Apple has been saying for years how it wants a bigger role in India’s premium smartphone segment. Although, this year we’ve noticed a considerable drop in iPhone sales due to exorbitant pricing and belligerent competition from Samsung and Huawei.
The primary reason why iPhones are so expensive in India is because of import duty. The top-end models like the iPhone X, XR, and XS are assembled in China and then imported to India. The local government levies a hefty import duty of 20 percent. In a bid to encourage local sourcing, the government has maintained a stiff stance towards imports.
In the Indian government’s perspective, higher import duty has forced companies to manufacture or assemble phones in India. Every major company, including Samsung, Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, and Huawei, have facilities in India. This gives them an edge of 20 percent in terms of pricing.
Apple currently makes the iPhone SE and 6 in India via its partner Wistron; all other models are imported from China. According to a Reuters report, Apple will begin assembling its top-end iPhones in the country through a local unit of Foxconn as early as 2019. Apple could also end up manufacturing the 2017 iPhone X in the country and introduce it at a cheaper price.
Indian state Tamil Nadu’s Industries Minister M C Sampath said Foxconn is planning to invest more than INR 25 billion and the investment will, in turn, generate more than 25,000 direct and indirect jobs. It remains unclear whether the production will be confined to assembly or include any component production in India, as well.
With the new manufacturing facility in India, Apple will have a better chance at reducing the prices for its flagship handsets. Apple hasn’t given out an official statement yet.
Xiaomi announces three new manufacturing plants in India
Two for smartphones and one for smart TVs
Xiaomi announced it’ll be opening three new manufacturing facilities in India to boost its local presence and supply chain. Two of them shall be dedicated to smartphones while the third ones for smart TVs.
Xiaomi’s India Head and Global Vice President, Manu Kumar Jain, said that 99 percent of its smartphones sold in India and 100 percent of its televisions will now be manufactured within the country.
In a briefing to GadgetMatch, he said that Xiaomi has been assembling phones and TVs in India for a while now. But many components are still imported, and the company is trying to reduce this as much as possible. Xiaomi has partnered with DBG India, and its plant in Haryana is already functional.
The second facility will be set up in Tamil Nadu by Chinese electronics maker BYD. The two plants are strategically located to ensure the supply chain runs smoothly across the country. For the smart TVs, Xiaomi has tied up with Hyderabad-based television manufacturer Radiant.
The Chinese phone maker has already tied up with Foxconn and Flex for smartphones and Dixon Technologies for televisions. Jain even went on to say that a vast majority of the phone components that include printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) and sub-boards, chargers and battery, back panels are domestically manufactured in the country.
Jain also proudly said in the briefing that Xiaomi now employs 60,000 people in India via its many facilities, retail units, and back-end operations. Xiaomi’s investment in India isn’t surprising because it has been serious about the market for years and has solidified its standing as an indisputable leader.
The Indian government recently kicked-off a billion-dollar scheme to encourage local sourcing. Also dubbed Production Linked Incentive (PLI), the government is ready to offer subsidies and tariff reliefs for companies that are open to localization. The program has worked wonders for companies on the electronics front, and thousands of jobs are being generated.
Despite competition from Samsung, realme, OPPO, and vivo, the company has largely remained unscathed. However, the brand is still in warm waters due to geopolitical instability between India and China. The anti-China sentiment has affected many Chinese players like Huawei, TikTok, Alibaba, and more. But Xiaomi and other mobile phone markers have avoided controversy by amalgamating with the local market and the workforce.
realme narzo 30A now official alongside Buds Air 2 TWS with ANC
The price of Buds Air 2 is unbelievable
realme held a massive launch today in India and has announced a host of new products. While the narzo 30 Pro 5G is designed to be a premium offering, the brand has also launched an affordable phone called the narzo 30A. realme is also serious about accessories and has unveiled the Buds Air 2.
Starting with the narzo 30A, it has a diagonal stripe pattern design that’s rather unconventional. The phone will be available in Lazer Black and Lazer Blue color options and a physical fingerprint scanner is located on the rear for authentication.
On the front is a 6.5-inch LCD with HD+ support and a waterdrop-style notch. Powering the phone is an octa-core MediaTek Helio G85 processor with up to 4GB RAM. You can add a microSD card for storage expansion.
The rear gets a dual-camera setup consisting of a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel monochrome portrait sensor. The front has an 8-megapixel camera for selfies. Backing these internals is a massive 6000mAh battery with 18W fast charging.
The realme narzo is priced at INR 8,999 (US$ 125) for the 3GB RAM + 32GB while the 4GB RAM + 64GB option costs INR 9,999 (US$ 140).
realme Buds Air 2
Realme Buds Air 2 features active noise cancellation (ANC), similar to Realme Buds Air Pro. This is a feature that’s missing from the first generation Buds Air. It also comes with an in-canal fit that enables passive noise isolation that is critical for the proper functioning of active noise cancellation.
In addition to ANC support, the Realme Buds Air 2 even has a transparency mode, which allows you to hear background sound while listening to music. On the audio side, it has a 10mm driver, 88ms super-low latency support, and smart touch controls.
The Buds Air 2 is priced at INR 3,299 (US$ 45) and shall be available from March 2 via Flipkart and realme.com.
realme launches narzo 30 Pro 5G with Dimensity 800U, 48MP camera
Comes with a premium design
The launch season has arrived, and realme has fired the shots first. While we’ve seen a few flagship and midrange phones, the affordable segment is yet to come into the spotlight. realme has finally launched the narzo 30 Pro 5G in India today, alongside the narzo 30A.
The narzo 30 Pro 5G is an affordable phone that comes with a premium touch. Instead of the usual flashy design that realme’s known for, the phone has a sleek premium look and will be available in Sword Black and Blade Silver options.
It sports a 6.5-inch LCD with Full HD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and a punch-hole cut-out. It has a peak brightness of 600 nits. Powering the phone is a MediaTek Dimensity 800U processor with up to 8GB RAM. It also has a dedicated microSD card slot for memory expansion.
On the rear is a triple camera module consisting of a 48-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel macro shooter. On the front is a 16-megapixel selfie shooter. Since the phone runs on realme UI, we can expect a host of software modes that’ll help you perfect your pictures.
Backing these internals is a 5000mAh battery that supports 30W Dart Charging. For authentication, the narzo 30 Pro 5G has a fingerprint sensor on the side. As the name suggests, it has support for 5G, but India is yet to start 5G operations at a commercial scale.
The phone is priced at INR 16,999 (US$ 235) for the 6GB RAM+64GB variant, while the 8GB RAM+128GB option shall cost INR 19,999 (US$ 275). It’ll go on sale from March 4 via Flipkart, Realme.com, and offline stores.
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