Xiaomi overtakes Samsung as India's top smartphone producer
Smartphone unicorn Xiaomi has finally beaten six-year leader Samsung as the top smartphone producer in India.
Recent figures from the final quarter of 2017 show that Xiaomi’s shipment figures and therefore market share for India were higher than those of Samsung.
Analysts reported that Xiaomi shipped nearly 8.2mn smartphones and had a 27% share in Q4 2017 while Samsung shipped 7.3mn, holding on to 25% of the market.
Rushabh Doshi, analyst at Canalys, said: “Samsung’s loss comes from its inability to transform its low-cost product portfolio. Despite its ability to offer better margins and funding to the offline channel, consumer demand for Samsung services have been weak.”
He added that in 2018 Samsung will continue to attempt to maintain the “aspirational status it once held in the mind of Indian consumers.”
Earlier this year Xiaomi revealed it would try to focus more on the Indian market, which is the same size as China but has lower penetration of Smartphones since a more cost-conscious consumer still relies on the feature phone.
Xiaomi’s Senior Vice President Wang Xiang recently spoke to Business Chief for an upcoming feature and explained Xiaomi’s recent decision to focus on India. “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 saw the huge demand for high quality products at accessible prices” he explained, however added that “China will always be a key market for us”.
In addition, the company plans to invest $1bn in Indian start-ups by 2022 with the aim of providing more localised apps and online offerings for its smartphones. Wang said of the decision: “Xiaomi has invested into a range of companies to provide a rich array of Internet services and hardware products. While we focus on our core products, we invest in companies that are able to take us into new and exciting categories.”
According to CNBC, the largest mobile phone share is still held by feature phone sin India, with a 55% jump in feature phone shipments in Q4 2017 announced by Counterpoint, in comparison to 12% growth in smartphones.
First Solar to Invest US$684mn in Indian Energy Sector
First Solar is about to set up a new photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India. The 3.3GW factory will create 1,000 skilled jobs and is expected to launch its operations in Q3 of 2023. According to the company, India needs 25+ gigawatts of solar energy to be deployed each year for the next nine years. This means that many of First Solar’s Indian clients will jump at the chance to have access to the company’s advanced PV.
Said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s CEO: ‘India is an attractive market for First Solar not simply because our module technology is advantageous in its hot, humid climate. It’s an inherently sustainable market, underpinned by a growing economy and appetite for energy’.
A Bit of Background
First Solar is a leading global provider of photovoltaic systems. It uses advanced technology to generate clear, reliable energy around the world. And even though it’s headquartered in the US, the company has invested in storage facilities around the world. It displaced energy requirements for a desalination plant in Australia, launched a source of reliable energy in the Middle East (Dubai, UAE), and deployed over 4.5GW of energy across Europe with its First Solar modules.
The company is also known for its solar innovation, reporting that it sees gains in efficiency three times faster than multi-crystalline silicon technology. First Solar holds world records in thin-film cell conversion efficiency (22.1%) and module conversion efficiency (18.2%). Finally, it helps its partners develop, finance, design, construct, and operate PV power plants—which is exactly what we’re talking about.
How Will The Tamil Nadu Plant Work?
Tamil Nadu will use the same manufacturing template as First Solar’s new Ohio factory. According to the Times of India, the factory will combine skilled workers, artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication, and IoT connectivity. In addition, its operations will adhere to First Solar’s Responsible Sourcing Solar Principles, produce modules with a 2.5x lower carbon footprint, and help India become energy-independent. Said Widmar: ‘Our advanced PV module will be made in India, for India’.
After all, we must mention that part of First Solar’s motivation in Tamil Nadu is to ensure that India doesn’t rely on Chinese solar. ‘India stands apart in the decisiveness of its response to China’s strategy of state-subsidised global dominance of the crystalline silicon supply chain’, Widmar explained. ‘That’s precisely the kind of level playing field needed for non-Chinese solar manufacturers to compete on their own merits’.
According to First Solar, India’s model should be a template for like-minded nations. Widmar added: ‘We’re pleased to support the sustainable energy ambitions of a major US ally in the Asia-Pacific region—with American-designed solar technology’. To sum up: Indian solar power is yet the next development in the China-US trade war. Let the PV manufacturing begin.