smartphone production: Top smartphone and electronic brands postpone production plans till lockdown ends

Kolkata: India’s top smartphone and consumer electronic brands like Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Apple, LG, Panasonic, Realme and OnePlus are planning to postpone their manufacturing plans till the lockdown ends, four senior industry executives said.

The executives said several of these brands took the decision since both offline and online market is closed leading to piling up of inventory in their warehouses, and several of their plants falling in red zones or in states where permission has not yet been given.

Some states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Karnataka have also decided to not provide any relaxation to industries till the lockdown ends.

Godrej Appliances business head and president of electronics industry body, Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association Kamal Nandi said till the market opens up, there is no point to restart manufacturing since our warehouses and that of the retailers are all stocked up.

The executives said these companies have also taken the decision after taking into cognizance that getting components too will be an issue since several of the component manufacturer plants are in red zones, while travelling of workers is another challenge since they will be coming or passing from areas which are also currently red zones or completely sealed.

Smartphone majors Vivo and Oppo’s plants in GautamBuddha Nagar are in red zones and hence late on Sunday night they decided not to re-start manufacturing. Oppo also manufactures for OnePlus and Realme and hence their production plans too are affected.

India’s largest home appliances manufacturer, LG India plants in Greater Noida and Pune are both in red zones and hence not allowed to operate. Samsung India too is unlikely to restart production now in both of its plants in Noida and near Chennai. Apple too did not restart production on Monday.

A Realme India spokesperson said while observing the new government directives, our production unit will remain closed until we hear further from the government, considering our employees welfare as our top priority.

A Vivo India spokesperson too said the company is in conversations with all its stakeholders and evaluating the situation continuously keeping the wellbeing of employees and partners as priority.

While Panasonic India’s plant in Jhajjar in Haryana is in a green zone, the company too has postponed production. “We are not starting production now as the inventories in pipeline and also in our warehouse are adequate to meet the demand as it starts to pick up. We are ready with our safety procedures and will be in a position to start as needed,” said Panasonic India CEO Manish Sharma.

Emails sent to Oppo, OnePlus, LG, Apple and Samsung remained unanswered. Xiaomi declined to comment.

Leading contract manufacturer Dixon Technologies chairman Sunil Vachani said supply chain of components and bringing them to plants is an issue right now and until that is eased restarting production might be difficult.

However, some companies, especially in smartphones, may restart production later this week if they receive permission from local authorities primarily to cater to the export market.

Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman at India Cellular and Electronics Association, which represents several leading mobile brands and contract manufacturers, said several companies are still engaging with the local authorities to look at options to restart production.

“The recalibration of manufacturing after a period of shut down takes time to reach the peak. Mobile phones are essential goods and there would be demand while several companies also export out of India which can also restart,” he said .

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