High-end iPhones being made in India, as Apple shifts from China
More high-end iPhones are being made in India, as Apple continues to reduce its dependence on China as a manufacturing center.
Apple has begun a three-stage shift of some flagship iPhone production from Foxconn in China to Luxshare in India…
The need for Apple to ease its dependence on China as a manufacturing center has been clear for many years, but the impact of the pandemic at the world’s biggest iPhone assembly plant really underlined the problem. The COVID-19-related disruption was estimated to have cost the company a billion dollars per week.
India is seen as Apple’s main hope when it comes to relocating production outside of China. A report last year suggested that a quarter of all iPhones could be made in India by 2025, and a later one indicated that this could rise to half of all iPhones by 2027.
We learned earlier this week that Apple’s primary iPhone assembler, Foxconn, has begun construction of two new iPhone plants in India, and that new government incentives mean that iPad production is also expected to begin there soon.
More high-end iPhones being made in India
Today, a new investment note from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that the Cupertino company is boosting Indian production of high-end iPhone models, as well as diversifying suppliers. Apple has promoted the Chinese company Luxshare from a secondary supplier to a top-tier one, ranking alongside Foxconn.
First, Luxshare is now being given more iPhone orders, including those for top-end models.
Apple has transferred some iPhone 14 Pro Max orders to Luxshare for risk diversification after the Foxconn Zhengzhou incident in November 2022. Luxshare’s production yield improvement schedule for the iPhone 14 Pro Max is better than expected, so the company has been awarded the iPhone 16 Pro Max assembly NPI for 2024.
NPI stands for New Product Introduction, and means that the company is now trusted to make top-tier models during the product launch period. Previously, Luxshare has only been awarded flagship model orders some time after launch, when yield levels are less critical.
Kuo says this indicates that Apple now has full faith in Luxshare, viewing it as Foxconn’s equal.
Second, Luxshare will make iPhone 15 Plus models from launch, and later add the iPhone 15 Pro Max. This will see the company more than double its iPhone production, from around 20M units last year to 45-50M this year.
Third, in 2024, Luxshare will actually be given more prestigious orders than Foxconn for iPhone 16 production in India. Kuo says that Indian iPhone assembly orders are being split as follows:
- Foxconn: iPhone 16 & iPhone 16 Pro
- Luxshare: iPhone 16 Pro Max
- Pegatron: iPhone 16 Plus
Apple helping Luxshare build production lines
It’s previously been suggested that Luxshare – which bought two iPhone production plants from Wistron – doesn’t have experience of navigating the political issues often involved in securing the necessary clearances for new factories. Permits are often required at local, regional, and national levels.
However, Kuo says that Apple is expected to assist Luxshare with this process.
It’s no easy feat to gain Apple’s confidence in your ability to manufacture top-end iPhones during the initial run-up to launch. The fact that Luxshare has done so bodes well for the company’s future.
But it’s also good news for Apple. Having additional production capacity in India for flagship models will help reduce the risk of the supply problems the company suffered with the iPhone 14 launch, and diversifying suppliers as well as countries offers additional reassurance against production holdups.
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