Chhattisgarh gets its first laptop, tablet factory

China’s Forstar Industry to invest Rs 100 crore initially to set up manufacturing facility in Raipur

shubhendu

Shubhendu Parth | October 8, 2014



If there is a will there is a way, and Chhattisgarh has the policy too. In a major reversal of global hardware sector trend that has seen most of the IT majors focusing on China for driving their manufacturing success stories, the state government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Chinese company for setting up a state-of-the-art facility for manufacturing tablets, smartphones and laptops in Urkura industrial area, near Raipur.

The Beijing based company Forstar Industry Ltd will initially be investing Rs 100 crore for setting up the manufacturing facility with a capacity of assembling 75,000 units per month. The company has committed an investment of Rs 1,000 crore over the next 5 years for scaling up its operations in the state. The agreement will also give a major boost to ‘make in India’ campaign that was recently launched by prime minister Narendra Modi.

Speaking on the occasion, the state chief minister Dr Raman Singh, said following the ‘make in India’ call by the prime minister, the state government has decided to launch a ‘make in Chhattisgarh’ programme, which will help in economic and social development of the state. The chief minister also mentioned that the state government is keen to promote setting up of downstream industries and called upon IT companies to look at Naya Raipur as a new destination for setting up software and hardware facilities.

This is the first major investment in Chhattisgarh by a global IT hardware manufacturing firm that promises to employ around 200 employees in the first year of its operation. “At full scale, over 1,000 more jobs will be created in direct and ancillary units, while there would be an opportunity for another 1,000 for software and content development, training, distribution, maintenance and services support,” mentioned a note shared by the CHiPS, the state’s nodal agency for promoting infotech and biotech.

The Chinese manufacturer of laptops, tablets and mobile handsets, also aims to use the manufacturing base in Chhattisgarh – its first outside China – to tap the global export market of eastern Europe, middle east, Africa and south Asia. The company, which has manufacturing partnership with Lenevo, Acer, Hasee and Multilaser has tied up with Chennai-based Novatium to set up the Chhattisgarh facility. Novatium is a software company with focus on education and enterprise wide cloud solutions.

The state government is hopeful that the investment by Forstar will also help create the required support ecosystem in Chhattisgarh that will contribute towards the economic and social development of the locals. “The manufacturing facility will lead to skill development among the youth and also encourage the software and cloud solution integration service providers. Besides, it will strengthen the packaging and printing sector as well as the warehousing, transportation and distribution network in the state,” said A M Parial, vice-chairman of CHiPS.

For records: Forstar’s relation with Chhattisgarh dates back to 2013 when IT firm Ricoh India tied up with it for supplying 1 lakh tablet PCs (with 9.7 inch multi-touch screen and SIM slot to support both 2G and 3G network) to final year degree college students in the state. The MoU was signed by Saurabh Kumar, CEO of CHiPS and Davy, export director at Forstar Industry Ltd. The project also has a strategic support from Intel India.

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