Xiaomi Inc. and Foxconn have teamed up to begin assembling handsets in a factory in the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Reuters reported Monday.
Beginning Monday the Foxconn-run facility will produce Xiaomi’s Redmi2 Prime, which will be sold in the country for 6,999 rupees ($109.58), Xiaomi executives said.
The phone, a country-specific upgrade of the company’s top-selling Redmi2 smartphone, will come equipped with a 4.7-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor 410, an expandable 2 GB main memory and an 8-megapixel main camera paired with a 2-megapixel front camera.
The companies’ cost-saving move comes amid a push by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use manufacturing to boost the country’s economic growth and employment rate, and follows on the heels of a Saturday agreement in which Foxconn agreed to spend $5 billion on factories, research and development in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
Though the country is the world’s fastest growing smartphone market – forecast by Cisco to reach 651 million smartphone users by 2019 – most of India’s 100 different phone companies have heretofore been forced to import products from China and Taiwan due to a lack of suppliers and infrastructure, Reuters said.
However, a Wall Street Journal report suggested that Xiaomi and FoxConn may soon be joined by Huawei Technologies Co. and Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp., who have also expressed an interest in taking up manufacturing in India. Reports from earlier this year have also indicated that Samsung Electronics Co. is considering opening what would be its third plant in India.
According to a July report from Strategy Analytics, Xiaomi had the fourth highest number of global smartphone shipments for the second quarter of 2015, coming in at six percent of the market share with 19.8 million units shipped. The company was surpassed only by juggernauts Apple and Samsung, as well as the rapidly growing Huawei.
Monday’s facility opening marks Foxconn’s return to manufacturing in India after it was forced to close operations there last year when Nokia stopped making phones at its plant, Reuters said.