Apple supplier Foxconn to invest $1b to expand capacity in India

A motorcyclist rides past the entrance of the headquarters of Hon Hai, which is also known by its trading name Foxconn, in Tucheng, New Taipei city, December 24, 2013. Photo: Reuters

Foxconn plans to invest up to $1 billion to expand a factory in southern India where the Taiwanese contract manufacturer assembles Apple iPhones, two sources said.

The move, the scale of which has not previously been reported, is part of a quiet and gradual production shift by Apple away from China as it navigates disruptions from a trade war between Beijing and Washington and the coronavirus crisis.

“There’s a strong request from Apple to its clients to move part of the iPhone production out of China,” one of the sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Foxconn said it does not comment on matters related to customers, while Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Foxconn‘s planned investment in the Sriperumbur plant, where Apple’s iPhone XR is made some 50 km west of Chennai, will take place over the course of three years, the second source said.

Some of Apple’s other iPhones models, made by Foxconn in China, will be made at the plant, said both sources, who declined to be identified as the talks are private and details have yet to be finalised.

Taipei-headquartered Foxconn will add some 6,000 jobs at the Sriperumbur plant in Tamil Nadu state under the plan, one of the sources said. It also operates a separate plant in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where it makes smartphones for China’s Xiaomi Corp, among others.

Foxconn Chairman Liu Young-way last month said it would ramp up its investment in India, without giving details.

STATUS SYMBOL

Apple accounts for about 1% of smartphone sales in India, the world’s second-biggest smartphone market, where its pricey iPhones are often seen as a status symbol.

Building more phones in India will also help Apple save on import taxes that further push up its prices.

Apple assembles a few models through Taiwan’s Wistron Corp in the southern tech hub of Bengaluru. Wistron is also set to open a new plant, where it plans to make more Apple devices, Reuters previously reported.

“With India’s labour cheaper compared with China, and the gradual expansion of its supplier base here, Apple will be able to use the country as an export hub,” Neil Shah of Hong Kong-based tech researcher Counterpoint said.

India is also working to boost electronics manufacturing by firms such as Foxconn and last month launched a $6.65 billion plan, offering five global smartphone makers incentives to establish or expand domestic production.

Having Apple widen its local presence is likely to be a boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship “Make In India” drive, aimed at creating new jobs.

South Korea’s Samsung has already said it will make smartphones for export from its plant outside New Delhi.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.