Apple starts manufacturing the iPhone 14 in India

A view of the new iPhone 14 at an Apple event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 7, 2022.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

Apple said on Monday it is assembling its flagship iPhone 14 in India as the US tech giant looks to shift some production from China.

“The new iPhone 14 lineup introduces innovative new technologies and important security capabilities. We’re excited to manufacture iPhone 14 in India,” Apple said in a statement.

Apple’s main iPhone assembler, Foxconn, is manufacturing the devices at its factory in Sriperumbudur, on the outskirts of Chennai.

The Cupertino giant has been manufacturing iPhones in India since 2017, but these were usually older models. This time with the iPhone 14, Apple is manufacturing its latest model in India for the first time, close to the launch of the device. Apple launched the iPhone 14 earlier this month.

Apple will sell phones produced in India locally, but will also export them to other markets globally. Customers in India will start receiving the locally produced devices in the coming days.

JP Morgan analysts said in a note this month that Apple will move 5% of its global iPhone 14 production to India by the end of 2022. Apple’s cloud will also make 25% of all iPhones by 2025 in India, JP Morgan said.

Apple’s focus on manufacturing in India highlights the tech giant’s desire to diversify production away from China and increase customers in India, which is currently a small market for the company.

Apple has strong momentum in India. India is among the more than 20 countries in the world where the premiumization trend has just begun.

Tarun Pathak

research director, Counterpoint Research

Apple still relies heavily on China for the majority of iPhone production.

But Beijing has persisted with a lockdown strategy to control resurgences of Covid, even as most of the world seeks to open up its societies. The zero-Covid policy has disrupted production at factories across China where the lockdowns are taking place and highlighted some potential weaknesses in Apple’s supply chain.

India has tried to boost local electronics manufacturing through incentives.

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Meanwhile, Apple is looking to boost sales in India, the world’s second-largest smartphone market. Apple had just a 3.8 percent market share in India last year, as low-cost competitors such as Samsung and China’s Xiaomi continue to dominate, according to Counterpoint Research.

However, Apple was the best-selling brand in the ultra-premium segment, which is phones priced above 45,000 Indian rupees ($552), in the second quarter of this year. This is thanks to the strong push from its previous generation iPhone 13 models.

Apple’s iPhone 14 starts at 79,900 rupees ($980).

“Apple has strong momentum in India. India is among more than 20 countries in the world where the premiumization trend has just started,” Tarun Pathak, director of research at Counterpoint Research, told CNBC.

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