Microsoft Mulls Kickstarting Handset Manufacturing In India

Microsoft is considering manufacturing handsets in India as the government raised import duties on mobile phones in the country in the latest Financial Budget.
India is among one of Microsoft key global markets, where erstwhile manufacturer Nokia was once the leading manufacturer of feature phones.
Microsoft is currently carrying out a massive re-branding measure to promote its own brand name after taking over Nokia’s handset division last year.
“We’re evaluating that (local manufacturing) constantly in terms of what our local footprint is,” said Chris Weber, corporate vice-president at Microsoft Mobile Device Sales, according to ET.
While Nokia changed hands, the Finnish company’s manufacturing unit in Chennai wasn’t made a part of the deal as it is still under litigation due to a massive tax dispute.
In the latest Budget, the Indian government sought to increase import duties on smartphones in order to boost local manufacturing and achieve goals set under its Make In India campaign.
The company hasn’t given out any additional details about local manufacturing, but there’s definitely a possibility that the Chennai plant could go back online after PM Modi said he’d look into the matter because of the sheer number of jobs that were lost.
Local manufacturers Micromax, Lava and Karbonn aren’t the only ones who’re now looking at ramping up manufacturing in India, but players like Xiaomi and Asus have also shown interest, while Samsung said it will ramp up local production.
Microsoft plans to continually push down prices of its 4G handsets in order to stay competitive in the Indian market, while also launching premium devices to take on the likes of the increasingly successful iPhone in the country.

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