Corning’s Indian Venture: INR 1,000 Cr Smartphone Glass Unit


Three points you will get to know in this article:

  • Corning Inc is investing INR 1,000 Cr to build a manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, marking its formal entry into India and joining hands with Optiemus Infracom.
  • This indicates the growth of India’s ecosystem for smartphone major and electronic component manufacturers.
  • Apple is expanding its production in India, reaching out to various suppliers, as part of efforts to reduce reliance on China.

Corning Inc., the renowned US-based Gorilla Glass manufacturer and key Apple supplier, is set to make a significant investment of INR 1,000 Crores in establishing a cutting-edge manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu. This strategic move is anticipated to serve as the company’s official debut in the Indian market.

As reported by ET, the manufacturing facility will be strategically located in Pillaipakkam, near Sriperumbudur, with plans for potential expansions based on future requirements. The facility is projected to generate employment opportunities for approximately 300 individuals.

In a collaborative effort, Corning is partnering with its Indian counterpart, Optiemus Infracom, to bring this manufacturing unit to fruition. This development signifies the formal entry of yet another key Apple supplier into the Indian market, further contributing to the flourishing ecosystem of major smartphone manufacturers and electronic component producers in the country. This investment underscores the growing importance of India in the global tech supply chain.

In the vibrant landscape of Tamil Nadu, renowned as a hub for Apple’s key contract manufacturers like Foxconn, Pegatron, and Tata Electronics, a new player is set to make waves. Corning Inc, the US gorilla glass giant and Apple supplier, is investing a substantial INR 1,000 Cr to establish a cutting-edge manufacturing facility in the state, signaling its official debut in India.

As reported by ET, the strategically chosen location for this state-of-the-art factory is Pillaipakkam, near Sriperumbudur. With a forward-thinking approach, the facility is designed for potential expansion, ensuring scalability, and is expected to provide employment for approximately 300 individuals.

Partnership with Optiemus Infracom

In a collaborative effort, Corning is partnering with its Indian counterpart, Optiemus Infracom, to bring this initiative to life. This significant move not only underscores Corning’s commitment to the Indian market but also marks the formal entry of yet another key Apple supplier into the country. This development contributes significantly to the burgeoning ecosystem of smartphone majors and electronic component manufacturers in India.

In a parallel narrative, the state of Tamil Nadu emerged victorious in attracting Corning over Telangana, following a well-thought-out decision-making process. Sources indicate that Tamil Nadu’s robust electronics ecosystem and its close proximity to other key Apple suppliers played pivotal roles in this strategic choice.

Adding to the intrigue, insiders reveal that negotiations were underway for a considerable period, culminating in the finalization of the deal just last week. The official pact is slated to be inked during the eagerly awaited Global Investor’s Meet (GIM) scheduled for January, adding an exciting chapter to the unfolding tale of technological advancement and collaboration in India.

“While I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of potential investment details being mulled over, I can confidently say that Tamil Nadu is actively shaping a stellar electronics environment that meets global standards,” shared TRB Rajaa, the Minister of Industries in Tamil Nadu, during an interview with ET.

Corning’s Contribution and Legacy

Corning, a distinguished Fortune 500 materials science company credited with introducing gorilla glass, a durable glass widely integrated into portable devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.

Boasting a legacy of over 170 years, Corning disclosed a Q3 revenue of $3.2 billion, solidifying its pivotal role in the tech sector. The company is renowned for pioneering thin, lightweight, damage-resistant glass with touch responsiveness. This innovative glass is not only a staple in Apple smartphones but also graces other leading brands like Samsung, Google, Sony, OnePlus, Motorola, Mi, Oppo, Lava, Realme, and Nokia, among others. Corning Inc. and Apple have been collaborating since 2007, a partnership that began when Apple sought out Corning’s expertise in glass for its inaugural smartphone.

Strategic Decision for Facility Location

In the fiscal year 2022, Apple’s supplier roster revealed that Corning operates facilities supplying Apple in various locations, including Fujian, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang in mainland China, Chungcheongnam-Do in South Korea, Taiwan, and Kentucky and New York.

Recognized as one of Apple’s crucial contributors, particularly in the creation of robust cover glass screens for iPhones, iPads, and other devices, Corning holds a prominent position among Apple’s key suppliers. According to Neil Shah, the Vice President of Counterpoint Research, Corning’s role is instrumental in delivering durable and high-quality glass solutions for Apple’s product lineup.

Importance of the Investment

Shah emphasized, “In addition to being used on countless tablets, PCs, wearables, and automotive displays moving forward, the cover glass presents an incredibly enticing opportunity for a company like Corning to actively contribute to the Make In India supply chain. This aligns with the flourishing ecosystem taking root in India.”

Apple’s Expansion in India and Corning’s Role

This development unfolds just as Apple aims to significantly scale up its iPhone production in India, targeting an annual output surpassing 50 million units. The tech behemoth is presently engaging with a diverse array of suppliers spanning automotive, aerospace, and consumer electronics to secure crucial components.

Meanwhile, Tata Electronics, a subsidiary of the esteemed Tata Group, has acquired Wistron’s manufacturing facility in Karnataka, signaling its foray into the assembly of Apple iPhones. Reports suggest that the group is gearing up to establish one of India’s largest iPhone assembly plants in Tamil Nadu’s Hosur. Maintaining a steadfast focus on the Indian market, Apple is intensifying its commitment to local production as part of a broader strategy to diminish dependence on China.

Corning Inc’s INR 1,000 Cr investment in a manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu marks its entry into India, aligning with Apple’s expansion efforts in the country. The move solidifies the growing ecosystem of smartphone and electronic component manufacturers in India. Corning’s partnership with Optiemus Infracom underscores this trend. Corning’s legacy as a Fortune 500 materials science company, known for its pioneering gorilla glass, further strengthens its position as a key supplier to Apple and other tech giants. This investment also signals the potential growth of the Make In India supply chain, particularly as Apple aims to scale up its iPhone production in the country.

SA Team

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