THE KOREAN CONNECTION
As India’s biggest television and smartphone manufacturer, Samsung is a leading player in the consumer electronics and durables market. In India for 20 years now, Samsung’s commitment can be measured in its three R&D facilities, one design center, and two manufacturing facilities (one each in Noida and Tamil Nadu). It is in the latter, where Samsung makes 90% of the handsets it sells in the country. The Korean giant also manufactures consumer durables such as televisions and refrigerators which are exported to Africa, West Asia and CIS countries. Currently, Samsung employs nearly 45,000 people and is preparing for another phase of expansion, which will include doubling the production capacity of their Noida Facility by 2020.
Another world leader in consumer electronics and durables, LG is currently in its 21st year of operations in India. Over the last two decades, LG has committed to making India a major base of operations, even setting up its largest R&D center outside South Korea, in Bengaluru. Currently, LG has two manufacturing facilities in India, one each in Noida and Pune. Apart from catering to domestic demand, these facilities are used to export to Middle Eastern and African countries. In fact, around 10% of sales from India are exports, with 95% of components domestically produced or sourced.
A true powerhouse in automobile manufacturing, Hyundai’s Indian journey began 22 years ago. Today, its Chennai facility manufactures over 700,000 cars per year, making it Hyundai’s second most productive plant globally. Strengthening their India commitment, Hyundai also established an R&D facility in Hyderabad, one of just five in the world. Already the second largest vehicle manufacturer in India, Hyundai is planning to add a third production line in their Sriperumbudur plant. This ties in with their goal of moving production to and export from India for some of their larger models.
Apart from the above mentioned conglomerates, which have collectively invested over USD 4.4 billion (estimate), there are over 600 large and small Korean firms operating in India. This includes firms across sectors, such as POSCO (steel making), Lotte (food processing), and Ssanyong Motors (automotive). Several more Korean firms plan on entering as well as expanding their presence in India. Kia motors, for example, announced an investment of USD 1.1 billion to set up a manufacturing unit in Andhra Pradesh.