Last September, we reported that Apple adjusted its production goals soon after the launch of the iPhone 14 series, and looked to produce 90 million iPhone 14 handsets. Now, it seems that the company exported a large number of these iPhones from India for the greater part of last year.
According to recent media reports, the Cupertino-headquartered tech behemoth exported more than $2.5 billion of iPhones from India during the period between April-December 2022. This amount is near twice the total amount of units exported from the South-Asian country in the previous fiscal year.
According to people familiar with the matter, Foxconn Technology Group and Wistron Corp each shipped more than $1 billion of iPhones (each) in the first nine months of the fiscal year ending March 2023. Both Foxconn and Wistron are two of Apple’s premier suppliers in India, along with the Taiwan-headquartered Pegatron. The latter, according to the same sources, is on the path to exporting nearly $500 million of Apple’s flagship smartphones to foreign countries by the end of the month.
This number, while impressive, is part of a bigger picture – one where it is decreasing its overdependence on China for its iPhones and putting a greater focus on operations in other countries. The tech titan encountered more than its fair share of problems in China over the past year. This includes supply chain disruptions and a resurgence of COVID-19 in Foxconn’s iPhone plant in Zhengzhou, China.
In such a time, India has posed itself to be a lucrative alternative to China – as long as the assembling of iPhones is concerned. In fact, Apple has been manufacturing iPhones in India for the past six years, but for a long time, the company was only manufacturing its older models in India. Things changed last year when Apple for the first time started manufacturing the latest addition to its iPhone family – the iPhone 14 lineup – right at the time of its launch.
The current rate of production of iPhones in India is still far lesser when compared to the overall output of the smartphone, but this is likely to change over time. As of 2021, about 3 million iPhones were made in India, while 230 million units were produced in China at the same time.
For its part, India is a lucrative opportunity for Apple to focus its iPhone-assembling operations on. Not only does the country boasts of a vast workforce that comes at a wage rate that is lower than in other countries, but there also exists a great market for iPhones in India. To add to this, there also exist multiple incentives by the Indian government – Foxconn has won Rs 3.6 billion ($44 million) of benefits in the first year of India’s Production-Linked Incentives (PLI).