Taiwan-based electronics equipment maker Foxconn India has re-employed over 2,000 workers of its two closed plants near here for its assembling unit at Sri City SEZ in Andhra Pradesh. The company has also hired most of around 3,000 staff at Nokia's facility at Sriperumbudur where production was suspended last year after a long drawn tax dispute. Foxconn was a major supplier to Nokia's plant and its two facilities ran into rough weather after suspension of production at the Finnish company's facility. It has now set up a new manufacturing unit at Sri City Special Economic Zone located at Tada, about 110 km from here, which assembles smartphones for Chinese firm Xiaomi.
An official of Foxconn India said that the company has re-employed almost all workers of its two plants at Sriperumbudur. Also, most of the workers who took voluntary retirement at Nokia's facility have been recruited by it. "Actually, we have taken "hundreds of them" to our factory. They are now employed in our factory at Sri City SEZ..," the official said on the condition of anonymity.
The official, however, refused to reveal the number of workers that have been hired. "Most of the employees who were working in Nokia factory were in the age group of 20 years to 35 years. They have received training (at Nokia plant)," the official added. The Chennai plant of Nokia was kept out of the $7.2 billion deal signed by the company with Microsoft for selling its mobile handset unit in 2014 due to a tax dispute.
Fearing job losses, several employees had observed a hunger strike in Chennai in 2014. However, the company offered them voluntary retirement service. Foxconn is also likely to begin manufacturing mobile phones from its second India factory near Mumbai from next month. Foxconn, which makes iPhone, iPad and other Apple products, will initially make mobile phones at a 2 lakh square feet facility in Navi Mumbai and later laptops and computers, said Maharashtra Principal Secretary (Industries) Apurva Chandra.
"Foxconn has taken a rented premise in Navi Mumbai. They have taken 2 lakh square feet. They have (set up) their mobile manufacturing facility (there). And probably, as we are told, first week of August they are going to launch mobiles from this facility," he said here. The rented premise is a temporary facility and the company is looking at 1,200 acres of land in Maharashtra for a new multi-billion dollar factory.
Foxconn had recently announced plans to make India a key global manufacturing hub for servicing markets across Africa and West Asia. Chandra said Foxconn has indicated plans to start with manufacturing mobile phones and later laptops and computers.
"Mobile manufacturing will begin in August... then they are going to manufacture laptops and computers," he said adding a mobile assembly can be set up in 6-8 months. Foxconn had last year started assembling smartphones for Chinese firm Xiaomi at its facility in Sri City, an industrial park in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
In August last year, Foxconn Chairman & CEO Terry Gou announced plans to invest in India across verticals like manufacturing, startups, energy and e-commerce portals and was looking at bringing supply chain companies and major technologies. He had then said that Foxconn may build as many as 12 factories in India by 2020 to manufacture LED TVs, batteries and other electronics products.