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Google to make Pixels in India

A Google executive said the company will start assembling its Pixel smartphones in India, becoming the latest tech giant to target the South Asian market.

Rick Osterloh, Senior VP of Devices and Services at Google, announced at the company’s annual India event Thursday that the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will be locally manufactured in India and shipped next year.

Google considers India its largest overseas market for Android, Google Search, and YouTube by user count. Thursday’s announcement follows Google’s partnership with HP to manufacture Chromebook laptops in India and its $10 billion investment over the next few years.

“International and domestic partners are helping us produce Pixel smartphones locally. It’s an early step toward expanding our production here to meet local Pixel device demand, and more importantly, it’s a huge step forward in Google’s commitment to India,” he said without naming the partners.

Google’s decision to make its smartphones in India is the latest win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which has attracted many major companies to India.

“Mobile manufacturing was practically negligible [in India] nine years back,” said India’s IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw at Google’s event. “Today, we have $44 billion in mobile manufacturing and $11 billion in mobile phone exports, translating our Prime Minister’s vision of Make-in-India and Digital India into reality. It creates massive jobs. I think what Google announced today is good for Google and India.”

Google is the latest tech company to promote manufacturing in India. The latest iPhones are made in the country by Apple, whose partners started local assembly a few years ago.

New Delhi is offering billions in financial incentives to global manufacturers to set up shop in India. In what analysts call a “China + 1” strategy, many companies, including Apple, are looking to reduce their device manufacturing in China.

Macquarie analysts wrote that India’s EMS industry (finished product and electronics manufacturing) is poised for robust medium-term growth due to rising domestic demand, government support for local manufacturing (lower taxes, production linked incentive scheme, etc.), and China + 1 strategy of global players.

Google said India is a priority market for Pixel smartphones and it is improving customer service there. Osterloh said Google’s partner F1 Info Solutions has helped it open 28 service centers in 27 Indian cities.

“We built and invested for the long term from the start of our hardware business. This is just the beginning of our device production capacity expansion to meet the nation’s growing Pixel smartphone demand, he said.

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