Google has traditionally relied on China for much of its Pixel smartphone production, with Vietnam serving as a secondary manufacturing hub. But in recent years, Vietnam has played an increasingly significant role, particularly in the production of Google’s A-series Pixel devices. However, a new but yet to be confirmed report suggests that the upcoming Pixel 9 and Pixel Fold 2 aka Pixel 9 Fold might mark the end of an era for Google products made in Vietnam and destined for India.

This potential shift away from Vietnam isn’t new, though. Amidst China’s strict COVID lockdowns, reports surfaced that Google was actively exploring the possibility of initiating Pixel production in India. These reports indicated ambitions to produce 500,000 to 1 million units within India, a volume representing roughly 10-20% of Google’s total annual Pixel shipments at the time.

In October 2023, Google made these plans official. The company announced that India would become a production hub for the Pixel 8, with manufacturing set to begin in 2024. Further reports in February 2024 intensified the speculation, suggesting that Indian production of the Pixel 8 lineup could commence as early as the second quarter of the year.

Adding another dimension to this narrative, March 2024 saw rumors emerge regarding Google’s plans to establish its first-ever physical retail store in India. Google also wants to bring support for Google Wallet in the country. Now, a new, yet unconfirmed report raises the possibility that the Pixel 9 and Pixel Fold 2 could be the final batches of Google products made in Vietnam and sold in India.

While the report’s accuracy remains to be seen, Google’s recent actions suggest a potential production shift from Vietnam to India is plausible. This transition could be motivated by several factors, including ongoing geopolitical tensions between the US and China, and Google’s desire to diversify its global manufacturing base. And with the Pixel becoming increasingly popular in India, Google likely wants its production line closer to the market for easy handling of sales and after-sales services.

Whether this potential move indicates a complete departure from Vietnam or a focus on moving only India-bound production remains a matter of speculation. But with the production of the Pixel 8 in India expected to begin this quarter, this report doesn’t seem far from the truth.

Here’s what I think:

Although unconfirmed, this report aligns with the idea of a gradual transition. With the Pixel 8 production possibly beginning in India this quarter (Q2), it’s likely the Indian plant might not be fully equipped to handle the complexities of the Pixel 9 and Fold 2 just yet. Vietnam’s established production lines could offer support to meet the initial demand for these devices in the Indian market. This initial collaboration could pave the way for the Indian plant to take over entirely by the release of the Pixel 10 and Fold 3. This should make the shift in Google’s manufacturing base smoother and more strategic.

Hillary Keverenge
2141 Posts

Tech has been my playground for over a decade. While the Android journey began early, it truly took flight with the revolutionary Lollipop update. Since then, it's been a parade of Android devices (with a sprinkle of iOS), culminating in a mostly happy marriage with Google's smart home ecosystem. Expect insightful articles and explorations of the ever-evolving world of Android and Google products coupled with occasional rants on the Nest smart home ecosystem.

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