According to Bloomberg, Apple is beginning production of its next-generation iPhone 15 in Tamil Nadu, India, at a Foxconn plant located in Sriperumbudur. This move is part of Apple’s ongoing efforts to reduce its dependence on China for manufacturing and diversify its supply chain. Prior to the iPhone 14, Apple’s iPhone assembly in India lagged behind that in China by six to nine months. However, this gap was significantly reduced in the previous year. At the end of March, Apple had produced 7% of its iPhones in India. The goal is to further narrow the timing gap between shipments from India and China.
Apart from the Foxconn plant, other Apple suppliers in India, such as Pegatron and a Wistron factory being acquired by the Tata Group, will also contribute to assembling the iPhone 15. Apple has been leveraging incentives from the Indian government to encourage its suppliers to engage in high-end manufacturing in India. This has led to significant growth in iPhone production within the country. There are some challenges that need to be addressed before any company can ramp up production in India. These include the availability of components, the need to train workers, and the need to improve infrastructure. Foxconn and Apple seem to have found their way around these problems so far with the support of local companies and government.
The iPhone 15 is hoped to be a major update to Apple’s product lineup, the upgrades to the camera system and a more advanced 3-nanometer processor for the Pro models helping to drive a new refresh cycle for smartphone sales. High demand for these upgrades is essential for iPhone sales, which have been facing challenges due to weak consumer demand in markets like the US, China, and Europe. India represents one of the major growth opportunities for Apple, the world’s largest population, still untapped by Apple. Indian manufacturing should give it local access and a suitable cost base, as well as proximity.