Indian Technicians Dial Into Careers Fixing China Phones

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Indian institutes training personnel to set up ‘repair businesses’ the world over
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Mumbai, India, January 25, 2018 – ‘Made in China’ smartphones may have taken the world by storm, but it is ‘trained in India’ technicians who are ensuring that users get more bang for their buck — by repairing the most expensive of mobiles across the world.

With greater demand for mobile phone technicians, institutes in India are not only training students to work with mobile manufacturers and at service centers but also helping them set up repair shops abroad.

Unnikrishnan Kinanoor, Executive Director at Britco and Bridco, one of India’s oldest mobile repair training institutes, which was set up in 1998, says: “With mobile sales growth across the globe, quality manpower is required to service the sophisticated devices. India’s biggest strength is manpower and, with the right training, they can work anywhere in the world.”

The Kerala-headquartered institute now has nine centers in India, besides branches in Australia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Somaliland. Its students work with leading OEMs such as Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Micromax, Flextronics, TVS Electronics, and Lava.

In 2017, 350 Britco students went abroad either through placement or on their own to start businesses. In 2016, that number was over 300. “Most students prefer the Gulf countries where even freshers earn over ₹40,000 a month,” Kinanoor adds. Professionals with two years’ experience earn up to ₹1.25 lakh a month.

“In India, salaries do not rise after technicians hit a ceiling of ₹25,000. That is why going overseas is an option for many,” says Shuaib Sogay, founder of Mumbai-based Prizm Institute. Its alumni run mobile repair businesses in the US, Canada, Germany and the Gulf countries.

Many opt to stay in India too as smartphone sales are rising rapidly here. Over 3 crore smartphones are being sold in the country every quarter, next only to China and the US. “This requires an equally massive workforce of technicians. There aren’t enough skilled hands to repair phones in India. That’s why even a small fault takes many days to be resolved,” says Sogay.

The two institutes also help students set up businesses on completion of the course. It requires an investment of about ₹1 lakh, excluding infrastructure. “And even a fresh technician can easily expect to earn over ₹1,000 a day. Our intention is not to create technicians but entrepreneurs,” says Kinanoor.

The fee for the courses ranges from ₹9,000 to ₹1 lakh depending on the duration and course level. The top-end courses at Britco include language training to help students overcome communication difficulties overseas.

Both Prizm and Britco are investing in R&D.

Britco’s R&D team travels to China regularly to buy new repairing equipment and tools, as does Arshad Shaikh, who runs a business from two shops in Mumbai’s City Center Mall, the hub of mobile repairs in the city. “I travel to China regularly to get low-cost spares. I also update myself with the latest technology on these trips,” he says. With shops in the heart of the city, he earns over ₹1.5 lakh a month. “I am planning to start another shop when my brother completes his training,” he adds.

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