Domestic handset maker Lava will invest about Rs 200 crore over 18 months on strengthening its design and testing operations in the country as it aims to make India a major export hub for its handsets in the next few years. Currently, the company has a team of about 250 people here working on these areas and a larger team of around 550 in China.
"We are making India a major manufacturing hub and in process, we are expanding design, testing and R&D teams also. We will invest about Rs 200 crore in the next one-one and half years," Lava International CMD Hari Om Rai told PTI. He added the company will more than double the head-count in these areas.
"We will bring the entire manufacturing ecosystem to India. Our plan is to expand exporting to other countries next year and hopefully, by 2019, we will export to China itself," he said. The plan to ramp up capacity is in line with that vision, Rai added. In July, Lava had said it will invest Rs 2,615 crore over the next seven years to set up two manufacturing units in India.
Once operational, the units will have a combined capacity of 18 million handsets per month. Global handset makers like Samsung and domestic players like Micromax and Spice have assembly units in India.
Recently, international players like Xiaomi, Gionee and Asus have announced assembly units in India in partnership with electronics major Foxconn in Andhra Pradesh. Handset makers are looking to tap the multi-billion dollar opportunity in India, one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world.
The Indian handset industry is poised to overtake the US as the second-largest market in the next few years. According to research firm IDC, smartphone shipment in India grew 21.4 per cent year-on-year to 28.3 million units in July-September 2015 quarter. Lava ranked fifth in the tally with 4.7 per cent market share, after Samsung (24 per cent), Micromax (16.7 per cent), Intex (10.8 per cent) and Lenovo Group (Lenovo and Motorola) (9.5 per cent).