As India sets its sights on achieving self-reliance in electronics manufacturing, a noteworthy collaboration between tech giants Google and HP is poised to accelerate this journey.
The backdrop to this significant development is the Indian government's comprehensive restrictions aimed at curbing the influx of electronic devices, spanning from smartphones to laptops, as well as an expanded Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for IT products from $1 billion in 2021 to $2 billion in 2023 to attract major investment in IT hardware manufacturing.
The scheme is key to India’s ambitions to be a global hub in electronics manufacturing with the country targeting an output worth $300 billion by 2026. The investments via the plan are expected to create more than 75,000 jobs, according to the government.
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In response to these policy shifts, major manufacturers are redirecting their strategies to align with India's vision of bolstering its electronics manufacturing sector.
At the forefront of this movement is Google, which has embarked on a partnership with HP to locally produce Chromebook laptops, as confirmed by Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet, on X (formerly Twitter).
This collaboration signifies Google's commitment to enhancing its supply chain in India, a move that positions it to take on competitors like Dell Technologies Inc. and Asustek Computer Inc. in the Indian market.
Its Chromebooks will be assembled at a Flex Ltd. facility near Chennai, located in southern India. Production is slated to commence on October 2, with a primary focus on the education sector. Chromebooks are recognized as pivotal tools in K-12 education.
Notably, one of the earlier successes of these policy shifts is the growth of smartphone exports from India which has doubled to over $11 billion in 2022, with Apple contributing nearly half of this total and emerging as the largest exporter of mobile phones in the country. Interestingly, for the first time, Apple's recently launched iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models became the first 'made-in-India iPhones made available for sale globally.
To capitalize on this early success India is luring more electronics manufacturers looking to diversify their production away from China with its incentive schemes, particularly amidst escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing, as it looks to establish itself as a global manufacturing hub.