Apple’s principle iPhone maker has signalled an important development, in the push to shift manufacturing away from mainland China.

Last week Bloomberg reported that Taiwan-based Foxconn will build a new 300-acre facility in Bengaluru, India to manufacture electronics.

However it should be noted that China will remain the principle production country, as evidenced when Foxconn recently announced it would expand its presence in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, following disruption at its main iPhone production plant late last year.

Indian manufacturing

Last month it was also reported that Apple’s decision to transition some of its iPhone manufacturing away from China and to India was not without its challenges, with Apple engineers and designers often spending weeks or months at a time in Indian factories to oversee manufacturing and iron out faults.

It was back in September 2022 when Apple admitted that it had begun manufacturing some of its iPhone 14 handsets in India, soon after the launch of the latest handsets.

That move came as tech manufacturers explored alternative production sources away from China – amid Beijing’s ongoing geopolitical tensions with Western nations, coupled with its strict pandemic restrictions that disrupted supply chains for many industries.

Apple has already moved some of its iPhone manufacturing out of China to other countries, most notably India, where it started manufacturing the iPhone 13 earlier in 2022, and was also considering assembling iPad tablets there as part of its diversification strategy.

That said, Apple had been manufacturing lower-end iPhones in India since 2017, first via Wistron Corp and later by Foxconn – as it worked with the Indian government’s push for local manufacturing.

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

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

Foxconn factory

Into this comes the Bloomberg report that Foxconn will invest about $700 million to build a new plant in India’s Karnataka state.

Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, said Foxconn will build an iPhone parts plant on a 300-acre site near Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport.

Bengaluru, also known as Bangalore, is the capital of Karnataka state, which lies on the southwestern coast of India and has one of the highest per-capita GDP levels of any Indian state.

Indian government officials confirmed Bloomberg’s reporting on Friday, stating that the new plant would create 100,000 jobs.

The effort will be one of the largest investments by Foxconn in India, Bloomberg reported.

Bengaluru in particular is considered one of the leading engineering and technology hubs in India.

India is not the only country Apple is looking to invest in.

In August 2022 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.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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