Pegatron Corp, Apple’s Taiwanese contract manufacturer, has started assembling its latest iPhone 14 model in India, reported by news agency Bloomberg. According to the news agency, this move makes Pegatron the second Apple supplier to produce the iPhone 14 in India.
The development comes at a time when Apple’s key iPhone Pro manufacturing facility in Zhengzhou, China, operated by Foxconn Technology Group, was placed under an abrupt Covid-19 lockdown by authorities. That situation put a spotlight on Apple’s deep reliance on China, though the India expansion was in line with diversification plans already in place, sources told Bloomberg. Apple, however, declined to comment and Pegatron did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.
Foxconn began making the iPhone 14 in India in September, just weeks after its global unveiling and much closer to parity with the start of production in China, where the vast majority of iPhones are still made. Apple’s chief production partner still has exclusivity on the iPhone Pro models, which it assembles in Zhengzhou.
The Pegatron factory in Tamil Nadu, which employed more than 7,000 as of the end of September, also began making iPhone 12 handsets earlier this year. This unit was inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin at Mahindra World City in Chennai in the presence of Union Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar. Earlier in 2021, the Taipei, Taiwan-headquartered company had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tamil Nadu government in this regard.
Pegatron generally gets orders for Apple’s entry-level models.
Cupertino, California-based Apple is seeking alternative production hubs amid a trade war between Washington and Beijing and tight enforcement of Xi Jinping’s Covid Zero policy in China. At the same time, New Delhi is positioning India as a competitor to China’s manufacturing prowess. One big hurdle for more production shifting out of China is that the majority of iPhone components are still built there and have to be shipped to wherever devices are assembled, Counterpoint senior analyst Ivan Lam said.
All of Apple’s biggest Taiwanese suppliers, Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron Corp, have ramped up iPhone assembly line in India, boosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s PLI programme. That has also helped to increase iPhone exports from the country.
Apple first began assembling iPhones in India in 2017 via Wistron after a yearlong effort to build manufacturing capabilities in the country. And while India is a small consumer market for Apple currently, the country of 140 crore offers the US giant huge headroom for growth as incomes and internet connectivity grow.