Tamil Nadu tops in electronics exports, by sending smartphones made in Kancheepuram to the U.S.: Data

In the last two fiscal years, close to 40% of India’s smartphones were sent from just one district — Kancheepuram

April 03, 2024 01:06 pm | Updated 05:08 pm IST

Workforce assembling smartphones in an Indian mobile manufacturing unit in Hyderabad.

Workforce assembling smartphones in an Indian mobile manufacturing unit in Hyderabad. | Photo Credit: Mohammed Yousuf

Tamil Nadu, India’s largest exporter of electronic goods in FY23, accounted for 30% of all electronic goods exports from India in FY24. The State is in fact a late bloomer in this sector, with Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka dominating electronic goods exports until FY22. However, in recent years, among the top exporters of electronics, only Tamil Nadu’s numbers have consistently risen, while the figures of other States have either dropped or become stagnant.

Also read:Who is winning the smartphone exports race - Vietnam or India: Data

The share of the electronic goods sector in India’s overall exports has more than doubled — mostly due to the rise in Tamil Nadu’s contribution — in recent years. At the core of this rise is the surge in exports of smartphones, which currently forms close to 40% of India’s electronics exports. In the last two fiscal years, close to 40% of smartphones in India were sent out from just one district, Kancheepuram, located in the north-eastern part of Tamil Nadu. Most of these electronic goods, mostly dominated by mobile phones, were exported to the United States, followed by the United Arab Emirates, and the Netherlands.

Chart 1 | The chart shows the electronic goods exported from Tamil Nadu in $ billion, year-wise.

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Between April 2023 and January 2024, Tamil Nadu exported electronic goods worth more than $7.4 billion, close to four times its volume in FY22.

State-wise data

Chart 2 | The chart shows the exports of electronic goods of the top five States in India in $ billion, year-wise.

Tamil Nadu’s exports in FY24 were higher than the combined exports of Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka ($6.7 billion) in the period. These two States were the second and third biggest exporters of electronic goods, respectively. As can be seen from the chart, Tamil Nadu has considerably widened its gap with the other States. Exports of electronic goods from Gujarat and Maharashtra, the other States in the top five list, have stagnated in recent years.

Chart 3 | The chart shows the commodity-wise share in total exports from India for FY24 (till February) in $ billion.

In this period, India’s exports were dominated by engineering goods ($98 billion), followed by petroleum products ($78 billion), gems and jewellery ($30 billion), and electronics goods ($25 billion). In FY18, however, exports of electronic goods were not even in the top 10 most exported commodities and had an export value of just $0.8 billion.

Biggest markets

The U.S. and the UAE are the biggest markets for India’s electronic goods exports. In FY24 (till February), the U.S. imported close to 35% of India’s electronic goods exports worth $8.7 billion, followed by the UAE at $3 billion (12%). The share of the Netherlands and the U.K. stood at about 5% each.

Chart 4 | The chart shows year-wise the top 10 importers of electronics from India in $ billion.

Since FY21, the U.S. has remained the primary destination for India’s electronics exports. Its share in India’s electronics exports has surged in recent years. From just around 15-20% between FY18 and FY22, the U.S.’s share surged to 24-34% in the latest two financial years.

If all the data are read together, it can be inferred that in the latest two financial years (FY23 and FY24), the smartphones that were exported from Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu played a major part in boosting India’s exports of electronic goods, most of which went to the U.S. Notably, the U.S. is also the biggest importer of smartphones across the world.

Source: National Import-Export Record for Yearly Analysis of Trade, Ministry of Commerce

Muhammed Mukhtar is a student at the Asian College of Journalism

Watch: What can India learn from countries like Vietnam to become an export giant?

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