Of late, India has been largely considered a software-making nation and outsourcing hub for developed nations. Over the past two decades, the country has produced several software giants, but has failed to nurture hardware talent and startups. However, with Narendra Modi’s strong emphasis on the ‘Make in India’ campaign, the hardware and manufacturing segment is seeing a resurgence.
The Indian Prime Minister’s promise to provide better infrastructure and a more conducive ecosystem to global hardware companies seems to have attracted the multinational electronics contract manufacturing company Foxconn.
The Tucheng-based company has some big plans for India, and is looking to set up manufacturing capabilities and cloud data centers, to bolster local companies like Micromax, Snapdeal, InMobi among several other startups. To discover the$46 billion group’s aims for India, YourStory spoke to Terry Gou, Founder, Foxconn.
India is a big market for Foxconn
We see India as a place of big opportunities after observing the intention of present government, which is fortifying hardware and digital capabilities.
This is Terry’s second visit to India after 12 years. Earlier, the company had set up a small manufacturing unit at Chennai, but was forced to wind up quickly, owing to dearth of political will in the state.
Foxconn’s increased love for India comes in the wake of slow growth of the Chinese GDP and slumping share market. Owing to these reasons, manufacturing companies are looking to setup their manufacturing units in newer markets like India.
India is at present where China was a decade back
Besides the government pushing ‘Make in India’, Terry also sees India as a very different country compared to a decade ago (during his maiden visit). Terry added,
India has an abundance of talent, a skilled workforce, and is going through an entrepreneurial wave. It is at same cusp China was at a decade ago.
However, he observes that infrastructure in India still is not up to the mark. It needs to be spruced up quickly if the country is looking to woo global hardware and manufacturing giants.
Infrastructure is a big pain in India
Terry pointed out,
I have been in Delhi for the last 40 hours, meeting various startups. I’ve spent close to 16 hours in cabs, largely because of continuous and heavy rain in NCR, traffic congestion and lack of proper infrastructure.
These hiccups bring efficiency down to the lowest level.
Gujarat, Maharashtra, AP & UP is on Foxconn’s radar
Foxconn is eyeing having manufacturing units in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Noida in UP. Terry explained,
We are ready for India, but how soon we get here completely depends on the central, as well as state, governments in India. Besides infrastructural issues like power, logistics and an efficient supply chain, state governments have different taxation laws, which need to be sorted.
Where is Indian Google, FB, and WhatsApp?
Terry believes strong hardware backing will solve India’s infrastructure headaches and security problems to a large extent. He also expresses his surprise about the success of Facebook, Google, Twitter and WhatsApp in India. Terry asked,
Indians are very fascinated about these solutions, but have less respect for home grown solutions/products. Where are the Indian Google, Facebook and WhatsApp?
He continuously asked,
Why is Modi not supporting Indian products and services?” Commenting on connectivity and the condition of digital communication, Terry said, “China has over 97% 4G while India has only 1%. And most of the time, 3G keeps switching to 2G.
China has its own Google, Amazon and Facebook in form of BAT, Baidu, Ali, Tencent. Why doesn't India have any? We have e-commerce, but no big cloud company like BAT.
Foxconn is also looking to foster partnerships as part of its greater strategy, Internet 4.0. Explaining more about this, Terry explained,
Besides hardware, we have USPs in content, hardware for information processing, clouds and bandwidth. We will partner with local companies and leverage our expertise to deliver solutions around Internet Plus (Internet 4.0 is referred as Internet Plus in China).
Foxconn can create a million job opportunities within 5 years
In next five years the company wants to have a presence in five Indian states. “In doing so, we would create more than a million job opportunities,” said Terry. When asked about a timeline for starting an Indian unit, he concluded,
I am ready. The only problem is, which cities have good enough infra and a conducive atmosphere?