Corning Inc, the world’s largest producer of smartphone cover glass, is set to commence the manufacturing of this product in India by the close of 2024, courtesy of its joint venture with Optiemus Infracom Ltd, a Noida-based contract manufacturer. This venture, named Bharat Innovation Glass Technologies, signifies a significant step in India’s journey towards self-reliance in smartphone manufacturing. As John Bayne, Senior Vice President, and General Manager of Mobile Consumer Electronics at Corning Inc, highlighted, “For the first time, cover glass will be made in India for both local and international OEMs that are assembling their devices in India. The technology is scalable and can be expanded to support an increase in supplies. It is consistent with the Make in India vision of the government.”
The decision to establish local manufacturing of smartphone cover glass in India is driven by Corning’s strategy to diversify its supply chains and reduce its reliance on China. Bayne elucidated, “During COVID, the world realized it was overly dependent on some regions, and a little more diversity would probably help just as a backup to avoid situations like [the pandemic] or natural disasters, or if a country shuts down. So you’ve seen people start to diversify in different countries in Asia, and our priority is to be close to our customers.”
The joint venture aims to initiate production with a target of 30 million units in India during its first phase, thereby generating employment opportunities for 500 to 1000 individuals. To facilitate this endeavor, discussions are underway with several state governments, including Tamil Nadu and Telangana, to secure suitable land for the factory.
Corning, renowned for its ‘Gorilla Glass’, stated that the joint venture is exploring the possibility of availing financial incentives for the manufacturing of electronic components and semiconductors.
Optiemus Infracom, a prominent player in the technology sector, is poised to venture into the domain of glass-cover manufacturing, where it will hold a 30% stake in the joint venture. The company, known for producing laptops, tablets, telecom equipment such as routers, as well as hearables and wearables for various brands, is diversifying its operations with this strategic partnership.
Cover glass, an integral component in mobile phone manufacturing, is currently imported into India for lamination with display panels. Corning’s decision to establish local manufacturing is expected to not only bolster the domestic production of smartphones but also encourage other companies to establish a presence in India’s burgeoning tech landscape.
The joint venture aspires to offer this crucial component at a comparable quality and cost while simultaneously reducing logistics and shipping expenses. Furthermore, as it achieves greater scale and capabilities, Corning has plans to introduce glass-sheet manufacturing and glass melting capacities in India, reinforcing the nation’s position as a prominent hub in the global electronics manufacturing ecosystem.