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HTC wants Nokia’s Chennai plant to boost Indian smartphone push

HTC has its eyes on Nokia’s huge Chennai manufacturing plant in order to capitalise on India’s position as one of the newest forces in smartphones across the world’s emerging markets.

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A report in the Times of India quotes HTC’s CFO Chialin Chang as stating that the firm wants to pursue expansion in the country further and the plant fits the bill as one that can help it to better serve its customers in India.

"I am happy to look into it, because the overall preparation, exploration hinges upon if it will serve consumers better. If that [plant] will do that [service consumers better], then we would be happy to look further into it," Chang, told the Times of India.

Nokia is eager to sell the plant due to an ongoing tax dispute with Indian authorities that has put off its new owner Microsoft from pursuing manufacturing at the plant for the foreseeable future.

Instead, Microsoft will move the production of Nokia devices to other countries in the same region and it’s already reported that the company has moved the Asha manufacturing plant to Vietnam.

"It makes no sense for Microsoft to keep the factory as they can easily outsource the entire production to China, just like Apple does, and successfully at that,” a person familiar with the matter told the publication, adding that Microsoft is fast losing patience due to the tax issue.

HTC, meanwhile, has placed added importance on the country’s market and will launch more smartphones across different price points in order to tap into the market even further.

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"India is a very crucial market for HTC. We want to go deeper into tier 1 cities, expand beyond tier 1 cities," Chang added.

HTC is still confidence of its chances in an Indian smartphone market that grew three-fold in 2013, according to IDC, and saw 44 million devices shipped over the 12 months.