Xiaomi deepens commitment to India with three new manufacturing facilities
Chinese smartphone producer Xiaomi has opened up new manufacturing facilities in India, where it announced last year it would be concentrating its business.
The company previously had two facilities in India and has now set up three more units. These are in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, while the company also has an existing presence in Uttar Pradesh.
Manu Jain, Vice President and India Managing Director for Xiaomi, has stated: “We had two facilities for smartphone manufacturing earlier. Now we have added three more.”
The five facilities across three campuses reportedly mean Xiaomi can produce two devices per second.
The company is also working to develop a PCB (printed circuit board) assembly point in collaboration with Hon Hai Precision (Foxconn). Jain stated: “We are committed to manufacturing in India. PCB is 50% of the value of a phone… by Q3, all Xiaomi phones made in India will have PCBs that are locally assembled.”
Regarding the company’s commitment to the Indian market, which has a similar population to its home market of China, but is less saturated and has a lower penetration, with consumers preferring to opt for a lower cost phone than the main competitors might offer.
Xiaomi’s Senior Vice President, Wang Xiang, recently told business Chief: “India has a huge population and as more and more Indian people are set to come online over the next decade, many of them will likely do so through mobile devices. We made the decision to focus on India as we saw the huge demand for high quality products at accessible prices, and in turn the huge potential.” However he added that China still remains an important market for the company.
Opening manufacturing facilities is a positive and lucrative way to show commitment to a particular market, as Arif Chowdhury, Vice President of TRANSSION Mobile, Africa’s biggest smartphone provider, commented to Business Chief last year. “This is actually a way to show the firm is confident in the market and [has] a true desire to demonstrate full commitment.” TRANSSION has opened a factory in Ethiopia so it is producing within its key emerging market, just like Xiaomi: “We offered initial support and now the facility is run almost entirely by locals,” Chowdhury explains, adding that the local production facility has “allowed us to increase our distribution capabilities and to significantly improve lead times”.
Chowdhury feels having a factory “shows you’re serious” in an emerging market, and consumers are more likely to buy from a company that is “here to stay”.
Jain echoes these sentiments, stating of the Xiaomi move: “In 2015, we extended our long-term commitment to the Indian market by joining the ‘Make in India’ programme. Today we are deepening this commitment with three more smartphone factories and our first SMT plant dedicated towards local manufacturing.”
Beyond Limits: Cognitive AI in APAC
Courtesy of current estimates, it looks like Asia-Pacific AI will be worth US$136bn by 2025. Its governments and corporations invest more money than the rest of the world in AI tech, the data of its citizens is considered fair game, and its pilots are small-scale and, as a result, ruthlessly effective. This is why, according to Jeff Olson, Cognizant’s Associate Vice President for Projects, AI and Analytics, Digital Business and Technology, the APAC region ‘is right on the edge of an AI explosion’.
Now, startup Beyond Limits is pushing the boundaries of what AI can do, mirroring humans in its ability to find solutions with even limited information. As of this July, it’s partnered up with Mitsui, a global trading and investment company, to expand its impact in APAC.
How Does Beyond Limits Work?
Most AI companies claim that they can help businesses make better decisions. But many need astoundingly large stores of data to feed their information-hungry algorithms. Beyond Limits, in contrast, takes a different tack. Perfect data, after all, is largely a pipe dream kept alive by PhD students. In reality, systems must often make decisions from small, incomplete sets of intel.
But Beyond Limits’ AI is no black box. ‘When little to no data is available, Beyond Limits symbolic technologies rely on deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning capabilities’, explained Clare Walker, Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. While making these leaps in logic, however, the system also keeps track, ensuring that humans can review the AI’s ‘thought process’.
Why Partner With Mitsui?
Beyond Limits is built for specific applications such as energy, utilities, and healthcare—but lacks the extensive industry network of Mitsui. Partnering allows Beyond Limits to access a portfolio of firms specialising in minerals and metals, energy, infrastructure, and chemicals. ‘We’ve been working on this deal for several years’, said Mitsui’s Deputy General Manager Hiroki Tanabe. ‘Mitsui’s global portfolio and Beyond Limits’ AI technology will...deliver impact’.
In the first test of that dramatic statement, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will soon deploy Beyond Limits’ new system. If everything goes according to plan, LNG will optimise how it extracts and refines energy, making money for both itself and investors—including Mitsui. This, in fact, is Mitsui’s strategy: go digital and don’t look back.
Why Does This Matter?
Forty-five percent of Asia-Pacific companies surveyed in Cognizant’s thought leadership ebook consider themselves AI leaders. Positivity bias, that oh-so-common tendency of humans to position themselves as above average as compared to others, strikes again. (Most small companies fail to launch successful AI projects on their own.) And partly, this is because firms fail to integrate AI with industry expertise.
‘A large part of the focus on talent for AI today has been getting the people who are strong in mathematics, AI, and technologies’, said Olson. ‘But where you make your money out of AI projects is when you apply them to your business’. In short: APAC nations looking for ways to bridge the gap might follow Beyond Limits and Mitsui’s playbook—coupling startup AI with a corporate network.