In a significant industry shift, Apple, the renowned California-based technology company, is poised to commence the production of batteries for its upcoming iPhone models in India. This move marks a pivotal departure from its long-standing reliance on Chinese manufacturing. Sources close to Apple, as reported by the Financial Times, indicate that the company plans to gradually transition more iPhone battery production to India, starting with the iPhone 16.
This decision aligns with India’s recent industrial policy changes, aimed at attracting businesses considering a shift away from China and capitalizing on India’s burgeoning manufacturing capabilities. Apple’s strategic shift is part of a broader initiative to diversify its iPhone production network, which has predominantly been anchored in China for over a decade.
This transition not only mitigates risks associated with over-reliance on a single country but also positions Apple to tap into India’s expanding middle-class market. As New Delhi emerges as a competitive economic powerhouse, it is increasingly drawing foreign investment. This is set against a backdrop of ongoing geopolitical tensions between India and China, influencing global supply chain dynamics.
In anticipation of future market fluctuations, Apple has initiated the development of a supply chain in India for its subsequent smartphone models. This strategic move is informed by the current unpredictability of the Chinese market. Major battery manufacturers, including China’s Desay and Taiwan’s Simplo Technology, are encouraged to establish new production facilities in India.
Rajeev Chandrashekhar, India’s Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, recently announced that TDK, a key supplier to Apple, plans to set up a manufacturing unit in Manesar, India. This facility will provide batteries to Sunwoda Electronic, a current assembler of Apple’s lithium-ion batteries based in Shenzhen, China.
In addition to the new battery production initiative, Apple’s existing partnerships in India, including collaborations with Tata and Taiwanese assemblers Foxconn and Pegatron, are set to deepen. Foxconn, with a significant presence in China, has announced substantial investment plans in India to meet Apple’s operational requirements. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, a renowned Apple analyst, the proportion of iPhones manufactured in India is expected to increase significantly by 2024, potentially marking the beginning of iPhone development outside of China by mid-2025.