After mobile phones, India eyes smartwatches, earbuds manufacturing

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After giving an impetus to mobile phones and laptop/tablet manufacturing locally, the government on Tuesday announced a new Phased Manufacturing Programme (PMP) for producing wrist wearable devices, hearable devices and electronic smart meters in the country.

Electronic manufacturing has been growing rapidly and Customs duty rates are being calibrated to provide a graded rate structure to facilitate domestic manufacturing of more and more consumer electronics devices, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Union Budget 2022-23 in the Parliament on Tuesday.

According to the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), the PMP has rationalised the inverted duty structure, which was throttling the development of manufacturing in the sector.

“The PMP in new areas should be immediately followed up with a robust PLI programme to make India a global powerhouse in this segment. However, we should constantly study the evolution of the PMP and manufacturing readiness of the inputs, and calibrate the duty structure accordingly,” said Pankaj Mohindroo, President, ICEA.

India’s smartwatch market registered its highest ever shipments in Q3 2021 to have a record growth (on-quarter) of 159 per cent, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s IoT service. In annual terms, the growth was 293 per cent.

Led by Noise and BoAt, “domestic brands have grown rapidly and they captured around 75 per cent of the Indian smartwatch market in Q3 2021, compared to 38 per cent in Q3 2020. This is the highest contribution from the Indian players so far”, said Senior Research Analyst Anshika Jain.

India’s smart personal audio market grew 62 per cent in the third quarter (Q3) this year with 16.6 million units shipped, pushing its worldwide market share to 14 per cent, according to a Canalys.

The TWS (true wireless stereo) segment was the main driver in India, growing 92 per cent to reach 7.3 million units.

Nitin Kunkolienker, President of Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT), said that the PMP for hearables and wearables is a continuation of India’s ‘Electronics Aatmanirbhar’ strategy, “building domestic capability to address a $80 billion global market by 2025”.

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