Apple Begins Making iPhone 14 Handsets In India

China manufacturing shift. Apple says it has begun assembling iPhone 14 models in India for the first time

Apple on Monday made a significant announcement when it admitted that it has begun manufacturing some of its iPhone 14 handsets in India.

The move comes as manufacturers explore alternative production sources away from China, amid its ongoing geopolitical tensions with Western nations, coupled with its strict pandemic restrictions that have disrupted supply chains for many industries.

“The new iPhone 14 lineup introduces groundbreaking new technologies and important safety capabilities. We’re excited to be manufacturing iPhone 14 in India,” Apple was quoted by Reuters as saying in a statement on Monday.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro, Pro Max

China shift?

This signal that Apple is seeking to slowly reduce its reliance on China, where it has been producing the vast majority of its devices for over a decade, will worry Chinese authorities.

Apple it should be remembered has already moved some of its iPhone manufacturing out of China to other countries, most notable India, where it started manufacturing the iPhone 13 earlier this year, and is also considering assembling iPad tablets there.

In August it was reported that Apple had begun talks with two of its suppliers (Luxshare Precision Industry and Taiwan-based Foxconn, otherwise known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd) about manufacturing the Apple Watch and Macbook in Vietnam.

Market analysts estimate that Apple could turn India into a global iPhone manufacturing hub by 2025.

JP Morgan analysts predicted earlier this move Apple will move 5 percent of global iPhone 14 production to India by late 2022 and expand its manufacturing capacity in the country to produce 25 percent (one in four) of all iPhones by 2025.

India is the world’s second-largest smartphone market after China.

Apple it should be remembered only launched the flagship iPhone 14 at an event earlier this month, where it focused by and large on safety and camera upgrades (except for the Watch Ultra), rather than flashy new technical specifications.

Manufacturing disruptions

It is fair to say that the tech manufacturing sector as a whole was badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Indeed, Chinese manufacturing was badly impacted in 2022 by strict government lockdowns, as Chinese authorities seek to contain ongoing Covid-19 infections.

In April this year for example, Taiwan’s Pegatron Corp which assembles iPhones for Apple, said it had suspended operations at its Shanghai and Kunshan plants in China.

It took the decision to suspend production at the two factories due to the Chinese government’s strict Covid-19 protocols.

The pandemic has also resulted in supply bottlenecks and delays, and Russia’s war in Ukraine has further strained logistical supply chains.