Swipe Technologies will set up its own manufacturing unit in Pune at an initial investment of $3 million (about Rs19 crore), a top executive said.
The announcement comes even as the company prepares to launch its own customized operating system, which will be introduced alongside a flagship smartphone.
“We are looking at setting up eight assembling lines through which we expect to start production of smartphones and tablets within three months. We have narrowed down on Pune, Maharashtra, for our upcoming plant,” Shripal Gandhi, founder & CEO of Swipe Technologies, told ET.
Swipe becomes the latest among smartphone makers planning to start local assembly in the market considered among the fastest growing in the world. Its bigger rivalshome-grown Lava and Karbonnhave already advanced their plans to start assembling in India, while global rival Xiaomi has already started assembling devices out of Foxconn’s plant at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh. Market leaders Samsung and Micromax already produce in India and are looking to increase that.
Swipe is also banking big on customized or forked Android operating system, Freedom OS, which will be supported by localized content, applications and services. Swipe is investing $2-3 million towards the development of this OS.
The company is following in the footsteps of China’s Xiaomi and home-bred Lava International that have developed their own version of a User Interface, running on top of Google’s Android OS. Swipe is developing applications and content around the Freedom OS to build an ecosystem. Besides, it will also be populating its existing app store to support the latest OS, even as it plans to monetize the platform by pushing services and content to consumers.
Swipe has around 30 in-house and third-party developers working towards the development of Freedom OS. “We are actively looking at roping in more developers in India,” Gandhi said.
Swipe is still in talks with investors to raise $20 million (about Rs 130 crore) in the next six months to expand its research and development operations, Gandhi said.
It recently launched online-only sub-brand, Elite, through which it plans to bring more premium smartphones to the online customer. The smartphones in the Elite series will be priced in the Rs 5,000-15,000 range.
Gandhi said the company is looking to sell around 1.5-2 million smartphones and tablets by the end of the current financial year. Swipe is targeting Rs 300 crore in revenue in the current fiscal, up from Rs 100 crore in 2014-15.
The company will also enter the wearables segment with the launch of a Smartband, which it will sell via both offline and online retail channels. “We are developing an application for this band in-house, and would also bundle it with hi-end smartphones,” Gandhi said.