The world’s third-largest smartphone vendor on Friday announced it will start manufacturing some of its smartphones in India starting next month.
According to its press release, Huawei is opening the manufacturing plant in Chennai alongside Flex India, a branch of the global electronics manufacturer Flextronics International. Huawei said the plant will be used to manufacture one of its Honor smartphone models and will have the capacity to produce three million units by the end of 2017.
Huawei said it is also planning to boost its after sales services in India with more than 200 service centers, and will expand its distribution network to include more than 50,000 retail outlets by the end of this year.
Huawei said the move is part of its plan to expand its footprint in India, which is on track to become the second-largest smartphone market in the world. According to Gartner, sales growth for smartphones in India is forecast to hit 29 percent in 2016 and exhibit double-digit growth over the next two years. That forecast was backed up by International Data Corporation (IDC), which also said smartphone shipments to India are expected to grow at double-digit rates this year.
“We have been present in India for the last 16 years and as part of our India focus, we have been consistently expanding our footprint in the market,” Huawei India CEO Jay Chen said. “This year especially has been of significance in our India journey. We recently launched our world class Global Service Center (GSC) in Bengaluru and the start of manufacturing in India is an affirmation of our commitment to India and supports the ‘Make in India’ campaign. We are convinced about the growth potential and future of India and we’ll keep looking for opportunities to increase our presence here.”
Huawei, which is based in China where growth has slowed due to saturation, said it has already seen “significant acceptance” of its smartphones in India over the past few years.
But Huawei isn’t the only smartphone vendor angling for a piece of the Indian pie.
Throughout this year, Apple has been pushing to bring more iPhones to the India market, but was denied permission to sell refurbished devices there. The company, however, did chalk up a win in June when the country’s government moved to ease restrictions on foreign investment.
Earlier this month, Apple was reported to be in talks with supplier Foxconn about opening a manufacturing center for iPhones within the next few years. India Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, however, this week told the Economic Times Apple has not yet submitted a formal proposal to do so.