Apple’s iPhone 17 assembly is set to begin in India in the second half of 2025. This marks a significant shift in Apple’s manufacturing strategy, with an increasing focus on India over China.
Apple’s Shift to Indian iPhone Assembly
Apple has been gradually redirecting its attention from China to India, a trend that gained momentum with the assembly of iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus in India. However, the iPhone 17 assembly will be a major step, as it will be the primary location for production starting in H2 2025.
Why iPhone 17 Assembly in India?
The decision to assemble the iPhone 17 in India is not arbitrary. Several factors contribute to this significant shift in Apple’s production strategy.
Lower-Difficulty Design of iPhone 17
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that the “lower difficulty” design of the vanilla iPhone 17 could be a critical factor. This design could result in fewer errors and manufacturing risks, making it an attractive choice for assembly in India.
Declining Apple-China Relationship
The relationship between Apple and China has been on the decline, with double-digit declines in iPhone sales and growing competition from Huawei. Rumors of security concerns associated with iPhones in China have further strained this relationship.
Welcoming Atmosphere in India
In contrast, India has shown a welcoming attitude towards Apple. As the second-largest smartphone market in the world, India presents a significant growth opportunity for Apple. The demand for iPhones and other Apple products has been steadily increasing.
Prioritizing India Over China
What makes this shift even more notable is that Apple is now prioritizing India over China. This change is attributed to the favorable conditions in India, including government initiatives such as “Make in India” and “Production-Linked Incentives” (PLI).
Government Initiatives Make in India and PLI
India’s proactive approach to encouraging local manufacturing has played a pivotal role. The “Make in India” campaign and PLI schemes have made it attractive for companies like Apple to set up production facilities in India.
Evolution of iPhone Manufacturing in India
Apple’s manufacturing presence in India has evolved significantly. From initially manufacturing components like PCBs and older iPhone models, India has now become a key location for flagship iPhone production.
Tata Group’s Role
Notably, India’s Tata Group has joined the iPhone manufacturing ecosystem by acquiring a plant in Karnataka from Apple supplier Wistron. This acquisition showcases the growing interest of domestic companies in Apple’s manufacturing.
Future of iPhone Manufacturing in India
Looking ahead, it’s estimated that 12 to 14 percent of iPhones are currently made in India, a number expected to rise to 20-25 percent in the coming year. This demonstrates India’s increasing importance in Apple’s global production network.
Apple’s decision to initiate iPhone 17 assembly in India reflects a strategic shift in its manufacturing landscape. The combination of a less complex design, declining relations with China, and a receptive market in India makes this move a significant step for the tech giant.
Why is Apple moving iPhone 17 assembly to India?
Apple is shifting its manufacturing to India due to a more straightforward design for the iPhone 17, lower manufacturing risks, and strained relations with China.
How important is India in Apple’s manufacturing strategy?
India is becoming increasingly important, with Apple prioritizing it over China for production due to favorable conditions and government initiatives.
What are the government initiatives supporting iPhone manufacturing in India?
The “Make in India” campaign and “Production-Linked Incentives” (PLI) have encouraged companies like Apple to manufacture in India.
What role does Tata Group play in iPhone manufacturing in India?
Tata Group recently acquired a plant in Karnataka, further strengthening India’s role in iPhone manufacturing.
What percentage of iPhones are currently made in India?
Currently, around 12 to 14 percent of iPhones are manufactured in India, a figure expected to rise to 20-25 percent in the near future.