India has a been seeing a lot of growth in terms of becoming a digital country as shipments of smartphones have been growing a lot since the last couple of years. All thanks to brands like Xiaomi, Lenovo, and Honor, who have entered into India and changed the smartphone industry for good. As India is ranked among one of the top countries where the average smartphone cost is around $158, according to the report released by Mary Meeker at Recode Conference. Though the data showcased is of 2014, but it very much states that India is a fastest growing market for smartphones. And with many brands coming up in the past five years, this mobile industry has been grown a lot.
With smartphones being all the rage these days, as earlier brands use to wait for a festival or a particular month to launch their phones. Nowadays brands aren’t waiting for the right time, to launch a handset; instead, they’re aggressively releasing new handsets every week. Few examples like Intex, Micromax, Karbonn and many other establish brands have been seen releasing at least 2-3 handsets every week. Our team gets a lot of Press Releases from these mobile brands.
While the point I’m moving towards is that as smartphones demand has increased, there is a tough competition in the market, and to make their presence felt, these brands adopt to aggressive marketing strategies. You must have been hearing a lot about Make in India, Made in India and Made for India, to most of us it all feels the same. But let us warn you that it isn’t all the same thing. Below we break down the myth of these initiatives that government and manufacturers have been using to attract the eyeballs.
This Government of India initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 25th, 2014. The program was introduced to bring the global investment from large production houses around the world in terms of electronics equipment manufacturing. Though, this initiative focuses on not just electronics but have more than 25 sectors under its scanner to bring the foreign investment. Note that apart from space, defense and news media, 100% FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) is permitted for the sectors falling under this initiative. It means that global companies investing in India can fully own their manufacturing units, and they will have all the rights regarding company operations.
The manufacturing companies like Foxconn, who is a partner for many mobile giants like Asus, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi for manufacturing their handsets, recently finished a deal worth $5 Billion dollars in setting up its units and research facility in the Indian State of Maharashtra. While brands like Samsung, LG, Lava, etc., have reportedly set up their own plants to manufacture the handsets, although, Samsung is among the top that is active on the list. The brand has been rolling out its flagship handset, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge in India, from its factory setup in the Northern part of India. These flagship models come with a tag of Manufactured in India.
Though, there is a large misunderstanding among the smartphone consumers in the country that under Make in India these companies manufacture products from scratch. But that is not true. Instead, it is quite different; currently, all the smartphone brands under this program only assemble their handsets in the country, as you can clearly see that on the Zauba website. Where everything imported in the country is documented and is accessible to the public.
Let’s take an instance to understand what manufacturing in India actually means. The automobile industry is a very large part of our economy; there are lots of car companies that have set up a manufacturing facility like Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Mahindra, etc. It’s not just limited to four wheelers, but there are many two wheeler companies that have set up manufacturing plants in the country. They clearly don’t manufacture everything, but assemble most of the parts. While there are many automotive components manufacturer in the country now, there wasn’t much about ten years back (Assumed). Earlier, even the car companies used to get components from outside the country and assemble them in their factories in India. And selling them as manufactured in India car.
Now under Make in India initiative, it does look like that the program will offer a product that is manufactured in India, but unfortunately at its current state, it’s not the case. Just like automakers used to (I’m sure some automotive still imports components) to import components until the component started to get manufactured locally in India. This Make in India initiative will grow just like that. Currently, whatever smartphone or tablet you may see with a Make in India label, it is probably not manufactured in India, but locally assembled by importing components in the country.
It can be easily stated that Make in India is not a pure manufacturing in India, but is growing towards it. That should be ultimately called Made in India product.
Now that we have established what is Make in India actually means, let’s talk about the real thing, which is Made in India products. It is the original thing, India is a largest hub for manufacturing of a lot of products, while the country which is famous for its traditional hand-made clothing, there are lot of mass produced items that the country exports like Crude-oil, Iron & Steel, Precious Stones, Machinery, Bio-Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Cereals, Textile and even some electronics equipment.
With Make in India initiative, the country could be looking at wholly manufacturing smartphones and its components such as a processor, RAM, storage units, battery packs, motherboard, etc., in the country itself. Though, for that Indian government, would have to make a lot of efforts in bringing the companies like Qualcomm, MediaTek, Sony (Sensor Business) to set up a unit in the country. But if only that happens, then can a smartphone brand fully say its product is Made in India.
Although, despite that many brands like Samsung, Gionee are quoting that their handsets are Made in India. The South Korean giant, Samsung, even stamps their latest flagship handsets with Manufactured in India stamp on the back of the phones. It is less probability that it is true at its full because the brand doesn’t have a manufacturing facility for its chipset, which is Exynos in the case of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. So, if you see any smartphone companies stamping their handsets with Made in India, don’t just believe them blindly, because at this stage it can be hardly a truth.
Note: It’s not a bad thing that your smartphone is not wholly manufactured in the country because as per brand’s rules and regulation they’ll offer a warranty, if that is something you’re worried about after reading this article. We have posted this article to clear the confusion among smartphone consumers and also make aware of them about the industrial scenario.
While the first one is the Government of India initiative, the second one is the actual thing, the third term coined here is just a PR activity to gain eyeballs. As not many consumers questions what it is. Though even brand doesn’t specifically tout that their handsets are manufactured in India by tagging them Made for India, but consumers who aren’t aware assumes that these handsets must be manufactured in the country itself. It is a simple psychological explanation, as they only notice Made and India words in the retail unit when they go to purchase the handsets in offline stores.
This new trend of Made for India products has been cashed in by many mobile brands, but Samsung and LeEco are the highlighted brands, as one could see their branding everywhere since they spent a lot of money in marketing their products. What Made for India means? Well, it means that a device has some specific features that are offered according to the consumer’s need. Or after studying their behavior at large scale and then implementing in their products.
The best examples include the recently launched LeEco Le 1s Eco smartphone; it is the handset that is clearly manufactured in China while the brand is marketing it as a Made for India product. Now that is all because their latest handset comes with a LeEco membership and tons of other features that are targeted to the Indian audience, such as offering live Indian TV channels, Bollywood and Hollywood Movies collection as well as music. They are not locally manufacturing or assembling the smartphones in the country right now.
We hope this detailed explanation of the differences between Make in India, Made in India and Made for India helped you in understanding the current smartphone industry manufacturing scenario.