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Motorola: Made in India

Motorola today made three announcements that underline the importance of India as both a manufacturing hub and an emerging market.

Beginning next month, the company's C115 phone will be made in India. Designed for the mass market, the phone features a long battery life and personalization tools.

The manufacturing move is the "first step in a multi-phase manufacturing strategy for India," Motorola said.

The company is also focused on selling phones in India. Motorola will debut its slim new L6 handset in India, before offering it in other markets. The model borrows from the Motorola RAZR and features an integrated camera for video recording, Bluetooth and a digital audio player.

Finally, Motorola has signed a new agreement with Bharti Teletech to distribute phones and accessories. Bharti Teletech is expected to help Motorola sell its products in rural areas.

A Motorola spokesman in India was not immediately available for comment. In a statement, Allen Burnes, corporate vice president for the high-growth markets, said, "India is all about opportunity -- and today's announcements make it clear that Motorola is here to be a major player."

The announcements are the latest effort by the company to enhance its presence in India. It has hired 3,000 software engineers in Bangalore and Hyderabad and built a headquarters building for the high-growth markets unit in Delhi.

It has also boosted investments in software and hardware design at Indian centers and is planning to expand its line of mobile devices to appeal to different economic levels.

Motorola is not alone. In recent years, telecom gear makers have been looking at India for more than inexpensive, tech-savvy labor. They see a burgeoning market for products and services with growth rates outpacing the United States and Europe.

The Indian market for equipment and services is expected to jump to $24.3 billion by 2006, up from $13.7 billion in 2001, according to telecom research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Nortel, Alcatel, Nokia, Cisco and Lucent have all made moves to increase their operations on the subcontinent in recent years.