Apple in India: Foxconn kickstarts iPhone 15 production in Tamil Nadu
- Apple is kickstarting the production of its upcoming iPhone 15 in Tamil Nadu, India, via its manufacturing partner Foxconn.
- Apple is seeking to increase the volume of new iPhones coming from India swiftly.
- This year’s goal is to move closer to parity on shipment timing from India and China.
Apple is thriving in India – especially since last year when the ‘Made in India’ shipments from the Cupertino, California-based firm’s value share grew to 25% from a mere 12% in 2021. The growth is highly attributed to its Taiwanese partner, Foxconn Technology Group, best known as the largest contract manufacturer for Apple and assembler of the iPhone. Foxconn has been consistently making headlines in India for its massive investments and partnerships, as it actively diversified its supply chain operations outside of China.
Then came 2023, which is also turning out to be quite a year for Apple in India. The company has been hitting record numbers, quarter after quarter when it comes to sales of its products. Apple also opened not one but two retail outlets in the country, with reports indicating that the Apple Stores in Mumbai and New Delhi have been doing quite well, so much so that a July report suggested that India is now the fifth-largest market for Apple.
The report by Counterpoint Research shows that India has overtaken Germany and France in iPhone sales. The data referred to the June quarter, and the only four countries ahead of India are the US, UK, China, and Japan. Moreover, Foxconn has been doubling down on its investment to expand its existing facility in Tamil Nadu while also diversifying investments with new upcoming facilities in Telangana and Karnataka for Apple.
The expansion by Foxconn is mainly because Apple has plans to ramp up manufacturing and assembly in India as it seeks to diversify its supply chain to avoid relying solely on China. Apple’s steady expansion was also due to some of the Modi administration’s financial incentives to bring in more high-end manufacturing.
This helped Apple to triple iPhone production to more than US$7 billion in India in the fiscal year that ended in March, Bloomberg News reported previously.
Is Foxconn producing the upcoming iPhone 15 in India?
A report by Bloomberg this week indicated that the upcoming iPhone 15, which is slated for a launch by Apple next month, is being produced in a Foxconn plant in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. Apple is preparing to deliver the newest devices only weeks after they start shipping from factories in China, as the company seeks to increase the volume of new iPhones coming from India swiftly.
All these years, Apple had only a sliver of its iPhone assembly in India until the iPhone 14. The issue is that assembly in India lagged behind China’s output by six to nine months. Fortunately, that delay was drastically reduced last year, and by the end of March this year, Apple had produced 7% of its iPhones in India.
“The goal this year is to move closer to parity on shipment timing from India and China, though suppliers are not yet certain they will achieve it,” Bloomberg reported, quoting people familiar with the matter who have asked not to be named as the information is not public. Hereon, the scale of Indian production for the iPhone 15 will depend on the ready availability of components, which are primarily imported, and the smooth ramp-up of production lines at the Foxconn factory outside Chennai.
Since Foxconn is not Apple’s sole partner in India, the latter will rely on others for the iPhone 15. “Other Apple suppliers in India — Pegatron Corp. and a Wistron Corp. factory that the Tata Group is acquiring — will also soon assemble the iPhone 15, the people said,” Bloomberg noted.
Even Apple Airpods will soon get a ‘Made in India’ stamp
After almost a year of speculation, Foxconn is ready to start producing Airpods at its Hyderabad facility. A report by PTI indicated that the Taiwan-based contract electronics manufacturer had approved an investment of US$400 million for the Hyderabad plant, and the factory is likely to start mass-producing Apple Airpods by December 2024.
Once materialized, Airpods would officially be the second Apple product to be made in India.