Following on the footsteps of Xiaomi, OnePlus too wants to expand its manufacturing in India. The company is reportedly in talks with domestic manufacturers for sourcing components of its upcoming devices. The move marks an attempt to reduce import costs and duties.
OnePlus first announced its local manufacturing plans back in 2015, supporting the government’s ‘Make in India‘ drive. Two years later, as more brands are focusing on homegrown manufacturing and sourcing of products, OnePlus appears to expand its support in its key market India.
During the Union Budget 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that customs duty on mobile phone parts will be hiked to 20 percent. The move will not only make devices expensive for the end-consumer, but also make it difficult for brands to sustain in the competitive market.
OnePlus is aiming to reduce exactly those costs. Vikas Agarwal, OnePlus’ general manager for India, said that the company is already assembling the entire portfolio of smartphones in India and now, wants to further move deeper into the ‘Make in India’ strategy as government policies are favorable to local producers.
“We are finalizing our plans on local component manufacturing or sourcing. If the plans become successful, India can potentially become our global manufacturing hub with handsets getting exported from here,” Agarwal is quoted as saying in an ET report.
India is seen as a highly lucrative market to do smartphone business not only by mid-range brands such as OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Oppo, but also premium ones such as Apple which has been long seeking rebates in taxes and duties to penetrate the potent market locally.
Agarwal believes that most brands operating in India do not have sales volume so as to justify the local assembly and only Samsung has been able to leverage the Make in India strategy as its premium smartphones are also produced locally.
Meanwhile, a recent IDC report highlighted that OnePlus is one of the top-five smartphone brands in India. Interestingly, in premium smartphone brand category, OnePlus surpasses even Samsung, and is second only to leader Apple. OnePlus operates in the above-Rs 30,000 segment where only Apple and Samsung are its competitors in terms of market share and popularity.
The company’s lastest unveiling had been the OnePlus 5T in Lava Red color choice. It is expected to introduce the successor OnePlus 6 sometime in the first half of the year, with an evident OnePlus 6T following in a few months time. As part of its India plans, OnePlus recently its first-ever offline Authorized Store in the country. The hub is the first experience center located in Mumbai as OnePlus plans to extend its presence in the offline segment.
On the sidelines, rival Xiaomi announced that its newest smartphones, the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro will be fully manufactured in India. Xiaomi India Managing Director and Global Vice President Manoj Kumar Jain said that majority of the two new phones will be manufactured at two of Xiaomi’s units housed in Sri City.