Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. will manufacture the Z1 smartphone in India as it moves to defend its leadership in the fastest growing smartphone market in the Asia Pacific region.

The Z1, released in India earlier this month, runs on the Tizen operating system, which Samsung is developing in a bid to reduce its dependence on Google Inc.’s Android operating system. Tizen can also be found on Samsung’s Gear smartwatch.

The Z1 will be manufactured at Samsung’s facility in Noida, near New Delhi, according to a Press Trust of India report cited by The Economic Times on Sunday, quoting Asim Warsi, Samsung’s vice president for marketing for mobile and information technology. Samsung may have sold nearly 55,000 of the Z1 handsets since the company launched it in India on Jan. 14, PTI reported, citing industry estimates it didn’t specify.

Samsung is moving to defend itself in India where it is still the market leader with a 24 percent share, but has much to do as both local and multinational rivals continue to offer handsets at lower prices.

Local rivals such as Micromax Informatics, which started out competing on price at the lower end, are now launching phones in the mid-to-higher-end segments, offering powerful processors, better screens, cameras and better storage capabilities.

Some phones, such as Micromax’s YU Yureka handsets, and Lenovo Group Ltd.’s A6000 are equipped with the hardware needed to support 4G technology, which enables considerably faster data transfers. The A6000 -- with its larger screen, dual Dolby speakers and 4G chip -- costs 6,999 rupees ($114), which is only about 1,500 rupees more than the price of the Z1, which lacks these features, illustrating the challenge that Samsung is up against.

The Z1 will also soon be sold in India’s neighboring country of Bangladesh, according to the PTI report.