Alphabet Inc’s Google is poised to commence smartphone manufacturing operations in India, with its flagship Pixel 8 set to become available in the country next year. This development aligns with the growing trend of global companies establishing production facilities within India.
Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of devices and services at Google — speaking at their annual Google for India event in Delhi, revealed the company’s commitment to partnering with both international and domestic manufacturers for local smartphone production. He emphasized the significance of India as a priority market for Pixel smartphones and the determination to offer the nation the best in hardware and integrated software capabilities.
Details regarding the number of smartphones to be manufactured and the exact locations of the factories are yet to be disclosed.
Meanwhile Google has enhanced the Pixel smartphone experience, and has grown their Pixel service network across the nation. In partnership with F1 Info Solutions, they now have 28 service centers in 27 cities across India, and will continue to expand coverage to more locations and cities.
In addition to the smartphone manufacturing announcement, Google unveiled plans to integrate metro ticket booking directly within the Google Maps app. This development aims to streamline the daily commute for millions of Indians.
Furthermore, Google’s foray into India’s financial landscape continues, as it disclosed a partnership with Indian non-bank lender, DMI Finance, to provide small loans for merchants, starting at 15,000 rupees ($180).
This initiative aligns with Google’s ongoing efforts to expand financial services via its Google Pay platform. Google Pay already facilitates loans through partnerships with various lenders and plans to introduce credit via the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a service recently permitted by the central bank, in collaboration with major banks.
The intensified focus on lending comes at a time when the demand for small personal loans in India is on the rise, raising concerns at the Indian central bank.
Google regards India as a pivotal growth market, given that the majority of smartphones in the country operate on its Android ecosystem. However, Google also faces certain business and regulatory challenges in India. Startups and companies, including Disney, have legally contested some of Google’s in-app policies, and the tech giant is entangled in several antitrust battles, one of which pertains to alleged abuse of its position within the Android market.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended a warm welcome to Google’s plans to establish a global fintech operations center at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) during a virtual meeting with Alphabet’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai last week, Reuters news report said.
This move by Google aligns with a broader trend of global companies recognizing India as a potential growth driver. Apple, for instance, is projected to represent 7 percent of all smartphone sales in the country from July to December, according to data from market researcher Counterpoint. Additionally, U.S. memory chip firm Micron Technology recently unveiled plans to establish its first semiconductor plant in India.