Reliance Industries Ltd. has asked local suppliers to ramp up production capacity in India so they can make as many as 200 million smartphones over the next two years, according to people familiar with the matter, a potentially enormous boost for the country’s technology ambitions and a warning shot to rivals such as Xiaomi Corp.
India’s most valuable company is in talks with domestic assemblers to make a version of its Jio phone that would run on Google’s Android and cost about 4,000 rupees ($54), said the people, asking not to be identified since the plans are private. The inexpensive phones will be marketed with low-cost wireless plans from Reliance Jio, the parent company’s carrier, they said.
Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani is aiming to remake the country’s smartphone industry much like he did in wireless services, where his aggressive prices and simple plans quickly made him the dominant force. The billionaire is also aligning himself with the Indian government’s plans to build more domestic manufacturing, a possible boost for local assemblers like Dixon Technologies India, Lava International and Karbonn Mobiles.