Making it in India

The race is on to develop a 100% Indian smartphone. But what's the driver, really?

“If you go back seven years, the mobile industry never belonged to China,” reveals an incredulous Rajesh Agarwal, co-founder of Micromax, the homegrown mobile phone giant. The dragon grabbed the world’s smartphone factory title because of its manufacturing prowess and tremendous local market. “It made sense to localise everything from design to fabrication to accessories to take advantage of cheap labour and economies of scale. But now it is time for that to move to India as it is the third largest market for phones,” he says. And it’s not wishful thinking as apart from local players like Micromax, Intex, Lava etc, even Chinese players like Xiaomi and Gionee have set up a handset assembly line in India. “A year ago we didn’t expect even assembling to happen in India,” says Karthik J, senior market analyst, IDC.