Tech giant Apple has reportedly begun manufacturing some of its iPhones in India, a first for the company which previously manufactured the majority of its products in China.
The Wall Street Journal reports that India is making a large push to convince tech giants such as Apple to move their device production out of China as trade with that country becomes increasingly risky due to tariffs and disputes. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been attempting to convince international firms to manufacture their products in India by promising a more predictable and open regulatory regime and simpler corporate tax structure.
The country has ramped up these efforts as it deals with an economic slowdown. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated in an interview with the Wall Street Journal: “India will be more attractive, particularly in the light of what is developing between the U.S. and China.” Sitharaman has cut corporate tax rates to as low as 15 percent in efforts to have more firms invest in the country.
The country has focused on attracting cell phone manufacturers, with India’s Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad meeting with leaders of more than 50 phone and electronics companies in September to discuss what they would need to invest in India. “Apple is looking for alternative countries to shift some of its manufacturing out of China amid the trade war with the U.S.,” he said. “We are one of the big countries which can provide an alternative.”
So far India’s efforts appear to be working, Samsung is building one of its biggest facilities in the world near New Delhi and the first India-produced iPhone XR’s were recently released.
— Eric Bellman (@EricBellmanWSJ) October 21, 2019
The iPhone XR is reportedly being produced in India by the Chinese company Foxconn Technology Group for the local market according to phone retailers. Young-Way Liu, the head of Foxconn’s semiconductor business group stated: “With this global footprint of our production, I think we are one of the most capable ones to face the challenge when the trade war goes sour.” Foxconn’s operations in India have increased from a few hundred employees in Southern India to more than 30,000 in the past three years alone.