In a recent turn of events, it has been revealed that India is soon going to be one of Apple’s key global production hubs. The new production phase will cover the assembly of all latest flagship iPhones to keep up with worldwide release schedules. This comes as a de-risking strategy against the bulk of Apple’s production being located in China. It’s noteworthy that Apple is not the first company to shift production from this country, given its ongoing trade spat with the US. Earlier, Google and Nokia among others have moved their production to different countries as well.
Apple has already started commercial production of the iPhone XR at the Foxconn production facility located near Chennai after successful trials. The company also plans to start the production of its iPhone 11 series soon, once it has trained staff with required skill sets. Apple will be selling the devices locally, as well as exporting them after having successfully tested the export of iPhone 6s and 7 models to Europe from India since early 2019. It’s been reported that the company will be able to save 20% in import duty by manufacturing the iPhone XR locally. However, Apple executives have declared that there won’t be any price drops. The manufacturer hasn’t cut prices on any of its locally made iPhones in India as of now and there is no word on upcoming models. This is Apple’s second big global contract manufacturing operation in India. Earlier in 2017, Taiwanese brand Wistron began assembling iPhones near Bengaluru in 2017, but only for the older iPhones.
Apple’s Foxconn plant will reportedly soon have the capability to manufacture the latest line of iPhone models that cost over Rs 1 lakh. The Indian government has also been pushing Apple to move the manufacture of its entire line-up of iPhones to India, as this would bring a major boost to the Make in India initiative and also bring more global investors to the country. The company is also going to start its company-owned retail stores in the country soon, and then it will begin direct online sales in India too, given the Indian government relaxed foreign direct investment (FDI) norms for single-brand retail in August 2019.
Some of Apple’s global suppliers like Flex Ltd, CCL Design (Suzhou), Sunwoda Electronic Co, Salcomp Plc and Shenzhen Yuto Packaging Technology Co. have already started manufacturing parts and accessories such as chargers and battery packs in India. As of now, even after the launch of the iPhone 11 series, the iPhone XR has been a top-selling iPhone in India for the last two quarters after prices were cut, helping the company get the deteriorating sales in the country up and running again. Meanwhile, the iPhone 11 series has reportedly sold record numbers in India due to aggressive pricing.