Huawei is set to become the first major Chinese brand to make handsets in India, after reportedly winning key government manufacturing approval.
India’s Ministry of Home Affairs gave the Chinese vendor the green light 19 months after it first applied for the licence, following a rigorous approval process which addressed national security.
The decision is also seen as a major boost for India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who visited China two months ago to promote stronger business ties between the two nations. Modi has been busy championing the ‘Make in India’ campaign, designed to transform the country into a major manufacturing hub.
While there has been no official statement confirming approval from the Indian government, Allen Wang, president of Huawei’s consumer business group in the country told Reuters today it aims “to become a top three brand in India within three years”.
According to the Economic Times, the clearance did however come with certain conditions, including the requirement to appoint Indian nationals in key posts, including chief of technical operations and chief security officer at the manufacturing unit. Huawei will also be expected to gain further home ministry clearance if it wants foreign nationals in other positions of power.
Huawei already operates a research and development operation in India, and manufactures for exporting in Tamil Nadu, both of which has helped it offer top end features on devices at lower costs to Indian consumers. It will now seek final approvals before it begins to manufacture phones for domestic sale.
India is already one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world, and will reach more than one billion mobile connections by the end of this year, according to GSMA Intelligence.
It is therefore no surprise that other international companies have also targeted India, with China’s fast growing Xiaomi using the country for its first smartphone launch outside of Greater China. In March, the company also teased at plans to begin local production in India within 12 to 18 months.
Taiwan’s Foxconn also reportedly plans to open 10-12 plants in India by 2020, and is already in talks to manufacture the iPhone in the country.