Taipei, Oct. 24 (CNA) Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (鴻海), the world's largest contract electronics maker, is planning to manufacture phones under the Nokia brand in the Indian market next year, according to the Economic Times in the South Asian country.
The report cited Hon Hai's head of India operations Josh Foulger as saying that the group is set to expand its operations in India and rolling out devices under the Nokia name will be part of that effort.
The report said that Hon Hai, which is known as Foxconn outside Taiwan, has invested about US$600 million in India.
On the back of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" initiative, Hon Hai has drafted a massive investment project in which the Taiwanese manufacturing giant aims to set up 10-12 production plants in India by 2020 to turn the country into one of its global production hubs.
"Since last year, we have restarted operations and right now we're in the process of finalizing the 2017 plan, (and) there will be more expansion," Foulger said in the report. He said that Nokia, which is preparing to make a comeback into the global market, will unveil products to be made by Foxconn in the Indian market.
The move to produce phones under the Nokia brand comes after Foxconn teamed up with Finland's HMD Global Oy earlier this year to acquire cellphone assets under the name Nokia from Microsoft Corp. for US$350 million, with market analysts saying the acquisition targets the booming Indian market.
When asked whether Hon Hai will join forces with Apple Inc. to manufacture iPhones in the Indian market, Foulger told the Economic Times that the U.S. consumer electronics giant will take its global supply chain into account before deciding whether to contract Foxconn in the Indian market.
Hon Hai is one of the most important Apple suppliers, assembling iPhones and iPads. Apple accounts for more than 40 percent of the Taiwanese manufacturer's total revenue.
In the report, Foulgar praised the Indian government's phased manufacturing program under the "Make in India" initiative, saying it will attract more foreign investors. Under the program, industry and government have mapped out a 10-year roadmap until 2025, which covers all electronics component categories, including semiconductors.
Foulgar said that India has been very competitive in the logistics business and serves as an export hub to the Middle East and African markets. In this regard, he suggested Hon Hai work with Indian enterprises to penetrate those export markets.
International business wires reported earlier that Xiaomi, one of the largest Chinese smartphone brands, will work with Hon Hai to build two factories in India.