Samsung Plans $760 Million Investment in India

Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday that it will invest about $760 million to double its production capacity for mobile phones and refrigerators in India, a critical market for the world's largest smartphone maker.

The expansion of its factory in Noida, located outside the capital city of New Delhi, underscores the importance of the Indian market, where the South Korean smartphone maker is battling Apple Inc. and a handful of lower-cost Chinese and Indian handset makers.

Samsung's new investment will allow the company to potentially shave production costs in one of the few remaining global markets with robust growth prospects.

India is expected to soon overtake the U.S. as the world's second-largest smartphone market after China. Smartphone shipments in India rose 18% last year, compared with 3% growth globally, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research.

Last month, Apple began shipping a small number of iPhone SE handsets that had been produced at a facility in Bangalore.

Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung leads India's smartphone market with about 24% of the market share, followed by makers like Xiaomi Corp. and Lenovo Group Ltd., according to research firm IDC. Analysts estimate Apple's market share at a meager 3%, but the premium smartphone maker has been increasing its focus on the world's second-most populous nation.

"A bigger manufacturing plant will help us cater to the growing demand for Samsung products across the country," said H.C. Hong, chief executive of Samsung Southwest Asia, in a statement.

Samsung first started making electronics products in India in the early 1990s, with mobile-phone production beginning in 2005.

Write to Timothy W. Martin at and Newley Purnell at newley.purnell

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 07, 2017 06:39 ET (10:39 GMT)