While China can claim to be the world’s largest maker of smartphones, the distinction of hosting the single biggest factory location now belongs to India.
Samsung on Monday opened a new facility in Noida, just outside of New Delhi in the country’s north. At 35 acres, it could fit about 27 American football fields. Its launch marks the latest move by Samsung to increase its presence on the subcontinent, where the South Korean company is competing fiercely with upstart Chinese rivals like Xiaomi.
The stakes are high. India’s smartphone market is expected to see robust growth over the coming years. Sales increased 11% year over year in the first quarter alone, according to IDC. “India is a big opportunity across price segments, including 2G feature phones,” IDC senior market analyst Jaipal Singh told IANS. “It makes sense for Samsung to build a bigger manufacturing base here.”
Meanwhile, smartphone sales are slowing in mature Western markets.
Underlining the significance of the facility to the economies of both countries, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to be joined by his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, at a christening ceremony on Monday.
In addition to feature phones and smartphones, Samsung may also produce flat-panel TVs and refrigerators at the location.
Samsung on Friday estimated that its second-quarter profits were up 5% from the previous year, falling short of analysts’ expectations. Overall, the company’s shares are down about 10% on the year. Analysts in part blame the underwhelming consumer response to Samsung’s latest flagship, the Galaxy S9.