Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronic devices such as iPhones, is looking to invest Rs 6,000 crore to set up a 200-acre plant in the special economic zone (SEZ) of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) near Mumbai, said people with knowledge of the matter.
The Taiwanese company, which is the largest supplier to Apple, has told port authorities that the JNPT project will provide employment to about 40,000 people.
According to Economic Times, shipping and road transport minister Nitin Gadkari confirmed that the company had sent a proposal to the government for setting up the plant.
Gadkari said “They’ve reached out to us requesting to provide land at JNPT,” , without giving any further details. It isn’t clear whether Foxconn will use the unit to manufacture iPhones or other products but given the location, it’s likely to be used as an export base. Foxconn Technology Group didn’t respond to queries.
JNPT has a total SEZ area of 277 hectares, out of which 77 hectares is for support infrastructure such as roads and common facilities. Companies have to bid for plots in the remaining 200 hectares to set up their plants. Due to the high demand from companies to set up units, a planned housing project has been scrapped.
“About 25-30 companies have already approached and the bids for the auction of 17 acres of land at JNPT are already received. I expect this SEZ to give employment to more than 2 lakh people,” Gadkari said.
The JNPT SEZ is expected to see a total investment of Rs 60,000 crore, the minister said. A top government official said that the contract manufacturer will have to bid for the land along with others as India doesn’t allow the nomination route.
For Foxconn, investment in JNPT would mean a more aggressive push into the Indian market and the possibility of setting up its first campus in the country along the lines of its practice in China, the company’s biggest manufacturing base, experts said.
The company has five plants in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh, and makes nearly 15 million phones a year for companies such as Xiaomi, Nokia, Gionee, InFocus and others. It makes smartphones and featurephones for Nokia, while the rest of the brands source smartphones from it.
Foxconn plans to double capacity in India this fiscal and is already scouting for locations to set up more plants. ET reported last month that Foxconn’s India arm was evaluating areas within the Nokia SEZ in Sriperumbudur, besides locations in Maharashtra and Delhi NCR among various options. A greenfield unit in Navi Mumbai to make mobile phones and other products is also being planned entailing an initial investment of $20-30 million.
It is also thinking of starting exports to the Middle East and Africa from India and has begun talks with suppliers to set up base in the fastest growing smartphone market in the world so that they can feed into the production chain for local and export markets. This is where investment in a port would fit in.
The company has invested more than $600 million in India, including ecommerce platform Snapdeal and messenger app Hike. This amount excludes the nearly $5 billion investment in partnership with the government of Maharashtra promised in late 2015.