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What do ‘Made in India’ Google Pixel phones mean for Indian smartphone buyers?


Your next Pixel phone will be a ‘Made in India’ smartphone. According to a report by Nikkei Asia, Google has told suppliers to start making its Pixel smartphones in India by the next quarter at the earliest. This is in line with Google’s strategy to further diversify its supply chain away from China and capture the booming Indian smartphone market.

The report mentions that Google’s decision to make this big shift in the supply chain strategy is part of the company’s ambitious target of shipping more than 10 million Pixel phones this year, after shipping around 10 million units for the first time in 2023 amid a global economic slowdown.

The report outlines that Google will first prepare the production line for its high-end Pixel 8 Pro in the southern part of India in the coming weeks, then begin turning out phones in the April-June quarter, according to multiple sources familiar with the plan. This will be followed by the production of the Pixel 8 in the north of the country around the middle of this year.

What do ‘Made in India’ Pixels mean for Smartphone Buyers?

Anticipating the impact of a shift in production strategy on end-users is a complex task, especially considering past instances such as Apple’s decision to manufacture iPhones in India, which didn’t translate into substantial benefits for consumers. The Indian market witnessed no significant reduction in iPhone prices despite the production shift, a trend similarly observed with Samsung Galaxy smartphones.

In the case of Google, the situation may diverge from the norm. Unlike Apple, Google faces challenges in selling its Pixel phones in India, holding less than 1% market share. Despite offering cutting-edge hardware-software integration and distinctive camera performance, the Pixel phones struggle due to factors such as high pricing, inadequate after-sales service, poor resale value, software issues, and fierce competition from Chinese companies.

The decision to move the production line to India could potentially bring about positive changes for Google. However, to truly capitalize on this shift, the company must reassess its pricing strategy, bolster its after-sales service infrastructure, and devise a competitive strategy to counter the formidable challenges posed by Chinese competitors. It’s crucial for Google to offer enticing deals to position the Pixel lineup as a success in the Indian market.

The upcoming Pixel 9 series holds the key to whether Google can surmount these challenges and achieve the anticipated sales numbers. Observing Google’s approach to pricing, service enhancements, and competitive positioning will provide insights into the company’s efforts to establish the Pixel lineup as a formidable player in the Indian smartphone market.