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Karbonn plans Rs 70-cr unit in Chennai

Sushma U. N.
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A model showcasing a Karbonn mobiles phone (file photo)
A model showcasing a Karbonn mobiles phone (file photo)

Home-grown handset maker Karbonn Mobiles is looking at Chennai to set up its first manufacturing unit in the country. The company will invest about Rs 70 crore for this.

Karbonn, which sells almost a million mobile phones a month, primarily in the rural markets, today gets its phones manufactured by Foxconn in Taiwan and China, and also sources some of its models from Korea.

Mr Sudhir Hasija, Chairman, Karbonn Mobiles, told Business Line that once the manufacturing unit is set up in India, the company will manufacture 60 per cent of its products here. And once things stabilise in the manufacturing unit in India, Karbonn would like to have all its products made here.

Micromax unit

While Dr N. Sundaradevan, Principal Secretary, Industries Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, declined to comment, other government officials have confirmed that Karbonn has approached the Tamil Nadu Government and that the talks are in “preliminary stages”.

The Government sources also said that Micromax, the largest domestic mobile phone maker, is also considering setting up shop in Chennai.

“We are considering Chennai and also Bangalore, but Chennai seems more attractive for logistics,” Mr Hasija said.

Connectivity advantages apart, Chennai also houses some of the biggest EMS (electronics manufacturing services) companies – Foxconn, Flextronics and Sanmina. These companies today service Nokia and their expertise in supplying to a handset manufacturer is what Karbonn would want to tap.

Furthermore, setting up shop in Chennai would be a home coming of sorts for Karbonn, for Mr Hasija used to run a shop in the electronics hub of the city - the famous Ritchie Street in Chennai before he founded Karbonn in Bangalore in 2009.

The Bangalore-based company's turnover in 2010 was Rs 1,500 crore and it expects to earn 30 per cent more next year.

(This article was published on August 2, 2011)
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