The Indo-China political tensions forced a widespread boycott of Chinese products in the Indian Subcontinent and put forth a new opportunity for Indian manufacturers to shine in the market. And if anyone in India looks in the position to avail of this opportunity first, it is the Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries. And that is exactly what is happening, at least according to a new Bloomberg report.
According to the report, Reliance has requested multiple local suppliers to increase the production capacity to manufacture 200 million smartphones in the next two years.
Indian Government’s recent campaign encouraging self-reliance (Atmanirbhar) has motivated Indian manufactured goods and services and has called for Indian citizens’ support to made in India products. Reliance Jio, after receiving long and heavy investment rounds, has enough capital to develop in the Indian smartphone market that is mostly dominated by Chinese smartphone companies. Among its big backers is Google as well, which will provide its Android OS for use in these low cost smartphones.
The sources say Reliance is making a Rs 4,000 (~$54) Jio phone that will be powered by Google’s Android and will come with low-cost Jio wireless plans. The company is already in contact with domestic assemblers regarding the manufacturing of these phones. It is being said that Reliance has been secretly working with the assemblers on developing a prototype for two years now, and an announcement could be made very soon but not until Diwali. The sources add that Reliance is in talks with at least to domestic assemblers for now.
Reliance will probably gain support from its tech giant investors such as Google and Facebook, to develop its new phone. It has already received over $ 20 billion in investments this year and the added tech experience of its investors can yield pretty good results for the Indian telecom giant in the smartphone industry.
Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research said, “Jio has an opportunity to target more than half-billion Indians who don’t own a smartphone and trigger a blue ocean market opportunity. With Reliance expected to work with Indian vendors, Chinese brands will lose out on a potential opportunity and market share.”
Indian local assemblers recently produced 165 million smartphones in the year that ended in March. The production requirements of 150-200 million smartphones of Reliance would be a huge boost to the local Indian manufacturers.
If Reliance does succeed in this new endeavour, it will add another big entity to its massive Jio Platforms, that is already spread across telecom, e-commerce, games and social media. It would bring a huge competition to the current low-cost smartphone market leaders like Xiaomi, RealMe, Oppo and Vivo.
India is a country where smartphones have now become a basic necessity, especially during the pandemic where students need phones to attend online classes and working people need it for virtual meetings. Reliance’s low-cost smartphones will enable the lower class to afford smartphones in these needy times as well as adhere to the Make in India movement at the same time. This target set by Reliance of producing 200 million smartphones in the next two years, if achieved can make the Indian telecom company one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in India.