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Google Eyes Chennai for Pixel Phone, Drone Production

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In a significant development for Tamil Nadu’s ambitions of becoming an advanced technology manufacturing hub, Google is reportedly considering the state as its base for manufacturing Pixel smartphones and drones. Following in the footsteps of Apple, Google is in advanced talks with the government to set up manufacturing facilities in the Sriperumbudur region near Chennai.

Google Pixel Phones and Drones: The Next Chapter

  • Smartphone Manufacturing: Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is exploring the possibility of partnering with Taiwan-based contract manufacturer Foxconn, which already assembles Apple iPhones in Chennai. While the investment details remain undisclosed, the move signifies a broader trend of tech giants diversifying their manufacturing bases away from China. Google had previously announced its decision to manufacture its Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones in India, and it is now in talks with both domestic and international players.
  • Drone Facility: Alphabet plans to establish a drone facility under its subsidiary, Wing, in Tamil Nadu. The goal is to produce larger drones capable of carrying substantial delivery payloads. The state’s lead in the electronics industry and the availability of jobs have made it an attractive choice for Google. The company recognizes the value that Tamil Nadu can offer and is keen on leveraging the excitement around on-device AI to gain a foothold in the market.

Tamil Nadu’s Thrust in Electronics Manufacturing

  • Industry Minister’s Optimism: Industries Minister T. R. B. Rajaa expressed confidence that Tamil Nadu’s electronics industry would continue to thrive. He tweeted, “TN industry is set for a massive thrust in the near future with many more international giants making plans to set up shop in the #TalentCapitalofIndia – #TamilNadu.” The state already leads the mobile phone manufacturing segment in India, with Foxconn and Pegatron assembling over 80% of the country’s $14 billion worth of Apple iPhones in Tamil Nadu1.
  • Pixel’s Market Share: Currently, Pixel holds a minuscule share in the Indian smartphone market. Samsung remains the dominant player with a 25% share, followed by Apple (19%) and Vivo (18%). However, Google’s bet on on-device AI could potentially change the game. The company’s focus on manufacturing in Tamil Nadu reflects its commitment to the Indian market and its growing tech ecosystem.

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