The last 9-10 years have seen tremendous growth across four major consumer electronics segments — mobile phones, consumer electronics, IT hardware and electronic components — that account for over 70 per cent of India’s domestic manufacturing profile.
The pace is such that tech giants are now lining up investments worth billions of dollars in the country.
The country is rapidly becoming an electronics manufacturing hub, with the sector expected to rise to $300 billion by 2025-26. From Apple to Foxconn and US-based Micron Technologies to domestic major Tata Group, the companies are aiming to leverage domestic capabilities to achieve supply chain diversification and scale up production by manufacturing in the country.
Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn has received approval to invest at least $1 billion more in a plant in India that will manufacture Apple products. The fresh investment is on top of the $1.6 billion it earlier set aside for the 300-acre site close to the Bengaluru airport.
Meanwhile, the Tata Group is planning to build one of India’s largest iPhone assembly plants in Tamil Nadu’s Hosur. According to media reports, the facility is expected to feature around 20 assembly lines and employ 50,000 workers within two years. The site is expected to be operational within 12 to 18 months.
With Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Wistron selling its India operations to the Tata Group for $125 million, Tata Electronics is going to become the first Indian company to manufacture new Apple iPhones in the country, which is a major fillip to the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
According to reports, Apple plans to expand its investment in the country to approximately $40 billion over the next four to five years. Apple has already crossed the $7 billion production milestone during the previous fiscal year.
Apple is aiming to manufacture more than 50 million iPhones in India per year, as it aims to shift some of the production out from China. The tech giant aims to achieve the target within the next two to three years, with additional tens of millions of units planned after that, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to government and industry data, India saw mobile phones exports worth $5.5 billion (over Rs 45,000 crore) in the April-August period in the ongoing fiscal year (FY24).
As per estimates by the Department of Commerce and the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), accessed by Thebetterandhra.com, the April-August period saw mobile phone exports worth $5.5 billion, against $3 billion (about Rs 25,000 crore) in the same period in FY22-23.
India is set to cross Rs 1,20,000 crore in mobile phone exports in the current fiscal year. The country is now the second-biggest manufacturing hub for mobile phones due to heavy investment from original equipment manufacturers, original design manufacturers and companies dealing in components and parts.
India is expected to export about 22 per cent of its total assembled mobile phones in 2023, according to Counterpoint Research.
However, “China’s manufacturing and supply chain will still maintain its essential role in the longer run,” says senior research analyst Ivan Lam.
According to Prabhu Ram, Head–Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, India’s domestic consumer electronics manufacturing sector has soared, propelled by a mix of strong tailwinds.
“A conducive policy environment is attracting strong investments, while a burgeoning R&D pool in areas like chip design and AI is fostering innovation. Domestic champions are leading the charge, prioritizing IP-driven value creation and localisation,” Ram told Thebetterandhra.com.
India’s electronics sector is set to harness $7 billion untapped revenue by 2035 via circular business model and policy pathways, say industry stakeholders.
Current commitments and targets set the projected market size for these circular models at $13 billion in 2035.
Yet, the total addressable market, achievable through the right public and private actions, can reach an astounding $20 billion, revealing an untapped potential of 35 per cent, according to the ICEA.
Three core business models — Repair, Resell, and Recycling — are already thriving in India, predominantly driven by the informal sector. Around 90 per cent of collection and 70 per cent of recycling are handled by this competitive sector.
However, only 22 per cent of the collected e-waste is managed by the formal sector, revealing room for improvement.
Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman, ICEA, highlighted the future potential of India’s electronics sector as a global manufacturing hub.
“I am confident that the electronics industry would facilitate sustainable circular economy practices to ensure a sustainable green future for the generations to come,” Mohindroo said.
Meanwhile, the ICEA is also setting up a task-force to ensure that the current electronics trade between India and the US goes up from an estimated $8 billion to $100 billion in a decade.
“We are setting up a task-force to ensure that the current electronics trade between the two countries goes up from an estimated $8 billion to $100 billion in a decade. The role of lead firms of global value chains (GVCs) will be crucial but, at the same time, new jobs and opportunities for Indian businesses and startups will be created,” Mohindroo informed.
In September, US-based Micron Technology started the construction of a Rs 22,500 crore facility in Sanand, Gujarat, that will set a benchmark for India’s semiconductor journey.
“This plant sets a major milestone for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making India a semiconductor hub — the way the country has achieved in sectors like mobile, electronics, defense, railways, aviation and multiple other areas where progress is visible,” Union IT MInister Ashwini Vaishnaw had told Thebetterandhra.com.
The engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has also announced to invest up to Rs 830 crore to build a fabless semiconductor chip design subsidiary which will ramp up the country’s plan to become a semiconductor hub.
In just 15-16 months’ time, India has seen the construction of its first-ever semiconductor plant in Gujarat, received more manufacturing proposals along with several chip-designing startups now operational in the country.
“This momentum is expected to continue in 2024, with India poised to become a major hub for consumer electronics manufacturing and a formidable export powerhouse,” said Ram.