India

Xiaomi sets up three new manufacturing plants in India

Part of the ‘Make in India’ program

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Xiaomi hopes to lure smartphone component assemblers to Indian shores as the company seeks to establish the country as a strong manufacturing base. As part of the “Make in India” drive, Xiaomi plans to help roughly 50 assemblers of components suitable for smartphones and tablets to set up shop in the country, which will hopefully prompt further economic growth and provide local job opportunities.

The overall goals are to invest up to US$ 2.5 billion in India and to create up to 50,000 jobs. The Chinese firm currently has six smartphone manufacturing plants in India in partnership with Foxconn and Hipad.

Xiaomi says that over 95 percent of its phones sold in the country are locally assembled, which is an interesting statistic since it means an overwhelming majority of sales are from the budget Redmi series. The Mi Mix 2, then, accounts for less than five percent of Xiaomi’s sales.

Xiaomi has built the new plants in partnership with Foxconn — which is one of the most experienced mass-assembling companies in the world. The plants are located in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh and Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. Interestingly, Xiaomi says that these plants employ more than 10,000 people across a campus of 180 acres.

These plans have been announced under the Indian Government’s Make in India program that intends to boost local manufacturing by providing various incentives. Xiaomi’s announcement comes following the government’s recent decision to impose 10 percent import duty on certain smartphone components to encourage their local manufacturing.

Xiaomi also announced that it has started local manufacturing of SMT (Smart Mount Technology) and PCBA (Printed Circuit Board Assembly) in partnership with Foxconn at Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. Though the company says that the current manufacturing operations contribute a minuscule 10 percent value to the assembled phone. Xiaomi is aiming to boost that figure further to 50 percent with PCBA manufacturing.

India

ASUS launches two new pocket-friendly phones in India

Carving a new legacy for the ZenFone series

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ASUS completely revamped its product offering this year and launched a midrange phone, the ZenFone Max Pro. To cover up the budget flagship segment, it later launched the ZenFone 5Z. The two have been selling like hot cakes in developing markets thanks to hostile pricing and periodic offers.

Now, the company intends to take on the budget segment by launching the ZenFone Max and ZenFone Lite in India. Just yesterday, Lenovo also launched the K9 and Xiaomi has been ruling the segment with its Redmi 5A and Redmi 6.

ASUS ZenFone Max

The ZenFone Max is priced at INR 8,999 (US$ 122) and will be available for just INR 7,499 (US$ 101) during the festive season. The ZenFone Lite is an even cheaper option coming in at INR 6,999 (US$ 95) and will be available for INR 5,999 (US$ 82) under the same festive season discount. Jio users will be eligible for further INR 2,200 (US$ 30) cashback along with 50GB of free data. The two will be exclusively available via Flipkart.

The ZenFone Max has a 5.4-inch HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. It is powered by a Snapdragon 430 SoC along with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. On the back, it has a single 13-megapixel camera while the front sports an 8-megapixel sensor. The cameras support beauty filters, portrait mode, and HDR.

The ZenFone Lite boasts the same display and processor as the Max but has 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. The rear has a 13-megapixel camera while the front has a 5-megapixel selfie shooter. The ZenFone Max owns a 4000mAh battery while the Lite sports a smaller 3000mAh battery.

Both the phones come with expandable storage via a microSD card and support authentication via facial recognition. The ZenFone Max also houses a fingerprint scanner on the back. The duo runs on Android Oreo-based ZenUI 5.0 out of the box.

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India

Lenovo is taking on the budget segment by launching the K9

Comes with USB-C!

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Lenovo has been making smartphones for years now, and had captured a considerable market in India. Unfortunately, it couldn’t hold on to its share for a long time and slowly faded away. Even though the company launched a few best-selling devices in the K8 series, it took a step back in terms of marketing and portfolio availability.

The company also owns the Moto brand and has been indirectly launching new devices there. Now, Lenovo is back and has decided to launch the K9 series in India. While the previous K8 phones were under the midrange segment, the new lineup is significantly cheaper and placed in the budget segment.

The K9 is priced at INR 8,999 (US$ 122) and will be available exclusively via Flipkart in black and blue colors. The company also launched an even cheaper A5 that starts at INR 5,999 (US$ 82).

Coming to the specifications, the K9 sports a 5.7-inch HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The phone is powered by an octa-core processor along with 4GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. It also has a microSD card slot for storage expansion.

On the rear, it has a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor that can capture pictures with a bokeh effect. The front also offers the same 13- and 5-megapixel dual-camera setup. A small LED flash is located on the front, as well as on the back.

Powering the K9 is a 3000mAh battery that supports 10W charging via a USB-C port. Lenovo would be among the first to incorporate a USB-C port at this price range. The phone is being marketed as a perfect all-rounder that gets everything right.

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Nokia 3.1 Plus is a budget friendly phone with dual cameras

An Android One offering for every price segment

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This year, every major smartphone maker has been in a race to launch as many phones as possible within a short time frame. In developing regions like India, the budget and midrange segments of the market account for the highest volume of sales, and in such a situation, the price becomes a core factor for differentiation.

In the last month, HMD Global has already launched the Nokia 5.1 Plus and 6.1 Plus in the country; now comes the Nokia 3.1 Plus. It is priced at INR 11,499 (US$ 155) for the 3GB memory variant, while the price of the 2GB version hasn’t been announced yet. It will be up for sale starting October 19 via the Nokia online store and offline partners.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus boasts a 6-inch HD display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The front has a 2.5D curved glass while the body is made of polycarbonate. A fingerprint scanner lies on the back of the phone for quick authentication.

Powering the phone is a MediaTek Helio P22 SoC along with 16GB of internal storage in the base variant. The storage is expandable via a microSD card and supports a hybrid SIM setup. On the rear, it has a 13- and 5-megapixel dual-camera combo while the front has an 8-megapixel selfie shooter.

Even though this is a lower-midrange phone, HMD Global has managed to squeeze in a huge 3500mAh battery that charges via micro-USB and supports fast charging out of the box. Just like every other Nokia-branded phone, it’s part of Google’s Android One initiative, ensuring faster software updates and a pure Android experience.

The phone will be going up against Xiaomi’s Redmi 6 Pro and the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro in the country.

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