Massive Blaze Shuts Down Apple Supplier Plant In India

A major fire shut down an Apple iPhone charging cable factory in southern India on Monday, causing millions of pounds in damage.

No one was injured in the blaze, which began at about 1 p.m. local time, according to local media reports.

The Deccan Herald cited Andhra Pradesh government officials as saying the fire had begun as a result of a short circuit.

Officials said a committee comprising industry, fire, police and electricity officials was being assembled to establish how the fire began.

‘Inferno’

The factory operated by Apple supplier Foxlink is located in an industrial zone near the Tirupati International Airport at Renigunta, in the south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh.

The massive fire caused part of the building to collapse and completely destroyed four of the 10 assembly lines operated by Foxlink at two separate facilities at the plant, Reuters reported.

Production at the remaining six is expected to be resumed this week, but the plant is unlikely to resume full operations for two months, raising supply chain concerns for Apple.

The head of the region’s Fire Services Department told Reuters most of the factory’s fire safety equipment was faulty, with only fire extinguishers operational.

The smoke detector reportedly was not activated and fire alarms did not go off, leading to a slower response time in containing the blaze.

Manufacturing shift

Official estimates of damage to the site ranged from £5 million to £10m, reports said.

“A large part of the machinery and some cables were damaged in the inferno, and part of the structure collapsed,” Midde Gowthami, chief executive of Electronic Manufacturing Cluster-I, where the factory is located, told the Deccan Herald.

Apple and its suppliers have been investing heavily in India and Vietnam as production hubs and are expected to shift a substantial portion of iPhone assembly to those countries in coming years, in a move to diversify away from over-reliance on China.

Taiwan-based DigiTimes Research recently forecast India would assemble up to half the world’s iPhones by 2027.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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