Apple supplier Foxconn begins iPhone 15 production in India

Before the iPhone 14, Apple only had a small portion of its iPhone range in India, which lagged China output by six to nine months. That delay dropped signifi

Chennai: Apple Inc's next-generation iPhone 15 begins production in Tamil Nadu, in an effort to narrow the gap between its operations in India and its main manufacturing base in China.

Foxconn Technology Group's plant in Sriperumbudur is preparing to deliver the newest devices just weeks after they start shipping from factories in China, as the company seeks to swiftly increase the volume of new iPhones coming from India, people familiar with the matter said.

The Cupertino, California-based firm is working on a multi-year project to diversify its manufacturing away from China, de-risking the supply chain for its most important products as tensions between Washington and Beijing make trade less predictable. India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has sought to build closer ties with the United States and make itself a manufacturing hub.

Before the iPhone 14, Apple only had a small portion of its iPhone range in India, which lagged China output by six to nine months. That delay dropped significantly last year, as Apple produced 7% of its iPhones in India by the end of March. The goal this year is to get close to parity on shipping time from India and China, though suppliers are not yet certain they will achieve it, the people said, asking not to be named as the information is not public.

India's production volume of the iPhone 15 will depend on the immediate availability of components, which are mostly imported, and the smooth ramp-up of production lines at the Foxconn factory outside Chennai.

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The new iPhone, which is likely to be announced on September 12, promises to be the biggest update to the device in three years. It will include major updates to the camera system across the range, with the Pro models getting an improved 3nm A16 processor. The new family of handsets is critical to revive flagging sales. Apple announced this month that its sales fell for the third consecutive quarter, due to pressure from tepid consumer demand in key markets including the United States, China, and Europe.

The people said that Apple's other suppliers in India, Pegatron Corp. and Wistron Corp. plant, which was acquired by Tata Group, will also assemble the iPhone 15 soon, the people said.

An Apple spokeswoman and representatives of Wistron and Pegatron declined to comment. Foxconn did not respond to a request for comment.

Apple has been steadily expanding into India through its Taiwanese suppliers, taking advantage of some financial incentives from the Modi administration to bring in more high-end manufacturing. That helped Apple triple iPhone production to more than USD 7 billion in India in the fiscal year that ended in March

Apple, which opened its first retail stores in the country in April, now views the fast-growing Indian market as a retail opportunity and an important production base for its devices in the longer term. In the quarter ending in June, iPhone sales in India rose by double digits to a new high, though Apple hasn’t disclosed exact numbers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said after meeting Modi on his trip to India in April that Apple is "committed to growing and investing across the country."

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