Korean tech giant Samsung will begin manufacturing its TV sets in India starting December 2020, the company informed the government in a letter recently. Samsung’s decision to manufacture TVs locally carries forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-dependent India) and Make in India initiatives to promote local manufacturing of goods sold in India. The TVs will be made in Samsung’s Chennai plant, the company said. Since December, Samsung will limit imports to extremely high end, limited products.
Samsung, however, still needs permission to import TV sets to maintain continuity in its business during the festive season this year. “Maintaining the current threshold volumes is pivotal for setting up of the domestic TV manufacturing facility," Samsung was quoted by The Economic Times as saying in its letter to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The government of India had put TVs on the restricted list of imports in July this year, as a part of its strategy to encourage local manufacturing. Companies now require a license to import TV sets in India. The ET report said that the government has not issued any such permit yet.
In its letter, Samsung said that the imports embargo is “against the ethos of Ease of Doing Business," and the imports being held at customs are impacting business. The ET report also cited insustry sources as saying that the company has also written to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Directorate General of Foreign Trade.
Samsung’s Chennai plant was shut down in 2018 after India announced import duties on open cell TV panels. The open cell panel is a critical component which accounts for 65 - 70 percent of the total manufacturing cost. Samsung was since importing TV units from Vietnam at zero duty through the free trade agreement route.
Samsung has also pointed out that a local plant will drastically reduce India’s dependence on imports in the sector.