NEW DELHI — China’s Xiaomi Corp and Oppo are importing some smartphone models into India as their local plants struggle to get back to production levels needed to meet demand that built up during lockdown, sources familiar with matter said.
The move is a costly one as the world’s second-largest smartphone market imposes steep tariffs on imports of devices and components – part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to boost manufacturing in India. Most foreign brands in India make nearly all of their smartphones locally.
It also underscores the challenges India faces in kick-starting production as new coronavirus cases soar to nearly 300,000 while more than 8,000 people have died.
Manufacturing facilities in India have been allowed since May to resume operations but several smartphone plants are still grappling with labour shortages, three sources told Reuters.
At the same time, demand is high because phones – not deemed essential goods by the government – were not allowed to be sold during the nationwide lockdown of nearly two months.
The bulk of the Xiaomi smartphones sold in India are made by contract manufacturer Foxconn in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, while Oppo assembles its India-made phones at a plant on the outskirts of New Delhi.
It was not immediately clear how many phones the Chinese brands are now importing, the sources added, declining to be identified as