COVID-19 Lockdown: Mobile Phone Manufacturing to Restart Soon

KOLKATA: Indian markets have been reeling under massive losses due to the nationwide lockdown that was imposed to combat the spread of Coronavirus. All “non-essential” economic activities had to stop and India’s handset production was deemed as one of them. The industry sector was set to loose a lot more than ₹20,000-25,000 Crore till the purported end of lockdown in May 17. But,it seems as if that might change as iPhone makers, Foxconn and Wistron, are set to resume production after obtaining permission from state authorities in southern India.

Foxconn, makers of Xiaomi smartphones, have been permitted to resume production with 10% of its workforce in South India. But, companies like Dixon, Samsung, Oppo and Lava have factories at Noida and Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh.

The Government, along with the second announcement of lockdown extension, unveil zonal demarcations based on a district’s safety from Coronavirus. Since, UP and NCR have been deemed as Red zone, these areas have to bear the heavier burden of restrictions. Thus, factories in these areas continue to be in a limbo with no clarity about the resumption of operations.

Muralikrishnan B, COO at hinese handset maker Xiaomi’s Indian Division, had talked about the state of smartphone production. He assured that the company expects to hit regular capacity by June but acknowledged that labour shortage is a key obstacle regarding the matter.

Foxconn, Xiaomi’s manufacturing partner, has received approval from the Andhra Pradesh government for the Sri City plant and will start production soon. Manu Jain, India head at C Xiaomi, said its manufacturing partners will soon resume production after getting local approvals from state governments. “The ramp-up will be slow. We are hoping them to be up and running soon,” he added.

Wistron, got an approval from the Government of Karnataka. But, An industry insider said that even though Foxconn has obtained appropriate permissions from relevant authorities,  getting workers to come is a big challenge for any manufacturing company.

Foxconn’s Tamil Nadu plant assembles the iPhone XR while Wistron’s rented facility in an industrial suburb near makes the iPhone 7. Foxconn also makes phones for Xiaomi and HMD (Nokia-branded phones).

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