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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Google to Manufacture Pixel Smartphones and Drones in India

Google will begin manufacturing Pixel smartphones and drones in Tamil Nadu, India, marking a significant expansion of its hardware capabilities and supply chain diversification amidst geopolitical tensions.

Google is set to commence manufacturing Pixel smartphones and drones in India, leveraging the existing Foxconn facility in Tamil Nadu. Sources indicate that the tech giant and Foxconn have signed a contract to produce advanced versions of Pixel smartphones, with production beginning within this calendar year. This move underscores Google’s commitment to expanding its hardware capabilities in India, a priority market for the company.

India has emerged as a critical hub for global firms seeking to diversify their supply chains away from China amidst ongoing geopolitical tensions. Google’s decision to manufacture in Tamil Nadu follows similar moves by other tech giants, including Apple, which also assembles iPhones at Foxconn’s Chennai facility. Last year, Google announced plans to produce Pixel 8 smartphones in India, and the latest developments build on that announcement.

The Tamil Nadu government has expressed strong support for Google’s manufacturing plans. State officials recently met with Google executives, leading to this significant development. Tamil Nadu’s Industries Minister T.R.B. Rajaa highlighted the state’s leadership in the electronics industry and the potential for creating high-end jobs. He tweeted about the forthcoming influx of international giants setting up operations in Tamil Nadu, emphasizing the state’s role as a talent capital.

In addition to smartphones, Google will independently manufacture drones in Tamil Nadu, potentially under its subsidiary Wing. The exact investment and production volumes have not been disclosed. However, sources suggest that Google might also partner with other manufacturers like Dixon Technologies, in addition to Foxconn, to diversify its production capabilities.

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Google’s manufacturing expansion in Tamil Nadu includes meeting with the state’s Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to finalize the arrangements. The state is already a significant player in mobile phone manufacturing, with Foxconn and Pegatron assembling over 80% of Apple’s $14 billion iPhone production in India. The addition of Google’s Pixel manufacturing is expected to further boost the region’s industrial ecosystem.

Market Position and Future Prospects

Despite currently holding a minuscule share in the Indian smartphone market, Google aims to leverage its on-device AI features to capture a larger market segment. As of the first quarter of the year, Samsung leads the market with a 25% share, followed by Apple at 19% and Vivo at 18%, according to Counterpoint Research. Google’s Pixel smartphones, with less than 5% global market share in 2023, aim to increase their footprint in India through innovative AI-based features and local manufacturing.

The strategic move to manufacture in India is part of Google’s broader effort to enhance its product offerings and compete more effectively in a rapidly evolving tech landscape. By setting up manufacturing operations in Tamil Nadu, Google is poised to capitalize on India’s growing market potential and strengthen its position in the global tech industry.