Apple has commenced building iPhone 14 in India, three weeks after unveiling its latest smartphone model. The tech company confirmed that it has started manufacturing the latest iPhone in its Chennai facility under Foxconn. Apple’s move to consider India for manufacturing comes after the company was prompted to seek alternatives to China after clashes with the Xi Jinping administration.
Apple started manufacturing iPhones in India in 2017 with iPhone SE. Today, Apple manufactures some of its most advanced iPhones in the country including iPhone SE, iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and, now, iPhone 14. Usually, however, Indian production of iPhones lags Chinese production by many months.
As per reports, Indians will start getting delivered ‘made in India’ phones in a few days and Indian facility will cater to both domestic demand and exports.
This pace of matching China’s pace of iPhone production would be a major milestone for India, which has been touting its attractiveness as an alternative at a time when rolling Covid lockdowns and US sanctions jeopardise China’s position as factory to the world. Assembling iPhones often entails coordination between hundreds of suppliers and meeting Apple’s infamously tight deadlines and quality controls.
Only recently, Apple’s contracted manufacturer, Foxconn finalised 400-acre facility in Gujarat for building a chip manufacturing plant in partnership with Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta. Foxconn will be the technical partner in this deal and will invest $19.5 billion to set up semiconductor and display production plants in Gujarat.
India has been trying to attract the global electronics supply chain to its shores through various production linked incentive schemes (PLIs) with a strong export component, which have seen limited success. India’s ₹76,000-crore subsidy for semiconductor fabrication units is also aimed towards this.
Moreover, geopolitical factors are spurring tech giants to seek a road out of China and prompting Apple’s first step in considering India to be a viable alternative to its robust Chinese facilities.