News Brief

How Google Is Following Apple's Path For Making Smartphones In India

Nishtha Anushree

May 27, 2024, 12:07 PM | Updated 12:12 PM IST

A man using a smartphone in front of the Google logo (Representative image) (Adam Berry/Getty Images)
A man using a smartphone in front of the Google logo (Representative image) (Adam Berry/Getty Images)

After Apple's massive success in India, Google is known to have partnered with Dixon Technologies and Bharat FIH (a Foxconn company) for assembling its phones including Pixel 8 in India.

This is the path similar to what Apple followed. The iPhone maker took advantage of the Modi government's production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme by tying up with eligible contract assemblers.

It helped Apple to cut its costs and make a seven-fold jump in two years in its production sales. Apple has now tied up with the Tata Group, that effectively makes Wistron its contract manufacturer.

Google meanwhile is relying on Apple’s largest vendor in India i.e. Foxconn which is a Taiwanese giant. It's another partner is a home-grown Indian company Dixon.

India will be Google's third production base. It began manufacturing Pixel phones in China in 2016 and then shifted a part of it to Vietnam in 2019 amid US-China tensions.

However, India seems more attractive now due to its domestic mobile market of $37 billion, 12 times more than that of Vietnam at $3 billion, as per Business Standard.

Also, since the introduction of the PLI scheme, the manufacturing cost gap between India and Vietnam has come down to 3-4 per cent from 7-8 per cent a few years ago.

While Google's market share in India was just 0.25 per cent in 2023, the silver lining is that 95 per cent of Indians use Android smartphones, giving a potential for Google to boom.

Google will offer phones in two segments. Pixel 8 is a super-premium phone costing over Rs 1 lakh, while the other category is of upper-mid segments where its other Pixel phones cost over Rs 30,000.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.