Jun 08, 2017

Samsung to help India become $1 trillion digital economy: IT minister

BYPankaj Mishra

The government is aiming at a $1 trillion digital economy by 2020 and Samsung India will spearhead this movement, information and technology (IT) minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday as the South Korean giant announced Rs 4,915 crore investment in expanding its Noida manufacturing plant.
The expansion of the plant on a 35-acre land adjacent to the current facility will double Samsung’s production capacity of both mobile phones and consumer electronics, further consolidating the firm’s leadership in these segments.
“Samsung was earlier finding it difficult to get approval for the expansion. With Yogi Adityanath becoming Uttar Pradesh chief minister, the investment proposal was fast-tracked and approved by the state government under its ‘Mega Policy’,” Prasad told reporters here.
A groundbreaking ceremony and traditional puja was held at the new site in the presence of the IT minister, state minister for infrastructure and industrial development Satish Mahana, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, and other senior officials.
J K Shin, Samsung Electronics CEO, and H C Hong, president and CEO of Samsung Southwest Asia, were present at the event.
“The new investment of Rs 4,915 crore is a testament to our continuing commitment to ‘Make in India’ and to Uttar Pradesh, which has been our partner right from the day Samsung’s journey began in the country,” Hong said.
“On the back of the Digital India movement led by millions of young Indians, we are witnessing a rise in adoption of electronic devices, smart appliances and mobile phones. A bigger manufacturing plant will help us cater to the growing demand for Samsung products across the country,” he added.
Samsung’s Noida plant was one of the first electronics manufacturing facilities set up in the country in the early 1990s.
The plant started with the manufacture of televisions in 1997. The current mobile phone manufacturing unit was added in 2005.
“We wish to make India a global production hub with support from the government,” Hong noted.
According to Prasad, when the BJP came to power, the earlier government had invested Rs 11,000 crore towards electronics industry.
“Now, the investment stands at Rs 1.53 lakh crore with 40 mobile manufacturers and 33 mobile component manufacturers investing in the country in the last three years,” Prasad told reporters.
Samsung has two manufacturing plants — in Noida and in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu — five R&D centres, and one design centre in Noida, employing over 70,000 people and expanding its network to over 1.5 lakh retail outlets.
Hong said that every product, including the recently launched Galaxy S8 and S8+ premium smartphones, being sold in the country are Made in India.
According to Prasad, the South Korean giant will manufacture 12 crore mobile phones this year.
Samsung currently has 10% of its overall production in India and aims to take it to 50% over the next three years.
The mega Samsung investment came after its arch rival Apple recently announced the commencement of initial production of its popular iPhone SE model at its Bengaluru facility.
Apple has begun assembling iPhone SE models with Wistron Corporation, its Taiwanese manufacturing partner.

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Pankaj Mishra is a writer of FactorDaily.