The first India-made smartphone of Xiaomi, the world’s third largest manufacturer in the segment, is now rolling out from an assembly line at Sri City, on the Andhra Pradesh-Tamil Nadu border.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu launched the product, Redmi 2 Prime, at an event in the port city of Visakhapatnam.
“Xiaomi, third largest smartphone maker after Samsung and Apple, is being rebranded as Mi. They say Mi is Mobile Internet. I like to say Mission Impossible because it shows their grand vision and goals,” said the CM.
He hoped India and within the country, his own state, would become large hubs for electronic hardware product manufacturing activities in the five-odd years.
The Xiaomi product is being made at a Foxconn manufacturing unit. During a China visit earlier this year, Naidu had met senior executives of Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision Industry Co) and China’s Xiaomi, inviting them to set up a base in his state. And, Foxconn, the world’s largest electronic contract manufacturer, was able to put up an assembly line and start operations in barely three months.
The company had approached Sri City in May, asking the industrial park management if they could provide ready-built premises, saying the machinery meant for a smartphone manufacturing unit to be set up by them had got delivered on Indian shores earlier than anticipated. Sri City had quickly leased a vacant factory premises of 50,000 sq ft to Foxconn, which started speedily putting together the equipment.
Sri City, located 55 km north of Chennai city on National HighWay 5, has also agreed to give another 200,000 sq ft of factory premises for Foxconn’s expansion within four months, sources said.
While Xiaomi is the first company to get its product rolled out in the market from this contract manufacturing facility, Foxconn has been planning to quickly ramp up production capacity at Sri City to serve other customers, including Microsoft and Sony, which are keen to show they are adopting the ‘Make in India’ strategy.
“Our choice of location is strategic,” said Xiaomi. “Andhra Pradesh is known to have highly skilled technical manpower, an enterprising population and a dynamic emerging leadership, a combination of factors that make the state appealing to high-growth technological companies such as ours.”
It said the Redmi 2 Prime model phones being sold in India are now fully made in this country. The product has been priced at Rs 6,999 on Mi.com and other partner sites, starting Monday.
“Manufacturing smartphones locally is a significant step towards incorporating Xiaomi into the fabric of India in the years to come,” said Hugo Barra, vice-president, Xiaomi Global.
Once considered a pioneer among Indian states in introducing information technology-based governance reforms when he was chief minister of undivided Andhra, Naidu is aiming to regain that initiative, besides attracting the electronic manufacturing sector into his state. The leaderships of the two sibling states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are also under competitive pressure, seeking to show-case themselves as the best investment destinations. Telangana had recently announced a mobile phone manufacturing cluster, inviting all top manufacturers to set up shop in Hyderabad. Celkon has begun producing some of its phone models from a site in Telangana.