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HMD Global looking at leveraging India for exports

·4-min read

New Delhi, Nov 26 (PTI) HMD Global, which sells Nokia brand of mobile phones, on Thursday said India is 'at the heart and centre' of its business and the company is exploring if this market can be leveraged for exports as well.

HMD Global - which launched its latest Nokia 2.4 in India for Rs 10,399 - is working with various ODM (original design manufacturer) and EMS (electronic manufacturing solution) partners to meet the domestic demand for feature phones and smartphones.

'We have different ODM and EMS partners who we work with in India... all of our devices as of now what we are selling are 100 per cent manufactured in India. While they are designed in Finland, all the smartphones and feature phones for India are manufactured in India,' HMD Global Vice President Sanmeet Singh Kochhar told PTI.

He added that the company has managed supply chain well, both in terms of components and devices.

Handset vendors faced constraints in supply after the lockdown, and many players had to import devices to meet the heightened demand that was driven by trends like 'work from home' and 'study from home'.

'We are evaluating how India can be at the heart and centre of our sourcing and if we can look at catering not only to the domestic demand but leverage India for exports as well,' Kochhar said.

He added that while the company itself did not apply in the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, some of its partners have received clearance for the programme.

'... we are evaluating opportunities with some of these partners for our manufacturing. It's difficult to share details right now but India is a very important destination for us, for our sourcing requirements and we are always looking at what can be done in India,' he said.

PLI scheme extends an incentive of 4 to 6 per cent on incremental sales (over the base year) of goods under target segments that are manufactured in India to eligible companies, for a period of five years subsequent to the base year (2019-20).

Last month, the government had cleared 16 proposals from domestic and international companies - including iPhone maker Apple's contract manufacturers Foxconn Hon Hai, Wistron and Pegatron, apart from Samsung and Rising Star - entailing an investment of Rs 11,000 crore under the PLI scheme to manufacture mobile phones worth Rs 10.5 lakh crore over the next five years.

Talking about the new launch, Kochhar said the '2-series' has been the most successful series in India for the company.

'The Nokia 2.4 brings much loved features such as a two-day battery life, an AI-powered camera and pure, secure and up-to-date Android, all in an affordable and elegant package. We've included high-end features like the AI camera with Night mode and Portrait mode,' he said.

The device will strengthen the position of the company in the Rs 8,000-12,000 segment, which is one of the biggest in the Indian smartphone market. In 2018 and 2019, this segment saw sales of 3.3 million and 3.7 million units, respectively as per industry estimates. The segment is an important segment, driven by replacement and upgrades by users.

Kochhar said the festive season went off well for the company that had lined up devices at various price points. '... the response has been quite overwhelming. The demand has been quite resilient (since the lockdown was lifted) and this is one of the reasons that even after the festive season, we are continuing to launch our devices and we are launching 2.4 right now,' he added.

Kochhar noted that since the lockdown was lifted, there has been very strong demand, both in feature phones as well as in smartphone segments.

'We have seen that the overall demand has picked up and is very good, and we expect that the demand will continue to be at a certain baseline level.

'Of course, there is some uptake which happens during the festive season, but it continues at a baseline level, even after the festive season... We are seeing growth in our overall business as compared to what was there last year and in the pre-COVID levels,' he added. PTI SR DRR DRR