Apple is set to manufacture its latest iPhone 14 models in India as it ramps up production through its contract manufacturer Foxconn, which operates a factory in Chennai.
According to a recent Bloomberg report, India is expected to start production of the new iPhones just two months after it opens factories in China, reducing the six-month assembly gap between the two countries.
Rajiv Khushu, chairman of the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), said Apple’s move represented a “significant shift” in confidence among India’s major tech companies over the past two years.
“The iPhone models were already being manufactured in the country, but now the new generation phones will be manufactured here as well,” he said. “Earlier, companies like Apple used to release older models and play it safe. It shows that India is evolving and many barriers are being removed.”
India has been Ramping its production capacity Over the years, drawing companies tapped into its growing design capabilities beyond cheap labor and ready expertise.
“Many big MNCs [multinational companies] They are now setting up design centers in India, the second largest or even the largest development center outside their headquarters located in India,” said Khushu.
Prachir Singh, senior smartphone market analyst at Counterpoint Research, said Apple’s new investment bodes well for the future of smartphone manufacturing in India as the tech giant looks to diversify its manufacturing base outside of China.
He noted that Apple increased its production in India starting with the iPhone 12 and 13 during the first wave, but the devices were shipped five to six months after the initial launch. “This time it is quite close to the launch and India will see local shipments instead of imported stocks,” he added.
Singh cites government programs such as the manufacturing-linked incentive scheme as a key factor behind the capacity building of top contract manufacturers such as Foxconn and Wistron in India. “High power incentives help achieve goals,” he said.
Whether the made-in-India iPhone 14s will be cheaper remains to be seen. For previous versions of the locally made iPhone, there was still a reliance on China for essential components, but that could change as India looks to ramp up its semiconductor manufacturing capacity.
According to research by Counterpoint Research and IESA, the Indian semiconductor market is set for Reach a cumulative revenue of $300 billion by 2026 And the share of locally sourced semiconductors could nearly double by 2026.
“If the components are made in India, there should be a good percentage of the reduction in the BOM. [bill of materials] cost,” said Himanshu Seth, an engineer who worked for a major smartphone company in India. “This benefit can be passed on to consumers.”
Sheth added that with the iPhone 14 being made in India, after-sales service could also improve: “If critical components like cameras and display modules are manufactured and sourced from local plants, iPhone 14 users will have to wait less to get their phones fixed. “
Khushu expects companies like Samsung and other smartphone players to follow Apple’s move with their latest models from India. “It is a slow and gradual process for India’s manufacturing evolution on the world map, but we are on the right track,” he said.