Apple is reportedly moving some of its iPhone 14 production to India following the product’s rollout in China as the manufacturing gap between the two countries continues to narrow.
Aiming to shorten the production time of its new iPhone releases from nine months to six, Apple has been working with suppliers to accelerate manufacturing in India, unnamed sources with insider information told Bloomberg.
While the Silicon Valley tech giant has relied on China for the production of its line of smartphones since they were first introduced in 2007, alternatives are now being explored because of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday (Aug. 23). Xi has been at odds with the U.S. and has curtailed economic activity.
India has become the fastest-growing market for smartphones around the globe and primary iPhone manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group, based in Tucheng, Taiwan, has been moving some production there from China, PYMNTS reported in April. Older phones have been manufactured at a Bangalore facility for some time, with labor costs three times higher in China compared with India.
Foxconn examined the parameters of shipping the parts from the factory in China and building the iPhone 14 at its factory near the southern Indian city of Chennai, the sources told Bloomberg. Foxconn also looked at how to keep Apple’s confidentiality standards intact.
While iPhone popularity has fallen off in China, India’s 1.4 billion population is a ripe consumer market. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi has also dangled financial incentives for tech production under its Make in India program.
Both Foxconn and Apple were hoping to launch efforts in India and China at the same time but that didn’t work out, the sources told Bloomberg. Following an initial release in September, the first iPhone 14s from India are expected to be completed in late October or November, per the sources.
There is a chance that the phones could be finished in time for the Diwali festival that kicks off on Oct. 24, one person said.