Karbonn now has the largest phone manufacturing factory in India
Karbonn plans to launch 10 new phones with a unique AI assistant and India-focused VR
Karbonn Mobiles, a joint venture between Bengaluru-based UTL group and New Delhi-based Jaina marketing, on Friday unveiled what it claims is the largest manufacturing unit in the country.
With a production capacity of 30 million handsets annually and spread over 10,000 acres, the Bawal-based factory, has been operational since March. It has 22 assembly lines and 1,800 employees, which will soon be scaled up to 4,000.
"This is our third operational plant. We already have two manufacturing units in Noida. There is no smartphone manufacturing unit which is bigger than this one in the country, not even Foxconn," Pradeep Jain, managing director of Karbonn Mobiles, said adding that another such factory will not be set up in India for the next nine months.
Jain also said that the company was planning to invest more as the smartphone market in India continues to be a major attraction. He added that Karbonn will invest ₹2,000 crores over the next years in a phased manner to become the largest phone manufacturer in India. "Within one and a half years, over 70 percent of all our smartphones will be made in India," Jain said.
Karbonn has slowly drifted down IDC and Gartner lists in smartphones business and wants to make a comeback to this market dominated by the like of Micromax, Xiaomi and Samsung.
"The facility is currently manufacturing 1.5 million units in a month which is slated to increase to 2.5 million by the end of 2016," Shashin Devsare, executive director of Karbonn Mobiles, said. He added that by participating in Make-in-India, the company will be able to pass on more benefits to consumers in terms of bringing newer technologies to market soon, and at more affordable prices.
Devsare also said that the company will soon launch a fourth facility in Tirupati, which will have a surface-mount technology -- a first of its kind in India. The company also expects to start manufacturing accessories and batteries by the end of September, 2016.
When asked about slowing release of phones, Devsare said that the company will launch 10 models in the next three months, with a new artificial intelligence element that is in no way similar to the existing AIs -- Cortana and Siri among others.
He also explained that Karbonn was focusing on newer technologies like virtual reality. "We were the first one to come up with a VR headset and a phone under the ₹10,000 bracket. We have also done a lot of work in terms of local language support which seems to be the biggest barrier when it comes to pushing smartphone adoption," Devsare said.
"We have done native languages support in our phone and have simplified the user interface to push adoption," he explained adding that the company was planning to push out Indianised VR content.
Karbonn, which started operations in 2009, has till date released 110 smartphones and 245 feature phones.