India Calling

A growing domestic market has spurred smartphone manufacturing but the development of a component ecosystem is critical to take it to the next level

Photographs by Vishal Koul

Mobile phones have been the biggest agents of revolutionary change in India. Still, with only 20% mobile users owning a smartphone, India remains one of the largest underpenetrated smartphone markets in the world. Contrastingly, it is also one of the fastest growing smartphone markets. According to Counterpoint Research, the smartphone market in India grew 23% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2016, compared to the global growth rate of 5%. This latent domestic demand is the foremost reason why smartphone makers — both international and local — have been setting up indigenous manufacturing facilities at a rapid pace. The research also suggests that the number of brands manufacturing smartphones locally have increased from 10 to 35 in the latest quarter, with 70% of smartphones shipped locally assembled.