India’s startup revolution in the last decade has been powered largely by the proliferation of smartphones, but these phones have an Indian connection too.
As many as 99 percent of mobile phones used in India are now made in India, the country’s IT Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw has said. In comparison, as many as 98 percent of phones in India a decade ago were imported. Vaishnaw attributed this change to India’s Make In India push.
“10 years ago, 98 per cent of mobile phones used in India were imported. Today, 99.2 per cent of the mobile phones used in India are made in India. That is the success of the ‘Make In India’ programme of Prime Minister Modi,” Vaishnaw said.
He also used the opportunity to take a swipe at opposition parties. “There are some very famous people who want to criticise the growth of the mobile phone industry in the country. They forget the employment in the mobile phone industry, they forget that 2.5 lakh employees are directly employed in the mobile phone industry, they forget that every passing day, the country’s growth in the value chain is increasing. There are some big leaders in the Opposition who still believe that mobile phones are imported,” he added.
India has seen a slew of companies begin assembling and manufacturing phones in India. All the way back in 2016, Chinese companies like Xiaomi and Vivo had begun manufacturing phones in India. In 2018, Samsung had inaugurated its largest factory anywhere in the world in Noida. In more recent times, Apple has begun manufacturing phones in India.
All this has meant that while India imported nearly all its phones a decade ago, it now manufactures nearly all its phones today. This has had massive effects for the economy — smartphone sales in India will be worth $42 billion this year, and the bulk of this money would’ve stayed in India instead of moving abroad. The smartphone industry has also created lakhs of jobs, and also spurred downstream industries such as semiconductors and other smartphone parts. And given how central smartphones are in everyday life these days, having nearly all of them made in India can’t but be a win for India’s policymakers and its economy.