Korean technology giant Samsung on Monday inaugurated the world's largest mobile phone factory at its Noida facility, providing a fillip to the Narendra Modi government's efforts to promote manufacturing in the country, and also signalling its intent to take on Chinese counterparts, which have been dominating the Indian market.
Samsung, a world leader in smartphone market, has been associated with the lives of millions of Indians, the Prime Minister said, adding that there is hardly any middle-class family in India who doesn't own a Samsung product. "India has become number 2 in mobile phone manufacturing". He claimed that the factory will provide 35,000 jobs directly and indirectly, and the state government will ensure that the unit got the proper infrastructure it needed.
Trade minister Suresh Prabhu invited Korean investment in areas such as manufacturing, services, agriculture and food processing, stating that India was looking at setting up a special economic zone for Korean companies alone. "Altogether, over 400,000 people are working in those units and Samsung is spearheading this with a workforce of 70,000 people", Modi said.
Samsung now has over 10% of its overall production in India, which it aims to take to 50% over the next three years. Located in Noida, India, on the outskirts of New Delhi, the factory will almost double Samsung's Noida unit capacity from around 68 million units a year to 120 million annually according to a report from Bloomberg.
While Modi's flagship "Make in India" campaign is still a long way from delivering on ambitious job promises, the programme has had some success with the phased manufacturing of mobile devices and components. Out of 120 mobile factories, 50 are in Noida only. "I hope smartphones produced by this plant are exported to more countries, strengthening cooperation between other countries", Moon said.
The two leaders travelled on the Delhi Metro to reach the inauguration ceremony, which was also attended by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and senior Samsung officials. A commitment to local manufacturing will no doubt go a long way for Samsung, which now ranks as the number two smartphone maker in the country, behind Xiaomi.