Led by a strong push by Apple and Samsung to harness the benefits and commitments under the government’s production-linked incentive scheme, exports of smartphones are set to cross the $5 billionmark in 2021-22, the record number coming in as companies gradually pitch India as a core global manufacturing base on the lines of China and Vietnam. Total smartphone exports are likely to be upwards of Rs 42,000 crore (around $5. 6 billion) in the just-ending fiscal, as per estimates by the industry, a growth of over 80% against the near Rs 23,000 crore achieved in 2020-21. The growth has been meteoric if one considers that till just four years ago, smartphone exports were only at around Rs 1,300 crore (in 2017-18), which then moved up sharply to Rs 11,200 crore in 2018-19, and then to Rs 27,200 crore in 2019-20. The numbers were subdued in 2020-21 at Rs 23,000 crore due to production and supply disruptions because of the Covid outbreak.
The surge in exports is being seen as exemplary as it also came at a time when the broader electronics market was suffering from severe component shortages due to the semiconductor crunch, apart from the disruptions because of the lockdowns and restrictions. India’s stressed relations with China, a key supplier of critical components, had also resulted in certain parts being held up, or coming in slower than usual. “The impressive performance comes in the backdrop of three devastating Covid waves, loss of workforce, lockdowns and the worst-ever crisis on the supply chain,” Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman of industry body Indian Cellular and Electronics Association which worked on the data, said.