This is a win for 'Make in India'. Sony has re-started manufacturing in the country for the first time since shutting its factory in 2004.
The Japanese consumer electronics major has tied up with Foxconn, known for its iPhone factories, to start production of its bestselling 'Bravia' brand of TVs in Sriperumbudur in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
Initially, Sony will manufacture two 43-inch smart models that run Google's Android software. It plans to expand the facility to start making other models, the company said in a statement. The 'Bravia' range contributes 40 percent of Sony's total sales in India.
"The government's 'Make in India' policy and growing importance of India for Sony has accelerated our decision to manufacture in India once again," said Sony India managing director Kenichiro Hibi.
Sony had shut its lone Indian plant in Haryana in 2004. That facility used to make TVs, music systems and home theatre products, but India's free trade agreement with Southeast Asian nations made imports so cheap that it made more sense to shut it and start importing. India at the time was a small market for Sony, contributing just 3-4 percent of global sales. That figure has zoomed to 25 percent, in a market worth Rs 20,000 crore for flat-panel TVs.
“We see huge potential in the business as conversion from CRT TVs to LCD TVs by Indian customers is expected to accelerate over the next few years. There is also very high demand for technologically advanced products such as 4K and our newly launched Android TVs," Hibi said.
The Narendra Modi government has lowered duties to attract more companies to set up factories under its 'Make in India' programme.
Sony competes with Korean rivals Samsung and LG, which have manufacturing units in India. Sony India — that had revenue of Rs 10,600 crore last fiscal year — is also studying whether it makes sense to manufacture mobile phones in India.