This story may sound like it’s geared towards India. It’s also significant to Indians outside the country, given the proximity of India to the Middle East and the large diaspora of Indians in the region.
A quick rotation of certain Apple devices shows you a certain line in clear print on the back: “Designed by Apple in California. Made in China”. The last part of that phrase could be changing in the near future for the iPhone.
Foxconn (a.k.a Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.) is a name you should know – they’re the ones who manufacture most of Apple’s products from China to the world. Reports from various online sources have confirmed one tidbit that we anticipated – Foxconn is expanding its manufacturing operations in India.
Made in India
Apple is currently producing the iPhone SE, iPhone 6, and iPhone 7 with Wistron (Foxconn’s competitor) in India. Given the higher price point, the sale of these iPhone models is restricted to some emerging markets. This also fulfills the 30% local sourcing requirement by the government of India. This plays into Apple’s favour to get clearance for opening official Apple stores across the country.
Foxconn could look into manufacturing the now-defunct iPhone X later this year, a viable path for the company’s involvement in developing India’s smartphone industry. Production of current and new iPhone models would happen at the Foxconn plant located in Chennai.
India is the world’s second largest smartphone market, dominated by Android-powered devices by Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi. The higher price of the iPhone in India has hampered their sales goals, hence a very minuscule market share. The recent iPhone XS and XS Max may have taken the pricing a bit too far, putting it out of reach for many consumers in India.
Compounded with an on-going trade dispute between the US and China that could see tariffs levied on iPhones, Apple is making contingency plans to divert production to other markets.
The Indian diaspora is very large in the Middle East region. The proximity of India and the number of sea freighter and air freight connections would make it easy to bring units to the retail market. Soon, countries around the world may see “Designed by Apple in California. Made in India.”