Google plans to begin Pixel phone production in India in Q2 2024

As per the Nikkei Asia news report published on Thursday, the supply chain strategy is part of Google's ambitious target of shipping more than 10 million Pixel phones this year

February 23, 2024 09:42 am | Updated 09:42 am IST - NEW DELHI

Google has told suppliers to start making its Pixel smartphones in India by the next quarter at the earliest, as part of the search engine giant's aim to further diversify its supply chain away from China and capture the booming Indian smartphone market, Nikkei Asia has reported.

As per the news report published on Thursday, the supply chain strategy is part of Google's ambitious target of shipping more than 10 million Pixel phones this year, after shipping around 10 million units for the first time in 2023 amid a global economic slowdown.

Google will first prepare the production line for its high-end Pixel 8 Pro in the southern part of India in the coming weeks, then begin turning out phones in the April-June quarter, as the news report quoted multiple sources familiar with the plan.

This will be followed by production of the Pixel 8 in the north of the country around the middle of this year, the news report said, quoting sources.

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There are emerging smartphone manufacturing hubs in both of these parts of the country, thanks to companies like Apple, Samsung, Oppo and Xiaomi bringing several assembly and component suppliers into India in recent years.

Previously, the majority of Google's Pixel phones were produced in China.

"Google is not the only tech company that started to look for a 'China+2' strategy. That means diversifying away from China into another place is not enough, but suppliers should have multiple non-China options for better supply chain resilience," one of the sources said, as per the news report.

The company announced last year that its first made-in-India Pixel phones will be available this year, joining Apple and Samsung in tapping the massive and growing Indian market at a time when the overall smartphone industry is slowing.

The Indian smartphone market grew 1% on the year to 146 million units in 2023, with the pace of growth in the second half of the year hitting 11% versus the previous year, research agency IDC's data showed.

That compares with a 4.7% overall decline in the global smartphone market in 2023. China, the world's biggest smartphone market, saw a 5% drop last year, IDC's data showed. Google's phone manufacturing plans also come as the Indian government makes an aggressive push to turn the country into a tech manufacturing powerhouse by offering incentives and weighing tighter import restrictions to attract companies to build local supply chains for mobile devices and personal computers.

The same Nikkei Asia report said Apple has told suppliers to accelerate their investments in India to quickly build its iPhone supply chain ecosystem outside of China. Taiwan's Acer and Asustek Computer, two of the world's biggest PC makers, also have plans to step up production in the country this year, Nikkei Asia reported.

Google, however, did not respond to Nikkei Asia's multiple requests for comments, as per the news report.

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