Monthly mobile phone exports from India touched the $1-billion mark (over ₹8,200 crore) for the first time ever in September. They were boosted by the government’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, which has pushed global players such as Apple and Samsung to increase local production for the domestic as well as overseas markets.
According to data available, mobile phone exports for April-September more than doubled to $4.2 billion, from $1.7 billion in the corresponding period of 2021. Previously, the highest monthly export of cellphones was in December 2021, when devices worth $770 million were shipped. Exports hovered around $700 million each month during June-August this year.
The ET reported that the estimated value of mobile phone exports in September 2022 showed a growth of more than 200% over September 2021, according to the data. “To sustain this growth, we are focusing on driving competitiveness through lower tariffs, improved logistics, labour reforms and deepening of the ecosystem,” Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman of handset industry body India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), was quoted as saying.
Industry executives say export growth has been primarily driven by Apple contract manufacturers Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron, along with Samsung - leading global participants in the ₹40,995-crore PLI scheme announced in April 2020.
Aiming for $60 B by FY26
The global majors account for roughly 75-80% of smartphone exports from India.
According to ICEA data, exports of mobile phones constituted just around 1% of production in 2016-17, which increased to over 16% in 2021-22. “This will rise to approximately 22% of production in 2022-23,” according to the association.
The PLI scheme for smartphones launched in 2020 was aimed at weaning away manufacturers from dominant geographies such as China and Vietnam. Backed by the scheme, India is trying to catch up with the two countries, which still lead the world in mobile phone exports. India aims to export mobile phones to the tune of $60 billion by 2025-26.
The smartphone PLI scheme’s success has prompted the government to launch similar schemes across 14 sectors, such as automobile and auto components, IT hardware, telecom equipment and design, pharmaceuticals, solar modules, metals and mining, textiles and apparel, white goods, drones and advanced chemistry cell batteries.