Alphabet Inc is considering moving some production of Pixel phones to India following disruptions in China from COVID-19 lockdowns and Beijing’s rising tensions with the United States, the Information reported on Monday, citing a source.
Alphabet, which did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment, has solicited bids from manufacturers in India to make between 500,000 and 1 million Pixel smartphones, equivalent to 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the estimated annual production for the device, according to the report.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai previewed a plan to manufacture in India earlier this year but a final decision has not yet been made, the report added. If approved, India production operations will still require import of components from China.
Alphabet is also considering Vietnam as another manufacturing base, according to Nikkei.
Apple Inc, the company’s main smartphone rival, already makes at least four models up to iPhone 13 in India through contract manufacturing partners Foxconn and Wistron. It is reportedly considering making iPhone 14, the latest model unveiled on Sept. 7, also in India.
Global supply chains were disrupted earlier this year when China locked down key tech hub Shanghai, among other cities, due to a surge in COVID cases. More recently, US banned exports of some high-end chips to China, escalating tensions with the Asian nation.
The company is set to release new Pixel phone models, and its first smartwatch, at an event in the US on Oct. 6.