Huawei is set to start manufacturing phones in India by the end of this month in partnership with contract manufacturer Flextronics, as the world’s third largest smartphone maker joins a slew of Chinese peers to produce devices locally.
The devices will be made in Flextronics’ assembly plant near Chennai where it already makes smartphones for Lenovo and Motorola, according to people aware of the matter. A formal announcement to this effect is likely to be made within the next fortnight, they said.
“Huawei may begin with a capacity of 200,000 units a month, but it can scale up rapidly as the plant has enough capacity to take on more orders,” said one of the persons, who did not wish to be identified.
The company may start with some of its latest models such as Honor 5C or Huawei P9, even as it may make multiple models at the facility, the person said.
Huawei and Flextronics did not respond to ET’s queries on the development.
Huawei is among the first Chinese companies to have entered India, almost two decades ago, and it started its research and development centre here in 1999. The largest telecom gear maker in China, it was granted approval to make telecom equipment in India last year.
Last month, it opened its largest global service centre in Bengaluru which will house 1,000 engineers, network operations specialists and support staff, supporting more than 30 countries in Asia, West Asia and Africa, and serving over 350 million subscribers.
Local manufacturing of mobile phones has always been on the agenda for Huawei, but talks progressed to action only over the past few months. The company’s president for consumer business group in India, Peter Zhai, said last month that licences for manufacturing were in place and that a plan to manufacture locally would be announced soon.
According to data with ET, Flextronics’ assembly plant has a capacity of 1.3 million units a month. With capacity of up to 6 million units a year dedicated to Lenovo, the contract manufacturer has excess capacity to meet Huawei’s production demands, industry executives said.
Huawei, which sells phones through Huawei and Honor brands in India, has met with limited success in India. It is planning to increase its presence across 50,000 stores by the end of this year from about a couple of thousand now and is also planning to set up its own branded stores.