu's AI predictions for 2022: Autonomous driving! Quantum computing! Space! Human-machine symbiosis!

    Did a computer program tell them to write this?

    Baidu Research's AI-centric "Top 10 Tech Trends in 2022" report has outlined the Middle Kingdom megacorp's predictions for technology over the coming year.

    Baidu CTO Haifeng Wang describes AI as a "key driving force of innovation and development," thanks to rapidly evolving core technologies, cross-domain connectivity, and expanding applications.

    It's no surprise that the list focuses on AI given Baidu's business domain. The Beijing-based company's search engine captures over 70 per cent of the Chinese market while also developing other products, particularly AI research and cloud computing. The research arm takes a deeper look at its associated technologies. Think Google but Chinese.

    Continue reading
  • Nvidia reportedly prepares for un-Arm'd fight with rivals: $40bn takeover may be abandoned

    Softbank, meanwhile, remains 'hopeful' it can offload Brit chip designer

    Nvidia is quietly preparing to give up on the purchase of Arm, according to Bloomberg, after repeatedly butting heads with competition regulators amid a wave of opposition from the tech industry.

    A report by the newswire states Nvidia privately told its partners it does not expect the Arm transaction to close. The report also claims Arm's current owner SoftBank is pressing ahead with an IPO of Arm.

    The $40bn bid Nvidia lodged for Arm in September 2020 has proved controversial: Arm licences its chip designs to multiple clients and some felt that buying the company will give Nvidia the power to stifle competition.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022