Fri, Dec 28, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Hon Hai to set up iPhone line in India

SECOND ENTRANT:Taiwanese competitor Wistron Corp already makes Apple’s cheaper iPhone SE and 6S models in the country, while Hon Hai assembles Xiaomi phones there

Reuters, MUMBAI and DELHI, India

A woman in Taipei in an undated photograph holds up a red iPhone XR, which, according to Tsann Kuen Group, has been the best-selling Christmas and New Year’s gift this year.

Photo courtesy of Tsann Kuen Group

Apple Inc is to begin assembling its top-end iPhones in India through the local unit of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) as early as next year, the first time the contract manufacturer is to make the product in the country, a source familiar with the matter said.

Hon Hai, known internationally as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), is to assemble the most expensive models, such as devices in the flagship iPhone X family, the source said.

The work would take place at Hon Hai’s plant in Sriperumbudur in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, this source added.

Hon Hai, which already makes phones for Xiaomi Corp (小米) in India, is to invest 25 billion rupees (US$355.5 million) to expand the plant, including investment in iPhone production, Tamil Nadu Minister for Industrial Department M.C. Sampath said.

The investment could create up to 25,000 jobs, he added.

The other source declined to be named as they are not authorized to speak to the media. A third source confirmed that Hon Hai plans to assemble iPhones in India.

Until now, Apple has only assembled the lower-cost SE and 6S models in India through Wistron Corp’s (緯創) local unit in the Bengaluru technology hub.

Its sales in India have also been focused on lower-end phones — more than half of its sales volume is driven by models older than the iPhone 8, launched last year, according to technology research firm Counterpoint.

Apple launched the pricey iPhone X last year, but has cut production of that phone since it began selling the newer versions, iPhone XS and XR, globally this year, industry analysts have said.

Still, it could potentially get Hon Hai to make the older iPhone X version in India in a bid to get a bigger share of the world’s fastest-growing major mobile phone market.

Full details of Apple’s deal with Hon Hai are not yet clear and could change.

It is not known if any of the iPhone assembly is being moved from existing Hon Hai factories in China and elsewhere. It is also unclear whether the production will be confined to assembly or include any component production in India.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller declined to comment.

Hon Hai said it does not comment on matters related to current or potential customers, or any of their products. It did not immediately respond to a request seeking confirmation that it was investing US$356 million in Tamil Nadu.

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