Google is in advanced discussions with India’s Dixon Technologies and Bharat FIH, an arm of Taiwan’s Foxconn, to produce its flagship smartphone Pixel 8 in India.
Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google’s parent Alphabet, announced that his company’s first made-in-India Pixel devices will be rolled out in early 2024. Google’s decision to make its smartphones in the country follows the start of its Chromebook production in India earlier this month in partnership with HP.
At a Google for India event, Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of devices and services, said Google will partner with international and domestic manufacturers to produce the smartphones locally.
Osterloh said they plan to start local manufacturing with Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, which were unveiled about a fortnight ago, with the first devices expected to roll out in 2024. The company will be working with domestic and international manufacturers to produce these smartphones, he said without disclosing any specific names.
“We look forward to sharing more details in the coming months, and can’t wait to bring the magic of Pixel smartphones to more people across the nation,” Osterloh said.
Google counts India as a key growth market, where most smartphones run on its Android ecosystem.
But it also faces business and regulatory challenges there – startups and companies like Disney have legally challenged some of its in-app policies. Google is also fighting several antitrust battles including one related to alleged abuse of its position in the Android market.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Google’s plans to open a global fintech operations centre at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) during a virtual meeting last week with Alphabet’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai.
Global companies are eyeing India as their next growth driver, including Apple which is projected to account for 7% of all smartphone sales in the country from July to December.