Smartphone Makers In India Suspend Production Due to COVID-19

According to a report, smartphone shipments globally have seen a decline of 38 percent since the outbreak in Feb.

Updated23 Mar 2020, 02:52 PM IST
Tech News
3 min read

As the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across India it’s unfolding a series of events that inevitably have been due to a trickle-down effect caused by the global pandemic.

One of the sectors that it has affected majorly is the smartphone industry. India, which is a hotbed for smartphone manufacturing and also a key market, has taken a blow amid the lockdown across 80 cities in the country.

Yesterday, the Indian government ordered a lockdown in 80 major Indian cities which also means that mobile manufacturing facilities in these areas will also have to be shut down.

Speaking to some of the smartphone makers in India, they said they are conforming with the lockdown protocols and have ceased operations in their respective plants.

“At Samsung, health and safety of employees is our highest priority. As a measure to safeguard our employees and their families against Covid-19 and in compliance with directives from the Government, we have decided to currently suspend our manufacturing operations and have asked employees at our sales, marketing and R&D offices across India to work from home.”
Partha Ghosh, Head, Corporate Communications, Samsung India.   

Speaking to Xiaomi, the company spokesperson said that it works with contract manufacturers so the onus relies completely on its partners.

However, the company head Manu Kumar Jain, in an open letter to the Xiaomi community talked about some of the measures it’s taking to curb the spread including abiding by the lockdown orders.

Each facility such as corporate office, warehouse, Service center, Mi Home, Manufacturing plant will abide by the lockdown orders issued by the state and UTs.   
Manu Kumar Jain, Managing Director, Xiaomi India
“Vivo India is following government advisory and directives on the current situation. All the employees in our head-office in Gurgaon are working from home, while production at our Greater Noida facility has been temporarily suspended.”
Vivo spokesperson to The Quint
“Safety of our employees is of utmost priority at OPPO. Keeping the recent outbreak of coronavirus in mind, a host of preventive measures have already been undertaken. Operations in our Greater Noida factory have been suspended as per the directive from the government. Additionally, all OPPO India employees have been advised to work from home until further notice.”   
Oppo spokesperson to The Quint

Despite the halt in production, smartphone makers like Samsung, Nokia and Xiaomi are being bullish and still launching devices in India (online only) with the hope that people will buy them.

Where Samsung launched its M21 smartphone last week with the sale starting today at 12 PM, the Xiaomi K30 Pro is expected to be launched on 24 March. Also, Nokia recently launched the Nokia 5310 and Nokia 8.3 which is its first 5G device.

According to a report from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments in February tumbled a staggering 38 percent which is a record.

With physical stores shut and more people quarantined at home, there is a possibility that the numbers in March are going to drop further.

What’s the biggest irony of all is that this is happening at a time when the government has approved a Rs 48,000 crore plan to boost electronics manufacturing and woo large investment into the country.

This is primarily to boost exports from India which is currently the second-largest smartphone manufacturing hub in the world. In hindsight, this pandemic is going to be a major setback to these plans.

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic is going to force the hand of many smartphone makers into restructuring their production and marketing tactics for the days to come. What waits to be seen is how bad the situation gets from here on.

We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated.

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Published: 23 Mar 2020, 11:51 AM IST

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